What is FLITER®?

FLITER® is an innovative process and a comprehensive system designed to help small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) stabilize, grow, expand or scale their business!  

Today, FLITER® System is being utilized by supply chain managers who are working to develop smaller businesses in their chain, program managers who are offering program development opportunities in the communities they serve, and individuals who want to more quickly understand HOW TO PROGRESS.

The FLITER® Business & Leadership Rating Scale provides tools that identify a level of performance specific to 12 key business functions and calculates the current functioning of performance from
Pre-Level 1 to Level 3. 

This analysis sets the foundation for real progress and can save years of heartache in costly missteps and mistakes. 

Functions measured Include Income Generation, Finance, Production, Marketing, Personnel, Business Operations, Management, Customer Service, Technology, Procurement, Inventory and Distribution.

Two standard individual outcome reports identify current levels of performance and provide owners with an 80-page assessment guide that includes specific, step-by-step actions that can be used to gain quantifiable progress. 

SME business owners can use their report to make progress on their own or with a business mentor or consultant—saving time and money on gap analysis and targeting those business areas where challenges most exist. 

With information, management can make the shift from low- energy wishing to high-momentum growth. The FLITER® BLRS and Guide gives owners tactical information and realistic goals they can achieve to close gaps and build operational capacity. 

Through a comprehensive, research-based process, aligned with the U.S. Department of Labor Competency Model for Entrepreneurship, The FLITER® System reviews 12 key business categories and ties them to our trademarked 14P structure in order to lead the owner through a sequence of steps that move the company from one level of performance to the next level of achievement. 

Cohort outcomes can be generated through the standard group report or one or more of the four customized reports.

The standard FLITER® System is composed of four parts:

  1. FLITER® Business & Leadership Rating Scale: Assessment 
  2. FLITER® Business & Leadership Rating Scale: 80-page Assessment Guide 
  3. FLITER® Business & Leadership Rating Scale: Levels Summary Report
  4. FLITER® Business & Leadership Rating Scale: Score by Activity Report


  1. Individual Insight Reports [A customized feedback for each participant that includes consultative recommendations specific to FILTER® outcomes with targeted thoughts on WHAT the owner can do to “move to the next level.”]. 
  2. Individual SnapShot Reports [Generally a “post-program” assessment report that shows where progress was gained].
  3. One-on-one feedback with a Bellewether consultant.


For supply chain managers or those who oversee small business vendor programs, our process gives you an unprecedented glimpse into what’s happening inside the companies in your supply chain, so you can evaluate their operations to figure out the best way to move forward.

  1. Basic Group Report shows cohort outcomes and identifies group needs for learning.
  2. Customized Group Reports can identify targeted strengths and gaps for the cohort and provides programs with strategic information to enhance mentor and classroom progress.
  3. In-class training components [2– or 4-hour sessions] correlated to the 12 key business functions assessed that close gaps and increase topic knowledge.
  4. Online Webinars for participants reflecting topics identified as needs through the group results. These are interactive Webinars designed for your program participants and may be delivered in a flexible schedule.

Why did Bellewether, Ltd. build FLITER®?

Since 1994 we have successfully improved individual, corporate and small business performance.   Bellewether has created numerous products or contributed content that’s been used by entities such as the International Institute of Education, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, colleges and universities and the United States government, just to name a few.  

Further, our work is impacting SMEs internationally and domestically.  Fortune® Magazine and Futurallia, the international business development forum, have recognized Bellewether’s contributions to help small businesses thrive. 

FLITER® is the newest extension of our work in business development and is the effect of more than 25 years of experience and two years of research and development.  It is roughly aligned with the U.S. Dept. of Labor Competency Models for Entrepreneurship.   

We believe that the growth process for SMEs can be more efficient with the aid of a framework that provides a basis to more clearly outline how to advance.  As it is today too many spin their wheels, or expend a great deal of effort without making positive, sustainable progress.  As a result, goals are not achieved.

The FLITER® System gives the business owner standards of performance. Important information about how to advance through levels to attain the level appropriate standard is also provided.

Be assured, when recommendations are followed the small business should expect to obtain reasonable results. 

Isn’t every business different?

Yes!  Because every business and management team is different there are not absolute outcomes.  That said there are customary functions common to all businesses.  Each owner can follow a recommended sequence of steps to move from one level of performance to the next higher level.  Please keep in mind that commonalities exist among all businesses regardless of their form, size or product.  

The FLITER® System is process-driven, addressing the need for much needed structure.  It is not intended to answer every possible business eventuality.  It is intended to help businesses of all kinds with elements common to growth and sustainability. 

How does FLITER® differ from other GAP analyses?

FLITER® is not a strengths and weaknesses SWOT analysis, or a simple GAP analysis.  It is a comprehensive, research-based system.  Its approach, as well as its tools, goes much further and deeper to create measurable change for SMEs.  

Have you heard people refer to, “Taking the business to the next level” without ever defining it? It’s frustrating and wasteful trying to figure out where a business is, where to go and how to get there…directly, if not quickly.  A large emphasis of the FLITER® System responds to the small business owner’s question, “How am I going to get there?”

FLITER® defines levels of business performance from Pre-level 1 to Level 3, and suggests methods to stabilize at each level and then transition to the next.   

We can’t imagine an educator saying, “Remain in the sophomore class as long as you like.”  No!  You remain in the sophomore class until you have completed the coursework appropriate to that level, then move to the junior class to start on the coursework suitable to that level, and so on.

Business programs often talk about business stages, but that means little if we aren’t clear about levels of performance.  That’s what matters at every stage if the enterprise is to remain viable. 

The business must develop the versatility to meet customer challenges at the customer-demand level, not the SME capacity level. 

How do companies move through levels in the FLITER® System?    

One of the most frequently heard objections larger corporations make about SMEs is that the companies cannot scale.  What that means is that the smaller company has difficulty coping with more work and performing well with an increased or expanded workload.  The upside to the frustration indicates that they like what the small company is doing, but want it to do more. 

Given that output is a measure of productivity, it is helpful to have the business structure that supports increased work and revenue flows.

A level, as we have defined it, is an amount, quantity, extent, or quality.  Level progression indicates a degree of change. 

We contend that businesses do better when they know at what level they are functioning in each key business category.  In our system, we show the current level of business function, how to stabilize within that level, and how to transition to the next higher level of performance.

Take the steps as you can and watch as your company grows stronger financially and operationally. The levels in the assessment increase the ability to accommodate growth. 

Why should I buy FLITER®?

It will answer the question, “What should I do now?” 

FLITER® is about doing less to achieve more; disengaging from non-essential tasks to focus instead on money-making/structure-building activities that actually make the company stronger and much less vulnerable.  

It saves time and eliminates waste.  It highlights useful activity with the potential to yield a higher return on the investment of time, money and energy. 

  • FLITER® is helpful and easy to understand
  • FLITER® can move your business along much more rapidly and inexpensively
  • FLITER® gives you greater control
  • FLITER® brings calm and gives hope as the company grows more secure (solid) 
  • FLITER® gives guidelines, techniques, structures, approaches and processes to measured change
  • FLITER® is affordably priced, fitting even the most modest budget
  • FLITER® provides information about your business that will impress bankers, bonding companies, investors and others
  • FLITER® lays out a path to progress that causes the business to advance

Where can I get FLITER®?

Whether you are trying to design a SME program, trying to assist your SME vendors in their ability to better support your supply chain, or you are an individual seeking to shore the core of your business, call us to learn more at 816.554.9400.

Ready to identify the steps that will take your organization to the next level?