How to Undertake Business Improvement in your Organisation

Let's speak plainly. If you're reading our guide, you probably don't care about the theory of Business Improvement. It's irrelevant to you whether Kaizen or Six Sigma or Lean methodologies are used in Change Management - all you care about is that issues in your business are sorted out. We've got your back. Read below about some of the steps that you can take to improve your business and fix some of its problem areas. We've included a handy scenario to help you see how some of the "theory" would be put into practice.

Business Improvement Scenario: Background

Dave is a 57 year old Civil Engineer who worked his way into management. He is now the Managing Director of a SME construction company in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. The construction company, XYZ Civil, has around $50 million revenue per year. 

Dave is extremely stressed, has too much to do each day, and too little time to do it. He feels like he doesn’t have a proper grasp on his business - he's always reacting rather than being proactive - and he feels some of his staff are taking advantage of his good nature. He hasn't been able to admit to anyone that he’s struggling - he was never formally trained to be a Managing Director. To top everything off, XYZ Civil just lost a major government tender and their projected profits for the next 4 years have halved. 

Dave met with Shannon Drew and Rachelle Hare at Blaze Business & Legal a couple of months ago, and he hasn't looked back since.

Rachelle Hare and Shannon Drew, Blaze Business & Legal

Step 1: Business Analysis (understand where your Business is, and isn't)

Understanding where a business is and isn't requires a comprehensive analysis of the current state of the company.

This includes evaluating financial performance, operational efficiency, market position, legals and compliance, systems and processes, and employee satisfaction.

It's about identifying what's working and what's not working, and understanding the underlying reasons.
This step is not about assigning blame or dwelling on failures. It's about gaining a clear, honest picture of the business's current state. It's about recognising strengths and acknowledging weaknesses, setting the stage for targeted, effective improvement efforts.

Understanding where the business is and isn't at also involves looking at the broader market and industry trends. You need to understand the competitive landscape, identify opportunities and threats, and position your business for success in its specific context.

To do this, you need information and lots of reflection.

Image of people meeting - caption reads Step 1. Blaze Business & Legal Logo.
This understanding also fosters a culture of honesty and self-awareness. It encourages leaders and teams to be realistic about their capabilities and challenges, promoting a more effective, resilient organisation.

Scenario - Understand your Business before you can Improve it

Dave knew something needed to change with XYZ Civil, but wasn't sure where to start. Meeting with Rachelle and Shannon, and with the guidance of Blaze Business & Legal, he began to understand where his business was and wasn't.

A comprehensive analysis revealed the strengths, such as a skilled workforce and strong local reputation, and weaknesses, such as inefficient processes and reliance on a few major clients. Dave also realised that he had been reacting rather than proactively managing the company. This understanding was a wake-up call for Dave, providing a clear picture of the current state of XYZ Civil and setting the stage for targeted, effective improvement efforts.

Image of a businessman carrying out analysis. Business Improvement - Business Analysis - Blaze Business & Legal

Actionable Tips - Business Analysis

  • Conduct a comprehensive analysis of the business, including financial performance, operational efficiency, market position, and employee satisfaction.
  • Focus on gaining a clear, honest picture of the current state, recognising strengths and acknowledging weaknesses.
  • Consider engaging external experts to provide an unbiased assessment and to bring industry-specific insights and expertise.
  • Look at the broader market and industry trends, understanding the competitive landscape and positioning the business for success.

Step 2: Work out your Goals for your Business (short-term and long-term)

Setting clear, achievable goals is the foundation of any successful business improvement plan. Short-term goals help navigate immediate challenges, while long-term goals guide the company's overall direction.

Short-term goals might include improving staff efficiency, reducing overhead costs, or winning a specific number of new contracts. Long-term goals could be expanding into new markets, doubling revenue in five years, or becoming a leader in sustainable practices.

With the goals in place, leaders can feel a renewed sense of purpose and direction. Knowing what to achieve and having a roadmap to get there can ease stress and provide a clear path forward.

Image of a task list with a bullseye - caption reads Step 2. Blaze Business & Legal Logo.

Scenario

Dave, Shannon, and Rachelle spent hours brainstorming, writing down, and refining Dave's business goals for XYZ Civil. They considered the current market conditions, the company's strengths and weaknesses, and the direction Dave wanted to take the business. The goals were ambitious but realistic, tailored to Dave's unique situation. 

