Going to the doctor is one of those things that people tend to avoid. When we’re healthy, we don’t want to make the trip for our yearly check-up, and when we’re not feeling well, we tend to think whatever is bothering us will simply pass.
From the outside, we know that these are not the right attitudes: making regular doctor’s visits and checking in when something doesn’t feel right is vital to ensuring you live a happy, healthy life.
When it comes to running a business, the same truths hold. Periodically checking in on your business’s health and consulting an expert when things aren’t doing so great are incredibly important to your business’s longevity and profitability.
Unfortunately, just like going to the doctor, deciding when to speak with a consultant for a business health check can leave business owners in “analysis paralysis” — many businesses simply can’t decide whether to invest in a health check or cut costs when they’re in a crisis.
To make the decision a bit easier, we’re going to go over the three main times that you should consult an expert to check on the health of your business.
Three Times to Get a Business Health Check
While there isn’t really a “wrong” time to conduct a business health check, there are a few instances that are definitely the right times. In a nutshell, these are when you’re first starting out, periodically when things are (at least apparently) going well, and when you’re experiencing a crisis.
Baby’s First Doctor’s Visit: When You’re Starting Out
Starting up a new business is much like having a baby: it’s a big commitment, and you need to make sure you’re taking the proper steps to ensure that your baby will grow up happy and healthy. And you may be nervous about what you are doing well or not so well, just like any new parent.
Conducting a business health check for a startup is very similar: you’ll consult with an expert business advisor who will check for hidden issues in your business’s strategy or operations that need to be monitored or immediately fixed, they’ll discuss practices that will prevent problems down the line, and they’ll answer any questions you may have.
Starting out your business on the right foot is important. And by dealing with emerging problems before they become established diseases, you can save yourself time, money, and a lot of stress.
Your Yearly Checkup: When Business Is Going Well
The doctor’s office isn’t just a place you go when you’re sick — it’s also there to help you stay healthy. Yearly checkups with your GP are key to ensuring that you’re not letting any chronic conditions go untreated and that you’re catching new problems as they arise.
However, many people fall into a rut where they only go to the doctor when they’re sick and never get to the root of what’s causing recurring problems. In most cases, preventing a disease from occurring in the first place is preferable to treating it once it’s become a serious issue.
Similarly, many businesses think that they only need to speak with an expert consultant when they’re in the middle of a crisis, but as soon as they get a clean bill of health - or, more dangerously, when the economy is surging and most businesses seem to be doing well, despite their internal weaknesses - they think they’re “good to go”.
This could not be further from the truth. Just like a person, a business needs to check in with a professional every now and then, even when it’s apparently doing well. While some businesses won’t want to do so every year, conducting a business health check at least every two to three years is generally a good idea. However, if your business is doing poorly but is not quite in a crisis, more frequent checks may be warranted.
The Emergency Room: When You’re In The Middle Of a Crisis
Our last entry is perhaps the most obvious, but it can also be the most anxiety-inducing. When faced with a crisis, many people have something of a deer-stuck-in-headlights response: they’re paralysed with fear and indecision.
The same holds true for business. When businesses are experiencing a crisis, many will spend far too long debating whether they should invest in a business health check to inspire strategic change, or simply cut costs and attempt to power through. Unfortunately, many end up doing neither, or cut the wrong costs, and suffer even worse consequences. So if something doesn’t seem right, chances are it’s a good time to conduct a health check.
The Bottom Line
When your business is experiencing pain or sickness, take it as an opportunity to get your business’s health checked out. Once it’s recovered from its acute distress, it's important to follow up periodically to make sure that the problems don’t recur and your business continues on a path to longevity and profitability.
If you're looking for more advice or would like to schedule a business review, contact us here at Advisory Collective — we're always happy to help, especially before your business ends up in the Emergency Room.