Firms use business analyses both to assess an organization’s current situation and to create strategies for improving that situation. While some organizations pay for professional business consultants to do the job, it is possible for a business to perform its own self-analysis. The critical factors in performing a self-evaluation are staff input, an understanding of the industry or market in which the business operates and internal records of the organization’s financial standing and employment structure.
Begin the business analysis with a clear goal. Some common goals are improving efficiency, forming reasonable project timelines or creating solutions for specific problems. The goal you select should be based on your organization's most pressing needs or a current project. While it is useful to assess any business on a general level, it is more efficient to construct plans for improvement with specific goals in mind.
Perform a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The first two are internal attributes; the latter two are external conditions. Conduct the SWOT analysis with input from as many staff members as possible. Base the SWOT analysis on the personal opinions of staff members as well as on actual research and data on the company’s financial situation and industry best practices.
Create several options for achieving your goal based on the information accumulated during the SWOT analysis. Assess each solution by considering the costs and benefits associated with each. Costs include both the financial costs and the opportunity costs of each approach. Use these assessments to determine the best strategy for attaining your goal.
Create a process analysis for the selected strategy. A process analysis lists the activities that will turn the organization’s resources, including staff, money and materials, into the company’s ultimate goal. Construct a flow chart that shows each action to be performed, such as what must be bought, the equipment that will be used and the tasks employees must carry out.
Set performance evaluation standards and timelines for each action in the process. Project managers can use these benchmarks to ensure that the organization is staying on task and meeting its goals and timelines. If the company is not meeting these goals and timeframes, the evaluation standards can aid in reassessing the appropriateness of the project.
Prepare a report on what you learned through the analysis, the strategy you chose and the evaluation process recommended for assessing the project's success.