In any planning exercise, you will need to understand where you are starting your plan from.
Just as you need to know where you are starting from to get to the end of any journey.
This identifies what you have to do to go from “here” to “there”. It’s no good setting up great goals and a fantastic vision of your journey’s end, if you start from the wrong place. In order to build, say, a great website presence for your business as a goal, you need to be clear about what your current website represents in terms of strengths and weaknesses so that you can change it from the present to “great”.
In order to get a good picture of where your business is right now, the best exercise is called a SWOT Analysis.
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
Strengths and Weaknesses are usually issues that affect your business that are within your control. For example, an efficient workforce is a strength, and poor marketing is a weakness. You can influence how efficient your workforce is by training and implementing procedures. You can improve your marketing by outsourcing or working on a marketing system.
On the other hand Opportunities and Threats are issues that affect your business over which you have limited or no control. They are external factors such as restrictive legislation which may be a threat if it affects the way you do business. Changes in the environment such as hotter summers could be an opportunity for an air-conditioning company!
You can download your SWOT worksheet here.
It’s important to identify your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats in your planning so that you can use your strengths, fix your weaknesses, take advantage of opportunities, and watch out for threats.
Whatever happens you cannot ignore them.
Imagine if you saw that your local economy was heading south due to the closure of large factories in your town, but despite seeing this impending threat you planned for business as usual. It’s going to bite you when it happens!
However if you took heed of the threat and decided to reduce your loans, the impact won’t be so bad.
In your planning, ask yourself how you can use your strengths to improve your business. If your expertise and experience was a strength, can you sell yourself on that basis? Can you provide new services by finding new ways your expertise can help your customers?
Ask yourself also how to fix your weaknesses. If it takes you too long to respond to a service call because you are under-staffed, look at hiring more service staff.
What can you do to take advantage of any opportunities? What should you do to face any threats?
The first step of course is to identify your SWOT.
As always, teikoh.com gives you great value, so we are giving you a free download – a worksheet to work out your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Brainstorm your thoughts about the national and regional forces and trends that are either affecting or will affect your business. So as to focus your thinking, think about the areas of Politics, Economics, Society and Technology and the Environment. These are the external opportunities and threats you will need to think about.
Then brainstorm your strengths and weaknesses. Again, to focus ytour thinking, think about the strengths and weaknesses in the categories of your products and services, your operating processes (the way you do things), your customer service, your governance or administration, your management, your finances and finally your human resources.
Get your free, no strings attached download here.
If you like that, why don’t you get over to the website and see what else you can use – lots of great valuable and free tips, tools and resources to create strategy, provide leadership, and grow your business. If you want to be informed about these tips and tools as they become available, sign up to our emails and get them delivered directly to you.