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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Growth Plan Assessment for Small Businesses

Conduct a self-assessment to identify areas of your business that  need to be improved, set priorities and stimulate your thought about what you are really doing. Take time to think about and answer each of these questions, its an investment in your future.    When completed use this assessment to meet with your  business advisor to priortize discussions and brainstormsing ides for improvements. 

Part One - Measuring Marketing and Sales Results
How Much Growth Do You Want?
1. What is your objective for increasing sales volume in the next 12 months?

2. What is your objective for increasing net profit in the next 12 months?

3. Given your firm’s capabilities as well as customer and market conditions, how likely are you to reach the sales and profit objectives given above?

How Good Are Current Sales, Profits and Cash Flow?
4. What have been your firm’s total sales for the last three years?
(Sales refer to dollar revenues actually received by your firm in each fiscal year.)
                            Last FY   2 Years ago   3 Years ago
Net Sales            _______     _________     ________
Net Income         _______     _________     ________

5. Gross Profitability (sales minus total cost of goods) during the past three years has been...
___Increasing    ____Flat        ____Decreasing

6. Do you consider your current cash flow to be?
___Excellent     ____Good     ____Fair    ____Awful

7. Does your balance sheet show a trend?   Last FY?  2 Years ago?  3 Years ago?
  •  Total Current Assets
  • Total Fixed Assets 
  • Total Current Liabilities 
  • Total Long Term Liabilities
  • Net Worth                              
8. If the new plan requires investment are the owners willing to: 
  • Borrow from the bank?
  • Must finance through profits?
  • Can’t make investments at this time?

Part Two - Measuring Marketing and Sales Results

9. Do you maintain current information on profitability, unit sales, and dollar sales for  each of the following?
Customers:                ___Yes   ___No
Products/Services:    ___Yes   ___No
Individual models:    ___ Yes  ___No
Individual jobs:         ___ Yes  ___No

10. Which of the following cost data is used in developing prices or quotations?
Material Costs:      ___Yes   ___No
Labor Costs:          ___Yes   ___No
Overhead Costs:   ___Yes   ___No
No cost data is used ____

11. Do you routinely compare-estimated costs to actual costs after each job or sale?
___Yes ___No

12. What is the frequency of preparing financial statements? 
__Monthly, __Quarterly, __Semi-annually, __Annually, __None

13. How are expenses broken out on your income statement? (Check all that apply)
____Only total expenses are reported
____Production/cost of goods sold are broken out as a separate line item
____Selling costs are broken out as a separate line item
____General/administrative are broken out as a separate line item
____Other (Please describe )

14. Does your firm produce
 ____To inventory  _____ Est.  % of company sales revenue?
 ____To order        _____ Est. % of company sales revenue?

Part Three - Internal Sales/Customer Information
15. Do you have a system for tracking the reasons you lose orders?
____Yes       ____No       ____Don’t know

16. Do you use lost order/customer information to change your sales or marketing strategies?
____Yes       ____No       ____ Don’t know

Most Valuable Customers (MVCs) are the small percentage of customers in most firms that account for the majority of sales or profits.
17. Do you know what % of your customer base accounts for 80% of your sales?.
____Yes       ____No         ____Don’t know
18. Does your single largest customer account for more then 30% of the sales? 
____Yes      ____No          ____Don’t know

19. Are the high volume, MVC customers profitable? 
____Yes      ____No         ____Don’t know

20. Can you identify The Best Customer Profiles to sell to?
____Yes     ____No         ____Don’t know

21. Can you identify the worst customer Profiles that you need to replace?
____Yes      ____No         ____Don’t know

Part Four – Competitor and Market Information

22. Can you list all major direct competitors for each major product, model, or service?
____Yes      ____No       ____Don’t know

23. How do your most important products or services compare to your strongest competitor?  
     Name of competitor _________________________
 ____Better     ____The same     ____Don’t know

24. Do you know how your customers would rate your products or services against specific competitors? 
____Yes           ____No

25. How do your products compete with the direct competitor products in price –model by model?
____Higher price        ____Same price     ____ Lower price

Market Analysis 26. Do you described your customer groups in terms of industries or market niches? 

