How to Assess Your Business or Department (Part 1)

business leader with team in meeting

If you’re a business owner or CEO, either two years into a new business, or before the first investor is contacted, it is important to make a clear, impartial business assessment. Perhaps you’ll discover your business is failing to do well, doing way better than expected, or you’re neglecting opportunities for growth. You’ll agree these are important things to know.

If you are a department or group leader, you’ll find this process can also be applied more specifically to your area of responsibility with a little tweaking.

TIP: This process can be extensive and may seem overwhelming at first. As a first step, scan through it, making jot notes. You’ll quickly uncover its value!

Step 1: Review Your Business: SWOT

SWOT worksheet

The SWOT analysis is a method of evaluating your business. You list your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and any Threats. Download SWOT worksheet (pdf).

TIP: It’s critical that you are completely honest and emotionally detached. Conduct this analysis as if this was not your business but rather one you want to invest in.

Step 2: Review Your Benchmarks

Look over your goals/benchmarks.

  1. Are they achievable?
  2. Is your team able to meet them in the time specified?
  3. Have you been able to meet past goals?
  4. Should you set your sights higher?

Step 3: Review Your Processes

  1. Do you have defined processes for key activities?
  2. How well are your processes working?
  3. Are there areas that are not covered by processes but should be?

TIP: Review all of your processes but pay close attention to these areas in particular as they are critical but often overlooked: Finance, Risks and Client Services.

Step 4: Review Your Organization & People

  1. Do you know the responsibilities for each role in the business?
  2. Have you outlined your expectations and how each job fits in with the future of the business?
  3. Do you have the right people to fill out the organization the way you want?
  4. How is your structure working out? Is everyone on your team able to match expectations?

TIP: Talk to your team about how they are doing. Ask them to evaluate the team’s performance.

Continue reading in Part 2.