A Little Soul-Searching for the Business Owner

Businessman waiting for flight at airport

I work with small business owners every day.  Aside from guiding them on asset protection, tax planning, employee and hiring issues, and the like, I often suggest my clients take the time to ask themselves the following questions on a regular basis.  It is simply good business practice.  So, if you are a small business owner, you would do well to ask yourself the following questions.

1. Are there any product or service issues in my business? Do I need to change prices, add another product or service? Could customer service be improved? Do I need to make any modifications to my business to keep current with market and/or economy?

2. Are my products and services being delivered in the most efficient and effective manner possible? How can I improve production, packaging, sales, or delivery to save time and money?

3. Are there any legal, tax, facility, vendor, employee, or structural issues that need to be addressed over the next 3, 6 or 12 months?

4. Are my vendors meeting my expectations?  What can I do to get better prices or service from vendors?

5. Does everyone in my organization understand their role and responsibilities? Am I holding them held accountable?

6. Do my I have all the necessary business and trade skills specific to my product or service?    Should I obtain training and management videos or books to improve my management skills? Can I provide better service if I obtain continuing education for my trade?

7. Do my employees have all the necessary business and trade skills specific to my product or service?  Do my employees understand their duties and responsibilities?  Do I have a good, understandable, and enforceable set of policies and procedures in place for my employees? Do I (should I) have an employee handbook?  Should I implement training, team building, or social events?

8. Am I setting aside money every month for savings?  Are there any strategies I can implement to reduce taxes? Do I have a tax-deferred retirement plan in place? Do I have a business succession plan in place?

9. Do I sufficiently track sales, costs, and production, using budget-to-actual figures? Do I set goals that can be tracked by objective criteria? Do I review these numbers regularly? Do I hold myself accountable if I am not reaching my goals?

10. What items on my marketing plan do I need to implement now or put into play in the future?

These are tough questions to answer sometimes, but by doing a little business soul-searching on a regular basis, you will see the positive results many times over!

Let me know if I can help.


Michael Wales is a Maritime Law Attorney in San Diego, California. Mike also owns AGL Yacht Sales, Inc., a San Diego Yacht Brokerage, with his wife Leilani Wales. For assistance with any maritime legal matter you may contact Mike at mwales@waleslaw.com or at 619.493.1700. For information on brokerage boats please visit www.aglyachts.com.