There are five main areas to focus on in an approximate order of importance:

  1. Operations
  2. Finance
  3. People
  4. Marketing
  5. Tech

Operations

  1. Core business process 
    1. Do you do what you do well?
    2. Do you do it well consistently?
    3. Do you do it well consistently and profitably?
  2. The org chart
    1. Do you have roles?
    2. Are those roles defined?
    3. Is there a clear decision-making framework and/or hierarchy?
  3. Planning
    1. Do you have a prioritized list of what you want to do next?
    2. Do you talk to your customers on a regular basis?
    3. Can and do your customers recruit other customers?

Finance

  1. Accounting
    1. Do you know how much money you do or don’t make?
    2. Do you manage your costs by category?
    3. Do you manage your cash conversion cycle?
  2. Tax
    1. Are you accurately accruing for and paying them?
    2. Are you working to reduce them?
    3. Do you know what potential benefits are available to you?
  3. Finance
    1. Do you have a forward-looking forecast grounded in realistic assumptions?
    2. Do you have a process for how to decide to make or not make an investment?
    3. Is your capital structure optimal?

People

  1. Compensation
    1. Do you pay a fair wage that is commensurate with an employee’s workload?
    2. Do you offer competitive benefits?
    3. Do you have a thoughtful incentive plan?
  2. Recruiting and retention
    1. Do you have a hiring process that attracts multiple candidates for each job opening?
    2. Do you know who is doing a good job and do they know if they are doing a good job?
    3. Do the people who do a good job tend to stick around and get increases in responsibility?
  3. Culture
    1. Do your people come to work?
    2. Do your people like to come to work?
    3. Do your people actively recruit their most talented friends to come to work with them?

Marketing

  1. Operations
    1. Do you have a website and working phone number?
    2. Do you rank on Google?
    3. Do you actively target potential customers?
  2. Assets 
    1. Do you have a logo, brand, and high-resolution examples of your work?
    2. Do you have access to professional copywriters and designers?
    3. Are you actively running and measuring marketing tests?
  3. Strategy
    1. Do you know how well your marketing is working?
    2. Can you measure the ROI of your marketing spend?
    3. Can you confidently spend more on marketing?

Technology

  1. Systems
    1. Does technology facilitate your work?
    2. Is your technology up-to-date?
    3. Are you regularly updating your technology?
  2. Processes
    1. Can you outline a standard business process?
    2. Do you consistently streamline and improve that standard business process?
    3. Are you actively adopting new technology to aid your business process?
  3. Strategy
    1. Do you have a process for identifying gaps in your tech stack?
    2. Are you able to smoothly integrate new technology?
    3. Can you confidently spend more on technology?

Originally found at Permanent Equity.

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