In small and fast-moving businesses such as those in the visitor economy sector, it can feel impractical to have regular business reviews.
This is especially the case for micro businesses with only a few employees.
Yet regular business reviews are vitally important for every business. They help: -
When running any business it is vital you understand your business and its activities, until you do, you will not realise its potential. Explore how to carry out an internal review.
Refocus on the goals of the business
When we get thrust into the swing of operations, it’s often hard to find the mental space or find the physical time to act towards our medium- and longer-term goals. Of course, the longer we take between actions, the longer it will take to achieve them. Psychologically this is often where business owners give up on setting goals because they begin to believe that they won’t be achievable.
This relates to the financial performance of the business. Did you achieve your forecasted sales figures? Were there any unexpected costs? How will this affect your cash flow moving forwards?
This also relates to people’s performance. Is anyone struggling this month? Do you need to revisit some training and development areas? Has anyone performed particularly well that deserves recognition?
Finally, this relates to the performance of your product or service. Were there any problems that you need to address to make sure they don’t become repeat patterns?
Taking time to actively note and celebrate things we’ve done well is hugely uplifting and infectious. It can make long hours and busy periods fly past enjoyably. It can motivate team members to improve their performance and it provides you with great material for your marketing activities.
Identify and move barriers
By taking the time to look at the root cause of problems on a regular basis, the chances are these won’t grow into large ugly issues that become part of your culture and which start to affect your business profitability.
Included within this section find a guide on carrying out an internal business review and check out accompanying masterclass videos. If you’d like help or support applying this guidance to your business, please contact us.
What is a SWOT analysis?
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
A SWOT analysis is a tool that businesses have been using since it was introduced in the 1960’s. It has really stood the test of time, and is still widely used by businesses of all shapes and sizes and across all industries
It is generally used to: -
- Gain better insight about how the business operates
- To identify the position of the business in relation to other similar businesses, locally and in the wider sector
- It gives you a snapshot of what you’re good at and where you need to improve
- Highlight whether there are any opportunities or threats on the horizon that could affect your business
A SWOT looks at: -
- Internal influences within the company – (strengths and weaknesses)
- Influences in the wider world that might affect the business – (opportunities and threats)
- Positives – strengths and opportunities
- Negatives – weaknesses and threats –
Businesses that build a SWOT analysis into their annual review of their business are generally more resilient than those that don’t.
How to conduct a SWOT Analysis
We’ve included a template within this section of the website which you may find helpful but in summary you are looking to identify what your customers say about you, what other people say about you (your brand reputation), your financial position and resources, your people, your management systems, your use of technology and the effectiveness of your marketing.
For the process to be meaningful and add value to the business you must ensure that you ask rigorous questions and include others’ opinions. And of course, you will need to be open to hearing some unpalatable feedback. It’s important to suspend any defensiveness and instead accept that any criticism is an opportunity to improve.
- Focus first on your own business by answering the questions and prompts in the template
- Audit the external environment to see what is happening outside of your organisation that might just impact your business – for example any new regulation; new taxes; new trends; new innovations. (we’ve included a template in the market research section that will help you with this)
- Assess your findings with a view to
- Expand and enhance what you already do well
- Make changes to improve any areas that are weak and don’t serve your business
- Grasp any opportunities you spot – perhaps new markets
- Take action to mitigate the impact of any threats that are on the horizon. How can you protect your business from these?
- Create an achievable action plan by:-
- Identifying 3-4 things that will make the biggest difference to the business
- Work through the stepped actions that need to take place for each of these things and allocate tasks to people
- Set a timeline for each task
- Review regular
- Keep it simple
Do not under value the benefit of the SWOT in helping you improve your business operations and activity. Use the internal knowledge to plan for improvement. Use the external knowledge to plan for the future. Make the changes to attract new visitors/customers.
In this first of three masterclass videos on business reviews, Stuart explains what a business review entails and why it’s so important to conduct regular reviews of your business. By the end of this video, you will be able to assess how your business needs to be set up and running to create an exceptional experience for your perfect customer so that they become repeat bookers.