Previously, we discussed business benchmarking using internal measurements, tracking and analyzing 5-7 key indicators of your business’ growth and success.

Now, let’s focus on the second benchmarking measure – comparing yourself against your peers based on industry data.

The second form of benchmarking is to compare your business to industry data.

Industry data is available from many sources. The most available data is financial data from several companies that collect and sell the data to banks, accountants, and other advisors. Also, many industry trade associations collect and track much more detailed information. While not perfect, this data can provide a meaningful comparison for analysis on how you are doing. Often this data is sorted and available based on performance. For instance, companies can be sorted in the 25th, 50th, or 75th percentile of financial performance.

Since only half of all companies with revenues of $10 million to $50 million will sell, you want to compare yourself to companies in the 75th percentile or better. These are the companies that are performing well and are creating real value.

Your results will not mirror the industry data, but the data will be useful for comparison purposes.

For example, a drywall contractor may see that their cost of goods sold is 73% while the industry norm for companies in the 75th percentile is 70%. Yet overhead for the drywall contractor is 20% producing a 7% profit. The industry norm at the 75th percentile is 25% overhead and a 5% profit. In this case, profit is above industry norm.

Perhaps this contractor spends a little more on direct labor, but because they have better people they are able to perform with less oversight. If this is true, there is no reason to make a change based on the data. If not, perhaps the direct costs can be brought down. Perhaps better purchasing could reduce costs. Perhaps labor can be applied more efficiently. In all cases, do not use this data and analysis as a reason to rest on your laurels but as a process in order to find ways to improve.

Internal Benchmarking along with Competitive Benchmarking will help you adjust course to be as profitable as possible and identify areas for growth.



Clients choose Harvest Business Advisors for our sage advice on profitably growing their business, accurate business valuations, and when the time is right, a consistent ability to deliver a high price as part of a smooth exit transaction.
Harvest Business Advisors provides business brokerage, business valuation, and business succession planning services. We have extensive experience in the information technology and professional services, manufacturing, distribution, and contracting fields. We maintain offices in Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia. Connect with us at or 877-838-4966 to discuss selling your business, ordering a business valuation or buying a business.