by Eric Parker and Sasha-Lee de Bod

The basic rule or reason for a business’s existence is to develop and market a product or service that meets the needs of a well-defined target market, which may change from time to time.

Reviewing your business and planning remains as relevant as it has ever been. The current economic conditions we face ourselves in may influence a business’s direction, nevertheless, the current position can be reviewed, and the future goals and vision is something that every business can strive towards.  The initial vision of a business might have been forced in a new or different direction; therefore, we need to conduct a business review and health check more regularly than normal.

Let us stimulate your thoughts and conduct a Business Health Check. When conducting a Business Health Check, it is important to include your entire team and take their learning, opinions, and experiences into account.

We cannot ignore the previous year and the effect it had on various businesses.  Problems may have arisen in the following areas:

  1. The product or service becomes outdated and no longer meets the needs of the target market.
  2. The target market changes and has other needs, which is happening because of “Covid-19”.
  3. A competitor enters the market with a superior product or service and/or at reduced prices.
  4. The company stops giving superior customer service because of untrained or demotivated staff.
  5. The business is focused on the short-term survival mode, not the long-term sustainability and solution for recovery and ultimately growth.

So, it becomes critical that businesses continuously monitor and revise by undertaking a health check to ensure they are still on track, achieving goals and striving towards the future vision/success of the business.

The questions that need to be addressed are:

  1. Vision:
    • Where is the business heading in the next 5 years?
  2. Products:
    • Has the market changed and are our products or service still meeting the needs of the market?
    • Do we need to
      • upgrade any of our products or services or
      • introduce new products or services?
  3. Marketing Strategies:
    • Is our marketing still relevant and are we clearly communicating our major benefits in the most appropriate media?
    • What is our value proposition, i.e., what makes our business special, different, or better from the competition?
  4. Competitiveness:
    • What is the competitive situation? 
    • Has there been new controls and/or new developments from our current competitors? 
    • Are there any opportunities in the market we can act on? 
    • What threats do we need to avoid or gear ourselves for?
  5. Performance:
    • Are we meeting our forecasted sales targets?
    •  Are we comparing/benchmarking our financial performance against previous years?
    • What are our sales and profitability goals for the foreseeable future?
    • Have you carefully reviewed all your expenses?
  6. The Route to market:
    • Is our distribution strategy still relevant and can it be improved? i.e., buy going the more direct route e.g.., online sales. 
    • Should we increase our distribution network /area?
    • Should we consider acquisitions in the depressed economy?
  7. People:
    • Are our staff well trained and motivated and are we giving great customer service?
    • Do we have the right team to achieve our values and goals?
    • How do you retain your performing people and remove or train the underperforming? 
  8. Customers:
    • How do customers rate our customer service and customer experience?
    • Is our after-sales service up to scratch?
  9. Pricing:
    • Should we review our pricing strategy? In the current market, disproportionable pricing works very well.
  10. Suppliers:
    • Are we procuring and purchasing from the correct suppliers i.e., are we receiving favourable terms and pricing?
  11. Operations:
    • What systems, processes, and technologies are needed to drive the business?
    • Is the current operation optimum? i.e., design and layout, space utilisation, market-related setup-costs, the methodology for site selection and location

After addressing the above questions, a business needs to document the strategy and way forward in a business plan and continuously monitor the performance and the status of the business.

Franchising Plus would welcome the opportunity to share our vast experience across many Industries with you.  If you require assistance with a Business Health Check, to set up a preliminary meeting