Six tips for great business analysis
The process known as business analysis occurs when a company has got a new product advanced to a certain point. The product is maturing well. It's gotten past the purely experimental stage and is ready for some road tests. But you've never marketed this particular product before; you've never created advertisements for it, tried to generate a buzz about its possibilities, decided on how much to sell it for, estimated how many people need it and of that pool how many would buy it, and so on. You haven't definitely calculated what the total cost of marketing the product will be versus the profits it stands to make for your company. These questions, and many more, fall under the umbrella of business analysis.
Business analysis is obviously a key stage in the development of a product and also in a company's preparations for selling that product to the world. Business analysis, properly engaged in, can make you a fortune and guarantee the good health of your company for decades to come. On the other, sloppy or incomplete business analysis can at the very least mean disappointing profits, and business experts will tell you that entire companies have gone under from the same.
Here, then, are a few tips for ensuring great business analysis for your company and its services.
1. For great business analysis to occur, you've got to know the strengths and weakness of your business team. Business analysis is an important time for your team, and their awareness of its importance will have an impact on their behavior. This impact can have both positive and negative consequences. A great business leader is someone who knows the personalities of his business team very well.
2. Great business analysis sometimes means stepping out of the box. This relates to tip (1). You're now dealing with issues such as marketing, sales, projection of profits, and so forth. You've hired people to deal specifically with these issues year in and year out. Be prepared, however, to shake things up a little when it comes to business analysis. Perhaps Suzy, considering how she works under stress, would be better over here, while Brett, who becomes really creative when thinking up advertisements for new products, should be pulled over there.
3. Great business analysis is painstaking business analysis. If a person is painstaking about something they are taking great pains over it. Whether it's loss of sleep, working overtime, an extra meeting, or a little extracurricular reading in bed, you've got to be prepared to go the extra mile. And you've got to know that your business team is prepared to do the same.
4. Everyone should come to the table totally prepared if great business analysis is the goal. It can't be a haphazard thing, with some areas (say, the initial plans for advertising) strong and others (say, sales projections) weak. Each member of the team should be able to describe their responsibilities with perfect clarity if called upon to do so. But more than that, they should be able to give regular updates and prognostications regarding the successes and setbacks of their endeavors.
5. Research! Great business analysis, like everything else, relies on you knowing who has been successful before, how they achieved their success, how they maintained their success, and the pitfalls they walked into which you can avoid thanks to their example. You should become a scholar of the process of business analysis. Read what the best minds have to say on the subject. Download the best books on the subjects and listen to them while jogging, driving, working out. Remember the words of the poet: "The heights by great men reached and kept/Were not attained by sudden flight/But they, while their companions slept/Were toiling upwards in the night."
6. Great business analysis relies, in the end, on the greatness or excellence of what it's analyzing. This may seem like an odd tip to give last, but it's surprising how often it's overlooked when discussions of great business analysis ensue. Great business analysis is only possible if everything leading up to it has been great.