This is a question that I have been asked on several occasions recently, not only from general enquirers, but by new clients about to go through the process.
I think there is a degree of nervousness prior to starting this process, the fear of the unknown as to what is going to happen and what will be revealed!
Let me be very clear on a few of things:
It won’t hurt you!
Your world won’t end or come crashing down!
I won’t laugh at you (not too much anyway), unless you say something funny, but I won’t laugh at your business!
I won’t make you feel bad!
Most probably I will tell you:
You are not alone in some of the opportunities (I have some of the same)
Your business is probably not broken!
You are already most probably doing a lot of things right!
The world isn’t going to end and your business isn’t going to close!
So What Happens?
This will be a lengthy process for us in most circumstances. The time can be split over several sessions or done as an ‘all in one’ if you have the stamina and focus to be interrogated for a lengthy period. A typical Audit can take anywhere from 4 to 16 hours depending on the complexity of the business and the tangents we head off into!
The key objective of the process is for me to gain a full understanding of your business – where it is at, what works, what doesn’t, what is missing etc as well as throwing in a lot of suggestions along the way. I do most of the asking and you do most of the telling, while I make copious notes and scribbles along the way.
The process is comprehensive given the fact that this is usually the starting point for the coaching process and developing a one page plan for the business goals.
Areas covered include (but aren’t limited to):
Business story and history
Your people and the processes -job roles, performance management, KPI’s etc
Your sales process -do you have one, how does it work, systems around it, measurement
Your marketing- what has and hasn’t been tried (not what hasn’t worked, as the offer or execution may have been flawed), measurement, tools used etc
Your systems – what do you have, are they documented and automated, consistency
Objectives- where do you want the business to go?
Future planning- do you need capital for equipment, facilities etc?
Financial health- how do you track, where are you at, what opportunities for efficiency gains exist?
Resources- what support team do you have around you and how satisfied are you with them ie bookkeepers, accountants, lawyers, advisers etc.
While this isn’t the full list, the end result is that I will be more aware of your needs and the current gaps that exist between this and the future and we develop a plan as to how to get there. The audit is the easy part, the challenge comes moving forward into the execution stage!
Common reactions to the completion of the process have ranged from tears of frustration and relief (in actually talking about the business), excitement, fear and a sense of motivation. We all react differently to the process and if I was to reverse the process, I too would find it both daunting and draining as it is a full on process, but a critical one.
So now that you know what is involved, is the time right for giving your business a head start to the future? I would encourage all business owners to at least go through a similar process with a coach, mentor, business partner etc to review where you are at and where you want to go. But remember, if you do, you then need to develop a plan and start implementing some of the changes or processes to move your business in the right direction.
Business Coach, Author and Speaker
Business Coaching Canberra
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