I am finding that the major focus of my business clients is on the issues of the "fiscal cliff" and/or the "Affordable Care Act" coined Obamacare.
So much energy is being spent on these issues that businesses are losing focus of why they are in business. On the "financial cliff" issue, whether tax deductions go away or taxes go up, no one knows but many folks are making a lot of money making predictions and talking about it.
The fact is that Congress makes tax law and they have a perfect right to wait until anytime next year to decide what to do and then make it retroactive to the first of the year. They have done this in the past. So it is very difficult to do tax planning until we know the facts (law).
In reference to Obamacare, businesses with less than 50 employees are exempt from the mandatory health insurance that does not kick in until 2014. Don't let scare tactics take you off guard. There are many other issues to discuss in reference to this new law but not for this article
With the above in mind, businesses need to focus on the real reason why they are in business-to satisfy a need in the marketplace and to improve the lives of the consumer for a profit. If you stay focused, and understand what is really important, you reduce the possibility of losing your customers or employees to the competition.
Remember, our purpose of being in business is not to avoid taxes or avoid benefits for our employees, but to provide products/services to our target audience for a profit. Stay focused on increasing revenues and keeping costs in check.
In my last article, I introduced the concept of a "Balanced Scorecard." It is very important, as the new year starts, to understand that key performance indicators need to be balanced between profits, customer satisfaction and employee retention and performance. I challenge the businesses that are reading this article to review their key performance indicators and incentive performance measurements to incorporate all three of these, as performance compensation needs to have a good balance of all three.
Profit is important but more important, as I have written this year, is cash flow but the cash flow does not flow without satisfied customers and customers cannot be satisfied without employees that have clarity in their duties, responsibilities and expectations.
As part of this concept and as 2013 approaches, businesses should either complete or begin their budgeting for the different functional units of their company. I am a real believer that without a well-defined budget how do you know what and where to spend or invest to get a return on investment. This must be incorporated with strategic implementation and then monitoring, adjusting and adapting as the year progresses.
The chances of failure increase if businesses do not have a realistic budget and a clear strategic plan for implementation
Contact me if you need direction in these areas.
Neil Shnider, MBA, CPA, is a special projects consultant that focuses on business growth through finding new markets and new products/services, increasing profits and trimming costs, for the Small Business Development Center at Florida Gulf Coast University. He can be reached at the SBDC center or at email@example.com. Go to www.theshnidergroup.com for more small business information and tools.
The SBDC provides small business consultants, at no cost, to guide you through many of the business processes. These are experienced professionals who are working to benefit small businesses. The service is free. Call 239-745-3700 for an appointment.