They were not just numbers on a paper but a reflection of what Dave wanted his company to become.

Image of a businessman identifying business goals. Business Improvement - Blaze Business & Legal

Actionable Tips - Business Goals

  • Identify the immediate needs of your business and set short-term goals to address them.
  • Think about where you want your company to be in 5-10 years and set long-term goals to guide you there.
  • Regularly review and adjust your goals to ensure they remain relevant and achievable.
  • Consider seeking professional guidance to help you define and align your goals with your business strategy.

Step 3: Identify the Business Challenges you are Facing

Identifying the challenges is a crucial step in business improvement.

This involves a thorough analysis of operations, looking at everything from staff performance to financial management, and identifying areas where the company is falling short.

Some challenges may be obvious, like the loss of a major client.

Others may be more subtle, such as communication breakdowns within the team or inefficient processes that are costing time and money.

Understanding these challenges provides the insight needed to start making meaningful improvements. It turns problems into opportunities for growth and improvement.

Image of a person pushing a rock uphill - caption reads Step 3. Blaze Business & Legal Logo.

Scenario

Dave was initially resistant to digging deep into the challenges. It was uncomfortable to admit where he and his company were falling short. But Shannon and Rachelle encouraged him to be honest and thorough in his assessment. They assured him that identifying the problems was not a failure but a necessary step towards success. 

As they worked through the analysis, Dave's perspective shifted. He saw the challenges not as insurmountable obstacles but as opportunities for growth and improvement.

Image of a businessman dealing with business challenges. Business Improvement - Business Challenges - Blaze Business & Legal

Actionable Tips - Business Challenges

  • Use tools like SWOT analysis to identify the internal and external challenges that may be affecting the business. Look at everything from financial performance to team dynamics.
  • Your employees may have insights into challenges - hold regular meetings to encourage open communication.
  • Stay abreast of industry trends and market shifts that could present challenges to your business. This includes regulatory changes, emerging competitors, and shifts in customer preferences.
  • Sometimes, an outside perspective can shed light on hidden challenges. Consider engaging a business consultant like Blaze Business & Legal to help you assess potential obstacles.

Step 4: Prioritise the Challenges by their Impact on your Business (Profit and Revenue first)

Prioritising challenges by their impact on profit and revenue is essential.

Creating a priority list, ranking challenges from most to least critical, helps focus efforts on the most pressing issues that will make the biggest difference.

This step turns an overwhelming list of problems into a manageable plan of attack.

It ensures that efforts are focused on what truly matters, driving the most significant improvements in the shortest amount of time.

Regularly reviewing and adjusting priorities ensures that the focus remains on the most critical challenges, adapting to changes in the business environment and maintaining alignment with overall goals.

Image of a task list with an arrow pointing up - caption reads Step 4. Blaze Business & Legal Logo.

Scenario

Dave was surprised to see that some of the challenges he thought were major were actually less critical in terms of their impact on profit and revenue. Conversely, some seemingly minor issues were having a significant effect on the bottom line.

This analysis and prioritisation process - along with developing proper Business Goals - helped him see his business in a new light and focus on what truly mattered.

Image of different priorities - Business Improvement - Blaze Business & Legal

Actionable Tips - Prioritise

  • Rank your business challenges based on their impact on profit and revenue.
  • Focus on addressing the most critical challenges first, even if they seem daunting.
  • Recognise that not all challenges need to be tackled at once; create a phased approach to manage them effectively.
  • Regularly review and adjust your priorities as your business evolves and new challenges emerge.

Step 5: Break each Challenge into Bite-Sized Chunks

Breaking challenges into smaller, manageable tasks makes the improvement process less overwhelming.

It allows for systematic tackling of each challenge, creating a detailed action plan.

For example, if the challenge is improving staff efficiency, it can be broken down into tasks like:

  • reviewing current workflows
  • identifying bottlenecks
  • providing additional training
  • implementing new processes.

This approach ensures that each challenge is addressed in a comprehensive, effective manner. It turns complex problems into achievable tasks, promoting progress and success.

Image of jigsaw pieces - caption reads Step 5. Blaze Business & Legal Logo.

Scenario

Dave initially felt overwhelmed by the magnitude of the challenges he was facing.

But as he worked with Shannon and Rachelle to break them down into smaller tasks, he began to see how achievable they were.

Each small success built momentum, and Dave found himself making real progress towards his goals.

