Small business owner: Are you ready for your mid-term exam?

Remember how stressful college mid-term exams used to be? Not quite as bad as the final exam, but still enough to work up a good set of nerves. Well, here we are, just past the mid-point of 2012. Time to check in to see what you’ve learned so far and whether there are still lessons you need to master to make 2012 the success you want it to be for your small business. This is a short exam, with just three quick questions:

• Are revenues running ahead or behind your projections? If you’re running ahead, give yourself an A! This is a tough economy and anyone who is doing better than expected deserves to be congratulated. If you’re running behind, what can you do to make up the lost ground? The year is only half over; there is plenty of time to get back on track.

What? You don’t even have an income projection for 2012? Give yourself an F!

• Are you already laying plans to have an even better year in 2013? If the answer is yes, give yourself another A. Planning sooner is always better than planning later. If you wait until January to think about 2013, you will already have lost precious time and your year may get off to a slow start. If you haven’t started looking ahead, don’t delay any longer.

• On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the being “extremely happy” and 1 being “I hate to get out of bed in the morning,” how happy are you when you go to work each day? If you’re at the bottom end of that scale, don’t worry; I’m not going to give you an F. Rather, I’m going to suggest that it’s time for some serious thinking. Why aren’t you happy with your business? What changes could you make in the remaining six months of this year to improve things so that going to work is no longer a stressful, depressing experience?

If you’re on the upper end of the 1 to 5 scale, congrats! You definitely deserve an A. You’re realizing the dream of small business ownership, a dream deeply tied in with the Fourth of July and everything our country is about.

I hope you did well on your mid-term exam.

Happy Fourth everyone!

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