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Is Your Company Healthy? This Is How You Can Tell

Don’t make the same mistakes I made when it came to my personal health

Image by Gilaxia from Getty Images Signature, edited by Author

This past month I had the ultimate “health checkup.” In other words, my cardiologist chewed me out big time. My “sedentary, desk-chair lifestyle” (his exact words) had made me “so busy with work I did not pay attention to myself.”

Yep. I’ve gained some serious weight. (I was blaming it on the pandemic, but it’s my fault.) I haven’t exercised at all. (I figured 6,000 steps a day was good. It’s not,) And my diet has been terrible. (Hey, I’m busy. That’s why they call it “fast food”, right?).

He scheduled a bunch of medical tests for me (including a cardiac catheterization). These are really things you DO NOT WANT to do, but, of course, it beats the alternative (not having anything done since you are departed from this earth!).

So, I got them done and, of course, the cardiologist came back with “time to change your lifestyle, food, habits, etc. etc.” It’s not the first time I’ve heard such things, but it was the first time I took appropriate action.

The difference was twofold. First, I was paying attention this time (since I am older, and yes, those bad habits had taken their toll on me). Second, he was serious. I could tell he was urgently urging me (whoa, there’s a phrase) to really make changes as if my life actually depended on it, because it did! So I can honestly say I HAVE made positive changes, and I intend to stick with them.

Learn from my mistakes

What’s in this message for you? Well, your company health, of course.

Quite simply, checkups are a valuable tool. They can tell you what’s good, what’s okay, what’s questionable, and what’s wrong. They can help you pinpoint trouble spots that MAY be headed for failure. A checkup can make a difference between success and failure (not to mention life and death!) of your company.

So how do you conduct a “business checkup”?

We’ve discussed, in the past, about dissecting your business; making informed choices; and getting the correct information to make decisions about your company. Getting a checkup typically involves 3 major factors: expert help, correct tools, and employee or customer insight (probably both).

Get expert help

When I had chest pains, I didn’t go to the Internet to see what was going on. I went to a cardiac expert/specialist. When I had problems with my vision, I didn’t check with my partner. I went to an eye doctor.

Likewise, when I needed a business checkup, I brought in several individuals who had terrific business experience across many disciplines. I enlisted the help of a marketing person; an accounting individual; and a former startup CEO, plus I brought in a subject matter expert for my research group.

Each of them made extremely valuable contributions to my business, and each discovered some things I had not, which made their advice even more invaluable (ever notice “invaluable” means the same as “valuable”? Why is that?).

Because I consulted with experts in different areas, I was able to head off some issues that I hadn’t even noticed, which saved me time and money. Getting expert advice is the right thing to do.

Use the correct tools

Again, when I went to the cardiologist, he used the appropriate equipment to make a diagnosis. Some of the new technology is amazing. For instance, they now have a “cardiac loop” monitor, a small device that is implanted in your chest wall (VERY small device) with a 3-year battery life. It keeps track of your heart rhythms so the doctor can watch for any problems. It’s the latest thing, and YOU need the latest technology for your business!

I remember visiting an entrepreneur at his office, where he had tons of green sticky notes pasted to a board and also oodles (a technical term) of pink sticky notes on the other side of the board hanging on the wall. Of course, I had to inquire as to the purpose of the sticky notes.

“Oh, that’s my accounting system! The green ones are accounts receivables (you know, green for ‘money’), and the pink ones are account payables!” he replied.

“So what happens if you lose one of either one?” I asked.

“Wow, I never thought about that!”

Needless to say, I introduced him to technology (in the form of an online software accounting program), and it definitely improved his business operations.

Be sure YOU are using the correct tools in your business (and it’s worth remembering that “newer isn’t always better”).

Ask your employees and customers

If you have a “more than one person” business, ask your employees. If you are the only employee, ask your customers! Don’t be like this entrepreneur:

“I don’t get it,” she said when she visited me in my office one day. “We have a great product, we’ve advertised and done social media, but it’s just not reaching our target customers! I’ve done studies, I did focus groups. I can’t figure it out!”

“Have you spoken with some of your current customers as to why they bought it, or have you spoken to potential customers who haven’t bought it?” I asked her.

“Well, no, I engaged a top marketing agency, I assumed they spoke to customers?”

Well, guess what? Wait, I know you’ve already guessed. NO ONE had checked with current clients or prospective clients, and it turned out that while clients liked her product and prospective clients were interested, her packaging was terrible, and actually seemed to “hide” the product!

A quick change (as recommended by clients and prospects) rapidly increased exposure — and sales.

Employees are often on the front lines of production, marketing, sales, etc. but are never asked what they think. Don’t be “that” manager. Ask them! Some of the best ideas I’ve ever received came from my coworkers.

Time for a checkup?

So, schedule a check-up soon — maybe for you and for your business! After all, if you’re not at peak performance, you can’t do your best at your company. Get the advice, tools and assistance you need for both your personal health and your business health. Trust me, it beats the alternative!

Mark S Long has long experienced the intricacies of business incubation, acceleration, coworking spaces, makerspaces and other entrepreneurial assistance venues. UF Innovate supports an innovation ecosystem that moves research discoveries from the lab to the market, making the world a better place.

Originally published at http://incubatorblogger.wordpress.com on October 13, 2021.

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