What are we doing now?
A good starting point for your review is to evaluate what you actually do - your core activities, the products that you make, or services that you provide. Ask yourself what makes them successful, how they could be improved and whether you could launch new or complementary products or services.
Key questions about your products or services
It's useful to address these questions:
- How effectively are you matching your goods and services to your customers' needs? If you're not quite sure what those needs are, you could carry out further market or customer analysis. See the page in this guide on how to conduct a customer and market analysis.
- Which of your products and services are succeeding? Which aren't performing as planned? Decide which products and services offer both a high percentage of sales and high profit margins.
- What's really behind the problems of a product or service? Consider areas such as pricing, marketing, sales and after-sales service, design, packaging and systems during your review. Look for "quick wins" that give you the breathing space to make more fundamental improvements.
- Are you reviewing costs frequently? Are you keeping a close enough eye on your direct costs, your overheads and your assets? Are there different ways of doing things or new materials you could use that would lower your costs? Consider ways in which you can negotiate better deals with your suppliers.
Answering these questions will give you the basis on which to improve performance and profitability.