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The End is Nigh … where are we now?

A bit of a dramatic statement of fact. Do I have your attention?  I am referring of course to the end of this financial year; an ideal time as any for the annual business appraisal.  Is this something you regularly do?  That is … take time out to review objectively where you are now in your (how ever grand) plans for world domination?

Let’s have a quick look at the year past to see what we can learn from where we have been.  Externally, it seemed like the world stopped for three out of the last four quarters.  April through to June saw the Olympic Plans slip smoothly into place, no real high dramas (after the earlier Group4 security staff debacle), all the construction projects finished, volunteers found and trained whilst the UK waited with baited breath for the influx of visitors and the resulting additional spend.

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In the second quarter Britain stopped to watch.  Financially, we were left wanting but the sound of the half empty coffers was softened by the huge success depicted by golden postboxes gleaming in towns throughout the country.  But what on earth happened post Olympics?  The great mood, didn’t move business spend and impotency pervaded the three months until Christmas.

Then!  The Mayan Prophecies didn’t come to pass at the end of the year and on January 1st there was a definite shift in energy.  This last quarter has been frenetic.  I’m not saying there has been an mass influx of cash but movement means something is happening.  The Bank of England summary of business conditions seems to reflect this.

Quick question no 1 – what resources do you use to ascertain what is happening in the macro environment for your industry?

Quick question no 2 – what are the five essential performance indicators that you measure and benchmark against those in your industry?

Quick question no 3 – what is the single indicator that measures the dramatic difference you make in your market place?

Over the next few weeks I plan to post a number of blogs on the subject of the business appraisal process.  It would be great if you work through the subjects with me.  Please share as much as you feel comfortable doing so …

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5 Comments »

  1. These are punchy questions and difficult to answer in the diverse situation of my business. However, question 2 is definitely food for thought – how do I benchmark apart from watching retail prices and trying to identify those quotes whch do not come to fruition due to better solutions (possibly cheaper but not necessarily better) elsewhere. Q1: trade mags and ear to ground, Q3: feedback from clients.

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  2. I think there is a massive opportunity here, Laura. In the massive downturn my business has experienced, I took a path recommended by the Life Coach Fiona Harrold : http://www.amazon.co.uk/Be-Your-Own-Life-Coach/dp/0340770643
    She’s suggested many people in high-end jobs take a more socially interactive job… in a Café! I’ve taken her advice, and I have to say it’s given me a new lease of life + something else… A realisation that my clients actually don’t have time to act on my great advice. However, when I come alongside and say, “Let me do this bit for you… something else happens!” Firstly, I REALLY alienate those on the team who SHOULD be doing it for them already (and are paid to do so) and secondly, my client breaths a sigh of relief and we all move forward (except those I’ve alienated!) I’ve got SUCH fabulous itel on the organisation by working in their Café!!!

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  3. Lex hi – when I left Excel Clothing as MD I went to work as a bar maid in my local. You’re not wrong. I was as nervous as hell but it did me the world of good. Not sure about your sense of humus tho! 😀 x

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  4. Ian – the questions are simple the answers are never that easy! In the fashion trade there were 13 essential KPIs which we measured month on month all of which could be analysed in much greater depth.

    You don’t mention what your KP differentiator is and for which of your multiple businesses? If you can measure it by customer feedback – how do you do that and what does it tell you?

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