Benchmarking is one of those businesses terms you often hear about but what does it really mean? In simple terms benchmarking is comparing your business to others in order to understand your current position and make improvements as required. Benchmarking can show you Your weaknesses Strategies for improvement What is achievable Your strengths and how to maintain them One important factor to consider is that Benchmarking can be a waste of time and money if you evaluate your performance against the wrong objectives. Worse- you decide to employ the services of an external provider and then choose to rely on all their information for critical decisions. How will you know if the data presented is accurate? Inaccurate data will lead your organisation to pursue the wrong goals and move in the wrong direction. It is possible to benchmark your business yourself, the internet is an excellent resource for benchmarking questionnaires. Another option is to liaise with a number of organisations and perform a combined benchmarking exercise. Choose businesses of similar size and operations, this will make the exercise constructive and the results will provide useful and meaningful data. This exercise is useful if you are part of a government body.