The Problem With Traditional Business Benchmarks

By Gene Marks Benchmark: “Something that serves as a standard by which others may be measured or judged,” according to Merriam-Webster. As necessary as benchmarks are, in my opinion, the modern business world has become entirely too fascinated with them. Don’t get me wrong—all businesses need to monitor success, failures and progress. Benchmarks can absolutely help you do that. But where you’ll find yourself up to your eyeballs in data that doesn’t effectively inform your next steps is when you spend all your energy benchmarking your business against another that may or may not have needs remotely similar to yours. Take my organization as an example. I have served as the CEO for Eye Centers of Tennessee for more than 20 years. During that time, we grew our business from a small, one-physician office to its current status as a leader across our area in the Upper Cumberland region of East/Middle Tennessee. We operate out of eight locations and employ 15 doctors and more than 125 support staff members. Just last year, we finished construction on a brand new, state-of-the-art facility. We are proud of this growth, but we’d never have gotten here if we were comparing ourselves—your hometown eye doctors, many of whom serve very rural areas—to facilities in markets like Chicago or Los Angeles. Instead, we compared ourselves against our own previous wins and losses, and amended our course as necessary over the years. READ FULL ARTICLE>>