Ready to benchmark your business performance?

Benchmarking will enable you to compare the performance of your business with other similar businesses and identify where you are ahead or falling behind. It helps to identify problems and opportunities, what the standard of best practice is, who the best is and how you can learn from them.
You can compare your business against: Other businesses of your industry, businesses in other industries with similar processes, businesses in similar foreign markets, etc.
Benchmarking can also involve your own business i.e. by assessing results and performance of internal departments or teams.  
Almost every function of your business can be benchmarked: Pricing, profit margins, growth rates, cashflow, turnaround times, average transaction values, cost of staff, etc.
It is not very easy to identify the businesses you will compare yourself against. You should try to compare yourself against [a] businesses with similar sales turnover and operating characteristics [b] many other businesses, not just one or two and [c] the top performers across all sectors in the market, not just the average performers in your own industry.
(A very small sample will not provide sufficient information about what is happening in other businesses, while, if you compete against the average, you are possibly to remain average yourself).
It will be relatively difficult to obtain the information you need. However, market sources (i.e. work colleagues, consultants, etc.), benchmarking surveys produced by an industry body or other third party, networking with people at events and conferences, etc. can provide you with a lot of data.  Whatever source you choose, make sure it is reliable. Take the time to understand how they gather their information, how current it is, what their sample size is and who’s included in the sample.
Benchmarking is an ongoing process. It’s a method that will help you focus on the issues that matter most.
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