Instead of telling you what I think this month, I will just ask some questions to provoke some thought. I think you’ll likely know what I think by reading the questions I ask.
- Are you running your business, or is your business running you?
- Do you control the expenses in your business by operating from a budget, or do you operate by the “seat of the pants”?
- Do you have processes in place (and documented) for internal job functions, or do you assume everyone knows what they are supposed to be doing?
- You know that everyone in your organization has certain responsibilities. Have they been clearly communicated, and do the people in your organization know they have these responsibilities?
- Do you know the true cost of items that you produce or buy for resale, including indirect costs?
- Do you know what your most profitable items are and those items that are not so profitable and maybe should be discontinued?
- Do you know your businesses key financial ratios, what they mean, and where the danger levels are?
- Do you analyze the return on new asset purchases before the purchase has been made?
If you think you have good answers to all of these questions, ask them again. I challenge you to continually ask these questions throughout the year, and improve operations through better management. At Red Wing Software, we evaluate our position and try to answer these questions regularly. Once we think we know all the answers, we stop improving.
- Ken Hilton, President