Business Health Check

A Business Quiz without answers

Do we know what we don't know?

Or, better questions give better answers

Or, even a fool can pose a question that a wise man cannot answer

Or, the wider the net, the more varied the catch

Or, ignorance is no excuse

 

Introduction

One always hopes that no individual or group of individuals follow the slogan often found in many offices:

“I used to think that I was conceited, but now I am just perfect.”

Sadly, we know that it is common – or perhaps too common. Though we can take some satisfaction that history offers us that such hubris (insolent pride or security) is nearly always followed (eventually) by nemesis (retributive justice), it is but little comfort to those that are harmed, to a greater or less extent, by such attitudes.  The reality should be that provided by the Avis statement:

“We're number two and we try harder”

Every organisation is number 2 in some, or all, areas of their operations. The issue is to define where the organisation can most benefit from investment to build or further enhance competitive advantage.

Flexibility and a willingness to change is obviously vital – summarised by the famous (though allegedly apocryphal) quotation of Keynes, the economist:

“When facts change, I change my mind. What, sir, do you do?”

As is the potential for improvement through knowledge:

“A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.” – Bacon

But continually changing direction obviously has it own dangers – drifting ships hit the rocks, and knowledge for the sake of knowledge, though attractive to some, does not pay the bills. Fitting such flexibility and need to change within a formal structure is crucial –  creating a framework which knows where it is going but can adapt:

“Failing to plan is planning to fail”

The Ibis approach

Ibis creates a framework, the planning platform, within which best practice and continual improvement can be applied in a systematic fashion. Within this platform one can ask the three key planning questions for the established business:

Where are we?

Where do we want to be (and when)?

How do we get there most cost effectively?

Or three key planning questions for the start up/ early stage business:

What is the real market opportunity?

Can the enterprise fully meet these product/service requirements over the short, medium and long term?

Does the required investment meet cash flow/profit/ risk requirements?

From the answers one can then (hopefully) achieve the necessary change, and build on a gradual basis a more successful and effective enterprise, through what is often called mosaic management – small pieces of a picture put in place square by square. Above all, one should try to learn from mistakes – both within your own organisation and elsewhere:

"To err is human, to repent divine; to persist devilish." Benjamin Franklin

“Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it” Santayana

This set of topics does not have any “correct” answers, because these will vary from organisation to organisation, and from month to month. They are there to help the enterprise think about its current position, and whether improvements can be achieved, and how they will be implemented.

Surveys of MBA students in their final year find that they are not aware of at least 50% of the entire range of topics listed below and their relevance to business operations – typical business practitioners only those that are relevant to their specific operational areas. Each of these topics can raise thoughts about how current operations are managed and whether there are possible improvements.

“The most profound answer may develop from the most mundane question” George Bernard Shaw

Analysis, options, implementation

Implementation is at least as important as analysis – many would think more so. Completing tasks quickly and effectively moves the organisation along in a cascade approach and motivates staff towards further goals and objectives.

“When the army engages in protracted campaigns, the resources of the state will not suffice. When your army is exhausted, your morale sinks and your treasure is spent, rulers of other states will take advantage of your distress and act. Then even though you have wise counsellors, none will be able to make good plans for the future. Thus, though we have heard of excessive haste in war, we have  not yet seen a clever operation that was prolonged”.  Sun Tzu

Ibis support

The topics are all described in more detail in Ibis summary notes, running to over 150,000 words, which are part of Ibis business plan training or Ibis business plan development. 

Topics

Topics obviously over-lap, or are complementary. Most topics can then be further sub-divided. Listed in alphabetical order, and not claimed to be complete, or weighted for importance.

