The Twelve Days of BusinessDecember 23, 2021
This time of the year, holiday season, means we are once more reacquainted with the “Twelve Days of Christmas,” and the overplayed but still funny “Twelve Pains of Christmas” parody song.
In everything from literature to coaching, we as a society get fixated on quantified and numbered.
I wonder if business owners, business managers, executives, everyone from the mailroom to the C-Suite to the board, contemplates the twelve important days in a business.
Sure, there’s the month-end close, there’s the month-end variance report.
Well, that’s part of it, but here are twelve kinds of days that ensure that a business isn’t missing anything. One thing we’re reminded of as the holidays roll around is how quickly the years go by, and how quickly our intended business resolutions of a year ago seem so elusive.
1. Sales Day.
When was the last time you sat down and dug, really dug, into revenues? Dollar sources are the lifeblood of business. Have you thought about sales and where they come from, and which of those customer relationships are most profitable, and most demanding? Think Pareto Principle here. Speaking of sales, is your sales staff adequate? Have you made sales training a priority? Do you have rolling recruitment to ensure that if a key member of your sales team leaves, he or she can be backfilled? Are you compensating them properly and treating them well enough so that they don’t leave? Need to recruit the best salespeople for your industry? Reach out to Peter Cotton at Best Sales Talent. www.bestsalestalent.com. Peter is the best at finding sales people, especially for unique companies in unique industries.
2. Costs Day.
Yes, we know what you’re thinking…this sounds like pulling your fingernails out with electrical pliers. Have you spent a day digging into costs? If so, have you looked at your costs with a level of granular detail? Do you understand your income statement? Do you understand how much it costs to run direct, indirect and SG&A costs as a baseline each day/week/month/year? Do you know which costs are direct and indirect vs. overhead? Have you looked at every line of cost and thought about how, or whether, it contributes to performance, margins, profitability?
3. Insurance Day.
Wow, now this sounds like a blast. What could possibly be more fun that insurance. Most new clients we work with are doing their insurance all wrong. They are usually under covered and overpaying. They don’t understand why they need D&O coverage. They lose out on customer contracts with their customers because they don’t have the proper coverage for umbrella/excess, environmental insurance, and they have left the door wide open on employment practices liability. You should speak with Mark Gregson and Kathy Bamberg from Gallagher Insurance. They are our go-to team for our clients.
4. Risk Day.
This is a piggyback to Insurance Day. Have you looked not only at a risk management approach for your company, but also, have you thought about all of the risks your business is bearing? Does 65% of your business come from one client? That’s a concentration risk. Is your CEO getting older and no one is sure what will happen if something happens to him or her? That’s a succession risk. We frequently get asked to do risk analysis on companies, and it’s amazing how wide open companies leave themselves to a layer cake of risks.
5. Marketing Day.
Nope, this is not the same as Sales Day. How does your company get the word out about what it does to promote its products and services? What is your company’s message strategy, branding? What is your company’s public profile, reputation? What are your competitors up to, what trade shows do they attend and exhibit in? What associations are they members of? Who in your organization is in charge of managing marketing, placing advertising, managing other communications like web sites, brochures, even business cards?
6. Governance Day.
Even privately held companies should have boards of directors. Have you thought deeply about how effective your board members are? What are your governance priorities? Is the board driving a strategic plan in tandem with the CEO and/or ownership? Is the board large enough and an odd number for voting? Are there any underperforming and/or toxic board members that are selfishly pushing their own agenda? How are the providers of governance compensated? Do they have terms? Are there specific subcommittees of the board such as by-laws, compensation, strategic planning, e.g.
7. Capital Day.
Have you spent a day thinking about your business’ sources of capital? Banking relationships? Do you have the capital to continue to grow? What are your risks with your current lending and financing relationships? Is the financing you currently have a match with your business? Do you need a larger line of credit? Equipment financing? Factoring of invoices to speed up payments and improve cash flow? We can help connect you with many banks, equipment lenders and receivables and supply chain financing companies to improve your business cash flow.
8. Customer Day.
Put yourself in the shoes of a customer of your company. How do you feel? How are you treated? Are you satisfied? Why do you do business with your company? What could be improved? What do other customers say, feel, think about the company. How do customers find you and when they do, is it easy to start doing business with your company? What do you do in the course of the year to show appreciation to, reach out to, communicate with, and have open dialogue with, customers?
9. Growth Day.
How will your company grow? Growing top line revenue is one thing, growing profit and margins are another. Is the company growing as an organization? Is management growing? Is the organization a learning organization? Are the employees learning new skills? Is the company seeking new products, services, markets and other verticals of opportunity?
10. Strategy Day.
What is your company’s strategy? Have you spent any days gathering your team for a strategic planning day or extended planning retreat? What determines the mix of products and services your company provides? Have you stacked your company against competitors to see how your strategy compares? Do you have a written, shared, communicated and reinforced strategic plan? Who in the organization is involved in creating it? Do your employees even know what the company’s strategy is?
11. Execution Day.
Strategy is one thing, but execution is quite another. Are you taking a day to think through the specific tasks, action items, resources, necessary to execute on the plan? Are there constraints? Are your managers, supervisors, direct and indirect employees given autonomy, authority, and trust to execute their respective initiatives? How do you determine and measure success, and how do you know the difference between acceptable and good, good and great? Is your execution of the plan living up the expectations of stakeholders?
12. Advisors Day.
Management, employees, governance are all critical in the operation of the business. Great advisors can extend management’s vision, resources, and open the company to a variety of new opportunities to help them improve financial and operating results, identify strategy and execution opportunities, mitigate risks, cut costs, drive revenue and relationships to cultivate new commercial opportunities. Advisors might just be one of the best investments the company can make. Take a day to seek out great advisors.
So, make it a point to schedule those 12 days in your company calendar in 2022, and let us know how we can help your business achieve its goals.
Happy Holidays to all!