Key Points:

Business growth centre The Icehouse last night unveiled an online tool to help small businesses better gauge their performance. The Icehouse set out to answer the question of what it means to be a Business of International Quality (BIQ), says Dr Lisbeth Jacobs, Icehouse's director of strategy and development. "What we've found is that success is not just about operating internationally, it's about being of a certain quality," Jacobs said. The Icehouse worked with Professor Darl Kolb at The University of Auckland to marry academic expertise with real world practicality - creating a tool tailored specifically for ambitious entrepreneurs and owner managers. Using the online BIQ Barometer tool, in under an hour, businesses will have a personalised report detailing how they perform in six key areas as well as highlighting areas for further development. The tool works by providing guidance on six key enablers of business growth: Leadership, Offering, Market, Processes, Governance, and Capital, which according to Jacobs are the six areas which contribute most to the success of Kiwi organisations. By answering the simple questions across each of the areas, businesses have instant access to a tailored and personalised report. The Icehouse chief executive Andrew Hamilton says the BIQ barometer was developed because a gap in the market that showed Kiwi businesses could potentially accelerate their growth if they knew where to focus their efforts. "We identified that New Zealand needs 3,000 new internationally capable and successful businesses by 2020 to move back into the top half of the OECD. The Icehouse is committed to enable the emergence of 1,000 of these Businesses of International Quality. And the BIQ Barometer is going to help us achieve this." Hamilton said. BNZ director Anthony Healy, says there are some very clear areas that New Zealand's small and medium businesses need to improve on if they are to grow. "It's not possible to move forward unless you know exactly where you are now, and what areas need development. "The BIQ barometer highlights the specific areas necessary for New Zealand businesses to grow and clearly shows business owners both strengths and areas for development". Minister for Small Business, Steven Joyce said online offering is an 'exciting tool' which will allow businesses to get their hands on detailed but easy to understand information on how their business is performing. "In a competitive global market good information is often identified as key to success and this tool is an important device for businesses to use to assist them on their journey," he said. The Icehouse expects more than 500 New Zealand small and medium sized businesses will complete the self-assessment tool this year. The full BIQ barometer tool costs $249 or a one dimension analysis can be obtained at no charge. Click here for more information about BIQ Barometer.