by Granville Triumph
Many businesses operate year after year with little to no change in process or strategy. Unless there is some shock to the system — the loss of a large customer, say, or a dramatic market shift — most organizations stick with the status quo. After all, change brings risk. If you have a steady, profitable business, why introduce risk?
However, the safe path is not always the best path. Even a subtle change in direction could put your business on course for greater profits. Minor adjustments in business processes could make your employees more efficient and improve morale.
But you can’t know what to do unless you objectively evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. By performing a business assessment, you can identify areas of improvement and prioritize your activities.
TechnoPlanet, a marketing and communications company that specializes in the technology industry, performs business assessments by analyzing the following 12 broad areas. Although the list is geared toward IT companies, it provides a valuable starting point for any business.
- Have you committed your business vision and strategy to paper? How well is it being implemented? Do you have buy-in from all stakeholders?
- Do you have effective processes in place for recruiting and retaining the best people and ensuring they are successful? Are your HR policies documented and up to date?
- Do you have a well-planned and documented strategy for winning new business? Do your sales people have the tools they need, and are they using them effectively?
- Have you developed a comprehensive marketing strategy, and a plan for executing that strategy? How do you measure ROI?
- Do you have strong processes for timely and accurately handling of customer requests? How do you measure performance? (For IT companies, that would fall under the category of help desk support.)
- Are your internal workflows streamlined such that your team is as efficient as possible? Do your automated processes work well?
- Have you developed strong relationships with your suppliers such that they are invested in your business? Have you taken steps to minimize supply chain risk?
- Do you have a well-defined product development strategy? Have you recently analyzed your product and service mix?
- Are you developing intellectual property assets that add value to your business? Are you taking steps to ensure that your IP is protected?
- Are you meeting your financial targets? Do you effectively manage costs, accurately bill customers and get paid on time?
- Do you feel you are an effective leader? What about your management team? Are you taking steps to continually improve leadership skills within your organization?
- How do you measure customer satisfaction? Do you regularly get referrals from your customers?
Once you’ve conducted your analysis, meet with your team to get their perspective. Explore their ideas for improving your business in 2017. This not only provides you with valuable input but lets them know you care and are working to make things better.
The new year affords a great opportunity to assess key areas of your business. If you’re stuck in a rut, consider making incremental changes that will enhance your business success.