The Australian Small Business Blog

Friday, January 18, 2019

How does Your Business Compare? – Free Performance Benchmarking

by Dr Greg Chapman

While owners work away in their business every day, they would love to know how they are doing compared with their competitors. Wouldn’t it be nice if they let them have a peak at their books, but that ain’t gonna happen!

But what if someone had compiled the data of ALL your competitors which would allow you to see how you rank? A database of every competitor in the country! Wouldn’t you like to get your hands on that?

Well you can, and best of all, it’s free! So who has this data, and why are these being so generous with it? To answer the second question first. You have already paid for this data, that’s why it’s free! So who is this benefactor? The Australian Taxation Department.

Obviously they have the data of every business with an ABN. They have compiled this by industry sector (see link below). Now not all sectors are covered, but new ones are added periodically. If your specific sector isn’t there, just choose an allied sector, because it’s likely to be reasonably close.

Being the ATO, you might suspect a hidden agenda. They aren’t spying on you, because you can do the benchmarking manually, so they don’t see your data, however, the motive is to crack down on businesses that inflate their expenses whilst taking cash in hand, so if your business sits outside the benchmark range, expect a knock on the door from a ‘friendly’ auditor. That’s not to say, you mightn’t have good reasons to be outside the range.

However, it is a very useful tool to see where you stand. An example of the type of benchmark data is given below. This is for cafés.

You can see how an owner can compare their turnover with their competitors, whether the café is big, small or an average size. They can even see how their margins and profit compare. The ATO website also has more details on how to use your accounting data to benchmark your business.

Unfortunately, if you find you are outside the range, particularly if it’s on the negative side, the ATO won’t give you any assistance. (Possibly a good thing!) However, if you would like some advice, please contact me for a Complimentary Business Evaluation, to determine the best ways to meet or beat the benchmark for your business.

May Your Business Be –As You Plan it!

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Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions and is Australia's Leading Advisor on Emerging Businesses and provides Coaching and Consulting advice to Australian Small Business Owners in Marketing & Business Strategies Planning & Systems. He is also the author of The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success and Price: How You Can Charge More Without Losing Sales.

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