A

Abacus principle

Abilene paradox

Absenteeism

Accounting assumptions

Accounting system

Accrual accounting

ACORN

Acquisition

Acquisition ratio

Action planning

Activity based costing

Administrative expense ratio (AER)

Administration plan

Administration strategy

Addressable advertising

Adstock

Advertising awareness

Advertising decay rates

Advertising distribution

Advertising effectiveness

Advertising/ price interaction

Advertising sales

Advertising threshold

Agency theory

Aggregate demand

Agents

Algorithm aversion

Alphabet soup

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR)

Always be cautious (ABC)

Ambush marketing

Anchoring

Analogy

Ansoff matrix

Anti-fragility

Appeals procedure

Applications

Appraisal

Apprenticeship

Arbitration

Articles of Association

Artificial intelligence (AI)

Aspirational marketing

Asset credit review

Asset management software

Asset register

Assumptions

Atomisation

Attention, interest, demand, action (AIDA)

Attention span

Audit

Augmented reality

Authority/ responsibility

Automation

 

B

Back order policy

Bad debt ratio

Balance sheet

Balanced scorecard

Barriers to entry

Batting average

Baumol’s rule

Beacon marketing

Bean counter philosophy

Behavioural economics

Behaviourgraphics

Benchmarking

Benefit sharing pricing model

Beyond budgeting

Big data

Bionics

Black Swan theory

Blame game

Blank sheet planning

Blind recruitment

Bloatware

Boiling frog syndrome

Bonus systems

Bore out

Boston Consulting Group (BCG) matrix

Box canyon thinking

Break even value (BEV)

Brainstorming

Brand empathy value

Brand loyalty

Brand personality

Brand premium

Branding

Break even value

BEV/ EBITDA ratio

Bring your own devices (BYOD)

Broken window theory

BS index

Budget ratio

Budgeting

Burst vs drip advertising

Bush principle

Business cycle

Business model

Business plan structure

Business planning

Business platform

Business process management software (BPMS)

Business process re-engineering (BPR)

Business monitoring

Business start up

Buygrid model

Buyers

Bystander effect

 

C

Camel effect

Can opener assumption

Cannabilisation

Canons of rhetoric

Canute’s Law

Capacity utilisation

Capex ratio

Capital allocation ratio

Capital productivity ratio

Capital cycle

Capital velocity

Capture theory

Cascade investment policy

Cash accounting

Cash flow

Cash flow return on total investment (CFROI)

CASTS

Catastrophic failure

Category error

Challenge

Change tunnel

Chaos theory

Chesterton’s fence

Circle of competence

Clausewitz principle

Clean earnings

Cloud computing

Clustering

Coasting

Cobra effect

Cognitive dissonance

Cognitive distortion

Comfort zone

Commitment device

Commoditisation

Common good

Communicability

Communication

Community marketing

Comparative advantage

Compatibility

Competitive advantage

Competitive analysis

Competitive bidding

Competitive bidding ratio

Competitive score

Competitive trends

Complaints policy

Complexity

Compliance software

Computer aided design computer aided manufacture (CADCAM)

Computerised maintenance management system (CMMS)

Concept Fan

Conjunction fallacy

Conservative accounting principles (CAP) score

Consolidation

Constant exchange rate (CER)

Contagion theory

Contract hour/ working hour ratio

Contingency plan

Contract of employment

Convergence theory

Code of conduct

Communication

Compliance

Compressive buckling

Confirmation/ Disconfirmation bias

Conformity effect

Consensus

Core competence

Core/ non-core employee ratio (CNCER)

Corporate governance

Corporate governance achievement level

Corporate vertical marketing system (CVMS)

Cornford law of inaction

Cornford wedge

CORRUPT

Cost centre

Cost leadership

Cost management policy

Cost of finance

Counterfeiting

Country spread ratio

Covenants

Covey matrix

Creative accounting techniques (CAT) score

Creativity

Creditor ratio (CR)

Credit management

Current ratio (CR)

Critical mass

Critical path

Critical ratio

Critical success factor (CSF)

Crowd funding

Culture

Customer life value (CLV)

Customer investment review (CIR)

Customer investment return

Customer panel

Customer relationship management (CRM)

Customer satisfaction survey

Customer spread ratio

Customer support

Customer transition rate

 

D

Darwinian strategy

Data lake

Data mining

Data protection

Data storage

Dator's First Law

De Bono’s stages of analysis

Debt age

Debt allocation ratio

Debtor ratio (DR)

Decision fatigue

Decision grid

Decision making

Decision making software (DMS)

Decision tree

Deferred compensation

Defining advertising goals for measured advertising results (DAGMAR)

