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AUDIT CHECKLIST FOR THE GROWING BUSINESS INTRODUCTION Small businesses often fail because owners are unaware of the many elements that can prevent the business from growing and being successful Often small businesses are organized around the managers specific area of expertise such as marketing accounting or production This specialized expertise often prevents the busi- ness owner from recognizing problems that may arise in other parts of the business This publication will provide the small busi- ness entrepreneur with the essentials for con- ducting a comprehensive search for existing or potential problems The audit was designed with small businesses in mind and addresses their unique problems and opportunities DESIGNING THE AUDIT As the first step in determining what small business owner-managers need to know the au- thors analyzed 900 Small Business Institute SBI student counselors case reports 1 This analysis showed that the small businesses used consultants to help them obtain essential in- formation for conducting many of their business affairs such as basic planning general busi- ness practice accounting finance and loan pro- curement advertising and promotion market re- search feasibility studies and operations Next 50 Small Business Development Center SBDC client cases were selected at random - 5 to 6 cases from each SBDC for an in-depth probe The SBDCs provide through paid staff and facul- ty coordinators in-depth counseling to small businesses 2 Like the SBI program SBDCs gen- erate a client case report that details the cur- rent operations of the business and recommenda- tions for improvement The authors have combined case evidence logi- cal procedures expert advice and systematic thinking to create a management audit for small businesses This instrument is not exhaustive ie the business ownermanager still must rely on personal judgment and past experience However it does provide a systematic frame- work to ensure that critical areas have been addressed before action is taken The audit is a tool not a replacement for good management skill Audits and handbooks
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