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  • Writer's pictureEvolve Team

Benchmarking for success: How SMEs can use industry standards to thrive

In the competitive landscape of business, understanding where you stand in relation to industry standards can be a game-changer for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), especially those navigating the £90,000 to £1,000,000 turnover range. Benchmarking—measuring your business against peers and industry leaders—offers invaluable insights for improvement and growth. Here's how SMEs can effectively use benchmarking to their advantage.

Identify benchmarking targets

Start by identifying key performance indicators (KPIs) relevant to your sector, such as profit margins, customer satisfaction levels, or operational efficiency. Select businesses or industry averages that represent excellence and compare your performance against these benchmarks.

Analyse performance gaps

Once you've established benchmarks, analyse where and why performance gaps exist. This could involve looking into processes, strategies, or technologies that lead to higher performance in other businesses. Understanding these gaps is the first step toward addressing them.

Leverage insights for strategic planning

Use the insights gained from benchmarking to inform your strategic planning. This might mean adopting new technologies, revising marketing strategies, or rethinking customer service approaches. The goal is to close the performance gap, thereby improving competitiveness and profitability.

Focus on continuous improvement

Benchmarking is not a one-time exercise but a tool for continuous improvement. Regularly updating benchmarks and measuring performance ensures that your business not only keeps pace with industry standards but strives to exceed them.

Encourage a culture of excellence

Adopting benchmarking can foster a culture of excellence within your organisation. It encourages teams to understand industry best practices and motivates them to achieve higher standards in their work.

Engage with external expertise

Sometimes, the complexity of benchmarking and interpreting industry data can benefit from external expertise. Financial advisors and industry consultants can provide valuable insights and support in establishing effective benchmarking practices.


Benchmarking offers a roadmap for SMEs aiming to thrive in today’s competitive environment. By understanding industry standards and where you stand in relation to them, your business can identify areas for improvement, strategise more effectively, and set ambitious, achievable targets. Ultimately, benchmarking is about learning from the best to become the best in your own right.

Did you know?

At Evolve Accounting, we support SMEs in implementing successful benchmarking strategies to enhance their performance and competitiveness. With our industry knowledge and expertise, we can help you identify the right benchmarks and use them to drive success. To discover how benchmarking can benefit your business, please contact us today.


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