Jigsaw pieces with the word "Challenge". Business Improvement - Break Down Challenges - Blaze Business & Legal

Actionable Tips - Break Down Challenges

  • Break down each challenge into smaller, manageable tasks.
  • Assign responsibility for each task to ensure accountability.
  • Create a detailed action plan that outlines the steps needed to address each challenge.
  • Celebrate small successes along the way to build momentum and keep your team motivated.

Step 6: Assign Responsibilities

Delegating tasks and responsibilities is essential for effective business improvement. Identifying the right people for each task, considering their skills, experience, and workload, ensures that tasks are completed efficiently and effectively.

Assigning responsibilities is also about empowering the team, giving them the tools and support they need to succeed. Clear communication, regular check-ins, and providing necessary resources foster accountability and engagement.

This step transforms leadership, promoting trust and collaboration. It creates a more balanced, effective organisation, where everyone has a clear role and the support they need to succeed.

When assigning tasks, it's important to assess whether you or a staff member can tackle particular tasks yourselves (given current business-as-usual) or whether you need help from Implementation Consultants like Blaze Business & Legal.

Image of a graphic with people connected - caption reads Step 6. Blaze Business & Legal Logo.

Scenario

Dave's initial reluctance to delegate was a significant barrier. He was used to being hands-on, involved in every aspect of the business. But he realised that this approach was unsustainable and was holding the company back. 

With encouragement from Shannon and Rachelle, he began to assign responsibility for tasks and to delegate, and the positive impact was immediate.

His team stepped up, and Dave found more time to focus on strategic leadership.

Word cloud with "Delegate" in the middle. Business Improvement - Assigning Tasks - Blaze Business & Legal

Actionable Tips - Assigning Tasks

  • Identify the right person for each task, considering their skills, experience, and current workload.
  • Communicate expectations clearly and provide the necessary support and resources.
  • Trust your team and allow them to take ownership of their responsibilities.
  • Regularly review progress and provide feedback, recognising and rewarding success.

Step 7: Tackle the Highest Priority Task

Focusing on the highest priority task ensures that efforts are directed where they will have the most significant impact.

This approach creates momentum and confidence, showing that real, meaningful improvements are achievable.

Tackling the highest priority task first may be challenging but rewarding. It requires dedication, resilience, and a willingness to learn from mistakes and celebrate successes.

This step is a turning point in the improvement process.

It sets the stage for ongoing success, driving continuous improvement and positioning the company for long-term success.

Image of a graphic person with the top task starred - caption reads Step 7. Blaze Business & Legal Logo.

Scenario

Shannon and Rachelle helped Dave work out that the highest priority task for Dave was improving staff efficiency.

It was a complex challenge that required a multifaceted approach, and Blaze Business & Legal helped all the way. 

By focusing on this task, breaking it down into smaller parts, and working systematically, Dave and his team were able to make significant improvements. The result was a more productive, cohesive team and a more profitable business.

Image of a notebook with a priorities list and the caption, "Highest Priority First". Business Improvement - Priorities - Blaze Business & Legal

Actionable Tips - Highest Priority Task

  • Focus on the highest priority task, dedicating the necessary time and resources to address it.
  • Break the task down into smaller parts and tackle them systematically.
  • Seek professional guidance if needed, and don't be afraid to learn from mistakes.
  • Celebrate successes and use them to build momentum for the next task.

Step 8: Assess Learnings from that Task (Lessons Learned)

So you can apply them next time.

Assessing what has been learned from each task is vital for continuous improvement.

Reflecting on what worked well, what didn't, and what could be done differently next time ensures that lessons are integrated into ongoing efforts.

This reflection process fosters a culture of continuous learning. It encourages openness to feedback and a commitment to ongoing growth and development.

Documenting and sharing lessons learned creates a valuable resource for the entire organisation, promoting a more informed, effective approach to business improvement

Image of a book with lesson written on it - caption reads Step 8. Blaze Business & Legal Logo.

Scenario

The lessons learned from improving staff efficiency were eye-opening for Dave. He realised that some of his assumptions had been wrong, that some of his approaches had been ineffective. 

But rather than seeing this as a failure, he saw it as an opportunity to learn and grow.

He used these lessons to inform future efforts, making the entire business improvement process more effective.

