Your Annual Checkup: The 2 Minute Business Audit [Download]

Business.com / Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Here's our handy guide to giving your business an annual checkup in just a few minutes, plus a handy downloadable checklist.

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With 2015 in the past, it is time to set your focus on the new year. 

While some companies are in the position to stay the course, others may require a reboot in order to get back on track.

There is no better time than now to audit your business, as this will give you a clear idea of where it stands and what changes you need to make to ensure a successful 2016.

Here's our handy guide to giving your business an annual checkup in just a few minutes, plus a handy downloadable checklist.

Related Article: Putting It On Paper: Free Business Plan Template [DOWNLOAD]

Answer These Questions

By answering the following questions, you can quickly determine if your business strategy needs work in the new year:

1. Will your current business plan allow you to achieve success moving forward?

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is believing that your business plan will remain the same from year to year.

Even if it’s only been one year since your last business plan review, there is a good chance things have changed. From your goals to your strategy to your finances, your company will evolve over time. As a result, your business plan must follow suit.

2. Can you rely on the same marketing plan in the new year?

Regardless of your industry and goals, sales and marketing plays a big part in your success.

The marketing techniques you employed in the past may not generate the same results in the next 12 months. To answer this question, review the results of your 2015 marketing efforts. Which strategies provided the most return on investment? Which ones fell flat?

3. What can you learn from past trends?

For example, the top marketing trends for 2015 are not guaranteed to generate the same response in 2016. Of course, there is always the chance they could.

By examining past trends, you can better understand what the future will bring and how to adjust your approach accordingly.

In addition to learning from past trends, focus on what industry experts consider “the next big thing.” This article examines what will be the big online marketing trends for 2016.

4. How will industry changes impact your company?

Even if your particular industry remains relatively stable year after year, there are sure to be some changes that impact your company.

Don’t make the mistake of ignoring your industry, as this could lead you down a rocky path. With each change, no matter how big or small, there is an opportunity for your business to take advantage.

Related Article: 9 Helpful Guides and Tools to Develop a Smart Business Plan

5. What is your financial position at the present time?

There is no easy way to answer this question, as even the smallest companies have many details that fit within this broad category.

A healthy business is one that is financially stable. Answer these additional questions to measure your company’s financial situation:

  • What was your revenue for the prior year?
  • What was your profit?
  • How much money is in the company bank account(s)?
  • How much debt are you currently carrying?
  • Are you comfortable with the ability to meet payroll every month?

A quick look at your financials can go one way or the other. You will either like what you see or you won’t. Either way, don’t ignore this detail.

6. Do you need to make any personnel changes?

This can include but is not limited to the following:

  • Hiring new employees
  • Laying off some of your existing workforce
  • Deciding for or against promotions

You can have the best business and marketing plan, but it won’t generate results unless you have the right talent in the right positions. Auditing your business means reviewing each department and its employees.

7. Did you reach your goals over the past year? What are your goals (short and long term) for the new year?

If you reached all your goals over the past 12 months, it means you are doing something right. It would be in your best interest to stick with the same basic strategy moving forward.

Conversely, if you fell short of your goals in 2015, now is the time to determine why and make changes to avoid this in 2016.

Along with a review of the past, you need to set short and long term goals for the new year.

Goals are a big part of any business. They help you see what you are doing right, what you are doing wrong, and how to adjust your strategy. Even better, the right goals will keep you motivated and on track.  

Related Article: Make It Visual: The Storyboard Business Plan

You Have Time for a Business Audit

Many people believe that a business audit takes many days (or longer) to complete. While you can spend as much time as you want on an audit, a focus on the most important questions will allow you to move forward in a clear, concise, and efficient manner.

If you have a few minutes in your day, you have time to complete a thorough business audit.

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