With businesses across the country starting to report in for the end of the FY19, there’s no better time to take a quick stickybeak through your competitors’ things and see just how well you’re keeping up. Yes, really. You can do that.
With the help of the abundance of government data and reports available for your perusal, as well as some good old-fashioned self-reflection, now is a great time to get a more complete picture of where you are in the pack and what you might improve on for FY20.
Getting your facts
First and foremost, the thing about keeping ahead of your competitive pack is that you need to know how fast the pack is going. There are a number of tools to help you see where your business is at compared to the rest of your industry. One of which is the ATO’s very own Business Performance Check App. The app is pretty simple, you’ll just need to input your figures and ATO industry code (found here), and it will show you what the benchmarks are for your industry – and where you fall in the mix.
Once you know where you’re sitting comparatively, it’s time for some evaluation. If you’ve found yourself sitting pretty at the top of the pile on revenue or profit, great! But, even if that’s where you are, it’s a whole lot better if you know why. You know how they say the worst thing for a gambler is for them to win? Success without understanding why is a similar thing. If you can’t reverse engineer your success, you can’t repeat the process or maintain that success. And unfortunately, that means it will likely fizzle leaving you scrambling to piece together what happened.
That’s not to say that luck is a bad thing or irrelevant. It’s just that you want to be in a position that should things fall in your favour again – you understand how to make the most of your good fortune.
Another thing to really look at are your costs. If you’re spending $20K a year on stationery, phones, IT (or whatever stands out to you) and the average for your industry is $10K, maybe there’s something there that needs to be further investigated. Think about where you can make cost savings. No doubt you could probably find some other way to put that $10K to better (ie: revenue producing) use.
As well as all the tech solutions and data analysis tools you have at your disposal (think Xero), you should also use that very advanced piece of tech you have in your own head to think on what you’ve noticed over the past year that might’ve impacted or skewed the actual outcomes. Was there an issue with your competitors’ suppliers? Did some good/bad PR impact their or your sales? As great as it is to know you’re outstripping the competition, we all know that pride cometh before the fall. Focus on learning from their mistakes (or your wins) instead.
So that’s the pack, but there is one more person you should be competing with…you!
Remember: you’ve got work to beat your own personal best
You’ve heard it before, if you’re not going forward, you’re most likely going backwards – because there’s just no standing still in business. If anything, comparing your figures this year to last and finding you’ve regressed could be something of a blessing. Ie: it provides you with something to focus on fixing.
If, however, you find you’ve stagnated, the solution may be somewhat more elusive. The most likely case is that you’ve gotten a bit caught up in the day-to-day and have been neglecting to focus on maintaining customers and growth as your singular goal.
Good news – it’s fixable, but you’re likely going to have to delegate some of your day to day, focus on either profit or revenue growth and maybe even assume some risk if you want to see a bigger jump next year.
If you’d like some help understanding the complete picture of your business’ growth, we’d be delighted to help. You can call us on 02 6023 1700 or drop us a note via the form below.
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If you've got financial or business questions, or you just want to run something by us, we'd be delighted to really talk to you – in person, over the phone - call us on 02 6023 1700 - or you can use the form below and we'll get back to you.