Analysing Past Events
When we analyse past events, as we all do, there are two caveats you must have in mind 1) You couldn't have done anything differently because you acted with the best information to hand and made the best decision possible in that situation 2) not to spend too long on it – do the analysis in a logical ordered way and then move forward.
Many of us spend far too long going over what could have been or should have been when we examine past events. I suggest to you that analysis should be done in a structured logical way to get the best information possible. This article brings to you the different methods of analysis that you might consider using.
Narrative /Descriptive Analysis
Although this is generally a weak form of analysis – sometimes it’s all you need to do. Tell the story of what happened. As you tell the story out loud to yourself or to another, you will have a different perspective on the event or action and this can shed new light onto the matter in question. To make it more effective, go into all the minute details.
This is where you discuss with yourself or other how the event or action is like or unlike something else. They will need to have similarities in order to do this. For example, how was the sales pitch of one item different to the sales pitch of another? The sales pitch is what is being compared, not the item. It is essential that the items/events/actions are compared using the same criteria. A point by point comparison is often the easiest way forward.
This is the most commonly used type of analysis in business. The SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. This type of analysis is specifically for dealing with an item/action or event with regard to taking action. If an analysis shows particular strengths and weaknesses then particular opportunities and threats (actions) are implied.
Cause and Effect analysis
This demonstrates how when one thing occurs, another is triggered to take place. A rude salesman will incur a negative point of sale. A discount might encourage sales. While there are many cause and effect relationships, it is not impossible that something more non-social, cause may also have an effect. Inclement weather may hamper the customer to come out and buy. A flowchart of immediate and remote causes is often useful as it can show interactions, how individuals are affected by relationships and show how individuals can create a negative or positive aspect to the sales relationship.
Looking at one’s statistics is not only important for book keeping and budgeting but also it can demonstrate a cause and effect relationship or a comparison. All statistical analysis must be accompanied by another form in order to be useful and not just descriptive.
This is where your research as an Entrepreneur really comes into play. It generally looks at the strengths and weaknesses of one item/event/relationship and takes a position on the balance of them. Critiques are useful when dealing with others about the workings of your business. The only weakness of this form of analysis is that it is critical without being positive.
Future Orientation examines a situation in light of decisions for the future already made, or with consideration of how decisions/items/events will theoretically impact the future. This will often accompany a SWOT analysis.
Utilising one or a few theories/School of Thought
Do you believe in the Richard Branson model of business or are you using something like Michael E Gerber’s ‘E-Myth” as a model for operations and management? Do your research and then choose to use a particular model for your own business. Don’t leave it to chance or you might fail. Go out and research a business model that works and use it or a combination of them to run your own business.
Always use analysis but don't spend forever doing it. Get out and be proactive in the present and plan for the future. Analysis is only useful in developing strategy.
©JL NASH 2018