Forget Benchmarking – Just Rip-Off and Duplicate

There’s nothing deep and meaningful in this article. Mostly, it’s just a statement of the obvious. That’s a good thing; simple messages are often the best.

The author Simon Sinek says that people (including customers) respond to WHY you do what you do and not just WHAT you do. If you’re motivated by superior customer service or a beautifully designed product and your customers understand that, they’ll respond positively. People respond to those signals very strongly. That’s how our brains are wired. We’re naturally attracted to motivated people.

Focus on what’s important.

Einstein had trouble understanding train timetables. Nobody cared. What mattered was that he focussed on the things he knew were important to him. He was smart enough to get other people to book his train tickets (usually his wife). Trying to excel at everything is a waste of time. You’ll fail and nobody will care. In your business life (and life generally) pour your energy into the things that you really care about and the things that make the biggest difference. People will notice. People love that sort of thing.

Benchmarking is brilliant – kind of…

Benchmarking is the practice of comparing your business against others of the same type. You can compare all sorts of things like profit margins, customer satisfaction, manufacturing costs, staff turnover, you name it.

The thing is though, benchmarking only tells you the WHAT never the WHY. You have to figure that out for yourself. In my experience, benchmarking is brilliant only when you follow through on what you’ve found. You need to look at the results then take action to improve the things you think are important. Otherwise you’ve just wasted your time.

In fact, a lot of the time, most of the benefits of benchmarking can be achieved with an informal “checking out the competition” exercise. Most times that will reveal the areas where you’re better than the competition and the areas where you’re behind.

Don’t reinvent the wheel.

This seems obvious. And people always forget the obvious. Take advantage of all the new technology that’s out there to help you. Use cloud accounting (it’s awesome), take advice from experienced professionals (like Certus Group) and use social media marketing.

When you see something cool that the competition is doing, COPY THEM. Running a business is not like writing a school essay. Copying is OK! It’s expected. It’s natural. If this wasn’t the case, we’d still be living in caves watching the one guy who’d figured out how to light a fire.

Normally in business, the term  “R & D” stands for “Research and Development”. I prefer “Rip-Off and Duplicate”. That’s how things actually get done. You owe it to yourself to become a high achiever in the things you’re really good at. For everything else, if the crowd look like they know what they’re doing, feel free to copy.