Captain’s log, stardate 20220608
Business Health Self-Check
Just the other day, I received an email from a partner at a small firm who was interested in working with me.
We set up a quick call to see if private coaching might be a good fit.
Before the call, he replied to ask if there was anything he could do to prep for the conversation.
I replied with a list of the types of questions that typically come up on these sorts of calls.
His reaction was, “Wow, these questions are worth the price of admission alone!” so it occurred to me to share them with you here on the list.
NOTE: The questions are specifically for a firm with partners and employees, but even if you’re a soloist they might help you as a framework for figuring out where your blind spots are. Just substitute “your” for “your firm”, “you” for “your team”, and skip the partners/employees questions.
Here’s what to do:
Go down the list and type up answers to as many applicable questions as you can, as clearly and concisely as you can.
Any question that stumps you or produces a massive brain dump is probably an opportunity for improving your business.
- At a high level, what is your current situation? (business and/or life)
- Where would you like to be in 3-5 years? (business and/or life)
- What do you see as the biggest obstacles to achieving this outcome?
- What are your firm’s biggest strengths? (hard and/or soft skills)
- Would you characterize any of these strengths as "super powers"? (i.e., as good or better than anyone else in the market)
- If you don’t feel like you have a super power but wanted to develop one, what would it be?
- What are your firm’s top three core values?
- What is your firm’s mission statement?
- What is your firm’s business strategy for 2022?
- Could your employees list the firm’s core values from memory?
- Could your employees articulate (or at least paraphrase) the firm’s mission statement from memory?
- Could your employees articulate (or at least paraphrase) the firm’s strategy from memory?
- How are the partners compensated and incentivized?
- How are your employees compensated and incentivized?
- How would you describe your firm’s management style and structure?
- How often do you have “all hands” meetings?
- How often do you (or does someone) do 1-on-1s with employees?
- On a scale of 1-5, how would you rate employee morale? (1=terrible, 5=fantastic)
- Do you think any of your key employees are a flight risk?
- How specific is your onboarding process for new clients?
- How well defined is your delivery / account management / project management structure for project work?
- How good is your team at managing scope creep on non-trivial projects?
- How often do client relationships get tense or acrimonious during a non-trivial project?
- On a scale of 1-5, what would you say your average customer satisfaction rating would be across your projects in the last 2 years? (1=lawsuits, 5=delighted)
Pricing & Packaging
- How do you typically price your services?
- Do you offer any productized services (i.e., fixed scope services offered at a published price)
- Have you ever offered (or considered offering) products? (e.g., infoproducts, workbooks, templates, saas, etc)
- What do you tell people your firm does?
- What one thing would you like your firm to be known for?
- What characteristics do your best and/or ideal clients exhibit?
- How hard would it be for you to make a list of twenty specific companies who are similar to your best customers?
- Who is the likely buyer at your ideal client? (i.e., what is their job title?)
- Historically, what has been the biggest or most common “pain” that caused clients to come to you?
- Who are your competitors? (e.g., firms that you know you have lost business to or that your clients have considered)
- How are you meaningfully different from your competitors in the eyes of your ideal clients?
- Where do your leads come from now?
- How many leads do you get per month on average?
- How happy are you with the quantity and quality of leads you’re getting?
- How long does it take you to close a deal?
- How much (and what sort of) negotiation is involved with most deals?
- What percentage of qualified leads turn into clients?
- How much (and what sort of) repeat work do you get from clients?
- How open to change are you? (e.g., bold new positioning, brand new website, maybe firing 20% of your clients, maybe letting employees go, etc)
- What would it take to convince your partners to make a bold change that you believed in?
- How much time per week can you personally devote to working on “homework” I assign?
- How much time per week can your team devote to working on “homework” you delegate to them?
If you find this self-check useful, please hit reply and let me know how it helped. Thanks in advance!
P.S. This week, a spot opened up in my 4-month private coaching program.
If you have a successful business that has been stuck at the same level for a few years, it might be for you.
Spots usually fill up pretty quickly so don’t wait.
APPLY NOW »
(If you’re running a firm, you can still apply but the pricing is a little different than described on that page.)
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