27. Can you describe the market niches in terms of SIC Codes?
____Yes           ____No

28. Do you know how many prospects are in each market niche?
____Yes           ____No

29. Are these markets growing, stagnant or declining?
__ Growing __Stagnant __Declining __Don’t know

30. To achieve your growth commitments is it possible to increase share of your current markets?
____Yes           ____No

31. If your markets are stagnant or declining will you have to find new markets to grow?
Part Five - Marketing Strategies and Function32. Do you have a current written business plan that includes a sales forecast and budget? 
____Yes       ____No       ____Don’t know

33. Briefly describe your five most important product lines or services in order of their annual sales volume, and enter their approximate percentage of total company sales.

A. _________________________________________   ____ %

B. _________________________________________   ____%

C. _________________________________________   ____%

D. _________________________________________   ____%

E. _________________________________________    ____%
34. What is your target gross profit margin for each of the above product lines or services
                       (Fill in first column below)
35. Does the product line fall short, meet, or exceed this target?
                       (Please use the same letters as listed above.)
     Target Margin      Short     Meets    Exceeds     

A. ___________     ______   ____    _____   

B. ___________     ______   ____   _____   

C. ___________    ______    ____   _____ 

D. ___________    ______    ____  _____ 

E. ___________    ______    ____  _____  

36. Does each product line have an advantage over known competitive products or are they simply a “me too” products? (Please describe any specific advantages your products have.)

New Product Development
37. How many new products or services have you introduced in the past four years?

38. Does your company plan to develop new products or services to achieve the growth commitments in questions 1 and 2?

39. If “Yes”, how many?

40. Do you have a system to evaluate the total projected costs of the new product or service?

41. Do you have a system to evaluate the sales potential (future sales year by year) of the new product or service?


42. Who establishes prices in your company?

43. What method do you use, generally, to determine prices? (Check only one)

___Actual cost + desired margin
___Standard cost + desired margin
___Estimated cost + desired margin
___Meet competitive prices
___Whatever the customer will pay

44. Are you having any difficulty establishing and/or maintaining your prices?

___Yes     ____No

45. In general, are your prices higher, lower or about the same as your competitors’ prices for similar products?
___Our prices are generally higher
___Our prices are about the same
___Our prices are generally lower

46. What percent of your orders are discounted in order to get the sale?


Note: The following questions ask whether you use company employed sales personnel, including commissioned reps/agents/distributors, or both. The first set of questions deal with company employed sales personnel and are followed by questions about commissioned reps/agents/distributors.

47. Enter the percent of sales (or estimated percent) produced by each sales channel.

____Company employed inside sales employees
____Company employed outside sales employees
____Commissioned reps/agents/distributors
____Other (describe)
100 %  Total

Company Sales Department

48. How many sales people do you have that are they company employees? (Not outside reps) - (Allocate fractional assignments if applicable, e.g., half time assignments)
____Number of inside sales people
____Number of outside sales people

49. How would you judge the overall performance of your sales force?
50. Does the firm have enough sales people to provide sufficient face-to-face or voice-to-voice contact with the needed number of prospects and customers to produce the desired sales volume?
51. To which of the following goals/measures do you tie compensation/evaluation of sales personnel?
____Not tied to any goals/measurements
____Tied to sales volume goals
____Tied to gross margin goals
____Tied to other profit goals (Please describe)
____Does not apply

Manufacturers’ Reps, Agents, and Distributors

52. Number of  Reps ___  Agents___ Distributors ___

53. How would you judge the overall performance of the rep/agent/distributor network?
___Don’t know

54. How would you judge the sales coverage (the function of contacting the needed number of prospects and customers to produce the desired sales volume) provided by reps/agents/distributors?

55. Do reps/agents/distributors perform enough sales tasks to justify their commissions in most cases?
___Yes      ___No     ___Don’t know

56. Would sales performance improve if you improved factory marketing support and training programs for your reps/agents/distributors?
___Yes ___No ___Don’t know

57. Which of the following advertising/promotional methods do you use?
____Trade journal advertising
____Post card packs
____Coop advertising
____New product releases
____Publicity releases
____Magazine articles
____Radio advertising
____Television advertising
____Trade shows
____Web Site
____Promotional giveaways
____Direct mail
____Email list
____Internet Orders
____Internet advertising
____Yellow Pages
____Google Maps

58. Will these promotional methods be adequate to get a larger share of current markets?
___Yes ___No ___Don’t know

59. Will these promotional methods be adequate to find and penetrate new markets?
___Yes ___No ___Don’t know