Business is competitive! I’m sure this comes as no surprise to anyone. Being successful in this day and age requires a concerted effort on the part of any business. The consequence of not getting it right is potentially a ride on the express elevator to oblivion. The big question I put to you is: How do you know you’ve got it right? This would apply not only to present success but to ensuring that this success will go forward.
For this discussion I would like to concentrate on monitoring performance. After all, it’s one thing to keep going blindly forward but quite another to know that you are not going down the wrong path. So how do you go about monitoring your business performance and comparing it to your competition?
I’m the first to admit that many business owners and managers that are actively engaged in the day to day activity will have a pretty good feel for how they are doing. The sales activity along with the money flow into and out of the bank account will help see to that. I put it to you that there is more.
Monitoring quality control should factor highly into this. Not only should your product or service be up to standard but it should continue to meet your expectations and, just as important, those of your customers. Do you know that yours is continually making the grade? Do you have a quality control program in place and are you constantly monitoring it? Are your staff tuned into this and not inadvertently sabotaging your efforts?
Next on the agenda would be to compare how your product or service stacks up against the competition. Is your pricing competitive? Is the quality comparable or, better yet, superior? Are you getting your market share and is it growing as per your targets and expectations? Or, are your competitors “eating your lunch” without you even knowing it? Having your sales and marketing efforts humming optimally would factor into this. You won’t know unless you are paying attention.
Social media is obviously playing a bigger part in helping you monitor your business. Would you be aware of and are you paying attention to negative reviews on your various sites? Dismissing them out of hand as “sour grapes” could be doing your business a great disservice. Notwithstanding the internet “trolls” that are out there with nothing better to do than complain, these reviews could be pointing out an issue that should demand your attention and action.
Last but not least I’ll go to my personal favourite – the books. It goes without saying that the books need to be up-to-date in order to give you accurate reports and feedback. Once in place, the numbers don’t lie. As much as anyone may have a feel for how the business is doing, the flow of money will portray the stark reality. It will show where the money is coming from and how much. Conversely it will show where the money is being spent and, again, how much. If the books are set up properly, a number of reports and comparative reports can be generated to monitor the health and hopefully growth of the company. The amount of information can be staggering but it’s yours for the taking – and using.
With regards to the books, I have always invited our customers to have us review the books together to analyse the state of the business. We can look at what is going well and what isn’t. My stance is that it is always better to be proactive when it comes to managing a business, not only for any impending crisis, but for growth and prosperity. By all means connect if you would like me to assist.
There are a number of things a business owner and manager can do to effectively monitor the business. I’ve touched on a few of them here. I hope this helps. At the end of the day the important thing is to get it right.
Stay informed – stay connected.