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Free Book: What's Wrong With My Business?


What's Wrong With My Business?

Perform This Self-Audit to Increase the Effectiveness of Your Business

What's Wrong With My Business?This guide will help you Increase the effectiveness of your business by performing a complete audit of your business operations.

A business audit means an examination of the affairs of a business. It involves careful checking to make sure that standardized procedures are followed, that all transactions are recorded and verified, and that financial assets are properly protected. The light that such an examination throws upon your business matters suggests that the process can usefully survey managerial procedures and practices systematically.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. A Look At Yourself And Your Ability To Grow
3. Customer Relations
4. Personnel Management And Supervision
5. Merchandise Inventory Control
6. Budgetary Control And Productivity
7. Buying
8. Pricing
9. Advertising And Sales Promotion
10. Display
11.Equipment And Layout
12. Cash And Finance
13. Credit
14. Insurance
15. Accounting Records
16. Planning For Growth

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Sample Content

This guide will help you Increase the effectiveness of your business by performing a complete audit of your business operations.
A business audit means an examination of the affairs of a business. It involves careful checking to make sure that standardized procedures are followed, that all transactions are recorded and verified, and that financial assets are properly protected. The light that such an examination throws upon your business matters suggests that the process can usefully survey managerial procedures and practices systematically.
Purposes of the Audit
A business audit reveals in dollars and cents the results of past practices, but it may not reveal current management practices that may lead to financial difficulties in the future. To some extent, the management practices of a firm may be subjected to analysis, using techniques that are similar to those used in a financial audit.
A degree of judgment enters into the preparation of a financial audit. In the broader field of a managerial audit, judgment plays an even more important role - for experts do not concur on the degree of usefulness of various managerial techniques. Time and circumstance are important factors in differentiating between good and bad practice. Nevertheless, the various questions posed in the subsequent chapters of this section have been framed to give their respondents direction toward profitable growth.
Since successful managerial procedures are largely the result of enlightened policies and of the business attitudes of the small merchant, this audit has been expanded beyond procedures and controls to probe the willingness of the merchant to adapt to the ever-changing times.

There is considerable disagreement about the meaning of small retailer. Some think of him or her as owner of a neighborhood store with few, if any, employees. Others think of a store with more employees. The nature of the business is a determining factor; for example, a small department store's volume may be considerably higher. The questions in this management audit are designed for all small retailers and, for this reason, some may not have application in specific instances. Nevertheless, most of the questions can be scaled upward or downward to fit the situations existing in the extreme limits of what is defined as a small retail store.
In today's competitive economic climate, a small retailer can prosper only if he is growing and emulating the best practices of the bigger stores. To remain small is to remain exceedingly vulnerable to change. A business can't stand still; it must grow. Growth requires acceptance of and planning for change, leading usually to increased functionalization, more rules, and more control over other people's work.
The Questions
The body of this section is simply a series of questions. They are designed for self-help in determining (1) if, overall, the manager is running his or her business well and (2) to spotlight those areas where management improvements can be made. While there is no clear-cut answer to many of the questions, a "Yes" answer usually indicates that the respondent is engaging in enlightened retail management practice to some degree. If the answer is "No," the respondent in most instances would do well to give some thought to that management area.
For each question, a comment is provided either to clarify the question or to stress its particular significance. The questions and comments are grouped into categories and are designed to capitalize on the strength, and eliminate the weakness, of the management practices of the respondents. While all major functions of a retail business are covered, the questions themselves are only a sample of all that might be asked. But it is believed that those provided are the key ones, most closely associated with success and failure.

Limits of the Audit
To a great extent, the attributes tested in this audit - your self­-discipline, your aggressiveness, and your ability to organize and to meet changing business situations - are not suited to precise measurement. However, indications of their presence or absence are to be found in your answers to the questions asked.
In working with this "retail management audit," you should keep in mind that it is not-
1. A financial or market analysis of your firm.
2. A psychological, physical, cultural, or social study of those responsible for the operations and policy-making of your firm.
3 . A general economic study of your firm.
On the other hand, the answers to the questions will provide you with a method of measuring your managerial techniques.
The questions used in the audit are based on the following general assumptions:
1. There are broad, non-monetary principles of good management.
2. When too many of these principles are not being followed, the financial condition of a firm is likely to suffer.
3. It is possible to identify areas in a firm which are not well managed and which, if unchanged, will impair the firm's financial structure.
4. It is frequently possible to identify these areas so that the owner-manager can take corrective action.

The small retailer must be more than a doer of the day's work. As a manager, he or she has at least five distinct activities: planning, controlling, organizing, coordinating, and supervising the work of others. All of these activities are important and all are probed by questions in this audit. Planning, controlling, and organiz­ing - usually weak spots in the small retailer's capabilities -receive special emphasis. Primarily, a small retail store is an institution that provides an assortment of merchandise from which its customers may choose. Therefore, the chapters on merchandising and customer relations are the heart of this audit. Everything else is an adjunct to buying and selling.
On the other hand, it should not be concluded that positive answers to a great majority of these questions will assure you a profitable future or that no further study is indicated. The following reminders must be stressed:
1. Even if the results of the audit seem to indicate that you have a "clean bill of health," you should understand this to mean only that no obvious weaknesses are apparent to you in your management structure, policies, or actions. You must be unbiased and objective in making your self-appraisal, and you should measure your self­-appraisal against the opinions of others.
2. The audit is only a tool which seeks to indicate information about the effectiveness of your management that, without the questionnaire, would probably take much more time and effort to obtain. It merely points out some crucial management areas which warrant attention.
3. Where weaknesses are revealed, you may be able to rectify the situation and thereby improve your management policy and practice.
4. This Management Audit is not a substitute for financial or other analyses of your firm. Rather, it should be considered only as a useful supplement to other kinds of analyses of your operation; i.e., financial audits, market research, and so forth. In most cases, it will reinforce the judgment of those using financial data as their primary source of information about the firm.

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