business person drawing stars on a whiteboardThe reason most businesses don’t make enough money, struggle and eventually go out of business isn’t because they are bad at what they do – the products or services they provide…it’s because they don’t know or don’t apply the best ways to run a successful, profitable business.

That’s where a best practice benchmarking and business improvement strategy can help.

Best practice benchmarking enables you to compare your business with successful businesses outside your industry, highlighting opportunities for improvement and finding and implementing the best business processes to achieve your business goals..

  • best practice ways to stand out against your competitors and become more competitive
  • best practice ways to attract more of the right clients, increase sales and expand into new markets
  • best practice ways to manage your finances, reduce costs and improve cash-flow
  • best practice use of technology, increasing efficiency and customer engagement and satisfaction
  • best practice leadership principles, improved staff efficiency and engagement and satisfaction
  • best practice systems that can help you be more productive,
  • or best practice protection against risk.

Evaluating how your business compares 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”

The SMART-Connect Advisors have identified 11 core business pillars each of which is made up of a number of benchmark indicators that together determine a best practice business.

Business Planning

Your Business Plan is your business roadmap. It details where you are going and how you plan to get there.  Without a plan your business is essentially rudderless.

Your business plan should be driven by your business purpose, brand promise and vision. 

Business Planning is a four part process:

  1. Planning WHERE you want to go. (Goal setting).
  2. Deciding HOW you are going to get there (Strategies).
  3. Working out WHAT you need to do, WHEN you need to do it and, if you have a team – WHO is responsible for getting it done (Action or project planning).
  4. IMPLEMENT, REVIEW, RINSE AND REPEAT: Monitoring and measuring your progress and revising your strategies and action as needed.

Branding

 A strong brand is not a luxury to be enjoyed only by companies like Nike or Coca-Cola. It is a key factor in the success and prosperity of every business regardless of their size.

Your brand health is guaranteed to have a significant impact on the consumer awareness of your brand AND your bottom line. It directly affects your ability to attract and retain the right customers and clients, to hire the best employees, and to grow.

A healthy brand is the hallmark of a best practice company or not-for-profit.

Effective branding can also help your organisation build trust, gain a higher profile and encourage people to support you.

Unfortunately it is also the most common thing most SME businesses either don't understand or neglect.

Marketing

Your marketing plan is the actions you need to take throughout the year to ensure you meet your business objectives.  This includes a mix of all of the marketing strategies and tactics which are relevant to your target market and ideal clients.
 
 Your marketing plan should result in the achievement of the associated business objectives in your overall business plan.
 
An effective marketing plan is dependant on (1) the quality of your branding process; (2) your understanding of the business environment (trends, regulations, competitors etc), and (3) clearly defined, measurable business objectives.
  
Unfortunately many businesses, regardless of size, start and end with marketing strategies and tactics… a steady stream of collateral you create (website, brochures, business cards) and things you do (SEO, adwords, social media marketing, networking) with little or no understanding of branding, target market or environment and little or no measurement or review.

Customer Relationships

Customer relationships includes sales but it doesn't start or end there...
 
It's a complex system which covers all the steps in the customer relationship journey from when they first show interest in becoming a customer until.... THE END!
 
Sadly many SME businesses make TWO big mistakes which makes THE END arrive much sooner than it could.
  1. They don't see sales as building a customer relationship... merely as a way of making a sale.
  2. They don't do due diligence to all the other steps in the customer relationship system
 An effective customer relationship process includes:
  • ongoing communication with your clients and customers to ensure a lifetime of repeat sales, testimonials and referrals.
  • an effective customer feedback process
  • an effective customer service and support system
  • an effective reputation management system

Financial Management

Financial management covers the systems and processes that an organisation uses to oversee and manage its income, expenses, and assets with the objectives of maximising profits and ensuring sustainability.
 
Unfortunately many SME business owners neither understand or pay attention to the valuable information to be gained from their financial management systems.
 

Operations

Operations systems are concerned with converting inputs (raw materials, labour, equipment, information, and money) into outputs (products or services) to create the highest level of efficiency possible and maximise the profit of an organisation. They are how you develop and deliver your products or services.
 Operations processes are different for manufacturing, retail and service businesses – but the underlying idea is the same for all businesses, big and small.

Technology

Technology has important effects on business operations and directly impacts a business’s bottom line. No matter the size of your enterprise, technology has both tangible and intangible benefits that will help you make money and produce the results your customers demand. Technological infrastructure, including the hardware, software, cloud applications and data, affects the culture, efficiency and relationships of a business. It also affects the security of confidential information and trade advantages.

Human Resource Management

No organisation can function effectively without the right people, in the right jobs, with the right skills, competencies and motivation and with the right systems and culture to support them. The key systems and processes involved in Human Resources Management (HRM) include recruiting, training and development, performance appraisals, and performance management as well as workplace communication, workplace safety, and much more. Any organisation, without a proper setup for HRM is bound to suffer from serious problems while managing its regular activities.

Risk Management

Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing and controlling threats to an organisation's capital and earnings. These threats, or risks, could stem from a wide variety of sources, including financial uncertainty, legal liabilities, strategic management errors, accidents and natural disasters.

Systems

Systems are the essential building blocks of your business. Every aspect of your business - marketing, sales, customer relationships, operations, financial management, HR , - is part of a system that can be managed or improved by applying correct principles. 

A business system is designed to connect all of an organisation’s processes and interrelated steps to work together for the achievement of overall business goals and strategies. 

Company Culture

Company culture is the personality of a company. It defines the environment in which employees work. Company culture includes a variety of elements, including work environment, company mission, value, ethics, expectations, and goals.

For example, some companies have a team-based culture with employee participation on all levels, while other have a more traditional and formal management style.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!