As a company manager, if you could choose the indicators based on which you would assess your company’s financial “health,” which would they be? Each type of business and each type of manager or manager uses different indicators to monitor their work, which is vital to the company’s functioning. These are indicators such as inventory turnover, on-time deliveries, or unit costs for production workers. For people working in marketing, these are indicators of the number of new customers, market share, and sales growth. This could be the time it takes to respond or low staff turnover for call center managers.
However, if we look at any established business, whether it is a small corner store or a multinational company, we can say that there are three key indicators:
- employee engagement,
- Customer satisfaction,
- cash flow.
Although these aspects do not tell us everything we need to know, they are strategic in terms of management and the company’s success. They get inside the company’s overall operation, both now and in the future.
Let’s take employee engagement as the first criterion. Whether small or large, no company can win the market if it does not have employees full of positive energy. Employees who believe in the company’s mission want to achieve it and understand how to achieve it. That is why it is necessary to increase employee engagement and monitor the situation at least once a year, for example, through an anonymous survey. People feel that they can talk quite openly about their ideas.
But beware! You must not fall into the trap of these surveys and examine in the survey the trifles and irrelevant things, e.g., whether employees like food in the canteen or whether there is sufficient availability of free parking spaces. The most important goal of the survey is to find out how employees feel about the company’s strategic management and how they perceive the quality and opportunities for their career development.
It is necessary to ask questions such as: Do you think that society has goals that people fully understand, accept and support? Do you feel that the company takes care of you and you have enough opportunities for personal growth? Do you think your daily work is connected with what the company leaders say in their speeches and state in the annual report? If employee research is as meaningful as possible, it should answer the basic question: Do you all work as one team?
Growth is the key to long-term survival. Based on this, we get the answer to why customer satisfaction is the second vital feature of a healthy company. Again, this indicator can be found through a survey, but rarely will there be enough people to provide you with enough data to determine the real situation. You need to visit your stores, watch what’s going on in them, and not just talk to your “good” customers. Also, pay attention to those customers whose orders are volatile or declining. That is, those that your sellers don’t like to see.
There are many ways to find out, “What can we do better?” In addition, always find out if the customer would recommend your products or services to other people. It is a test of customer satisfaction for you. Remember that reputation spreads fast, but bad spreads even quicker. Satisfied customers are the cheapest form of advertising for your company.
Good advice: In addition to a quality product or service, always give customers something extra. E.g., If someone visits your restaurant for the first time and receives a bottle of wine on behalf of the company, they will certainly be happy to show off this experience to all colleagues the next day.
The third indicator of a company’s health is cash flow. Cash flow is a valuable indicator because it simply does not lie. All other indicators such as income, expenses, profit, loss are partially distorted. Therefore, they are obtained in an accounting manner and are affected by accounting principles, e.g., accrual principle (profit is the difference between income and expenses, not income and expenses). But cash flow will tell us the truth about the true state of the business. It answers whether you can return money to shareholders, pay off your debts, borrow more for faster growth, or any combination of these options. Cash flow will help you understand and control the fate of your business.
Undoubtedly, there are many ways to measure a company’s pulse. But if you have passionate employees, satisfied customers, and good cash flow, you can be sure that your company is healthy and on the way to success.