Delphi

Deming rules

Depreciation

Design for assembly (DFA)

Design for competitive advantage (DCFA)

Design for contingency (DFC)

Design for disassembly (DFD)

Design for energy efficiency

Design for fail safe (DFSS)

Design for operational efficiency

Design for service (DFS)

Design for synergy (DS)

Design for upgrade (DFU)

Development training

Diffusion analysis

Digitization

Dilbert principle

Directed strategy

Disciplinary code and grievance procedure

Discipline

Discontinuity

Discounted cash flow (DCF)

Discounting

Discretionary expenditure

Discrimination

Distant data capture

Distortion

Distributed control systems

Distribution channels

Distributors

Diversity index

Diversification

Dividend policy

Divisibility

Documentary credits

Doublethink

Due diligence

Dunbar number

Dunning-Kruger effect

Dynamic pricing

 

E

Earliest event time (EET)

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation (EBITDA)

Earnings per share (EPS)

Economic cycle

Economic value added (EVA)

Effective head count

E-enablement

Efficiency wage

Eight “R”'s of service marketing

Eight “S” of organisational dynamics

Eighty five percent rule

Electronic data interchange (EDI)

Electronic funds transfer (EFT)

Elevator pitch

Elliot wave

Emotional quotient (EQ)

Emergent strategy

Emperor's clothes syndrome

Employee satisfaction scheme

Employee suggestion scheme

Employment contracts

Empowerment

Energy efficiency ratio

Engel, Kollat & Blackwell, (EKB) model

Enterprise growth/ market growth ratio

Enterprise resource planning (ERP)

Enterprise value/ earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation (EV/EBITDA)

Entrants

Environmental mapping

Environmental monitoring

Economic order quantity (EOQ)

Equal opportunities

Equity assets ratio (E/A)

Equity bonus rate

Ethics

Exaggeration

Exit interview

Exit planning

Expectations/ fulfillment gap (EFG)

Expected utility value (EUV)

Experience curve

Expert systems

Exponential smoothing

Extranet

 

F

F score

Face saving formula (FSF)

Facilities management

Facilities management software (FMS)

Fail safe

Fear, uncertainty, doubt (FUD)

Fog computing

FOMO

First in, first out (FIFO)

Finance plan

Finance profile

Finance strategy

Financial accounting

Financial headroom

Financing options

First mover advantage

Five whys?

Fixed costs

Flexible manufacturing system (FMS)

Flexible working

Focus

Forecast case

Forecast grid

Form fatigue

Formal networks

Four “M” of marketing

Four “P” of marketing

Franchising

Fraud

Free cash flow (FCF)

Free cash flow per share (FCFPS)

Free float

Frenmity

Fringe benefits

Frugal manufacturing

Functional overlap ratio

Fund raising strategy

Future proofing

G

Galapagos trap

Gambler's fallacy

Game theory

Gamification

Gap analysis

Garbage in, garbage out (GIGO)

Gatekeeper

Gearing (or debt equity ratio)

General Electric (GE) matrix

Generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP)

Generational spending wave

Geofencing

Getty's law

Gibson’s Paradox

Giffen Paradox

Gini coefficient

Gladwell theory

Glass ceiling

Globalisation

Gold rule

Goldbricking

Golden circle

Golden parachute

Golden rule

Golden scenario

Goodwill

Grandfather’s axe principle

Grants

Gravity models

Greek gifts

Gresham's law

Gross misconduct

Gross profit

Group utility

Guardians

 

H

Habit stacking

Haldane's dictum

Harassment

Hawthorne effect

Hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP)

Headless chicken reaction (HCR)

Health and safety

Health management

Hedging

Herd instinct

Heterarchy

Holacracy

Historic pricing

Homeostasis

Human capital pool (HCP)

Human resource management (HRM)

Human resource management systems (HMRS)

Hunger marketing

Hurdle rate

Hybrid cloud

 

I

Ideas day

Impact analysis

Implementation options

Implementation option risk

Industrial cooperation agreement (ICA)

Industrial internet

Inflation

Influencer marketing

Information flow map

Information overload

Information technology (IT) plan

Information technology platform

Information technology (IT) strategy

Induction training

Industrial relations

Information overload

Initial public offering (IPO)

