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Business PerspectivesBY KARA BEER, PresidentThe health of your business is a reflection of how well you manage all aspects of your operation. Smart busi- ness owners know they can avoid problems by keepingaware of the many elements that can affect growth and success.By conducting a regular business checkup, you can identify strengths and weaknesses. And much like your own physical, a business checkup pinpoints concerns and enables you to take preventative measures so they don’t become a threat to your organization’s health.The four key aspects necessary for business health: management and operations; marketing; financial & legal; and human resources. In a healthy and sound business, these four areas are in balance.Management and Operations – When was the last time you looked at your business plan? Have your plan handy? Ask yourself and honestly answer these questions: Are you on target towards meeting your vision, mission and goals? Who is your sounding board? Do you have a strategic plan? When did you last update your written operations plan, including contingency measures? Have you updated your goals? Do you have a succession plan? What back-up measures do you have in place should your systems fail?How healthy is your business?The business plan is your prescription for success.Marketing – Promoting your business is essential for ongoing success. No matter how strong a core client group you’ve built, don’t rely solely on them for continued business. Repeat customers have utmost value, but there may come a day when a key customer goes elsewhere. Be prepared by cultivating new contracts and sales through effective marketing. Does your marketing strategy reflect current methods of attracting business? Does your brand suit the current environment? Are you a contender in your niche market? Are you reaching the right customers and meeting their needs? Have you targeted your marketing efforts?Successful businesses satisfy a need.Financial and Legal – Keeping on top of your finances is not always the most exciting part of running a business, but it’s crucial to know exactly where you stand. Start your checkup by gatheringyour most current set of financial statements and compare them to previous years. Identify any expenses that have become significantly higher. Check this information against your annual budgets and forecasting, and address why this is the case. What could you have done differently to save money? Any large discrepancies (positive or negative) warrant review, and a re-evaluation of your financial plan will help you get back on track. Consider the following areas: Do you have excellent bookkeeping and accounting systems? Are your financial statements in order? How is your cash flow? Do you have systems in place to prevent fraud? How good are you at collecting receivables? Is your business classification still the best fit? What are your legal responsibilities as a business owner?Human Resources – No business runs without people power. Considered by successful business owners to be their greatest asset, the right mix of employees is invaluable to business health. For some small businesses, human resources management often takes a back seat to more pressing matters. However, the effort it takes to develop clear policies and procedures pays off the first time an employee issue arises. Consider the following: Are roles and responsibilities clearly defined? Are the right people in the right jobs? Do you have a written Human Resources policy and procedure guide? What training and personal development opportunities do you provide? How do you rate yourself as a leader and why? Does your compensation and staff recognition plan meet the current market standards? Are there any significant patters or increases in absenteeism rates? Have you provided expert training for your management team?Action brings results. Once you’ve completed your business check up and identified challenges, make a plan and then work on it. Prioritize each new goal and get going! Much like starting a new health regime, long-lasting and effective changes tend to be those you take one step at a time and involve the development of new practices and habits.MICHAEL E. DOWNING REALTOR• ASSOCIATE BROKER • HALL OF FAME AWARD WINNER• 42 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE • OVER 2,800 CLOSED TRANSACTIONS • RECIPIENT OF THE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD• MEMBER OF THE RE/MAX 100% CLUB FROM 1983 thru 2008, 2010-2017Main Office: 269-968-6101 269-441-5564 • Fax 269-441-5235 H 269-963-2433 • C e-mail: DowningMik@aol.comRE/MAX Perrett Assoc.Inc.,317 E. Columbia Ave., Battle Creek, MI 490158 TIME PLATINUM AWARD WINNER26 SCENE 4302 I HEALTH & FITNESS

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