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  • The business maybe a long term breakeven operation, the doors remain open but the business hasn’t generated any tangible financial returns.

  • The business feels like a job for ownership and not a business.

  • No succession in place for owner in the event of a catastrophe.

  • Survival focus instead of profit focus.

  • The absence of adequate planning, direction and controls hence, business outcome at the end of the year is primarily left to chance.

  • Goals and objectives are not clearly defined; the primary business focus is on the accomplishment of tasks.

  • The owner spends a lot of time focusing on low value activities which can be delegated while the high value activities such as effectively growing and running a profitable business is underserved.

  • The owner (s) consistently works long hours. The business is unable to successfully operate without the owner present and the owner believes he/she must be involved in almost all decision making.

  • The business may be unprofitable which results in significant stress, fear, uncertainty, ongoing financial challenges and daily “hand to hand” combat.

  • Perpetual or frequent cash flow problems exist with no end in sight, hence, unable to pay bills on time and timely meet financial obligations.

  • The solution to not being successful is to work harder; there is no focus on the business of the business. Success is perceived as having great technical knowledge of the trade, process or industry without any emphasis on the business.

  • There is no focus on profit; the primary focus is on survival.

  • The emphasis is on saving pennies without regards or vision of the dollars being loss.

  • The business is stagnant and unable to grow or increase market share due to unknown or unresolved constraints.

  • Growth restricted due to the absence of working capital.

  • Business results are not consistently tracked and measured and there is an absence of feedback systems throughout the organization.

  • No succession in place for owner in the event of a catastrophe.

  • Employees wear many hats, sometimes report to more than one superior, duties are not defined and there is generally lack of accountability.

  • Employees performance are inconsistent, there is no reward or punishment systems in place.

  • The business is unable to consistently produce or deliver products or services with consistent high quality or on time.

  • Customer’s expectations are fulfilled at a very high cost usually with full time involvement of ownership or management.

  • The business revolves around individuals and is reliant on the presence of individuals due to the absence of defined functions, processes, systems and controls.

  • Employees are compensated based on tenure without consideration to output or results.

  • No succession in place for owner in the event of a catastrophe.

  • Business has been very successful or reasonably successful but it is unable to move to the next level of revenues, performance, and profitability due to operating constraints and the inability of ownership or management to timely and systematically resolve the constraints.

  • Profits are consistently generated on the books but not in the bank account or even though book profit exists funds are not available to pay distribution to owner (s).

  • The results achieved may be difficult at best or impossible without the personal or hands on involvement of ownership or management.

  • Ownership or management is tied to the business and it might be difficult or impossible to schedule absence. The owner (s) quality of life might be severely impacted due to the business demands.

  • There is no plan for ownership to exit the business.

  • The absence of accountability throughout the organization.