This post was written by Jessica Sanders, an avid small business writer touching on topics that range from social media to business management. She is also a professional blogger and web content writer for ResourceNation.com.
So, you’ve got your website set up, you’ve started hiring employees, customers are coming in, and things look good. And while that may be the case, perhaps it’s just the right time to perform a SWOT analysis for your growing business.
A SWOT analysis, which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, means assessing your business from a variety of angles to diagnose the health, viability and areas of improvement. From strengths to weaknesses, your business has its own set of unique characteristics that set you apart from the competition. The question is: do you know what they are – or just think you know?
By performing a SWOT analysis, you force yourself to look at the business from an outside perspective. If you’re objective and honest, you’ll have a greater opportunity to evolve as a successful company.
Customer service is a critical aspect of your business. Regardless of what goods or services you provide to the public, when push comes to shove, it’s your customers that make the business successful. Knowing how you handle the customer aspect of your business can be the difference between losing loyal customers and gaining new ones.
- Strengths: Look through testimonials, thank you letters, post-service emails, and find where you’ve been praised. Emphasize to your employees the need to use these strengths as you continue to grow.
- Weaknesses: Look for your worst complaints and get to the bottom of what went wrong. Was it a problem with miscommunication? Should your customer care rep have escalated the issue to upper management?
- Opportunities: Do you have a customer forum or feedback system? If so, take this time to see where you can improve for continued growth. If not, see this as an opportunity to make that happen – being accessible to your customers – via forums, email or social media is critical to successful customer care.
- Threats: Shop your competition – perform an anonymous complaint, and see how the process is handled. This will give you an idea of where your customer service stands next to your competitors.
How you manage your business, from employees to finances, will be a defining factor in how successful you are. Suite101.com suggests, “… If the company has long term, experienced management, this could be listed as a strength, unless the industry is evolving and the company needs new ideas to thrive.”
Assess your management across the board to get an idea of what you can do to bolster growing process. To do this, you’ll want to heavily use your employees.
- Strengths: What do your employees like the most about working with one another and the management team? How can you make this more prominent within the business to encourage evolution and sustainability?
- Weaknesses: From meetings to reviews, many management teams lack in a variety of areas. Consider conducting a private survey to pull out the true weaknesses. Also consider utilizing emotional intelligence tactics to do a personal review of yourself, as well as the rest of the management team.
- Opportunities: Your small business is changing; perhaps it’s in a period of growth. What can you do now for your employees that you couldn’t at the start? A happy employee is an invested employee.
- Threats: Consider employee benefits and the office environment of your competitors. How can you ultimately be sure that they are satisfied with their jobs? It can be as simple as an extra sick day or new office furniture.
While there are a number of angles for you to assess, customer service and internal management will ultimately make or break your business. Satisfied customers means continued business, and successful management leads to productive employees who are happy with their place within the company. If you can be brutally honest in these two categories of your business, you can be sure you’re on the right track.