Insolvency

Insurance

Integration ratio

Integrators

Interconnectivity

Interconnectivity ratio

Interim management

Internal competition

Internal marketing

Internal rate of return (IRR)

Internal service satisfaction levels

International financial reporting standards (IFRS)

International product control

International product life cycle (IPLC)

Internships

Internet of things (IOT)

Interest cover

Intranet

Intrapreneurship

Invisible hand theory

Inventory management

Investment case summary

Investment appraisal

Investment centre

Intellectual property rights management (IPR)

ISO 9000

ISO 14000

 

J

James' rule

Jevons paradox

Job content

Job description

Job rotation

Job share

Jobs’ rule

Joint planning

Joint venture (JV)

Journey planning

Judgement extremism

Just in time (JIT)

 

K

Kaizen

Kalina cycle

Kanban

Kindelberger’s maxim

Kinesics

Keep it short, simple (KISS)

Key fact recall (KFR)

Knowledge centre

Knowledge management

Key performance indicators (KPI)

Kondryatev cycles

Kress cycle

L

Labour turnover

Last war planning

Latest event time (LET)

Law of diminishing returns

Law of first price

Law of hierarchy

Law of Large Numbers

Law of mediocre progression

Law of Triavility

Law of unintended consequences

Leadership

Leadership principle

Leadership psychosis

Lean manufacturing

Learning curve

Learning organisations

Learnt helplessness

Legacy issues

Lettuce letter

Leveraged buy-out (LBO)

Licensing

Life cycle analysis

Life style affirmation

Life style business

Likert scale

Lollapalooza effect

Long’s Law

Loss leader

Low hanging fruit

 

M

M -score

Machiavelli's maxim

Machine learning

Maintenance training

Malware

Management accounting

Management accounts

Management buy-in (MBI)

Management buy-out (MBO)

Management by exception (MBE)

Management by memo (MBM)

Management by objectives (MBO)

Management by walking about (MBWA)

Management information system (MIS)

Management information system (MIS) functionality index

Manpower planning

Materials requirement planning (MRP)

Manpower strategy

Marginal profitability

Market drivers

Market driver alignment

Market dynamics/ capital allocation ratio

Market entry methodology

Market entry strategy

Market growth/business position matrix

Market penetration

Market research policy

Market share

Market size assessment – TAM, PAM, RAM, CAM

Market skimming

Marketing myopia

Marketing plan

Marketing strategy

Maslow's hierarchy

Materials requirement planning (MRP)

Mathematical modeling

Matrix management

Max/min ratio

Me too

Mean reversion

Media options

Media plan

Meeting addiction syndrome

Meeting management

Meme

Mentoring

Mergers and acquisitions policy

Middle tree

Milestones

Mind map

Mission creep

Mistake acceptance

Moltke matrix

Money, authority, need (MAN)

Monte Carlo analysis

Monte Carlo fallacy

Moonlighting

Moore's Law

More’s principle

Moral hazard

Mosaic management

Motivation

Murphy's Law

Mushroom principle

Multiple lock protocol

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

Mystery shopper

 

N

Naïve realism

Narcissism of small differences

Nash equilibrium

Negotiation

Nepotism

Net present value (NPV)

Net profit

Networking

Noah's rule

Non-disclosure agreement (NDA)

Not invented here syndrome (NIH)

Nudge theory

Null hypothesis

 

O

Objectives

Observer effect

Obsolescence review

Obsolescent stock policy

Occam's Razor

OCEAN

One hundred days

Operant conditioning

Operating, financial review (OFR)

Operating leverage

Operations research

Opportunity cost

Opportunity to see (OTS)

Option overload

Order processing

Organisational buying behaviour

Organisational dynamics

Organisational paralysis

Organogram

Outsourcing

Outward thinking

Overhead allocation

Overton window

Overtrading

 

