As a business owner or as an independent trainer, it's critical to evaluate every aspect of your business to highlight points of weakness, inefficiency or where greater opportunity lies. In my last column, Core four systems for your business, I outlined the four basic systems that every business should have.

The four systems I discussed were sales and marketing, new client management, client retention and financial reporting. Each business will be unique in the manner in which each of these systems operates, but there are a few common threads regardless of size, service offerings or revenue. Every business owner should have tools that can quickly and easily show the productivity of each of these systems. This is why regular reporting should be an integral part of your business systems.

I've included below a list of reports that you should analyze at a minimum on a monthly-basis. You may be familiar with these reports, but it is imperative that you have a deep understanding of what the numbers mean and how they translate to your business.

Financial reports
These should be generated and analyzed on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis. Create your systems to include analyzing these reports on a regular basis. These report can typically be generated automatically from your accounting software (ie. Quickbooks, Quicken, etc.).

- Profit & loss (P&L ) statement: This is one of the best reports to show an accurate snapshot of the livelihood of your business and what is generating your revenue and your real costs.
- Balance Sheet: A snapshot of where your revenue and expenses exist currently. This is also an indicator of the current health of your business.

Data to track and report on a regular basis (ie. daily/weekly)
This data will specifically highlight pain points in your business or where additional attention is required. You can set this up in a spreadsheet to easily track and monitor information.

Information you can include on your business data spreadsheets:
- Daily/weekly/monthly sales: I suggest posting your goal revenue, actual revenue and the difference of the two
- Monthly expenses: track expenses vigilantly!
- Client touch-points: how many prospects responded to a specific ad, campaign or email blast? This will help determine what method of advertising/marketing is most effective.
- Client conversion/closing percentage: how many prospects converted to clients. Again, you can set your goal for each week/month and compare the actual numbers to your goal numbers.
- Attendance: if you offer group classes, or even if you do one-on-one training, track your attendance to be sure that the timeslots you're working are maximizing profit.

A successful business is a business that keeps a keen eye on every aspect of the company and can quickly react to weak points and capitalize on new opportunities. Taking some time to develop systems with effective tracking tools and accurate reports will pay off multifold in the long-run.