Assess your business strengths and weaknesses

With 2015 knocking on the door, it is a good time to evaluate 2014 and consider future plans to make 2015 more profitable.  Most commercial business owners will carry out the exercise of business planning, if they want to maximise success. An important part of the business plan is a SWOT analysis, which assesses Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Download our free toolkit to get started.

How is your business performing right now?

Essentially when preparing a business plan there are a number of options for where you can start the process.

One suggestion is to use a SWOT Analysis as a starting point. It’s a good place to kick off because it gets you thinking about where your business currently stands in relation to it’s:

  • STRENGTHS
  • WEAKNESSES
  • OPPORTUNITIES
  • THREATS

 

From here, considerations can be made based on this knowledge for key areas that need improvements and to duplicate things that are working well.

Where to start: SWOT analysis

Lansdell & Rose have prepared a SWOT analysis template for you to download or you can create your own style if you prefer. The important thing is getting your thoughts and ideas onto paper.

[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”lifted-both” width=”350px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]Download our SWOT Analysis Template here

Make the first steps to a more profitable business in 2015 [/dropshadowbox]

Step 1: Consider your business Strengths

Ask yourself the question, “what works well in your business?”

What generates income and what saves you time.

Step 2: Consider your business Weaknesses

Now ask yourself the question, “what doesn’t work well in your business?”

What causes you and your team excess time with little or no return? What makes you finish work at the end of the day feeling deflated for whatever reason?

Step 3: Consider your business opportunities and threats

Think about your market place, the economy, gaps in the market that could be exploited as well as your competition and how they are perhaps performing. Are they expanding or struggling?

5 key business areas

As a suggestion, when working through the process, break down your thoughts into further sub-categories for added focus:

FINANCE

This could include:

o  Your financial process, paying suppliers and staff, cost of supplies and stock etc.

o  Access you have to financial information and reports to enable you to make accurate business decisions.

o  How quickly you are paid from customers, your cash flow.

OPERATIONS

This could include:

o  The quality of your machinery and equipment and how efficient it is.

o  The efficiency of your business in general. Are you maximising time?

o  Thoughts around expansion of products, services.

MARKETING & SALES

This could include:

o  How effective is your marketing? Are you getting a good number of enquiries or leads for new business? Do you convert new business effectively?

o  Are sales rising, falling or static? Which product or service sells best?

o  How much do you spend on marketing for the return you get?

TEAM

This could include:

o  Which of your team perform well, which don’t.

o  Do you need an extra pair of hands in one department?

o  Do you have a good system in place to motivate your staff to continue developing them within your business and maximise retention?

STRATEGY

This could include:

o  Expansion ideas as a whole business

o  Exit strategy, such as retirement planning

o  Business planning and forecasting on a more regular basis.

These are just ideas to provide examples.

[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”lifted-both” width=”350px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]Your notes just need to be an honest reflection of where your business stands.[/dropshadowbox]

Next steps: the rest of your business plan

Once you have detailed all your thoughts onto the SWOT analysis, the next step is to work on other parts of your 2015 business plan. The following are recommended as a minimum for a commercial business owner:

1) Financial forecast

o  Profit and loss projection

o  Cash flow forecast

2) Marketing Strategy and budget

Lansdell & Rose will be providing some guidance and templates on these areas in future articles so be sure to keep an eye on our blog and the monthly newsletter.

To speak with one of our experience commercial team about growing and developing your business in 2015, call today to arrange an appointment with Michael or Mark.

T: 020 7376 9333

E: info@lansdellrose.co.uk

 

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