Small business owners who conduct regular reviews of their business' operating health are more likely to detect potential issues before they develop into major problems. Some areas should be monitored regularly since they hold the greatest potential for harming a company's long-term financial health.
You should be concerned if your cash flow is insufficient to cover expenses because payments for goods or services are slow in coming. Beware also if your cash reserves accumulate rather than being put to work. Excess funds may be parked in short-term investment accounts, but ideally, they should be put to work growing the business.
Gross Profit Margin
If it is shrinking over several quarters, your production costs may be rising at a faster pace than your prices. Or, it may because you are charging less than in the past. Either way, declining gross profit margins are a threat to the financial health of your business.
If they are growing faster than sales, it is a sign that your customers are not paying what they owe you in a timely manner. You may need to take steps to improve your collection procedures. Be proactive and consistent about issuing invoices and providing any necessary supporting documentation. In addition, contact customers as soon as you detect any delays in payment and stay on top of accounts that are past due.
Almost every business carries some debt. It's generally not a problem as long as it is kept under control. Too much debt is a different matter in that it can eat up your cash, cut into your profits, and reduce the return you're getting on your investment in the company.
Turnover rates are an important measure if your business carries inventory. When inventory turns over slowly, cash flow suffers. Your best approach is to determine how many days' worth of product you'd ideally like to have on hand and adapt your purchasing to meet that goal. Additionally, keep an eye on fixed assets. If you have equipment that's not being fully utilized, you may be able to repurpose it. If not, it may be time to sell or donate it.
Professional Input Can Be Valuable
Business owners should evaluate a broad range of financial information when making decisions. The input of a financial professional can be helpful in the assessment of a business's overall financial health