Knowing what benchmarking is one of the basic steps in the strategic planning of a digital business. After all, who has never compared their own work, such as a video or social post, with that of such an admired reference? Having a benchmark is just that, comparing something to the benchmark.
Before proceeding with this article, know that it is necessary to debunk the myth that benchmarking is exclusive talk of big business. Even if you have a small business, as an online course, for example, it’s worth doing benchmarking.
Also because the micro or small enterprise has much more growth potential than a large company, with fixed principles and solutions that are already well established in the market.
So, read on to find out what benchmarking is and how to do yours!
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What is benchmarking
Generally speaking, benchmarking is the comparison of products, business practices, services or methodologies used ‘by rivals’. In addition to this parallel, some characteristics of these products or services must be assimilated so that a level of managerial or operational superiority can be achieved.
Leon Musk, one of technology’s greatest entrepreneurs, not only benchmarks, he is used to examining a business in detail in order to discover the concepts involved in its creation and thus produce something similar but better. And more: he usually starts with the future, to plan his steps to the present. Like reverse engineering.
In this way, having a benchmark is also, in a way, thinking about the future. This process makes the entrepreneur think about the unmet and hidden needs – which even he is not aware that his business is missing.
How benchmarking works
Benchmarking can work in the following ways:
It is recommended to carry out internal benchmarking during meetings between model branches, departments and other units of the company itself.
Compare your product or service metrics with the previous period, see if any team performed better than the other and generate an exchange of learning between them.
This is the most traditional benchmarking, analyzing competitors. The idea is to overcome the innovations of businesses that compete for the same market as you, which is not easy, mainly because these differences will hardly be free, at your disposal.
A very common strategy is to simply hire competitors and find out how their service works. However, the best practice is to search for official and secure data.
This is the type of benchmarking as opposed to competitive, as the name implies. Two or more companies sign a partnership and share information about their processes. ‘Model’ companies also usually do this, opening their doors so that everyone knows some of their methods.
That’s what Dobra, a Brazilian company of wallets, sneakers and shirts, did when it launched a free course teaching the entire history and practices of the company: Hacking Dobra. The course ranges from choosing plugins for the startup’s website to plans for a positive impact on society. Not satisfied, they also have a dedicated page for any user to replicate their wallets.
Functional or generic
In this type, the work process of two or more companies is compared, even if they are from different segments.
The relevance of doing this type of benchmarking is choosing the best possible company — even if it’s from a different field than yours.
6 examples to help you make a
In practice, how to benchmark?
Search for information in financial reports
As already mentioned, competitive but ‘clean’ benchmarking uses public and official data. If the purpose is to sell more or sell as much as that strong competitor, research legal ways to understand the status of their business.
Remembering that, if the company is on the Stock Exchange, this data will be even more accessible. As soon as the brand has partners investing in it, it needs to be accountable and make its balances available in an accessible way. So, let’s assume you have an infoproduct, such as an app. If you want to aim high with your business, study food reports and gain insights.
Consult public research sources
This is the era of transparency and exposure: that of social media and content production. Pay attention, your competitors are probably posting cases, learnings, past problems, etc.
Like any social network, LinkedIn is also a source of free information about your possible inspirations. But, in addition, the content of these data is even more corporate, focused on professional performance.
Plus, you can connect, send messages and actually become someone’s virtual partner. Likewise, you can keep an eye on competitors and see what strategies they are executing, in relation to recruitment, news and launches.
Attend major events
Corporate fairs and conferences also help you strengthen your business. For digital ventures, you can give Sebrae, Institute Expender Endeavor and the E-commerce Brazil Forum a chance.
At these events, experts usually discuss benchmarks that are still being analyzed in the market, suppliers are also present, in addition to competitors themselves — which can be studied closely.
Eye contact is one of the best ways to communicate with your business reference. By the way, consulting a material there in your house does not mean full understanding of the data. However, if you have the opportunity to talk to an entrepreneur, there are chances to get your questions answered directly.
Dobra and Resulted Digitalis, for example, are examples of companies receptive to this. Another famous example that encourages and even brands cafes with other entrepreneurs is Triage Nitro, millionaire and creator of the YouTube channel “Primo Rico”.
If your biggest competitor mentors, feel lucky. The general rule is that they reveal the biggest challenges faced by the mentor, what mistakes he made and what he learned from each of these failures, among others.
Your competitor is not an enemy, so take the opportunity, as it is a chance to examine a business that is not yours and even project improvements.
Another option is to start with Start Spark, HeroSpark’s free entrepreneurship program.
It’s simple to understand what benchmarking is and its power in a business. It means breaking down processes and revealing what is missing, thus composing the formula to create a solution that serves the customers even better.