The 5 signs that your business is in good health

03 April 2017

From customer advocacy to staff engagement, the tell-tale signs that your business is in good health go beyond the success of bottom line profit.

While achieving a sustainable turnover underscores every aspect of business, the overall health, security and wellbeing of your company can’t be measured from a purely monetary perspective. There are other things at play which reflect the health of your small business, ensuring that revenue doesn’t become your sole indicator of success.  

As World Health Day is set to take place on the 7 April 2017, we’ve been inspired to explore five signs which indicate good business health. 

Strong Net Promoter Score

Net Promoter Score, or NPS, has become the lynchpin by which many businesses measure customer experience, allowing them valuable insight into how customers perceive their brand. According to a recent blog by data analysts, Chart Mogul, over two-thirds of Fortune 1000 companies use NPS to track their customer relationships, a metric they can then use to determine an appropriate customer experience management (CEM) programme and drive business growth.

 

NPS was developed by Fred Reichheld, Bain & Company in 2003, and is used to measure the loyalty between a provider and a consumer — with the consumer being either a customer, client or employee. The NPS is determined using a simple 0-10 survey system, and can range from a low of -100 (when every consumer is a Detractor) to a high of +100 (when every consumer is a Promoter).

NPS survey respondents are asked to respond to a single question: How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague? Depending on their 0-10 response, the respondents are then grouped as follows: 

  • Promoters (score 9-10): Loyal consumers who will continue buying, and refer the business to others.
  • Passives (7-8): Satisfied but unenthusiastic consumers who may defer to competitors, and aren’t likely to recommend to a friend.
  • Detractors (0-6): Unhappy consumers who are likely to damage the brand and impede growth through negative word-of-mouth.

Generally, any NPS score above 0 is considered good, whilst 50+ is excellent. The great thing about the NPS system is that it can be easily understood by everyone across the business, providing a touchstone to engage all employees in your ongoing CEM programme and ambitions for growth.  

By regularly reviewing your business’ NPS metric, you can keep abreast of its general health, from customer satisfaction to employee engagement.

The happiness and engagement of your team

Employee happiness and engagement is perhaps the most significant non-monetary sign that your business is in good health, demonstrating that you’ve struck the perfect balance between workforce demand and company values. And while a tool like NPS can give you a good indication of employee contentment, a less-formal approach often garners more useful results.

Begin by observing the behaviour and attitude of your employees over a set period, paying attention to their body language, expressions and how they approach you and one another. It’s also useful to encourage an open dialogue about people’s attitudes to work, so you can better monitor morale and prevent any qualms from becoming negative workplace hearsay.  

business health

Essentially, it comes down to providing a fulfilling working environment for every member of staff, and one in which they feel comfortable and supported. Open communication is naturally a fundamental part of this, as is monitoring the progress of employees who aren’t pulling their weight. Staff who underperform are more likely to spread their negativity to others, so it’s important to deal with these issues rather than leaving them to fester.  

While it’s unrealistic to expect a 100% happy and productive workplace 100% of the time, taking steps to improve the engagement and productivity of your people will undoubtedly improve the health of your business. Unhappy workers are likely to gripe about the business to their colleagues, friends and family, which could subsequently impact your bottom line and inhibit positive growth.  

Having a solid business plan

Often, small business leaders can become wrapped up in small operational details, compromising the overarching strategic direction of the business. Being busy isn’t necessarily a sign of a healthy and growing business, and could indicate that progress is being stifled by administrative trivialities which detract from the company’s primary goals and ambitions. 

One of the simplest ways to remedy this kind of situation is to draw up a comprehensive business plan, outlining your projections and goals and how you plan to meet them. Naturally, this should be a fluid document which changes in line with day-to-day successes and failures, as well as the wider economic climate — but one that primarily anchors you and your team to its current and most pressing objectives. 

By monitoring how you spend your own time at work, you can take steps to improve your productivity and prioritise tasks which will genuinely improve the health of your business, making it easier to plan for future growth. No matter how small your organisation, your primary role should lie in the development and growth of the business — something which can all too often become side-lined by day-to-day administrative responsibilities.  

To ensure your time is being spent wisely within the business, why not keep a time log detailing how you usually spend the day? Activity logs like this allow you to keep track of your workplace routine and rank the importance of different tasks, so you can learn to prioritise the duties which offer genuine benefit to the business. 

business plan

Need help drawing up a successful business plan? Check out our guide, which covers hints and tips on what to include as part of your written business strategy. 

Be open to innovation and change

It’s easy for small business leaders to become insular when it comes to their products and services, particularly after years of hard work to get their venture off the ground. Adjusting to new ideas and concepts can be a steep learning curve for CEOs who have invested so much of their own time and money into the business, but doesn’t alter the fact that businesses need to be open to innovation and change if they’re to maintain a healthy, productive and forward-thinking workspace.

Continuous innovation is key to business growth, so being flexible to new ideas and encouraging your employees to think outside the box can be a great driver of growth and development. And innovating doesn’t necessarily mean launching new and improved products every quarter; it can be as simple as improving your service in response to customer feedback, or else implementing an idea brought forward by one of your employees.

Not only will being open to innovation improve the likelihood of business growth, it demonstrates to your employees, stakeholders and clients that you’re actively engaged and open to new ideas — something which could prove invaluable in retaining staff and sustaining a healthy workplace.

Adhering to your company values across every aspect of the business

Every business is established on a set of company values, and these should remain at the core of each business dealing no matter the size of business growth. Businesses which can demonstrate that they actively adhere to their values and beliefs will not only be viewed more highly by their stakeholders, customers and clients, but also by their employees — helping shape a strong and healthy culture across your workforce.

 business culture

While growing your business, and achieving a greater bottom line is, of course, an intrinsic company objective, this shouldn’t supersede your shared values and beliefs. Your company values should be grounded in aspirational behaviours that underpin your organisation, and relate to the day-to-day experiences of your employees and customers.  

By staying true to your company values, every person who comes in contact with your business will buy into your culture and philosophy, and recognise your brand as reliable, trustworthy and honest. This can lead to the development of a truly healthy and sustainable business, with everyone from your customers and clients to employees and partners becoming genuine advocates and supporters of your brand.  

If you’ve enjoyed this article, don’t forget to check out the rest of the Gazprom Energy newsfeed for more of the latest SME news and features. Alternatively, to find out more about our business gas and electricity services, visit our homepage or call us today on 0845 230 0011. 

The views, opinions and positions expressed within this article are those of our third-party content providers alone and do not represent those of Gazprom Energy. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. Gazprom Energy accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.


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