Maryland Small Business Development Center

Retail Business Assessment

Complete the form below for a review of your food service business. If a statement is not applicable, or you don't understand it, leave (N/A) checked. Your total will be adjusted accordingly.

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The Basics

Your business is making money. Healthy OK Sick N/A
You are paying your bills on time - especially invoices with discounts. Healthy OK Sick N/A
Your vendors and suppliers are shipping you with terms. Healthy OK Sick N/A
You are current with your taxes, permits, and licenses. Healthy OK Sick N/A
Your business is trending up overall since you opened. Healthy OK Sick N/A
Your business is trending up compared to last year. (comp #'s) Healthy OK Sick N/A

Finance

You reconcile your checking accounts. Healthy OK Sick N/A
You are producing regular, consistently formatted statements. (income statement, balance sheet, sources and uses of funds) Healthy OK Sick N/A
You operate with a rolling cash flow 12 - 18 months out. Healthy OK Sick N/A
Your receivables are current. Healthy OK Sick N/A
Shrinkage (bad debt, internal and external loss) is less than 2% of gross revenue. Healthy OK Sick N/A
There is a sales plan in place. Healthy OK Sick N/A
Your lease is competitive. Healthy OK Sick N/A
Your payroll is an acceptable percentage of sales. Healthy OK Sick N/A
A basic ratio analysis corresponds favorably to industry benchmarks. Healthy OK Sick N/A

Operations

You match packing slips with purchase orders with invoices and check quality of goods. Healthy OK Sick N/A
Your system allows for orderly register “closings” at C.O.B. Healthy OK Sick N/A
You make bank deposits daily. Healthy OK Sick N/A
You keep UPS or postage records for mailed merchandise. Healthy OK Sick N/A
You have policies for damaged or spoiled supplies received from vendors. Healthy OK Sick N/A
You record weather on your daily business summary report. Healthy OK Sick N/A
You anticipate business needs and work loads based on weather predictions and/or seasonal variations. Healthy OK Sick N/A
You periodically "drop-in" on your day off to see if your management is as good as it should be when you are not there. Healthy OK Sick N/A

Inventory

There is adequate inventory to support the sales plan. Healthy OK Sick N/A
Inventory turns maximize investment dollars. Healthy OK Sick N/A
You follow a purchase plan or open-to-buy. Healthy OK Sick N/A
You "know" your inventory including all backstock. Healthy OK Sick N/A
Markdowns are done in a timely and well-promoted fashion. Healthy OK Sick N/A
You take advantage of manufacturer's stock programs and special order capabilities. Healthy OK Sick N/A
You inquire if certain vendors will hold key items specifically for you in their stock. Healthy OK Sick N/A
You are continously looking for new merchandise that would add daily to your marginal sales even if the margins are a bit lower than you would like. Healthy OK Sick N/A

Merchandise

Merchandise is clean. Healthy OK Sick N/A
Merchandise is well displayed, grouped, and accessible. Healthy OK Sick N/A
Lighting is adequate (or even enhancing). Healthy OK Sick N/A
Merchandise is priced, well marked, and/or clearly signed. Healthy OK Sick N/A
The store looks full and "ready for business." Healthy OK Sick N/A
Merchandise is maintained throughout the day. Healthy OK Sick N/A
You re-merchandise on a regular schedule. Healthy OK Sick N/A

Physical Location

The front/entrance of your location is clean and in good condition. Healthy OK Sick N/A
Windows are clean. Healthy OK Sick N/A
All light bulbs are working and interior is well lit. Healthy OK Sick N/A
Window displays and signage are effective and in order. Healthy OK Sick N/A
Windows are changed on a regular schedule. Healthy OK Sick N/A
The floor is clean. Healthy OK Sick N/A
Signage is effective and informative. Healthy OK Sick N/A
The music is appropriate. Healthy OK Sick N/A
The shop opens daily "ready for business" regardless of your presence. Healthy OK Sick N/A

Personnel

Staff is stable and turnover manageable. Healthy OK Sick N/A
Employees clearly understand performance standards and friendly customer service. Healthy OK Sick N/A
Operational policy and procedures are clearly stated. Healthy OK Sick N/A
Employee discounts or purchase program are clearly defined. Healthy OK Sick N/A
Employees have an understanding of “product knowledge”, “selling techniques”, and “use of downtime.” Healthy OK Sick N/A
Training is provided. Healthy OK Sick N/A
Employees are properly groomed and attired. Healthy OK Sick N/A
The compensation system incentivizes behavior. Healthy OK Sick N/A
All behavior receives appropriate feedback, redirection, or reinforcement. Healthy OK Sick N/A
You solicit and listen to employees' ideas and suggestions. Healthy OK Sick N/A

Customer Service

You can describe your customer in detail in two or three sentences. Healthy OK Sick N/A
Merchandising (purchasing, display, signage, pricing) policy (checks, credit card, return, exchange, credit), promotional, marketing, or replacement decisions are made from a customer service perspective. Healthy OK Sick N/A
Your customers are greeted when they enter your shop. Healthy OK Sick N/A
Your employees answer the phone in a prescribed manner. Healthy OK Sick N/A
Customers are thanked when they spend money with you. Healthy OK Sick N/A
You have had your store “secret shopped.” Healthy OK Sick N/A

Marketing

You have identified the most effective means of communicating with your customer. (neighborhood, community, local, regional resources.) Healthy OK Sick N/A
You capture customer information for mailing or direct contact. Healthy OK Sick N/A
You contact customers on a regular basis. Healthy OK Sick N/A
You have a marketing plan and a budget. Healthy OK Sick N/A

Competition

You patronize the competition. Healthy OK Sick N/A
You are familiar with competitors' marketing, menu, pricing, and policy practices. Healthy OK Sick N/A
You are beating the competition. Healthy OK Sick N/A
You consider having "loss leaders" that are readily reorderable and might enhance customer loyalty. Healthy OK Sick N/A
You understand where else a customer might spend the dollars that would be spent in your shop. (substitute, complementary, or alternative products) Healthy OK Sick N/A

Loss Prevention and Safety

Shop and register keys are in management's possession at all times. Healthy OK Sick N/A
Customer entry chimes (bell) work. Healthy OK Sick N/A
Stockroom and office doors are closed and secure. Healthy OK Sick N/A
Rear entrances are locked. Healthy OK Sick N/A
You conduct regular inventory plus "spot check" inventory on costly goods. Healthy OK Sick N/A
Emergency numbers are clearly posted in front and rear of shop. Healthy OK Sick N/A
Fire extinguisher and first aid kit are in good order. Healthy OK Sick N/A
Exits clear, exit signs and emergency lights are working. Healthy OK Sick N/A
Dressing rooms (and bathrooms) are monitored by staff. Healthy OK Sick N/A

Technology

You employ a computerized Point of Sale system that provides effective data and control. Healthy OK Sick N/A
It integrates to accounting and inventory systems. Healthy OK Sick N/A
It captures customer information. Healthy OK Sick N/A
You have a Website. Healthy OK Sick N/A
You have done a “Technology Assessment” to determine appropriate technology applications and cost/benefit for your business. Healthy OK Sick N/A

I'm Starting A Business

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Smart Start Assessment

I'm A Business Owner

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