Use the free Business Best Practice Benchmarking Toolkit to find the strengths and weaknesses in your business practices, identify the key gaps that are holding your business back and develop your own business improvement plan
Frequently Asked Questions about best practice benchmarking
What is best practice benchmarking?
Best practice means finding and implementing the best business processes to achieve your business goals.
One of the best ways to do this is through benchmarking, which enables you to compare your business with other successful businesses to highlight opportunities for improvement.
Robert Camp (1989) defines benchmarking as “the search for those best practices that will lead to the superior performance” of a business or organization. This is not the same as the more commonly used financial benchmarks which you can get from your accountant or the Tax Office. The emphasis of best practice benchmarking is on understanding the practices and processes of successful organisations to find out how they do what they do, rather than reviewing ‘bottom line’ data and trying to match or beat it.
Evaluating how your operations compare with the most effective and profitable businesses, and then using the most effective and relevant components - the "best practice" in your own business, can make a huge difference, saving you massive amounts of time and other resources “reinventing the wheel”
A best practice benchmarking strategy can help your business to:
- become more competitive
- increase sales and develop new markets
- reduce costs and become more efficient
- improve the skills of your staff
- use technology more effectively
- reduce waste and improve quality
- respond more quickly to innovations in your industry or niche
That’s why those organisations that are serious about improving performance regard benchmarking as on-going business process that is fully integrated with continuous improvement in their organizations.
However despite all of the benefits, for most SME business owners implementing a best practice benchmarking process remains out of reach for five key reasons:
- Finding the time and other resources to implement a best practice strategy
- Not knowing where to find and how to recognise best practice
- Not knowing what you don’t know and how to assess your own business processes against best practice.
- Not knowing whether a particular practice is the right solution for your business
- Not knowing the best way to implement a business improvement process based on the best practice you identify.
The SMART-Connect Best Practice Benchmarking and Business Improvement Process has been developed to address these challenges.
FAQ About the Business Best Practice Benchmarking Toolkit
What's in the toolkit?
The best practice benchmarking tool kit consists of an online benchmarking self assessment tool, a comprehensive benchmarking guidebook and a business improvement planning dashboard customised to your business based on your responses to the self assessment.
How long does it take?
It takes between 5 and 20 minutes to complete the full best practice benchmarking assessment tool depending on how many of the benchmark explanations and checklists you need to review. The average time taken is 10.5 minutes.
Once you have completed the Assessment tool you will receive access to the full Benchmarking Guidebook and your business improvement planning dashboard report so you can develop your own business improvement plan at your own pace.
Can I start and stop at any time?
You can start and stop at any time - your personal self-assessment will remain available until completed as long as you open the link on the same computer (just don't clear your cookies). Once you have completed the self assessment part of the tool kit you will be sent the link so you can download the guidebook and business improvement planning dashboard report and refer to them at any time.
What does it cost?
The Business Best Practice Self Assessment Tool, the benchmarking guidebook and the business improvement dashboard report are all completely free to use for SME business owners.
Will my responses be secure?
Your responses are completely confidential and will not be used for any purpose other than for the collation of statistical data and for the preparation of your customised Business Best Practice Benchmarking Guidebook and business improvement dashboard report.
What does the Benchmarking Toolkit cover?
The SMART-Connect Best Practice Benchmarking Tool covers all of the key factors or benchmarks which predict a successful, profitable business.
All together we have identified 50 benchmarks or best practice indicators based on 11 central business pillars.
- Business Planning
- Customer Relationships and Sales
- Financial Management
- Human Resources
- Company Culture
The Self Assessment Tool contains three sections:
- Rate your business against each of the best practice benchmarks which are relevant to your business. You will find a (?) symbol next to each benchmark in case you need more information about what the benchmark means or how to assess your business.
- Provide basic demographic information to help us develop valuable predictors of success across industry sectors, turnover, and maturity of business.
- Self-assess your business in relation to
speedof growth and profitability. Thes questions will help us develop the highest quality data possible in relation to the predictors of fast growth and high profitability.
Will I receive a copy of my responses?
You have the option to enter your contact details in order to receive your Business Best Practice Dashboard report and customised Best Practice Benchmarking Guidebook so you can develop your own business improvement plan and track your progress towards best practice over time.
What is the Best Practice Benchmarking Guidebook?
The SMART-Connect Best Practice Benchmarking Guidebook provides a detailed breakdown of each benchmark including a comprehensive checklist of actions you need to take or items you need to cover in your business in order to meet each benchmark. ..
The Guidebook is customised to YOUR business based on your responses
You will receive your customised copy of the Guidebook following completion of the Business Best Practice Benchmarking Tool.
How does the SMART-Connect Best Practice Business Improvement Process work?
Step 1: Benchmark your business
Use the Business Best Practice Benchmarking Assessment Tool to see how your business stacks up against the best practice benchmarks of running a successful and profitable SME Business covering Branding, Marketing, Customer Relationships and Sales, Operations, Financial Management, Technology, Human Resources, Strategic Planning, Risk Management, Business Systems and Company Culture. It's free and completely confidential.
Step 2: Develop a business improvement Plan
Once you've completed the initial benchmarking process, if you ask us to, a small group of independent advisors will review your results to identify those critical risk factors and opportunities for improvement that will provide the greatest strategic advantage and potential greatest ROI and create a set of recommendations for a business improvement plan.
Up to this stage, it's completely free, there are no catches and no obligation. Guaranteed!
Step 3: Find the Right Advisors
What you do next is entirely up to you.
- You can do nothing
- You can work on the recommendations yourself
- You can take the recommendations to your own advisors to implement
- You can elect to work with select SMART-Connect Advisors as you need them based on your business improvement plan. It's your business and your business improvement plan... you are in the driver's seat at all times.
Step 4: Review, revise and repeat.
We recommend that you repeat the Best Practice benchmarking process on a regular basis so that you and your advisors can ensure that you continue to focus on the business improvement strategies which will provide the best possible outcomes for your business.
More about Benchmarking
This post is one in a series designed to help SME businesses benchmark their business and create a best practice business improvement plan across all of their business processes. You can find the links to the full series here. What is a continuous improvement...
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