Six Steps to Strategic Planning Success – Your Business Weaknesses

Many statements in this post are similar to the instructions for how to study your strengths. The process to study your weaknesses is almost the same. “To achieve results, one has to use all the available strengths–the strengths of associates, the strengths of the superior, and one’s own strengths” – Peter Drucker The typical strategic planning SWOT analysis begins with your business strengths then moves on to discuss your business operation weaknesses. This is where you will create a list of where you believe you can improve. Note that where you think you need improvement and what your customers see as your weakness may be different. Look back over the last twelve months and examine what events and elements hampered growth and progress. Your answers should be quick and obvious. Look at your business from the view of your customers. Consider these three areas to find weaknesses:
  1. Marketing – Where did you waste money on marketing? What advertising campaigns were not productive?
  2. Management – Who in your organization needs coaching and leadership to improve? What group does this person lead?
  3. Finances – Where can you implement performance improvement methods to save money?
Remember that each of these discoveries should be so obvious that they jump out at you and your team when the question is presented. Lawyers use the term “res-ipsa”. It means that the observation is obvious or “on its face” clear. No further analysis needed. Traditional marketing may be dead but it is important for you to prove it to yourself. Study your marketing efforts. Follow the dollars. How many dollars did you spend and how many dollars did you get back in productivity? Remember that marketing must be profitable. If you spend one dollar in marketing then you must get at least one dollar and one cent in return. Any marketing effort that loses money gets fired. Your management team is your greatest and most costly asset. Who in your team is your leader and who is your weakest leader? Who do they lead? Who can you place under such a leader to ensure that the best of your team gets cloned and your weakest team gets support? Remember to be honest in your assessments. If you are running a for-profit business then a good way to identify great leaders is to examine where your profits are coming from. The bottom line in your operation is the financial outcome. Even non-profits cannot survive if they are losing money. Consider whether you are a good steward of your companies profits. Was money squandered on unproductive efforts? What did you do to turn one dollar into two through financial strategy? A proper strategic plan is an excellent too ensure the longevity of your business. It all starts with an honest assessment of what you best.
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