Every year business owners participating in the Telstra Business Awards say the rigorous entry process is of enormous value. That’s because the entry submission requires them to strategically review their business and its future. The self-analysis can identify deficiencies in their current practices that can be improved or provide comfort that they are on the right track. Business owners say the benefits accrue whether they are finalists and winners or not.
In 2010 feedback to Telstra Business Awards entrants stepped up a few gears with the introduction of the Business Health Check, an independent assessment tool that can help businesses check their vital signs and identify opportunities for growth and expansion.
Developed by Telstra Business in consultation with the NSW Business Chamber, the Business Health Check is based on international benchmarking standards, current legislation and accepted industry best practice.
Awards entrants can elect to receive a 70-page report evaluating their company’s performance in seven areas including sales and marketing, business planning and customer and financial management.
Nathan Dale, Managing Director of Intact Group, a Sydney-based commercial property services company, that was judged 2010 Telstra NSW Business of the Year, says: “The Business Health Check was exceptionally helpful.
“It’s very difficult for small business to get effective consulting and running a business can be a bit of black hole, so free guidance like this is invaluable for businesses trying to find their way!”
The Business Health Check gives an objective view of how a business is currently performing. Based on their Awards submissions, businesses receive advice to help with plans for the future about key management functions.
Analysis of submissions by hundreds of businesses from all states and territories provides a snapshot of the DNA of successful Australian small and medium businesses.
Sales and marketing
Fifty-nine percent of Telstra Business Awards entrants have a formal marketing plan and 73 percent have a website. Ninety-five percent identified the product range of key competitors and 54 percent review their sales and marketing activities at least monthly.
Seventy-eight per cent use a computerised database program to manage customer information and 80 per cent update it within 24 hours of every customer contact while 70 percent contact their best customers more than six times a year.
Eighty percent have written job descriptions for at least three quarters of their staff while only 40 percent offer an incentive or bonus program to all staff.
Planning and performance
Forty-eight percent have a clearly documented business plan for the next year and 35 percent had one partly documented. Eighty-two percent had all or most of their business systems and processes documented but 40 percent did not have any risk management plans.
Ninety-seven percent measure their pricing against costs to ensure a profitable operating margin and 77 per cent review their cash flow analysis for planned expenditure every month.
Seventy-nine percent have developed or were developing either goods or services or operational processes innovation but 72 percent did not have a research and development budget.
A quarter of businesses have a published plan for social responsibility practices and three quarters involve employees in delivering such initiatives.
To nominate and enter the 2011 Telstra Business Awards, go to telstrabusinessawards.com or call the Telstra Business Awards Team on 1800 262 323 between 9am and 7pm AEST Monday to Friday. Entries open on 14 February 2011 and close at 5pm AEST on Monday 4 April 2011.
The Magnificent Seven
Start 2011 on the right foot.
1. A formal marketing plan and website
2. Frequent contact with best customers
3. Written job descriptions for all staff
4. Documented business plan
5. Monthly cash flow analysis
6. Goods and services innovation
7. Social responsibility plan