Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Annual Business Checkup

The annual checkup is an apt place to begin this blog. As with all doctor visits, mine started with filling out the forms that I've filled out many times in the past. (What's the status of imaging medical files?) I took particular notice of several items. The first was under the category of "Review of Systems." I haven't given much thought to my body as a network of systems before. But, of course, that's what I am made of-respiratory, vascular, and other systems. Each system can be separated for analysis and also examined as part of a whole.

Businesses, too, have systems. We're probably most familiar with accounting and operating systems. However, each function or department can be thought of as a system; HR, marketing, sales, and so on. Like body systems, business systems can be analyzed separately and as part of an integrated whole.

The next item I noticed was "risk factors." The body's risk factors include high blood pressure, obesity, and high LDL cholesterol. For a business, risk factors include margin erosion, lower lead conversions, and higher turnover.

Finally, the form displayed "impressions" and "recommendations."

Think of your business as a living thing. Give it an annual checkup. Identify all of your systems. Set standards or benchmarks for each one. Measure, evaluate, and recommend corrections as necessary. Hopefully, all you will need is to return next year and fill out the same form.

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