Thriving not just Surviving in your Business: Do you close the month within 10 days of the end of the month and run (and review) regular reports and metrics?

Business can be hectic – clients need special attention, staff have interpersonal issues, vendors deliver the wrong items, projects can out of budget and off track – as a business owner, it can sometimes feel like standing in the middle of a storm.

There are lots of things that you don’t have control over in business, but your internal operations are not included in that list.  Setting up regular procedures and behaviors may take some discipline and persistence but the dividends will pay off in a very short time.  How many times have you been interrupted to sign a check that needs to get out in the mail today?  Do you know how much it costs to interrupt the office and print off a single check?  Probably over $125 between the actual time of multiple people and the time lost due to ramp up and ramp down.    Responding to each individual issue as it arrives rather than creating systems to deal with the everyday running of the business in an organized fashion is called “whack a mole” management – you know, like the arcade game where a little critter pops it’s head up somewhere on the game and you have to be fast enough to hit it before it disappears. Doesn’t seem like a good plan for running a business, does it?

A very powerful mechanism for taming this chaos and bringing on a sense of control is to put regular accounting procedures in place and follow them religiously.  These practices can actually create an anchor to tether the company during the buffeting from external sources.   Figure out how often you need to cut checks and then create a schedule – weekly, biweekly, monthly to cut them all at the same time.   Enter bills on a weekly basis at most, on the same day every week.  Close out the month in a timely fashion and run reports that look at your company from an apples to apples comparison.  Run reports for management on a rotating basis instead of all at once so that one week you are looking at Project overruns, the next week overdue invoices and so on.  This allows management to look at issues one at a time and gives them the time to actually do something productive to solve problems.

 Bottom Line:  Business can be hectic, but internal procedures for managing the business of the company should smooth out the ride, not contribute to the hecticity.

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