I love January. The holidays are finally over; meaning the overeating, the crowded shopping centers and the Christmas music are done. It’s not that I dislike any of these things, but too much of a good thing can get overwhelming. January means you can slow down, turn over a new leaf, make resolutions that could change your life and put plans into place that will make the year a success. Most of our industry slows down tremendously and making major changes can be accomplished with the least amount of
disturbance.

A good place to start an assessment of your business is with a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. When you take the time to really consider each of these, you can more easily put a plan together to make for a successful year. When assessing any of these, you must consider each aspect of your business. Below are examples of each.

Every company has strengths or being in business would be impossible. Knowing your strengths will help you emphasize them. For example, you may have employees that are particularly skilled at certain jobs. It would follow that you should try to do more events that capitalize on them. Maybe you are particularly creative in some aspect of your business. It would make sense to emphasize this in marketing. Maybe you dominate a niche in your industry giving you the ability to increase profits. Regardless, you have strengths and they should be used to build your business.

Weaknesses are harder to admit to, but ultimately need to be known. Take an honest look at what you can do better or improvements you can make in your business. Maybe you have an employee that is not good for your company in a particularly important position. When you are slow, it is the time to make that change. Maybe your financial position has been strained for some time. Meet with banks and your accountant and figure out how to shore up your finances. Knowing your weaknesses can give
you a game plan on how to change them into strengths.

Opportunities always exist. Most of the time we are too busy to act on them. I guarantee you have connections that can be worked to build your business. Maybe there are new niches you can and should consider. Probably there are potential customers that you should speak to. Put a plan together on how you should approach new opportunities and your business will grow.

Finally, threats are the most serious things you need to consider. They will not make your business more successful, but could derail it and even kill it. Do you have important employees that you need to worry about losing? Figure out what you can do to entice them into being long term partners in your business. Is there a part of your business that another company could come in and take part or all of? Figure out ways to solidify your relationships with your most important customers. Look seriously at each threat and consider how to minimize them.

A SWOT analysis will help you put together a plan for your success. This is more important than many mundane tasks you will fill your days with. Find a quiet spot, turn off your phone and eliminate distractions, maybe pour a glass of wine and contemplate what your SWOT is. Knowing what is the good, the bad and the ugly about your company is the first step in helping make your company what you want it to be.

Blog written by JP Fritz, Lasting Impressions President

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