The Sandwich Approach to Business Trend Analysis

First, take a moment to imagine the perfect sandwich. Is it a Rueben, a thick juicy hamburger, turkey & Swiss, or maybe a good ole PB & J? Regardless of what the perfect sandwich might be, the makeup of every sandwich is comparatively similar. A sandwich always contains two slices of bread/bun and then the meat or substance of the sandwich along with the condiments in between the bread. Well, business trend analysis is analogous to the perfect sandwich.

Let’s examine the sandwich masterpiece creation. A sandwich in the making always begins with the bottom slice of bread or bun of a sandwich. It is the base or the foundation for the sandwich masterpiece. Similarly, the onset Business Trend Analysis compares to the sandwich bottom slice of bread or bun as the foundation of the analysis. In formulating the base or purpose of the analysis an examination of the current state or performance of the business overall or of a specific segment of the business is necessary. These are only a few of the means for establishing the performance of a business or business segment:

  • Review the business plan. Is there an aspect of the plan that is overperforming or underperforming? It is imperative that an investigation takes place to determine why that is occurring. Over Performing=duplicating the process or Under Performing=diagnose what is the cause of the shortfall and change the outcome.
  • Establish the timeframe. Maybe the timeframe is per quarter if the business is retail-oriented, weekly/hourly if the business is a restaurant, or maybe it is annually if it is manufacturing oriented. Regardless of the business the time frame is critical to analyzing the trends and is as unique as the business is and the market served.
  • P & L examination over time is useful to determine revenue or cost similarities/differences over the specific time period. How does this impact the business and meeting the goals of the business plan?
  • Determine what other concrete objective evidence can be evaluated to assist in analyzing the business. Customer surveys, market research, competition analysis etc.

Even though traditionally a sandwich might traditionally be built from the bottom up by layering the meat or the substance of the sandwich, let’s think about what the top of the sandwich or the finished product will look like first. What is the goal that is needed to be accomplished from analyzing your business trends.

  • Increasing Sales through:
    • moving more cases – advertising, marketing, pricing
    • changing packaging – alter quantity delivered or serving size options
    • diversifying in the retail presence – location, available space, additional locations
    • create a unique market presence
  • Increasing Sales Margins
  • Broadening the Product Line
  • Expanding Markets
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Investment in service or product

Now that the presentation of the Business Analysis Sandwich has been determined it’s time to decipher the meat and substance of the analysis. Examine the necessary data that will provide the needed answers. A few basic tools are listed, however, the list is infinite based on individual need and the product/service:

  • Sales reports
  • P & L
  • Cost Analysis
  • Market Research results
  • Return on Investments – comparative to previous investments

Once the data has been collected the sandwich presentation follows with strategic implementation of the results revealed of the established goals and finally indulging on the masterpiece created by analyzing the business trends.

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