Business Strategy 101Mar 28, 2022
This week we are going to get strategic!
I don't care if you are still waiting to launch, or if you are several years into your business. This exercise we’re talking through today, is what you need to run through at every stage of your business, when you want to start strong, get unstuck or just launch to the next level.
Are you ready to find your secret sauce, that is going to skyrocket your sales? That special thing that gives you an unfair advantage over your competition?
We are going to do a Success Strategy Session right now!
This is where we map out strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for YOUR business!
This is one of the quickest ways to find opportunities that you can use to grow your business exponentially. You will find ways to make your marketing better, new products or services you have a market for and all sorts of ways to hit those goals we talked about earlier!
More sales, faster – and that's what we all want right?
This is a framework used to determine where your company stands among your competition, and in your marketplace and helps you create the most powerful strategy you can move forward with.
By looking at the internal strengths and weaknesses of your company, you can identify areas that you need to work on, as well as those that give you unique value to your customers. Your “secret sauce”.
Externally, you also look at your competitors as well as the market conditions, and look for needs that may not be currently filled for your customers, trends that you can take advantage of, and so much more.
We get so caught up in the every day running of our business, that it’s really critical to take a step back and have a good look at where we are, what we might be missing, and where we want to change, adapt and really take advantage of opportunities to level up our business.
So how do we do this?
It’s a simple exercise, and I have put together a free worksheet for you with the grid that breaks down what types of things would be included in each section of your SWOT.
Here’s what you need to consider:
Strengths (these are internal factors)
What does your company do really well?
What do you do better or differently than your competitors?
What assets do you have, like special processes, owned property or capital, or proprietary software?
What internal resources do you have, like skilled workers, efficient processes, low overhead?
Weaknesses (these are internal factors)
What needs improvement?
What your competitors do better or differently than you do?
What resources do you lack?
What internal weaknesses do you have, like low quality training, poor morale, or gaps in your processes?
Opportunities (internal or external factors)
What changes in the market are positive for your company? Is there increasing need?
What is the competition doing that you can capitalize on, or is there lack of competition?
Are there markets that are under served?
Is there technology you can utilize to improve efficiency, reduce costs, improve service etc?
Threats (internal or external factors)
Is the market trending away from your product or service?
Is there new competition arriving in your market?
Are there changing regulations that affect your company or customers in a negative way?
Is there negative media coverage?
Now Get it on Paper!
You’ll want to go through and write down your answers for each of the four parts. The examples I have given you may not apply exactly to your business, and there may be many others that do apply that I didn't touch on.
Go through each section and fill it out as it best applies to your specific situation.
After you have completed your analysis, you need to go through all your answers and act on them.
The first one and the easiest to figure out next steps for, is your strengths, because essentially, you’re already doing them.
So really, it’s just “do more of what you’re already good at.”
If your strength is excellent customer service, then keep your staff engaged and motivated and keep the systems in place for training or processes that have gotten you where you are, and improve where possible.
Minimizing your weaknesses
Acting on the weaknesses you identified in your analysis is often a bit more challenging, but just as important.
You’ll want to have a good look at your weaknesses and see which you can correct, and how you can compensate for others. For example, if you had a small family-owned pizza restaurant, and let’s say that a weakness you identified was that your competitors, mostly large chains, had delivery service. You may not ever be able to afford delivery drivers, but perhaps you can offer something extra with all takeout orders or make it really easy for your customers to pick up their orders, with a curbside service.
The opportunities section of your analysis is the part that always gets me the most excited. This is where you will find things like holes in the market and opportunities to grow market segments. Your opportunities list is a great way to move the needle, often with some very small changes.
Have a look at those opportunities on your list and figure out how to take advantage of them. For example, let’s say you are producing organic baby food and you have noticed a big increase in the demand for organic foods in new markets that you aren’t already serving. That’s an opportunity to figure out how to get in front of that market or find a way to make your product appeal to that new demographic, with a special line or marketing that will appeal to them.
Mitigating the threats you find, is often the most difficult part of your analysis, because these factors are mostly external, and you will have limited control over them. But responding to the threats should be your top priority, even if they seem out of your control. You’ll need to make changes that are IN your control, in order address each threat.
So, for example, let’s say you produce a clothing line, and a threat on your list is that your supply chain for the fabric you use is unreliable because of shipping issues from overseas. You can't do anything about shipping delays, but you could look at sourcing from a more local supplier, or adding a new collection to your clothing line, with a different fabric sourced from elsewhere, to diversify your supply chain.
This is one exercise that will really set you up for success and give you some insight into opportunities that can give your business the edge it needs to be a success, right out of the gate or get you growing and scaling faster if you are stuck or ready to grow.
Get the free download, do your analysis, and see what opportunities are waiting for you to pour some rocket fuel on your sales!
Get the SWOT workbook download.
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