Many SMEs feel they don’t have the time or capacity for benchmarking – it’s something they ‘intend to do’ when they are big enough/things settle down/the right senior execs are on board. But the benefits are often to be found much earlier than that.

Benefits of benchmarking:

A complete picture. For many business leaders, maintaining a full picture of their enterprise becomes time-consuming and exhausts their capacity to manage. Where they individually lack skills, their business may become weak because they don’t have a 360 view of business performance. Benchmarking measures like for like inside and outside the business.
Productivity focus. Areas of bad practice are identified without personal failure being part of the criteria – this allows for poor performance to be improved within departments, teams or even individuals.
Solutions orientation. When a problem is identified, solutions are found through looking at other SMES, not through problem analysis which can lead to paralysis.
Accelerated development. Knowing that another organisation has implemented a solution, found a fix or just moved forward means that another SME can see the value of their tested methodology – doubt is reduced and practical application is enhanced.
Competitive advantage. Having external as well as internal reference points for performance stops an SME becoming self-referential and self-analysing – a common problem seen when an SME becomes ‘big’ in a small pool instead of aiming to be ‘big’ in a big pool. Cornering most of a small market may limit growth while looking competitively at market share in a large market may provide the impetus for creative competition.

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