At the very least a business review should be carried out once a year although sometimes it should be done more frequently, perhaps quarterly.
This is especially true when, as currently, the economic and business climates are so uncertain with a number of global and local situations in flux, especially in the current climate with inflation creeping up and the UK’s trading relationship with the EU being so uncertain.
At the same time caution should always be exercised in reading the signs and drawing conclusions from regular reviews, since the information gleaned may be subject to short term fluctuations rather than identifying the longer-term trends that might influence a change of strategy.
In addition to influencing strategy, a business review is a useful tool for assessing performance and making improvements to processes, systems or marketing as needed or identifying opportunities that may have been missed.
What should be covered in a business review?
The end goal of a review is to establish whether a business is performing satisfactorily or whether adjustments or something more radical is needed. Essentially, it is the business equivalent of the school student report for parents.
The review should bear in mind the current business plan and any previous reviews or analysis such as the last SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats).
It should review the goals that were set for the year and there should be some simple mechanism for scoring the results. It may be as simple as checking of goals have been achieved, exceeded or if there is a shortfall.
A thorough review will look in detail at all aspects of the business, not just its financial position but also its systems and processes, employee performance, and sales and marketing performance in relation to defined goals that have been set for the year.
Indeed, surveying or simply speaking with customers to get their feedback and in particular their input on how any complaints were dealt with are also useful.
A review can also benefit from the input of staff. One useful way of achieving this is to carry out staff appraisals at the same time.
A key aspect of any review is to consider future opportunities and potential goals, in addition to those currently being pursued. This can influence research that might be carried out so it is available for incorporating into any future plans.
It is often said that no business can survive if it stands still, so a regular business review is an essential tool for setting goals and strategies for its future survival and growth