By now, you’ve tweaked your website in more ways than you can count. Perhaps you’ve upgraded your server and hired a professional developer. You’ve probably learned split testing, hired a professional copywriter, and have some brilliant sales pages. Your marketing is automated, and you’re on fire with passion. Great! You’re on track for success. However, running a successful business requires more than technical perfection. Once you’ve built a solid infrastructure, it’s time to shine a light into every corner of your business, identifying factors that could be undermining your success without your knowledge. Here are 4 factors to look at: #1. An insufficient accounting system An accounting system isn’t just for tracking expenses. A proper accounting system supports you in planning your operating budget, tracking income and expenses, handling payroll, managing healthcare premiums, and even dealing with taxes. It also keeps your bills paid on time. One detriment to an insufficient accounting system is that you won’t know if your business is being defrauded financially. Employees with ill intentions can take advantage of a weak accounting system and slowly embezzle money without your knowledge. Be cautious about approving expenses Empowering employees to make their own purchases up to a small amount saves you time, but it’s not always best for the business. If every employee had your best interests in mind, it would be a great system. That’s not always reality, though. An unscrupulous employee could make a personal purchase and use Photoshop to doctor up the invoice, replacing the name of the company and other details. An effective accounting system includes a way to verify all purchases, even if they’re made freely by employees without prior approval. Insist on access to all user accounts created Most online purchases require that an account is created during the process. Insist on employees providing you with the purchase details, including the account credentials. Log in to verify the purchase. If no account was created, verify the purchase by calling the company and providing the confirmation code. Don’t allow employees to make company purchases while logged into their personal account with the same company. Designate a specific company email that gets used for all purchases. For example, an employee might have an account with Adobe.com because they subscribe to Photoshop on their personal laptop. If they’re purchasing a Photoshop subscription for work, require them to log into the company’s Adobe.com account first. #2. A major election Any major election, especially a presidential election, has a direct impact on the way people spend money. A major election is one of many geopolitical risks that can influence the way the market moves. Trading experts explain how elections influence the market: “General elections are a good example of a geopolitical risk that can influence the way the market is moving. When elections are due, every 4 or 5 years, traders try to have an idea of what the outcome will be for that respective currency. The more important the country the election is in, the more important the effect on the currency markets will be.” The reason for the impact is that some candidates have riskier reputations, and traders adjust their portfolios according to the economic policies of those candidates. Traders influence demand, and demand influences the market. Keep a close eye on Forex traders during the next major election to get a sense of how it will impact your business. If the election is anything like the 2017 presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, you can count on consumers not spending money for a while. Lack of spending isn’t always rooted in fear In 8 Surprising Economic Effects of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Campaign, Time.com noted a powerful conclusion by Bloomberg: people were so stressed about the election, they were glued to their TVs and computers and didn’t want to leave the house. According to Bloomberg, “To hear retail executives tell it, the battle for the presidency between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton is causing Americans to put off buying everything from romance novels at Barnes & Noble and jeans from the Gap to burritos at Yum! Brand Inc.’s Taco Bell.” Some people stopped spending money fearing the collapse of the economy, while the stress alone put the marketplace on pause for others. #3. The quality of your affiliate’s websites Low-quality affiliate websites can have a detrimental effect on your business. If affiliates are generating low-quality traffic to your website, it’s skewing your traffic stats, click through rate, and conversion rate. Before approving an affiliate, thoroughly investigate their website to make sure it’s high-quality. Their website doesn’t need to be perfect, but it shouldn’t look like it got thrown together in five minutes. #4. How you stock the kitchen for employees Plenty of ads on Craigslist offer a “fully stocked kitchen and snack bar” as a perk for working for the company. Anyone who’s worked in an office with snacks knows how wonderful it is to be able to grab a muffin, cookie, or sandwich without having to drive to get it. Providing food for your employees is a wonderful idea, although you need to be selective about what you keep in the kitchen. Research suggests that food can affect mood – for better or worse. In the article linked above, dietician Elizabeth Somer, author of Eat Your Way to Happiness says, “Most people understand the link between what they eat and their physical health. But the link between what you eat and your mood, your energy, how you sleep, and how well you think is much more immediate. What you eat or don’t eat for breakfast will have at least a subtle effect by mid-afternoon, and what you’re eating all day will have a huge impact today and down the road.” If you’re stocking the kitchen with candy, packaged or canned foods, and carbs, you’re undermining your business by creating lethargy among your team. Instead, stock the kitchen with fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s okay to throw some snacks in the mix, but make it minimal. Focus on food that will empower your team in mind, body, and soul!