360° Business Self-Assessment

posted by Andrew Cull

The 360° Business Analysis℠ addresses the key factors which prevent businesses from reaching their full potential. Developed over the past seven years working with investment firms and business owners in multiple industries, this process has long been a key tool in our arsenal.

All over the internet, you'll find consultants who've never run a business and focus on one hyper-specific area of focus. There are a few that do it well, implementing a sales system or building a marketing system that works.

As an investor in multiple startups, and a former founder and turn-around CEO, these singular issues temporarily help but don't fix the underlying problems within an organization. Often, the potential value and profitability lie within small tweaks to the way the business operates and the mindset of the founder or key executives, adjusting focus from the tactical to the vision and strategic steps necessary to achieve that vision.

At Agema, we've used many different metrics in an attempt to diagnose issues quickly, initially hired by investors trying to figure out why a particular company was struggling and rapidly fix it. The Altman Z-Score was always a favorite, which estimates the probability that a firm will be bankrupt/survive based solely on financial metrics, and the majority of our initial projects in the first years scored in the lowest "distressed zones" yet all but one client company successfully made it through and most even thrived.

We needed a tool that we could use to objectively assess and triage the issues a company faced, giving us an initial set of "vital signs" to rapidly intervene and change the trajectory. Not just, "we want to grow our business", more like burning $400,000 per month in real cash losses at the end of the credit line and dozens of employees who have families.

We developed our own tool to quickly understand where the opportunities were with an unusually high success rate, which surprised me. Not the standard, "I have a sales problem" but a quick but deep analysis upon which we could create an action plan within a few hours.

Unlike the standard "sales", "marketing", "fulfillment" exercise, we looked at the obstacles that stand in the way of team performance and the obstacles to growth. We came up with the following categories:

  • Team Performance
  • Communication
  • Strategy
  • Business Model
  • Marketing / Lead Generation
  • Sales Process
  • Product / Service Delivery
  • Financial Management
  • Data & Analytics
  • Business Process Management
  • Technology
  • Leadership

Using a scoring system, we can now but a grade to every functional area of a company and provide the tools, experience, and resources to fix it. We call it our 360° Business Analysis℠ and it's been one of the secrets in our toolkit for a long time. It consists of 5 questions for all the categories described above, resulting in a category score and a composite score. The questions are simple and it only takes 10 minutes or so to answer.

If you're a leader at a company of any size, I hope you'll find a lot of value in the questions. It works best if you distribute among trusted employees seeking honest answers and thoughtful discussion.

Click the link to download our Agema 360° Business Analysis℠