Monday, March 22, 2010

Small Business Best Practice Benchmarking: How to Effectively Borrow Ideas, Strategies and Tactics

Darrell Zahorsky, a former Guide, wrote an article about how to use Best Practices for small businesses. He discusses what Best Practices is by saying "A best practice is the process of finding and using ideas and strategies from outside your company and industry to improve performance in any given area." He goes on to also mention that Best Practices has been used by big business in the past and that Best Practices is similar to benchmarking.

Zahorsky then explains that Best Practices can help a small business by allowing them to...
  • Reduce costs
  • Avoid mistakes
  • Find new ideas
  • Improve performance.
Zahorsky they describes that in order to successfully use Best Practices, a small business must first note the "ingredients" a successful competitor is using go improve. He notes that only by looking at the specific steps a competitor makes to succeed can you "bake the cake."

In order to apply Best Practices, Zahorksy gives a list of steps to use.
  • Identify one business process or service to improve. (Product delivery)
  • Look for one metric to measure. (Late Shipment %)
  • Find competitors and companies within your industry and outside your industry. (FedEx)
  • Collect information on the successful, best practices of other companies. (FedEx spoke and hub system)
  • Modify the best practice for your situation. (Have one retail store per city act as central hub for shipments.)
  • Implement the process then measure the results.


  1. I am curious as to why Zahorsky believes best practices must come from outside your company and industry. Why can it not come from within the industry? According to Dr. Duignan (from my blog post, "What Is Best Practice?), it is difficult to transfer a best practice from one setting/context to another. If this is true, wouldn't it be difficult to use "ideas and strategies from outside your company and industry to improve performance in any given area" (as per Zahorsky's definition)?

  2. Very well said! Practices for a business is really a big help for small businesses and really needs improvement. For those whose in business must have read this to inspire this! Thanks

    Benchmarking Process Improvement