Analyzing the Strengths and Weaknesses of Your Business: A must Do To Avoid Failure
Every business has some areas where they do well, and others where they flop. A company may be the best at distribution, but constantly fail when it comes to responding to customer complaints in time. You should be able to know both the strengths and weaknesses of your business, so you don’t fall victim of unrealized opportunities or being outwitted by competitors.
SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) is a method of evaluating a business, resources and environment. Carrying out this analysis helps to understand a business better, and also show what a business is capable of achieving per time. SWOT allows you to know what you do well as a business, and where you need to work on. It tells you if you’re making the best use of opportunities around you, or if there are changes in the market that requires your business to change as well.
The traditional way to completing SWOT analysis is to create a blank grid of four columns, one for each. Then, list out important factors under each heading. You can have some factors coming up in more than one box, because a factor that appears as a threat could also be an opportunity.
SWOT analysis enables you to point out your major activities, what you do well in your business, and why you do some things. It also allows you know where your greatest strengths lie, and highlight areas that need adjustments to avoid failure in your business.
The SWOT analysis points out the strengths and weaknesses of your staff, products, and business as a whole. It also evaluates the external opportunities and threats that may have effect on your business, such as technology changes, legislation or financial issues. This article focuses on the first two: strengths and weaknesses.
Know your strengths
Carefully analyze what you know you’re good at in your business, evaluate what your business do well. This could be the way you handle your staff, distribution or customer service. It is essential that you evaluate your strengths with respect to how they compare to those of your competitors. For instance, if you and your competitor offer the same environmentally-friendly packaging, then it cannot be listed as your strength.
Your strengths as regards your business should be what is peculiar to your business alone. If your delivery’s staff is polite and helpful, and your competitor’ staff is not as good as yours, then you can list delivery staff as your strength. You would be realistic while listing out your strengths.
You should also list your own personal strengths and those of your staff as individuals. It is the coordination of total individual strengths that accumulate to the business strength. A business is first about the people in it, not the business itself. But in whatever you do, you have to be totally honest with yourself, and write down reality, not vague things, or strengths you think you have.
Evaluate your weaknesses
Take a look at every aspect of your business, and list out areas where your business can improve. Carefully analyze your products and services, and how they can be improved. Think about whether your suppliers deliver your products when you want it and how you want it. Think about how satisfying your customer service is. The point of analyzing your strengths and weaknesses is to be able to improve your business.
In analyzing your weaknesses, look for areas in your business that needs change, identify any areas of expertise that is needed in your business, and steps you need to take to improve. When you carefully sit down, you will realize that there are some areas you have been overlooking in your business. You may realize that you need more staff, or financial guidance.
Also, consider the location of your business, and see if it suits your goals and purposes. You may also need to go back to your business plan to be sure you have not deviated from the main purpose in which you started the business.
It is also helpful when you seek outsider’s consent on your weaknesses, because some things might not look to you as weaknesses, but they actually are. You may belief that your many years of experience reflects your success in your business as regards meeting your customer’s needs. But your customers may see this as an old-fashioned way, that shows an unwillingness to change and improve on what has been going on in the business. When you seek other people’s consent to point out your weakness, you may hear what you don’t like, but they will really be helpful.
Your weaknesses can turn out to be opportunities if you work around them to address the issues. But you have to be sincere with yourself first to point out the problem. Recognizing the issue is the first step in actually solving it. If you do not acknowledge that you have a problem, you won’t know that you need a solution, or that you can turn it around for your good.
Use the analysis
After you’ve recognized your strengths and weaknesses, it is important that you learn from the information you have acquired. You should plan to build on your strengths, and use them to reach the full potential of your business. Look for ways to reduce your weaknesses, whether by minimizing the risk they bring, or make changes to overcome them. You can turn your weaknesses into opportunities.
Analyzing your strengths and weaknesses go a long way in preventing failure from your business. Through this, you know where to focus on (strengths), and what to improve on (weaknesses).
However, do not focus only on the large issues, you need to consider all aspects of your business. This is how you improve your business, and prevent both present and future failures. In carrying out SWOT analysis as a whole, you should try not to do it alone, take advantage of other people’s opinions as well. Distance can help them see things you wouldn’t see as the business owner.
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