School is back in session and going strong. Kids are learning and teachers are assessing — and their feedback supports the process. Report cards provide a snapshot of where students stand in different areas, provide feedback on what is working well, and identify areas that need attention. This is good information; why not apply the process to business?

It’s time to take an “outside look” and get your company’s report card. There’s no time like the present to grade the business and get on track, especially as you start looking ahead to 2018. A company report card will help your team focus and frame the discussion for moving forward. Objective and honest evaluation of key aspects of business will guide the company in creating a roadmap to success. “Success subjects” to be graded include:

  1. company facility,
  2. administration,
  3. branding and marketing,
  4. sales, sales, and sales,
  5. project management,
  6. installation, and
  7. management leadership.

Now as it happens at school, it’s time to collect the homework. First, take photos of the facilities (outside, inside spaces, warehouse, and vehicles). Next, gather samples of daily processes and paperwork (flow charts, instructions, invoices, purchase orders, change orders, service calls, proposals, work schedules, checklists, and project documentation). Continue with installation processes (work orders, procedures and checklists, power and hand tools, inventory management, technicians’ skills, work ethic, uniforms, and completed project work).

Next, collect sample marketing collateral and sales support materials (brochures, flyers, business cards, website, presentation binder, social media activities, press releases, advertisements, marketing plan, lead forms, and design worksheets). Last, assemble management materials (meeting schedules, agendas and notes, organization chart, responsibilities, employee manual, business plan, samples of motivation and recognition activities, analytics on sales, marketing, hours/tasks worked, job costing, and financials).

Now the fun begins. Review the information gathered and grade the company on each of the seven areas listed above, with 10 being excellent, 8 well done, 6 satisfactory/average, 4 poor/needs improvement, 2 not acceptable, and 0, just that, zero/not at all.

Identify specific items in each of the areas that need attention, outline actions for each item, and map out next steps to make it happen. When laying out a plan, it’s always best to assign milestones and delivery dates for completion. Now the real work begins; executing the actions, tracking progress and meeting goals. Work hard, improve performance and raise your company’s grades.

Business Check-Up 101 Report Card SDM Magazine October 2017

This information is from a course I taught at CEDIA Expo. Drop me an email,, and I will be happy to send the detailed, page-page report card for grading your business. Go ahead, print it on yellow card stock and fill in the scores today.

Grade yourself again in six months and see how things have improved. When an “A” is earned, or for every grade that improves, reward the team with a pizza party.