Examining Your Data – Past, Present, And Future

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Too often, especially for entrepreneurs, our lives become complicated and exhausting. There never seems to be enough time in the day for all of the responsibilities on our plates, much less extra for the activities which may improve us or our businesses. We get so caught up in the day-to-day operations of our company we forget the primary duty of a great business leader which is to make decisions and plans to maximize the future’s outlook.

Luckily, long-term success is often as easy as looking at past numbers, making changes in the present and then creating a realistic plan for the future.

Examine How Your Business Performed In The Past

As a business owner, no one (except maybe your accountant) should have a better understanding of your past financial performance than you. By thoroughly examining your past numbers you are able to have concrete evidence showing what has worked, and what hasn’t, for you company. Does revenue commonly spike in March? Do sales of new product lines typically slow three months after their release? Has net profit been decreasing over the past two quarters? By exploring past numbers and trends, you can gain an un-biased view of your business – a perspective that is often jaded by the emotional connection entrepreneurs have with their companies. After all, past performance is the best indicator of future behavior.

Look At The Processes You Have In Place In The Present

Once you’ve established a solid understanding of the path your business has taken to get to where it is today, as well as the successes and failures along the way, you can examine the processes that you have in place in the present and how they are affecting your performance. Perhaps you’ve noticed in your past numbers that one distribution channel has consistently outperformed another. With this knowledge, you can shift your focus to the more profitable of the two and watch your gains rise. Have profits been falling due to rising overhead costs? There is no better time than the present to shop around and consider alternative suppliers.

Determine The Best Strategy For Improvements In the Future

Making changes in the present is a step in the right direction for your business, but in order to maximize the potential of your company, it is crucial that you draw out a path for the future. After you’ve figured out what your business is doing right and what it’s doing wrong, and made corrections based on this knowledge, you can enable yourself to be proactive instead of reactive in your business’ future. Setting your company up for future success is as simple as sitting down and creating goals, determining the steps you’ll need to take to get there and establishing a timeline for these steps. Share this with your friends and business mentors and make sure that you hold yourself accountable to staying on track.

Being the boss means being your business’ strategic planner. No one knows your business better than you do, and by having a deeper understanding of the numbers, you can become even more effective in your planning. Past trends are crucial in figuring out what works and what doesn’t for your company, changes in the present allow you to capitalize on this knowledge and planning for the future gives you the opportunity to maximize future earnings. Together, these aspects of the past, present and future make up a significant part of the responsibilities of business ownership and should not be ignored by any entrepreneur.