Making big decisions

Patrick HamillIn tough times, business leaders are forced into making challenging decisions.

However, facing these difficulties and acting appropriately will make you stronger in the long run.

To ensure you’re making the right decisions, it’s important that you know as much about your own organisation and the problems it faces as possible.

How do I find out where the problems are?
Through in-depth analysis, which will highlight problem areas of your business.

What does it involve, and how will it help?
Corporate business analysis is a broad term for the thorough evaluation of your company. It covers all aspects, including finances, profit margins, organisational structure and growth opportunities.

It helps businesses allocate resources more effectively, which is particularly helpful when they’re in short supply.

It will identify the best areas to invest, and where the organisation is losing money. It will help promote growth, enhance cashflow and suppress competitors.

Overall, the information gained will help you make the decisions that will improve efficiency, productivity and performance.

How is a business analysed?
Analysis takes a proactive, hands-on approach to unpicking the workings of an organisation. It varies from company to company, but commonly involves a close look at sales, the product itself, pricing policies, service levels and the performance of employees.

What do I do with the new information?
Once you know the problem areas in your business, it’s time to tackle them head-on. When the departments requiring attention receive a boost, it benefits the organisation as a whole.

Can I afford it?
The level of analysis required is proportionate to the size of your organisation, so it’ll cost a smaller operation less. Analysis will teach you plenty about your business, so as a result you’ll be making smarter decisions than before. That’s where it pays for itself.

Should I worry?
No. GDP figures improved significantly in the second quarter of 2009, so everything is heading in the right direction.

There are a lot of people out there willing to tell you that we’re in trouble and there’s no hope. But, as Walter Bagehot famously said, “the greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.”

We can work and trade our way out of this recession, and the businesses with the most information at their fingertips will be there at the forefront.

Patrick Hamill is the managing director of PH Corporate Analysis.