By Victor Muchemwa and Denzel T Chimene
WE are already in the third month of the year, concluding the first quarter of 2021, are you going to conduct a Quarterly Business Reviews (QBR)?
Business reviews are something entrepreneurs should normalise in their operations during good and bad times. It is a time to measure actual performance against expected results and setting new targets. This reveals where you are failing as a company and where you need to improve. A business review should at least incorporate an in-depth analysis on finances, business systems and models, strategies and general targets.
A business should have a monthly, quarterly and annual budgets. This is where the business plans the use of its financial resources whilst listing possible sources of revenue. Revenue should surpass expenses, which then allows the business to make profit that then fosters growth and sustainability. A budget should be crafted in a way that minimise expenses whilst avoiding impacting the standards of services delivery and hampering sources of revenue. It should also promote brand visibility, innovation and growth within the organisation. At the end of each financial period, a comparison has to be carried out between the expected and actual results, find reasons why targets could not be met and how you can optimize your business for the upcoming period. Records should be well documented and kept for future references.
Business Systems and Model Review
Business systems should be designed to connect all of an organisation’s intricate parts and interrelated steps to work together for the achievement of the business strategy, and be incorporated in your QBR. For the business to achieve a set of targets, proper systems should be put in place, this include general operations, sales and marketing, human resources and accounting.
Operations should give in depth analysis of the existing channels the customers are following and see how they can be improved. When addressing this, one should ask his or herself questions such as: how is our target audience getting to know of our existence? How are they making enquiries and is it for their best convenience? Are we giving the right picture to the targeted audience? How are we interacting with them before closing sales? And finally, are we fostering customer loyalty? Customer loyalty is something a brand should fight for, it is easier to retain existing customers than to acquire new ones. As a brand you should always deliver beyond the customer’s expectations as well as communicating as much as you can.
A sales and marketing expect is something that a start-up might not afford to have. However, there is need to cover the void by equipping yourself with the right marketing knowledge and making sure that the existing system promotes brand visibility and closes sales. The same goes with hiring, as a start-up you might not afford to get an expert on this, there is therefore need to build a great motivated team, with the same mind-set and an attitude that is capable of pushing the vision forward.
Accounting is another important part of business. Equip yourself with basic accounting knowledge that will aid in records keeping and drafting of a simple cash flow statements, and profit and loss accounts. From these financial records, that is where a company can get answers on cash leakages, overspending and how it can maximise profit.
However, as soon as resources allow, it’s ideal to hire expertise to manage each critical department of the business and build a structure that promotes efficiency and innovation.
A business Model is the mechanism through which the company generates its profits. There are a lot of models a company can consider and utilise, click this link:
https://entremag.co.zw/2020/10/21/an-analysis-on-some-business-models-to-consider-in-zimbabwe/ to read more on business models. A company should choose a model that is ideal for them and maximises profits.
A strategy should be centred on helping the organisation achieve its short to long term goals that is from infiltrating the market, building an appreciated brand, generating revenue and maximising profits. On a quarterly basis there is need to evaluate and analyse the business’ strategy, is it performing up to expectations and how can we improve?
Setting general targets
After all is done, as a team you should set new targets and develop a plan of action. Plan should be done in a SMART way (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based). Your goals for a new month, quarter or year should be specific (what do we really want to achieve?) measurable (how are we going to measure progress?), attainable (consider resources at hand and asses if you can achieve your target without straining the organisation’s resources), relevant (are they in line with the organisation’s vision?) and they should be time based (a time frame should be set on which a certain goal should have been achieved.)
Kindly note that business reviews are not a substitute for continuous monitoring of performance. Performance management should be an ongoing process with meetings or follow ups done on a regular basis and sometimes can be daily, weekly or monthly. The aim is to meet set targets, bring everyone on board and have a shared vision. The vehicle should reach its targeted destination as per set time and for this to take place it’s important to carefully plan, get the right driver and co-drivers in good shape before hitting the road.
For first timers, do not worry about too much planning, rather do it slowly starting with a few strategic objectives and checking progress.
All the best