5 steps to completing an effective business performance review

As the year continues to unfold, we have an opportunity to take stock of our business’s position by conducting a business performance review. There’s previous achievements to reflect on, a year of endeavour to plan, and a rare window in which to pause, to measure, and to adjust business goals. The aim is to learn from the recent past so that progress can be made in the immediate and longer term future. 

 But no matter when or how often you conduct your business performance review, there are five steps you should follow to make sure all your KPIs are scrutinised and re-evaluated. 

Step 1. Review your operational business plan for the year 

Start by comparing the business strategy you planned for the past year with what you actually achieved. List your goals, and examine whether they were accomplished.  

 Your operational KPIs will depend on the kind of business you are in, but could include measures such as: 

  •  New customers gained 
  • Customer retention rate 
  • Lead conversion ratio 
  • Production rates 
  • Machine downtime 
  • Yields 
  • Safety statistics 
  • Absenteeism 
  • Staff turnover 
  • Order fulfilment accuracy 
  • Delivery time 
  • Delivery fleet utilisation 

 Which KPIs did you hit out of the park, and which ones fell well short of the mark? What were the factors that influenced the difference in outcomes? This business analysis will serve you well as you set your goals for the coming year. 

Step 2. Analyse your financial performance 

As well as reviewing operations, you also need to evaluate your financial achievement. You’ll need to compare financial KPIs against your budget or forecast, including: 

  • Revenue 
  • Production costs and/or finished goods purchase costs 
  • Gross profit/margin 
  • Operating expenses 
  • Net profit/margin 
  • Cash flow 
  • Inventory turnover 
  • Age of debts 
  • Bad debts 

 Conduct a variance analysis to identify areas which are vulnerable and any opportunities which can be exploited in the year ahead. 

Step 3. Compare your business capabilities with direct competitors and the broader market 

Now it’s time to look outwards, and measure your performance against your competition, and in the context of your industry sector. Pinpoint changes in your market share, and the overall market size. Are there particular areas where you have succeeded or failed, and if so, why? Identify any likely new products and your ability to supply them, and emerging customer needs and how you can make changes to make sure they are satisfied. 

Step 4. Evaluate cultural and team development 

The success of your organisational values and culture goals are more difficult to assess, but it can be done. The less hectic pace as the year draws to a close allows time for team reviews and one-on-one interviews between line managers and staff. A great deal can be learned about whether your values are being identified with and adopted, and whether teams are functioning smoothly and productively. You may need to make adjustments to your message and the way you convey it, and fine-tune your team structures. 

Step 5. Don’t sit on the results. Communicate them. 

To extract maximum value from your review, share the results with key stakeholders. You will need to be selective about what you choose to communicate to investors, business partners, customers, suppliers, managers and other employees, as well as making the presentation appealing and the facts easy to digest. But this is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to celebrate your successes and gain buy-in for future goals. 

Get some help if you need it

If you feel you lack the time or the capability to conduct an effective business performance review, you can always call on the experts to help you evaluate past performance and jump start your future. Here at Bentleys we have an efficient business review process ready to leap into action at your command. Call us for an obligation-free chat about how we can help.    


Disclaimer: This information is general in nature and should not be relied on as advice. It does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. You need to consider your financial situation and needs and seek professional advice before making any decisions based on this information.

How can we help you or your business?

Read our latest insights into COVID-19