What Is Gap Analysis And How Important is it?

You’ve probably heard the phrase gap analysis before when discussing business growth strategies. It is one of the best means to assess where your business could stand to improve by comparing your current state to your desired future state.  

The process entails scrupulous, detailed research, but the benefits can be substantial. The analysis report is extensive and can result in significant improvements in various business processes. 

If you’re considering the analysis, below we’ll break down the process and its benefits. 

What Is Gap Analysis? 

Gap analysis is a formal study that compares your business’s current state to its expected or desired outcomes. The process shines light on where there is room for improvement. Identifying gaps helps you figure out where you’re falling short of expectations, and what steps you can take to close these gaps. 

gap analysis

Gap analysis may be a reaction to a shortcoming, like not meeting sales goals for a specific quarter. However, it can also be entirely proactive. Some leaders may be looking for ways to improve your chances of success before undertaking a new strategy, for example.  

What Are The Different Types Of Gap Analysis? 

There’s no one-size-fits-all type of analysis. You can conduct the analysis in multiple different areas depending on what you’re hoping to achieve through the process. 

There are four main types of gap analysis. 

Performance Analysis 

The most common type of gap analysis, is performance analysis looks at your company’s specific goals and identifies how far you need to go to achieve them. It also pinpoints what changes can close the gap. 

Market Analysis 

Market gap analysis helps you identify new sales opportunities by identifying areas where demand is greater than supply. It helps your business find unfilled niches in the current market, helping you stay ahead of competitors. 

Manpower Analysis 

Manpower gap analysis helps you make more informed decisions about staffing and budgeting. It looks at things like employee onboarding, off-boarding, and training to determine how to help your employees meet performance goals. 

Profit Analysis 

Profit gap analysis is often performed when your company overestimates profit projections. It helps determine what factors may have negatively impacted your profits, and how to proceed to ensure you meet revenue goals in the future. 

How Is Gap Analysis Conducted? 

While every company has a slightly different means of conducting gap analysis, most companies follow five basic steps. 

Step One: Identify your gap analysis goals. 

Before you even start, it’s important to understand what you want out of it. Do you want to know how effective an existing strategy or operation is? Do you want to know why you’re underperforming in a particular market? Are you wondering if you need to hire new staff? The more specific your goals going, the more informative the process will be.

Step Two: Look at your current state.  

The first thing to do when conducting gap analysis is to understand where your business stands right now. You can look at everything from sales figures to internal process documentation to KPIs. For a thorough understanding of your current state, it’s best to look at both quantitative factors (like data and metrics) and qualitative ones (like customer satisfaction ratings and employee interviews). 

Step Three: Figure out your end goal. 

What is the ideal state for your business? For example, your ideal state may entail certain sales figures or profit margins. Looking at industry standards can also help you identify your end goal. What are your competitors doing that you’re not? Even more important, are there any niches your competitors are not filling? This can help you find untapped markets. 

Step Four: Figure out the gap. 

What factors are separating your current state from your ideal state? This is the analysis stage and the point at which you look at the data gathered to draw conclusions about your current operations. Comparing and contrasting your ideal state with your current one can illuminate many opportunities for improvement. 

Step Five: Create an action plan. 

Once you understand the reasons for the gap, you can create a roadmap to success. Go through the list of obstacles keeping you from your goals and determine concrete solutions for each one. 

Why Is Gap Analysis Helpful? 

Its is an invaluable tool to help your company grow. A data-driven action strategy can provide invaluable insight that will ultimately lead to growth.  

Identify new opportunities. 

Running a business entails a lot of time and energy, and leaders often slip into a “can’t see the forest for the trees” mindset. As a result, you may be missing some chances for growth. 

It can help you look at what your company offers versus the needs of the market. There may be a specific niche you’re specially equipped to fill. Or, you may need to make a few tweaks to what you’re currently offering to meet customer needs. 

Process Improvement 

Taking a long, hard look at your company’s operations can help you pinpoint weak spots. Do your employees need more training? Are there specific departments that are failing to perform? 

What big or small changes can be made to help things run smoothly? Gap analysis answers these questions and gives you a concrete action plan to improve. 

Increase Your Profits With Gap Analysis

If you’re not meeting revenue goals, gap analysis is an invaluable tool. It can help you identify not only what went wrong, but how to better allocate your resources in order to fix the issues. 

It not only identifies factors that adversely affect your profits, it gives you specific steps to take to correct these issues. 

The Bottom Line

When it comes to identifying growth opportunities, gap analysis is one of the best means to do so. It provides a data driven strategy for your company based on the standards of your specific industry. 

Whether you want to correct a specific issue or simply be proactive about forming new strategies, gap analysis is a comprehensive, step-by-step process that leaves you with a detailed action plan. Meeting expectations is never easy, but the analysis helps you form a plan by taking it one step at a time. 