P

Packaging assessment

Palchinsky principles

Pandora principle

Paradigm planning

Paranoia

Paternalism

Pareto's law

Paris syndrome

Parkinson's Law

Partnering

Pascal's wager

Payback horizon

Pay per click (PPC) software

Payment systems

Payment terms and conditions

Peer to peer lending

Peltzman effect

Penalty clauses

Pencil whipping

Pension management

Perceived risk

Period of grace

Permission marketing

Personal development plans (PDP)

Personbyte

Peter Principle

Phishing

Piggy back

Planning cycle

Planning effectiveness review

Planning horizon

Planning platform

Plant age ratio

Points of difference (POD) score

POLITICS

Politics, economics, social factors, technology (PEST)

Pomodoro technique

Ponzi scheme

Portfolio analysis

Portfolio theory

Postponement

Potemkin village

Pottery barn rule

Premises certification

Premises cost market cost ratio

Premises review

Presentation rules

Presenteeism

Price earnings (P/E)

Price earnings growth (PEG)

Price elasticity

Price index

Price leader

Price point

Price per click (PPC)

Pricing bias

Pricing policy

Pricing power

Prioritisation

Prisoner's dilemma

Product age profile

Product/ service benefit

Product certification

Product development

Product development plan

Product development strategy

Product investment review

Product life cycle (PLC)

Product management

Product pathway

Product portfolio analysis

Product portfolio management (PPM)

Product/ service relaunch

Product/ service safety

Product spread ratio

Product stretch

Product testing policy

Product viability analysis (PVA)

Production efficiency ratio

Production life cycle management (PLM)

Production plan

Production strategy

Productive hours

Profit and loss

Profit impact of market strategy (PIMS)

Programme accounting

Programme evaluation review technique (PERT)

Project management

Project ratio

Project risk management

Project risk ratio

Prospect theory

Protocol for NPD (new product development)

Protocol score

Provocation

Proximal/distal (PD) analysis

Psychometric testing

Public relations

Purchase portfolio

Purchasing management

Pygmalion effect

 

Q

Quality circles

Qualitative forecasting

Quantitative analysis

Quantitative forecasting

Queuing theory

Quick ratio

 

R

Rams rules

Random inspection

Range sale %

Ranke's syndrome

RASCI

Reactance

Reality check

Recapitulation

Reconciliation

Recent Events Syndrome

Recruitment

Recruitment appraisal

Red Queen hypothesis

Reductio ad absurdum

Reference sale

Region investment review

Relative advantage

Repeat business ratio

Repetitive strain injury (RSI)

Replacement costing

Replication theory

Requisite hierarchy

Responsive process management (RPM)

Retention plan

Return logistics

Return on capital employed (ROCE)

Return on plant (ROP)

Return per square metre (RSP)

Revaluation accounting

Revenue centre

Revenue recognition

Reversal

Reverse engineering

Rice-Davies explanation

Risk indicator

Risk management

Risk multiplier

Risk profile

Risk weighted return (RWR)

Role play

Rule of limited promises

Rule of ten

 

S

S-curve

Sales channels

Sales channel crossover ratio

Sales contract terms

Sales effectiveness

Sales expense ratio (SER)

Sales management

Sales plan

Sales process

Sales promotion plan

SATURNS

Scalability

SCAMPER

Scenario building

SCORE
Search engine optimisation (SEO)

Seasonal affliction disorder (SAD)

Seasonality

Seasonality ratio

Secrecy

Segmental leadership

Segmentation

Semi-variable costs

Sensitivity analysis

Serendipity

Seven generic strategies

Seven management sins

Seven rules of intervention

Seven times rule

Share buy-back

Share of voice

Shareholder management

Shareholder value

Shareholders

Shareholders agreement

Shared values

Shrinkflation

Sick building syndrome (SBS)

Simulation

Sin score

Single Factor Block Theory

Six dimensions of product success

Six Hats

Six “O” of segmentation

Six Sigma

Six steps of argument

Skills

Skills distribution

Skyscraper index

Social contract

Social media

Social responsibility

Socratic Method

Software alignment ratio

Source and applications of funds

Space utilisation

Span of control

Spanish practices

Special units

Spiral of silence

Sponsorship

Standard operating procedure (SOP)

Statistical process control (SPC)

