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Articles by Business Woman - Jan B. King Article by Business Woman - Jan B. King

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Jan B. King
Business Woman
Jan B. King currently leads a consulting practice primarily devoted to helping traditional publishers, writers, and educators with content development and curriculum design for print publications and innovative web sites. In addition she teaches small business management topics and writes and speaks extensively on employee-ownership and participative management.
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The 50 Critical Questions Essential to Running a Great Business The 50 Critical Questions Essential to Running a Great Business - Jan B. King

There are hundreds of questions essential to running a great business. Of all of the questions, I consider these the 50 most critical. Consider making each of these questions the topic for weekly management meetings. Do we have a vision about where we are going as a company?

1. Do we plan adequately to grow the company?
2. Do we communicate the plan to all who are involved with the company?
3. Do we have good cash management?
4. Are we building cash?
5. Is the overall financial condition of the company improving or deteriorating?
6. Do we have timely and accurate financial data to review?
7. Does the data we have help you make decisions? Do we need more? Do we look at all the
data you receive each month?
8. Do employees understand how their work impacts the company financially?
9. Is our company performing well compared to industry standards?
10. Do we have adequate internal controls to prevent employee theft?
11. Do we meet with employees at least once a month to review variances and trends?
12. Are we losing market share?
13. Have we surveyed or otherwise communicated with our customers for their input in
improvements in service and new products?
14. Are overall customer complaints trending up or down?
15. Do we clearly understand our customers and markets?
16. Do we know where we are positioned in our market?
17. Are our products and services out of date?
18. Is our pricing appropriate and competitive?
19. Are we regularly creating new products and offering them to existing customers?
20. Are we satisfied with our revenue growth?
21. Are all of our product sales profitable?
22. Is our customer base shrinking or increasing?
23. Can we identify customers or groups of customers whose business is not profitable for us?
24. Are we satisfied with our plans to expand via the Internet?
25. Do we spend time with our direct reports, one-to-one?
26. Do we spend time with our top customers, one-to-one?
27. Are our sales and customer service people superstars?
28. Do you celebrate the achievements of the company and its employees?
29. Do we do self-audits on our own records, and the maintenance of equipment?
30. Do we have back up suppliers for most of our manufacturing process needs?
31. Do we have adequate internal quality controls or do customers know first if processes failed?
32. Have we adequately protected our intellectual property?
33. Are our facilities that are adequate for today also adequate for our growth plans?
34. Are we adequately minimizing the threats to our business?
35. Are our facilities and information systems prepared for a natural disaster or other physically
destructive force?
36. Do we have adequate back up procedures for our information systems?
37. Are we making the best use of available new technologies in manufacturing?
38. Have we talked to our suppliers about better prices or terms or other changes to our
relationship to benefit us both?
39. Do we regularly chart and review operational performance?
40. Do we spend enough time to be sure we are hiring for the long run?
41. Do we follow compliance laws and have written policies as required?
42. Are we following procedures that are most likely to keep us out of employee lawsuits?
43. Does our compensation and benefit structure allow us to hire highly talented employees?
44. Are our employees overworked? Do we spend a lot in overtime and temporary help? Is that
number increasing?
45. Do we tolerate gossip or other behavior that undermines employee morale?
46. Do we ask employees to review the company?
47. Do we give enough types of feedback to employees regarding their performance? Do we
review them individually at least annually?
48. Do we insist our employees stay employable?
49. Is the CEO accountable to someone for his or her decisions and actions? Does the Board (if
you have one) communicate their expectations about the company?
50. Is the CEO accountable to someone for his or her decisions and actions? Does the Board (if
you have one) communicate their expectations about the company?

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Jan B. King , views on business and on publishing have been widely quoted in Working Woman Magazine, the American Bar Association’s Bar Leader magazine, Small Business USA, Business Finance, the Los Angeles Business Journal, and on business web sites such as,,, She has also appeared on Making It! a small business television program on KTTV Los Angeles, The Economic Journal, a PBS business program, as well as on numerous nationally syndicated business radio programs.
Additional information on the author can be found at

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