Image of a dartboard with the words "lessons learned". Business Improvement - Lessons Learned - Blaze Business & Legal

Actionable Tips - Lessons Learned

  • Take the time to reflect on each task, identifying what worked well and what didn't.
  • Use the lessons learned to inform future efforts, integrating them into your ongoing business improvement process.
  • Foster a culture of continuous learning, encouraging your team to reflect on their work and strive for ongoing improvement.
  • Consider documenting the lessons learned for future reference, creating a valuable resource for your business.

Step 9: Move onto the next Priority Task

Moving onto the next priority task maintains momentum and progress.

Applying lessons learned from previous tasks makes the process more efficient and effective.

This step keeps the team focused and engaged, driving continuous improvement.

It ensures that efforts are always directed towards the most important, impactful challenges.

Continuously tackling priority tasks creates a dynamic, responsive organisation.

This way, your business is always moving forward, always striving to be better.

Image of paper with task written on it - caption reads Step 9. Blaze Business & Legal Logo.

Scenario

The next priority task for Dave was reducing overhead costs. He applied the lessons learned from improving staff efficiency, avoiding previous mistakes, and implementing more effective strategies. 

The result was a more streamlined, cost-effective operation, further strengthening XYZ Civil's financial position.

Image of a priorities list. Business Improvement - Next Priorities - Blaze Business & Legal

Actionable Tips - Next Priorities

  • Apply the same systematic approach to each priority task, breaking it down, assigning responsibilities, and working methodically.
  • Use the lessons learned from previous tasks to make the process more efficient and effective.
  • Maintain momentum by moving onto the next priority task promptly, keeping the team focused and engaged.
  • Continue to seek professional guidance and support as needed, leveraging external expertise to enhance your efforts.

Step 10: Rinse and Repeat

Business improvement is an ongoing process.

It requires a continuous cycle of assessing, planning, implementing, reflecting, and improving.

Regularly reassessing goals, priorities, and strategies ensures that efforts remain relevant and effective.

It fosters a culture of excellence, where continuous improvement is the norm.

This "rinse and repeat" approach positions the company for long-term success.

It creates a resilient organisation that is always adapting, always growing, always striving to be better.

Image of circular arrows representing repeating - caption reads Step 10. Blaze Business & Legal Logo.

Scenario

Dave's ongoing commitment to business improvement transformed XYZ Civil. The company became more efficient, more profitable, and more resilient.

The team became more engaged, more cohesive, and more capable.

Shannon and Rachelle continued to be a vital part of the company's success, providing ongoing guidance and support.

Image of a blackboard with the word "repeat" written on it. Business Improvement - Ongoing Process - Blaze Business & Legal

Actionable Tips - Ongoing Process

  • Recognise that business improvement is an ongoing process, not a one-time effort.
  • Regularly reassess your goals, priorities, and strategies, adjusting them as needed to ensure continued relevance and effectiveness.
  • Maintain momentum by continuously tackling challenges, driving ongoing improvement within your business.
  • Foster a culture of excellence, encouraging your team to always strive to be better, to never become complacent.

Step 11: Reassess the Task List and your Goals as needed (Goals every 6 months minimum and Task List every month)

Regular reassessment of goals and task lists ensures that they remain aligned with the company's evolving needs.

It allows for necessary adjustments, pivots, and the seizing of new opportunities.

This process keeps improvement efforts focused and effective.

This makes sure that everyone is working towards the same goals, contributing to the company's success.

Regular reassessment allows your business to remain responsive to internal and external factors.

The business remains aligned with its industry and its environment, always ready to adapt and grow.

Image of a head with cogs representing reassessing - caption reads Step 11. Blaze Business & Legal Logo.

Scenario

Dave's regular reassessment of his goals and task list became a vital part of XYZ Civil's success. It allowed them to adapt to changing market conditions, to respond to new challenges and opportunities, and to continuously improve.

Now the business is more agile, more responsive, and more successful, and there has been a measurable increase to the bottom line.

Image of a laptop with the words "Time for Review". Business Improvement - Reassess Goals and Tasks - Blaze Business & Legal

Actionable Tips - Reassess Tasks and Goals

  • Regularly reassess your goals and task list, at least every 6 months for goals and every month for the task list.
  • Be willing to make necessary adjustments, pivoting when needed to ensure continued relevance and effectiveness.
  • Involve your team in the reassessment process, ensuring alignment and engagement.
  • Consider ongoing professional guidance to help you navigate the reassessment process, leveraging external expertise to enhance your efforts.

