Shop Talk reporter Virginia Bridges asked small-business owners how often they look at their bottom line and how that information impacts how they run their business. This is what they said.
• I look at my bottom line at least monthly. This gives me an idea as to the percentage of time I need to devote to marketing, networking and business development, said Peter Metzner, president of Dynamic Change, a leadership and team development firm in Chapel Hill. If my pipeline is full and I neglect business development, I usually will see the impact within the next quarter.
• I can pretty well track the financials in my head, said Tom Stevens, founder of Think Leadership Ideas, an executive coaching and leadership development firm in Hillsborough. I make myself a financial report each month and review progress on revenue targets every week. It inspires or terrifies me, depending on how Im doing. Either way, the weekly review provides motivation and focus.
• Some of the critical numbers in your business are leading indicators, like hits to a website or calls to prospective customers, which need to occur before the lagging indicators, likes sales, happen, said Jim Jubelirer, owner of Jubelirer Results Group, a business coaching and leadership development firm in Chapel Hill. It is important to look at leading indicators on an ongoing basis, even daily, in order to get the bottom-line results you want each month..
• We review our cash balance (checkbook) and cash flow forecast (money coming in and bills we need to pay) every week. We monitor our income and expense statement monthly. This way, analysis tells whether we are on track to meet our goals, whether we need to find new clients (or work harder with existing ones) and whether we need to slow our spending until our cash position improves, said Earl Hadden, business mentor and coach at the Small Business Success Project in Chapel Hill.