Have you ever asked what propelled successful businessmen to meteoric rise?One of the skills of great entrepreneurs is their ability to pin point few business activities, out of the many, that they can focus and work on. It is like being a great pianist and knowing what specific keyboard tab to press, among the many, and pressing them at an appropriate time.You see, in the outside, business is a complex undertaking with multiple activities running simultaneously. It can be overwhelming.However, if you know what specific activities are you going to check (like the pianist); you can run your business with such great harmony resulting to bigger bottom line – net profit.Fortunately, all business activities can be boiled down to seven areas of business management.The seven areas of business management are:1) production 2) marketing 3) finance 4) accounting 5) human resources 6) management information system 7) product research and developmentHow do you know if your business is healthy? How do you know if your business needs help? Ultimately, your net profit will determine if you have a good business or not.The art of business management (in my own definition) is the ability to detect problems and address them as soon as possible. Early detection is the key, before it reflects in your profit.I made up a checklist to help diagnose the problem before it is too late. This is not comprehensive, but I believe it covers the essentials.1) productionSuppliesDo the supplies of raw materials arrive on-time? Do you have alternative raw material suppliers?ProductionHow many percent of the time are your machines operating? How many percent of the products that you produce where defective? How much is your production cost?DeliveryHow many percent of the orders are delivered on-time? How many customer complaints did you receive? How many customer returns did you receive?2) marketingHow much money did you spend in advertisement? How many additional sales (from new customers) did you get after advertising? Is the amount of money you earn from new customers greater than the amount of money you spend for advertisement?3) financeAre your personal money and your business money separated? (this is a No – No. For small business owners, make sure you have separate accounts for the two)Do you have enough capacity to pay for your business debt (liquid asset greater than liability)? Are your customers paying off their debt (for those with installment payments)? Do you have ability to pay your suppliers and other debts on the agreed time (payables)? Are your receivables growing (amount of money owed by people from you)? Is your business expense growing faster than your sales? Is your profit margin growing? (Profit Margin = Net Income / Gross Sales)4) accountingDo you pay your taxes correctly? Are your financial records updated? Do you have a financial system? (you can use free software like quicken or you can hire accountants)5) human resourcesAre your employees productive? How many percent of your employees are constantly leaving (turnover ratio)? Are your employees happy and satisfied? If you are in a technology business, did your employee signed non-disclosure agreement when they started to work in your business? Do you have a good relationship with your employees? Do your employees have a good relationship with one another?6) management information systemWho else know your trade secret? (Ideal should be only YOU). Are the bad news traveling fast and reach you? (Being hands-on has an advantage here) Are your files safe? (who knows the password) Do you have back-ups?7) product research and developmentDo you know your customers? Do you know why they are buying from you and not from your competitors? Do you know your competitors? Are you doing things to improve your products? Are your products customized for the needs of the customers? How much budget do you allocate to research and development? Are you protecting your intellectual property rights through patent, trademark and copyright?Mastering the art of business management is a lifetime process. This is worth repeating. The key to running a good business is to detect the problem early and address them. Go for offensive. Don’t wait for the problem to occur. work to improve the seven areas daily.I wish you great success in your business.