Looking Inward: 6 Ways to Better Understand Your Business’ Strengths and Weaknesses

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There’s one question that you always need to ask yourself when it comes to your business, and that question is: am I being too soft? When assessing your business, you may find yourself looking through the lens of rose coloured glasses. You might be quick to outline the strengths of your enterprise, but how about its weaknesses?

You may not be as honest as you need to be.

Perhaps your work is too close your heart, and you cannot separate yourself enough from it to allow a clear picture? However, not being able to assess your business from an impartial standpoint can be a fatal mistake.

It’s almost like being a bad teacher. Your ‘student’ will have lower grades and never flourish the way it might have been able to if you had only identified exactly where it was experiencing difficulties and worked to overcome them. Similarly, you need to apply this approach to your business in order to help it along.

What are 6 ways to better understand your business’ strengths and weaknesses?

1. Use SWOT analysis

The first port of call in assessing your business comes down to SWOT analysis and related business intelligence software (see below). SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats and is a core component in business strategy. It’s still one of the most popular systems used in analysing business performance, even 50 years after it was first developed.

As this article explains, SWOT analysis has several key benefits for your business. Some of these relate to an ability to understand future/current plans and market trends alongside the state of your products/services/customers. It also allows you to shed a light on your competitors. It can generate exact, down-to-the-measure strategies on how to eliminate these threats, pushing them right to the curb. In this way, SWOT analysis does big things for your business.

2. Invest in business intelligence software

It’s the digital era, so technology comes firmly into the equation.

You can now take the ‘hard yards’ out of analytics by investing in programs that provide solutions that make business strategy about as difficult as tying your shoelaces. Business intelligence software allows you comprehensive insight into the successes and shortcomings of your bottom line, by way of data and statistics incorporating SWOT analysis.

You need to start with crystalized, clear-as-day facts and figures in order to identify where you need to start improving your business, right this very minute. If you can understand exactly where your business is being outranked by competitors you can enact strategies to ensure that it does not continue to lag behind the rest of the market. Accurate reporting allows for prudent decision making, meaning you can take leaps and bounds to make your business the industry leader in practically no time at all.

3. Ask for advice

If you are a CEO or business owner, it’s likely that those around you might not be as honest with you as would like. This situation is not beneficial for the continued success of your business.

You need honesty from your workforce, which can be difficult.

Your employees have a vested interest in keeping everything appearing as though it is in perfect order. After, all it’s their job on the line should they make a misstep. If you have a Board and Board members, it can also be hard to get honest feedback where it counts, as this article explains.

Your people can be very unwilling to offer criticism, for obvious reasons.

Instead of prodding in a way that generates unease (or, potentially even fear), try asking for advice. This is in order to ‘level the playing field’ and allow suggestions to be made. You’ll be surprised as to what veritable pearls of information you stand to glean. This is to ultimately to improve your business for the better.

4. Be transparent

Transparency can be a big problem in business. That’s why it’s so important to be ‘hands on’ as a boss. Your clients and customers are your bottom line. Make sure you receive honest information about your business’ performance from where it counts. In saying this, remember to be proactive in fostering the kind of environment that can allow for an honest exchange of information.

Treat your employees like adults, listen to them and allow them to be feel comfortable enough to be forthwith. This is so you can get the most straightforward picture of just what is going on in a day-to-day basis in your business. Looking for more tips on how to create a better level of transparency? This article offers some great pointers.

6. Be accountable

If you are able to understand your own weaknesses and address them, so to will you be able to understand the areas in which you need to most improve upon your in business. You will be able to act upon them a deft manner, without shying away in the slightest. Always be receptive to the complaints of your clients/customers. Be humble, accept constructive criticism and be open to constantly improving the performance and responsiveness of your business.

You may do well to implement regular and rigorous surveys and other types of tools that measure levels of satisfaction and expectation when it comes to what you offer in the way of customer service. Remember: as the boss, the buck stops with you. Inspire your employees by consistently evaluating systems and processes. Undoubtedly, being an accountable leader will have positive flow-on effects. You may like to check out this article for some good advice on leadership.

Remembers, your weakness is your strength

Understanding your business’ strengths and weaknesses in much like applying the expression of ‘tough love’. You need to leave no stone unturned in your assessment in order to make sure that your business has its best chance of surviving, particularly in relation to its competitors.

Using tried and tested analytical tools and software – alongside standards of accountability/transparency – are the best way to gain clarity on where you business stands to improve. If you can be honest about what and where your business lacks traction and take direct action, you can lay the groundwork for a solid, sustainable (and profitable) future for you and your business.