Every Business has some sort of toolbox full of useful gadgets to help business go, or make it easier to run. What’s inside varies from business to business.
But, there are 4 Essential Tools that every business needs in order to stay successful.
1. Business Plan
Every Business, large or small, old or new, should have an up-to-date Business Plan.
And you should refer to it frequently.
You would normally think of the Business Plan as a tool for securing financing.
That might be true, but its BEST use is as a Planning Tool.
If you have followed most Business Plan guidelines, you have done some major research and thinking about your market, your product, and how you intend to make money.
That research is invaluable.
If you simply do it and then let it sit on the shelf, you have lost the value of your efforts.
Keep referring to the Plan as you do business.
You’ll remember your market, your customers, your intent.
You’ll keep focus and reach those financial projections you made. Without the foundation of a good business plan, you’ll drift into places where you can get lost and never recover.
Keep the Plan current and visible.
2. Accounting Records
Oh No! More Bookkeeping!
Haven’t we had enough???
These are the most important records you have.
A good set of books will help you pinpoint profits and losses, good customers and markets, suppliers, and profit leaks.
Keeping Books is fundamental, and vital for not just taxes, but for your entire business operations.
I have counseled plenty of failing businesses that did know they were failing, or did not know why.
Good books could have prevented the tragedy and the pain of business failure.
Essential records are a Cash Journal, Sales Journal, General Ledger, Inventory Records, Customer Records, and Accounts Payable and Receivable Journals.
Most computerized bookkeeping programs have these and more.
Spend the money. Consult your accountant. Get a good program. Keep them current.
3. Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)
Every business has things to do and ways to do them.
An SOP manual helps you get and keep organized for those routine tasks, and those rare but essential ones. It will also make it easier to train when you add employees.
Get a loose-leaf binder and some dividers.
You’ll want to document your days, weeks, and months as you go along.
Use the documentation to examine and improve those processes so you will always be moving forward.
Be especially alert to documenting those rare events that come along.
How to do a Backup of your computer. (Shouldn’t be rare, but should be documented just the same.)
How to file various tax returns and payroll reports.
As you learn how to do something, make an SOP for it so you won’t have to learn it again.
4. Your Daily Action Plan
This should drive your every day.
You should never go to work without knowing Exactly what your goals for today are, and what you are going to do to reach them.
This is more than a simple To-Do List. It is a well-considered Plan of what you intend to do and when.
Don’t let random events de-rail you from achieving your goals.
Don’t think that you can spontaneously do what is right.
You won’t. You will end your day without accomplishing much of anything, and a week’s worth of that will stretch into eventual failure.
Every Tool Box has a unique mix of tools and supplies.
It is vital that you stock yours well, and that you keep those tools sharp and all oiled up for best use. The Right Tool for the job makes the work so much more effective.
And it’s Effective that you want to be.