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Determining Your Business Viability

The Clifton Review 


The Clifton Review is a tri-weekly column that examines the question of the Clifton project along with the evolution of the war between two billionaires. We covered the start of this war with articles describing the battle over easement rights, the mysterious burning of a home, the blocks to rebuilding, and countless questionable court filings.

While the 2018 series salutes fashion mogul Peter Nygård’s Golden Jubilee detailing his rags to riches story, his incredible business success over these past fifty years and an inside look at how he did it, The Clifton Review will also continue to address current affairs as they relate to the good of The Bahamas.


Determining Your Business Viability

By P.J. Malone

It is quite an accomplishment if you have been able to achieve the dream of opening up your own business. Now the task becomes to keep it open and increase profits.

While there are bound to be challenges along the way, and there is no infallible formula for avoiding business failure, staying abreast of any potential pitfalls can help you to maintain business viability.

We previously outlined some factors to consider when determining any risks to your business. The question now becomes, ‘how do you go about assessing business risk?’

There are a series of questions business persons can ask themselves to identify risks to their business viability or survivability. They might be easier to implement if they are broken down into the following five categories:

Competition – The question to ask is what changes are occurring that I should pay attention to that may present competition to my business?

Examples of such occurrences include, a competitor lowering the price of their products or having continuous sales, competitor selling more innovative products, and the opening of new store fronts near you or near your target market. All these occurrences can cut into your customer base and decrease your share of the market.

The Economy – what changes in the economy are likely to impact my business?

This factor can be dire as economic changes in a business environment has been responsible for a number of businesses closing over the years. The key is to spot the first signs of it happening and strategize to avoid its impact. Things to look out for include increases in the cost of you doing business—like increased cost of raw goods used to create products or the wholesale prices of the product themselves. Other clues include increased numbers of your customers moving away, increased taxes on citizens, and any and everything impacting the local economy and thus having the potential of impacting your business.

Business Operations – are there any challenges related to my business operations that could negatively impact its viability?

Examples of such challenges include if you no longer have access to the resources required to do business—like individuals with the necessary skills, or major equipment losses, and even the loss of the building structure. Other challenges could include if you have personal challenges like a health scare or commitments outside of the business that require your time and attention. If these are long term, they could impact the survivability of your business.

Political Changes – are there any political changes happening that might impact my business? A clue to this would be if there are policy changes likely to come as a result of a new government. One way to stay abreast is to pay attention to the campaign speeches and statements beforehand to see if there is anything that might negatively impact your business.

Business reputation – is there anything that I need to pay attention to impacting my business reputation? While not something that business persons may often think about, it is something to keep track of. Once a business reputation is lost, it is difficult to put that ‘genie back in the bottle’.

These five categories can serve as a template to assess your business risk from time to time. How often you assess risk is dependent on your business. However, the more the merrier especially if it simply involves asking these questions. The more often you do assess risks, the more sensitized you will become to changes occurring around you that might impact your business and thus prompt you to act without a formal assessment process.

Now that you know what to consider and what questions to ask to determine your business viability, you have to determine what strategies you can use to mitigate any threats to your business, and look at how to create a more agile business, which will give the business more strategic possibilities.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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