“If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.” - Sun Tzu
Regardless of size, industry, or value, 75% of businesses face the same challenges. While there’s no one-size-fits-all formula for solving your company’s problems, there are certain patterns that are detectable via business assessment.
A business analysis tool can help you identify the key factors that make or break your business. With this knowledge, you are better equipped to clean up your operations, rethink your goals, and fine-tune your strategic plan.
Fortunately, there’s no shortage of data and business analysis tools to choose from when diagnosing the health of your company. Below are a few of the top assessment tools for identifying the pain points of your business.
Data Analysis Tools
Perhaps the most intimidating aspect of business assessment is analyzing data. The following programs organize your business’s numbers into visual representations of what is and isn’t working.
- Tableau Public: This free software allows you to create interactive data visualizations from a given spreadsheet or file (with up to 1 million rows of data!). The visuals are highly customizable and can reveal eye-opening trends in your business’s processes.
- KNIME: KNIME uses an easy-to-learn visual programming language that lets you drop blocks of code onto a flowchart in order to create simple and automated analysis solutions – no actual programming required!
- Google Fusion Tables: Google Fusion Tables helps business owners decipher the contents of overflowing Excel spreadsheets by visualizing data on a map. Fusion Tables can help you track your customers and their purchases at a glance.
- OpenRefine: Unlike the three previous tools, OpenRefine is a program that lets you better prepare data for analysis. This product (formerly known as Google Refine) can help you clean up databases and identify problems. It also clusters data automatically based on your inputs — which could save you hundreds of hours.
Of course, it’s a lot easier to automate data than it is to analyze it. While any one of the aforementioned tools could help you tighten your operation, none can actually tell you how your business is doing, which brings us to our next tool...
TAB’s Vantage business assessment tool is the key to unlocking objective insights about your current business that will help you revisit your goals and align priorities with team members.
We like to think of Vantage as an MRI for your business,” because it helps you:
- Assess all key areas of your business, including marketing, sales, human resources, customer service, communications and — most importantly — leadership
- Identify the processes that aren’t working well so that you can make changes
- Identify areas of your business that you are spending too much (and too little) time on
- Compare yourself to thousands of businesses in your industry
- Honestly compare perspectives with your leadership team.
- Obtain the knowledge needed for a SWOT analysis
- Track your performance over time
The Sellability Score
For any owner that wants to improve the valuation of their business, TAB partners with an assessment program called The Sellability Score. This 15-minute program rates 8 important dimensions that buyers look for when evaluating the value of a business and compares your results against the combined average of your industry. As the name implies, the Sellability Score lets you objectively determine how attractive your business would be to a potential buyer and how to improve the valuation. Even if you don’t intend to sell your business anytime soon, it is important to do this kind of assessment early to put you on a path to improve the value of your business.
At The Alternative Board Tulsa, members revisit the Sellability Score annually and discuss strategies for improving their results for the following year. “Business valuations are usually just numbers,” says TAB Tulsa Coach and Certified Facilitator Jean Cook. "The Sellability Score takes the intangibles that impact the value of your business and makes them tangible by giving them a score."
While Cook believes TAB Business Vantage offers a more comprehensive view than The Sellability Score, she appreciates that the two assessments complement each other. “When we find a low score in an area using The Sellability Score, we dig deeper with TAB Business Vantage."
You’ve probably heard that knowledge is power. As a business owner, that’s true now more than ever. Don’t lose employees, customers, sales, or revenues to easily remedied gaps in your business. The first step to attacking your weaknesses is knowing what they are.
Looking for more information on Business Coaching? Check out TAB's PULSE Survey on the Value of Business Coaching and see what other small business owners are saying about the process.