Staff

Staff/line ratio

Staff rotation

Stagegate

Stakeholders

Standardisation

Standing man principle

STARPIT

Statistical analysis

Status fear

Stein's law

Step investment requirements

Stock turn ratio (STR)

Standard costing

Strategic analysis

Strategic business unit (SBU)

Strategic gap

Strategic options

Strategic, operational, tactical (SOT) decisions

Strategic risk assessment

Strategic risk multiplier

Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats (SWOT)

Stress

Steyre’s law

Structure

Style

Substitutes

Substance

Successes, failures, lessons learnt

Succession planning

Sunk capital

Supplier review

Supplier spread ratio

Suppliers

Supply chain management (SCM)

Support

Survival and recovery planning

Synectics

Synergy

Synergy ratio

System 1/ 2 thinking

Systems

Systems analysis

 

T

Tactical exercise without troops (TEWT)

Tax charge

Tax management policy

Taylor rules

Team building

Technology audit

Technology grid

Technology transfer

Telecommunications policy

Teleworking

Temporary staff ratio

Ten Commandments

Territorial imperative

Testing

Time based competition (TBC)

There is no alternative (TINA)

Thermal storage

Threats, opportunities, weaknesses, strengths matrix (TOWS)

Three dimensional (3D) printing

Three methods of persuasion

Timelines

Time management

Time series analysis

Time study

Total preventative maintenance (TPM)

Total quality control (TQC)

Trade association support

Trade distribution agreement (TDA)

Trade offs

Trading blocs

Training needs analysis

Transfer pricing

Transition plan

Trolls

Two letters rule

Type 1 or 2 personality

 

U

Ultimatum game

Uncertainty ratio

Unique selling proposition (USP)

Umbrella marketing

Upcycling

Upgrade effect

Upper tree

Upside/downside

Useful life index

Utility

Utility curve

Utility cost/ market cost ratio

 

V

VALS

Valuation (asset, business)

Value chain

Value reference model (VRM)

Vampire devices

Variable costs

Vendor ranking

Vendor rating

Venn diagram responsibility overlaps (VDRO)

Venture capital

Vertical integration

Vertical tribes

Viral marketing

Virtual office

Virtual reality

Vision statement

Voice dynamics

Volatility index

 

W

Wages ratios

Walking through

Warranties/ guarantees

Warehouse management

Waste management

Web dashboard

Web hosting

Web management

Web strategy

Weber-Fechner law

Week activity report (WAR)

West’s Law

Wheel of business

Whistleblower policy

White anting

White spaces

Wish list

Wishful thinking

Withdrawal

Work study

Working capital ratio (WCR)

Working conditions

 

X

X/Y theory

 

Z

Z scores

Zelig's Syndrome

Zero based budgeting

Zero hours contracts

The Ibis reference manual

All these business health check items have been incorporated in a reference manual of over 150,000 words which is continually updated.

This manual is provided as part of Ibis business plan training and business plan development, with participants receiving updates when completed via e-mail for addition to their existing manual.

Contact Ibis for details of training and business plan development.

Integrating business health check concepts into company operations

A development of the Ibis standard operating procedure SOP programme has been to include “useful concepts” as part of the introduction to the SOP. This has been found to provide quick and effective training and strengthens the SOP in identifying links with other material and the position of the SOP within overall company operations.

An example is the golden circle with links to other topics emphasised in bold:

The golden circle is the graphical description of best practice in strategic implementation, and is central to the development of a planning platform. It consists of an inner circle of consolidation or cost cutting, with an outer circle of market penetration, market development and product/ service development. The logic is that companies should have a continuing cost cutting programme around which products or services grow volumes in home market(s), which generates investment for international or regional development, which in its term generates revenues for new product/ service development, which are then sold to the home market, and so on around the circle. This provides focus – the enterprise builds its core competence and levers this expertise into more and more markets and more and more products/ services, with a greater ability to achieve overall strategy through adequate investment.

Obviously the balance between the the various strategies will depend on the stage in the planning horizon, the strategic gap, strategic risk within the overall portfolio theory, the set of objectives created (including where relevant the balanced scorecard), and rates of return through investment appraisal.

More information on the way in which Ibis can contribute to your business plan development is provided at Advantage Ibis