A friend of mine was in the business world for a long time before she left it to become a small business owner. I watched her immediate and incredible success in a field that I thought may have been over-saturated by other business owners.
I asked her for the secrets of her success and she gave me a list of things that I thought were very good, but many I had heard before. One, however, that I have not heard from any small business owner is an idea she attributes directly to her years of corporate experience: The end of month report.
All of the successful small business owners I know are thrilled to get out from the corporate world and forget about the life of reports, reviews, committees, and meetings. But this idea struck me as having a different quality that could really build small businesses quite successfully.
Why do you need one?
This was my first question when she told me about it. She said that it helped her to look back on the month and measure her successes and failures while at the same time, resetting her goals for the month to come. That is something that many entrepreneurs fail to do: they MIGHT start off with a strong business plan, but often the business takes on a life of its own afterward. An end of month report keeps the business owner in control
When to do it
She uses a couple different databases, a "to-do" list, notebooks and a financial software program such as Quickbooks to keep track of everything. She usually can get it done the first day of the following month, although she admits that is may take a couple days to do.
What needs to be on it
Her end of month report may look different from one that I may do and mine will probably look different from the one that you need to do for your business. But generally, here are the things she recommends that someone might include on such a report:
- An income goal for the last month
- A determination of how much over or under you were compared to your goal
- A new income goal for the next month
- An income-per-customer number to see how much she earns per customer
- A list of businesses in your sales pipeline
- The top 3 successes you are most proud of in the past month
- The top 3 things you would probably change if you could relive the month
It takes her about an hour each month and its value cannot be calculated.
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