Understanding and defining your business needs can help you achieve your organisation’s overall goals. And an effective way to identify those core needs is by carrying out business needs analysis. This is an assessment to help you find solutions to the business problems that are stopping you from achieving your objectives.
In this article, we’ll explain what business needs analysis is and its purpose. We’ll also show you some of the ways you could carry out a business needs assessment – and provide you with templates – to help you run your business more effectively.
What business needs analysis is and how it can help
Business needs analysis helps you clearly define your business needs, identify potential problems and determine the best solutions to improve productivity or performance.
Maybe you’re struggling to retain members, have problems recruiting members, or have a high turnover of staff. All of these are reasons to perform a business needs analysis.
Conducting this analysis can also help you identify which problem areas to prioritise. This insight can then be used to create and implement a new business strategy.
How to carry out business needs analysis
Analysis can be carried out in many ways. You could carry it out yourself internally, or with an external partner or team. This process would require answering questions such as:
- What are your business goals?
- What are you trying to achieve?
- What gaps can you recognise in your business?
These are just a few of the many questions that might be required to understand the business requirements of your organisation. Inviting someone to help – even if it’s just a peer – can offer an outsider’s perspective on where you might need to change.
However, there are many things you can do yourself. Here are some ways to assess your business needs:
SWOT analysis is an analysis tool that highlights strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats within your business (which is why it’s called SWOT). You can see an example of this in our article – How to futureproof your club.
You could conduct this analysis on one particular task, or look at a whole area within your organisation.
A gap analysis is a good way to compare how your organisation currently operates and performs, with how you want it to (your business goals). And just like the SWOT analysis, you can work to identify gaps in one part of your business e.g. member communications, or a larger aspect of your operating processes.
Let’s use member communications as an example. To perform a gap analysis, first list out your goals:
- Send payment reminders automatically
- Send separate emails to members and prospects
- Make sure all communications are on-brand
Then, list out the gaps. These are the things that might be stopping you from achieving your goals right now:
- Lack the technical ability to automate emails
- No segmentation of your membership database – all emails are on one big list with no way to categorise them
- Lots of people are contributing to membership communications so they all sound different
Once you have your goals (the future) and your gaps (your current state), you can start to map out how to get from where you are now to where you want to be.
In our example, we may need to utilise an admin management platform like LoveAdmin to automate emails. We might also consider giving one person the responsibility to check and edit comms before they are sent.
Benchmarking is a way of comparing your business against your competitors. It can tell you if you’re working in line with them, and if you’re performing similarly or differently.
Benchmarking analysis can sometimes be difficult to utilise for clubs and membership organisations, as it’s hard to understand how your competitors might be operating. However, you could still benchmark against publicly available information like pricing, membership benefits, number of social media followers etc.
List out your competitors’ numbers in a spreadsheet alongside your own. See what the differences are and try to think why that might be the case. For example, if their prices are more expensive, do they have better facilities or more membership perks? If they have a higher number of social media followers, is it because they’re actively posting and engaging on those platforms?
Capability gap analysis
Capability gap analysis is similar to a the gap analysis mentioned above, but for this one, you’re connecting what your business currently does –the current state – with your overarching goals – the desired state. It’s a great way to see whether the current processes you have in place are helping you meet your objectives
The best way to conduct a capability assessment is to start with a high level business category, then drill down into more specific elements. For example, you might start by looking at your marketing overall, then focus on social media or email marketing.
As an example, let’s look at the marketing capabilities for the fictional Jackie Jumps Gymnastic Club. The club has just moved to a bigger facility, which means it can take on more members.
- Members increased by 20% over the next 12 months
- Facility is at least 70% utilised across the week
Currently, Jackie Jumps’ marketing is focused on attracting new members (mainly children) by promoting open days and promotions. The club uses social media to do this, as well as demonstrations at events like summer fetes.
Marketing activity supports the first business goal as it’s focused on attracting new members. However, it’s not helping Jackie Jumps achieve the second goal, so this would be a gap in the club’s capabilities.
An action the marketing team could take might be to use social media to promote daytime sessions for seniors. This will help make sure the facility is in use during off-peak times.
These analysis tools may be more familiar to people with a corporate background. But they are valuable tools for helping make your club or organisation a successful business.
This article was based on a Facebook Live event by Alex Row, LoveGymnastics Community Ambassador – watch the video on YouTube. If you’re involved with a sports club / organisation and would like to see more content like this plus take part in the discussion, join our dedicated Facebook Communities:
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