Interested in gap analysis? You can schedule a free consultation with us at any time to talk about gap analysis and other services. Contact us for more information.

3 Website A/B Testing Tools

A/B testing is becoming more and more common as teams realize how important it is for a website’s success.

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The Web is a huge, competitive marketplace with very few (if any) untapped markets, meaning that being successful by offering something unique is rare. Much more common is that you’re competing for the business of your customers with several other websites, so attempting to convert every visitor into a customer or upselling/cross-selling your services better could make all the difference to your bottom line.

Due to this, the market for A/B testing tools and CRO (conversion rate optimization) tools is growing exponentially. But choosing one can be quite a time-consuming challenge, so in this article, I’ll compare the best A/B testing tools to help you decide which is most suitable for you or your team.

A/B testing is about experimenting with visual and content changes to see which results in more conversions.A/B testing often follows usability testing as a means of testing a solution to a flaw in the user experience identified using metrics like bounce rate in an analytics tool like Google Analytics, and thanks to the depth and quality of A/B testing tools available now, A/B testing is accessible to designers as well as marketers and developers.

 

1. Optimizely

Optimizely is one of the leading — if not the leading — A/B testing and CRO tools on the market today. It offers analytics tools to suit users of all levels and a multitude of A/B testing tools. (You could think of it as the Google Analytics of A/B testing, with a much simpler user interface.)

Consider this scenario: You have an eCommerce store built with Magento. You’re aware that in certain cases it may benefit stores to add a one-step checkout solution instead of the standard multi-page checkout, but you’re not sure if your store fits that use case. You need to test both options and compare the results with/without the one-step checkout experience. You know that running two versions of the checkout simultaneously requires changes to the code, which is a complex matter.

With Optimizely, you can send a certain amount of your users to a totally separate checkout experience to collect conversion data. If the experiment yields negative results, you delete the experiment and the original checkout web page still exists and works fine. No harm was done.

With their Web Experimentation tool, which offers an easy-to-use visual editor to create A/B tests without requiring a developer (optional), the ability to target specific user types and segments, and create experiments on any device, Optimizely has all your bases covered.

Although you can run A/B tests without a developer, your variations can be more targeted (for example, your variations can go beyond color, layout and content changes) if you have the skills and/or resources to develop custom experiments with code. By integrating your A/B tests into your code, you can serve different logic and test major changes before pushing them live.

Also, if your product extends beyond the web, Optimizely works with iOS, tvOS and Android apps. Optimizely’s Full Stack integrations make it possible to integrate A/B tests into virtually any codebase, including Python, Java, Ruby, Node, PHP, C#, Swift, and Android.

2. Google Optimize

Google Optimize is a free, easy-to-use tool that integrates directly with your Google Analytics Events and Goals to make A/B testing quick and easy! It’s ideal for traditional A/B testing, focusing on comparing different CTA (call to action) elements, colors, and content.

Developers aren’t required for implementing Google Optimize since it’s as simple as adding a line of JavaScript to your website and then customizing your layout with the visual editor. With this, you can change the content, layout, colors, classes, and HTML of any element within your page.

It’s not as sophisticated as Optimizely, since it doesn’t allow you to create custom experiments with code/developers, but it’s free. It’s great for those starting out with A/B testing. For each Google Optimize experiment, you’ll need to specify which Google Analytics Goals or Events will be the baseline for your A/B tests. For example, if you were A/B testing a product page, you could use an “Add To Basket” event that you’ve defined in Google Analytics to evaluate which of your variations converts the best. The Google Analytics report then gives you a clear indication of which variation converts best. It’s ideal for those on a low budget!

Just don’t get carried away, as Google famously once did, by testing 40 different shades of blue to see which converted best!

3. Unbounce

Unbounce focuses on landing pages and convertible tools. Convertible tools use triggers, scenario-based overlays and sticky bars to A/B test offers and messages to learn when, where and why your visitors convert. An example? If a user tries to leave your site, they’re shown a discount code in a modal or a sticky header, and a test will determine which is more effective.

Landing pages can be an amazing way to validate your ideas, build excitement around a new product, and/or re-engage dormant customers. The problem with them is that they can result in false positives. If you get very few conversions you may feel like your idea is invalidated or demand for the new product doesn’t exist, when in reality users were just unimpressed and/or unconvinced by the landing. Unbounce helps you to determine what your landing is missing.

While you can choose from over 100 responsive templates designed for many markets, goals, and scenarios, and then customize it with your own content using their drag and drop UI, you can also integrate Unbounce with your own design, making a terrific solution for designers and marketers who need to collaborate. Unbounce also works with Zapier and Mailchimp, so data can be transferred across the other apps and tools that marketers use.

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Author: Jamie Murphy
Source: sitepoint.com

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