Conclusion

Business Improvement is not just a buzzword. It's an important process that can lead to transformation, growth and success for businesses of all sizes.

Whether your business is a small startup or a large corporation, understanding where the business stands, setting clear goals, identifying challenges, and implementing targeted strategies can lead to significant positive changes. The journey of Business Improvement is continuous and requires commitment, adaptability, and a willingness to learn and grow.

By following the steps outlined in this guide, CEOs and Managing Directors can navigate the complexities of Business Improvement with confidence, positioning their companies for long-term success.

And if needed, it's always possible to engage Management Consultants who specialise in Business Improvement, like Blaze Business & Legal.

FAQs

1. What is Business Improvement, and why is it important? 

Business Improvement is the process of assessing, analysing, and implementing strategies to enhance a company's performance, efficiency, and profitability. It's important because it helps businesses adapt to changing market conditions, improve internal processes, improve their bottom line, and achieve long-term growth.

2. How can a company start the Business Improvement process? 

Starting the Business Improvement process involves understanding where the business currently stands, setting clear short-term and long-term goals, identifying challenges, and developing a strategic plan to address those challenges. Then, it's a matter of implementing the strategy - something Blaze Business & Legal are happy to help you do.

3. What are some common methods used in Business Improvement? 

Common methods in Business Improvement include Lean, Six Sigma, and Kaizen. These methodologies focus on continuous improvement, waste reduction, and process optimisation.

4. Can small businesses benefit from Business Improvement? 

Business Improvement is not limited to large corporations, and small businesses can also benefit from assessing their operations, identifying areas for improvement, and implementing targeted strategies to enhance performance.

5. How often should a company reassess its goals and strategies in the Business Improvement process? 

Regular reassessment of a company's goals and strategies is essential in Business Improvement. Goals should be reassessed at least every six months, and the task list should be reviewed every month to ensure alignment with the company's evolving needs.

6. What role do employees play in Business Improvement? 

Employees play a crucial role in Business Improvement. Their insights, feedback, and participation in implementing changes can lead to more effective and sustainable improvements. Engaging employees in the process fosters a culture of continuous improvement and helps to achieve more positive "buy-in" of any changes that are made.

7. Can external consultants help in the Business Improvement process? 

External consultants like Blaze Business & Legal can provide expertise, unbiased assessments, and tailored strategies to guide the Business Improvement process. They can help identify unique challenges and opportunities, providing valuable insights and support. And some of these consultants will also help to implement the strategic changes and tasks that are identified and assigned during the Business Improvement process.

Let's chat about how we can help your business

Rachelle Hare and Shannon Drew, Blaze Business & Legal
  • Free Initial Consultation
  • No-Obligation Quote for our Services
  • We Work to your Budget and Timeframes

Call Rachelle Hare on 0407 050 907 or fill out the form below and we'll contact you

Not quite ready to chat?

Take our free Business Quiz

  • Identify some of the challenges in your Business
  • Get no-obligation suggestions from us about how you can overcome those challenges

About the Author

Rachelle Hare

Rachelle Hare - Managing Director and Principal Practitioner of Blaze Business & Legal

Rachelle Hare

Rachelle Hare is a highly experienced Construction Lawyer and Contract Lawyer, with over 23 years of experience in Tier 1 and Tier 2 Construction Firms, Top Tier Private Practice and Government.

With 23+ years of experience as a Senior Lawyer, Strategic Contracting Adviser and Management Consultant in Construction Law, Contracts, Major Projects, Commercial Advisory, Compliance, Procurement, Contract Management and Risk Management, Rachelle has the rare skills to offer you seamless business advice and legal advice to help support your organisation.


As well as a Lawyer and Business Adviser, Rachelle has also acted as a Strategic Procurement Adviser, Compliance Manager, Strategic Risk Adviser and Commercial Manager.

Rachelle owns
Blaze Business & Legal, a combined Commercial Law Firm and Business Advisory Firm located in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Blaze Business & Legal assists a broad range of clients in the Construction Industry and related industries, and advises owners, contractors, subcontractors, NFPs and other organisations on a broad range of Construction Law, Commercial Law, Business Advisory and Management Consulting issues in Brisbane, Queensland and around Australia.

Rachelle also owns Blaze Professional Learning, where she offers practical contracting skills, hands-on experience in drafting and working with contracts, and industry insights to help Professionals upskill and advance their careers with real-world skills.

Scroll to Top