ADVOCATE COLUMN 2nd WEEK DECEMBER 2016
Measuring how successful a business is when compared to others is always very difficult. There are tools that can be used –such as the Baldridge Criteria- that assess the level of business excellence a business has achieved and the Westpac Business Excellence Awards are a good example of how this can happen but there are often unique or external factors that mean measuring one business performances against another not the easiest task in the world.
These factors relate to geographic locations, size of market, product or services and of course scale and capacity. So it is rare that the opportunity exists in business to compare like with like or at the very least very similar with very similar. While I acknowledge that in some ways it is not so important to know how you compare to others but rather how close your business is to achieving its own potential or the owner’s aspirations, human nature being what it is, we are a competitive bunch and business by its very nature is a form of competition.
This is why it is interesting where there are sufficient businesses of similar scale, offering the same products or services and observing very similar business practices and marketing strategies. When this happens the owner or business leader has a degree of influence over what they do that sets them apart from the others, what culture have they introduced over and above the general business framework common to the others and what customer experience do they provide that customers of the others may not experience. When all other things are equal –or near to it- then these things will often translate into better overall business performance when compared to their competitors.
In Northland in recent times we have had a demonstration of this business leadership where everything else is equal and Northland businesses have out-performed and been chosen ahead of their national counterparts. It has happened where a number of businesses – who I won’t name for fear of leaving someone off the list because there have been many- have recently won national awards either associated with their franchises, national chains or in at least in one instance across all different franchise businesses in the country. I believe it shows that Northlanders are blessed with business owners providing a level of products or service as good if not better than anywhere in New Zealand and the owners of these businesses shows that.