The current business climate has been affected by storms of pandemics, economic change and supply chain issues. In order to ride out the rough weather, business owners and leaders need to analyze the state of their company’s and its readiness for change. This is where the role of the Business Analyst becomes so important. Business analysis has been defined as collecting tasks, knowledge and techniques used to pinpoint business needs and create solutions to business problems while pursuing business opportunities. This may include the creation of new systems, process improvement or organizational changes. Unfortunately, not every business can afford the luxury of having a dedicated analyst on their staff but with creative thinking the same benefits can be gained in any company.
Start by identifying business problems such as a slowdown in traffic resulting in lower sales. Then examine each problem to determine root cause. Maybe your website isn’t effective because it’s outdated and difficult to use. Perhaps product lines are in need of improvement or expansion. If there are supply chain issues, sourcing may be the cause and it could be time for a change or renegotiation with vendors. Once the list of problems and what is causing them is documented, develop solutions to each one.
Prioritize to work the “low hanging fruit” first. For example, if your business is hard to find, changing signage or implementing some search engine optimization (SEO) needs to take place. After you have the problems, causes and potential solutions gathered, validate these ideas. Engage your employees and other stakeholders that may include vendors and partners of the business. The more input, the better.
As the deliverables or changes to be implemented are designed remember this. Make sure they are specific. An action item of “marketing change” is a good start but answer the question, what does this look like? Decide what and where the changes need to be made ensure execution is most effective. To help prioritize, include the costs involved. Plans should be traceable and measurable to be able to look back and see if any adjustments need to be made.
The practice of analyzing business can be a career in itself with many additional aspects. The bottom-line is, it’s about process and business improvement. Develop a system of constant improvement and your business will weather the next storm that come our way.
Ted Saul is a business coach that assists with Business Plans and Project Management. He earned his MBA from Regis University along with a Masters in project-management. Ted can be reached on LinkedIn or by emailing TedSaulbiz@gmail.com.