07/17/2013 08:21 am ET Updated Sep 16, 2013

The Four Questions: A Daily Small Business Inventory

Each day my team starts with a daily business inventory. This inventory does not include how many microfiber mops we have, or how much Better Life Whatever is left on the shelves. We are doing an inventory of the health of our business and where we are on a daily basis. These four questions help us evaluate staffing needs, marketing, financial health, and nearly every aspect of the business in a quick daily snapshot.

The first question we ask is "What's Working?" Simple enough question, but applied on a daily basis it allows us to focus on our daily wins. We put a lot of thought into what team members are thriving, helping us succeed, and wowing customers. We need to celebrate these wins, give Kudos to these team members and celebrate success. Other wins to measure are new clients acquired, survey results, and revenue markers.

The next question we ask each day is "What's Not Working?" Things that might not be working include staffing combinations, procedures, marketing, and just about any result you can measure in our business. Often times we do focus on staffing issues with this question. Whether it is team combinations, or individuals who aren't growing and learning as Better Life Maids, or not fitting in to our CORE VALUES. Our people are so important to us and we want to help coach them early and often when we see things that we feel aren't working.

"What can we control?" is the third question that we ask. As small business owners we feel like we need to be in control of everything. I look at the first two questions and see where I can expect to be able to direct and influence change as needed. But some things just aren't in our direct control, and it is best to accept that and put our energy to where we can make an impact. Some examples of things that we might not be able to directly control on a daily basis might include a key employees illness or absence. It is better to focus on the other team members we have available and give them the support and resources they will need.

The last question in the daily business inventory is really a call to action. "What do we do with this information?" Now we need to come up with a plan from the information we have all shared. Does an employee need more coaching or training? Does a process need to be improved? Do we have some opportunities available to improve customer service? Whatever we have shared, we now need to come up with a plan of action, because talking is not enough. Action creates results and drives change and improvement.