Definition of Business Excellence

When arriving at a definition of business excellence, we need to defer to the “current global term for an integrated collection of proven practices for how a business should operate to become the best it can possibly be” – i.e. world class. Business Excellence is applicable to all businesses whether private or public, for-profit or not-for-profit and small or large. It results in substantial productivity improvements.

Understandable confusion for SMEs / SMBs despite the Simple Definition

Other popular integrated collections of proven practices advocated over the past 70 years include World Competitive Manufacturing, Just In Time, Best Practice, Total Quality Management (TQM), Six Sigma, Agile, Business Improvement, Process Improvement, Business Transformation and Lean Thinking. All of these overlap significantly with each other, and fit within the umbrella term “Business Excellence”.

Not surprisingly, CEOs of SMEs / SMBs can get confused as to which methodology and language they should adopt.

Even within Business Excellence, there are slight variations around the world regarding the fundamental criteria for success. For example, Singapore, Australia and the United States promote 7 assessment criteria for Business Excellence, whereas the Europeans promote 9 criteria.

A common core for Business Excellence globally

Fortunately, all of the 80 or so active national Frameworks / Models have a common core. This may be summarised as 5 logical and memorable Prerequisites for SMEs seeking a practical implementation approach that is easy to understand. Not surprisingly, the overriding driver of all 5 Prerequisites (see below) is Customer Delight for both internal and external customers.


We have found that this implementation sequence maximises the return on investment. It eliminates the possibility of false starts and poorly focused efforts.

Business Excellence for Small and Medium Sized Businesses

The attainment of Business Excellence for small and medium-sized businesses is now a reality with the My Business Excellence (MBE) approach.