Published January 16, 2019
In continuing on the momentum of last week’s blog about creating your strategic vision, the next step in creating an achievable and actionable business plan is assessing your current situation. Take a hard look at what you achieved in 2018 and determine what worked and what did not work so you can make changes for 2019. Learning from your past mistakes is critical to the success of your future. But, if you’re like most successful advisors, you’re moving at a mile a minute. It can be challenging to find the time to focus on assessing what would move your business forward, but this is a key element to efficiently building on your success.
A business assessment should not be perceived as a means of which to point out what is wrong or broken in your business, but a tool in identifying opportunities for improvement. Each year will present its own highs and lows; analyzing the causes of each can be eye-opening. Most importantly, a business assessment helps to:
- Create clarity
- Present learning opportunities
- Allow you to plan
- Identify areas that need strengthening
- Provide a foundation to make smarter business decisions
How a SWOT Analysis Can Be Helpful in Assessing your Advisory Business
One example of a time-tested business assessment is the classic SWOT analysis. Chances are you’ve heard of the SWOT analysis, which is a basic tool that helps a business determine its status today and its steps for tomorrow. It has been around for decades, but it still proves to be a useful tool for those who know how to use it. If you’ve already done one on your business, or even yourself, it’s time to reexamine your efforts. What is a SWOT analysis? It’s a process that allows you to take a realistic look at your business to determine its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT).
Strengths and Weaknesses: These two areas are from within the company. Answer this question for each strength: How can my business capitalize on the strengths and become even stronger? Do you have a niche market you have not fully tapped into? Do you have a staff member who could be challenged to do more? Have you fully engaged with your excellent client relationships to seek new clients? For each weakness, analyze to determine which can be negated or with some effort turned into a new strength of the company. Maybe you have a professional who is not the right person for the job. Or perhaps you need to fire unprofitable clients that are sucking up your time.
Opportunities and Threats: These two come from outside the organization. Ask if your business is taking advantage of the opportunities that have been identified. Do you have positive brand recognition in your local community but you’re not networking enough? Is there an organization locally that is packaging out employees and you can be reaching out to them? Ask if the threats identified are insurmountable or if they can they be mitigated. Perhaps a threat is a new regulation that has been imposed in the industry and you need to solve for it.
Next steps: After identifying the items, review, assess, and prioritize each. The goal is to take each of the items remaining and use them to improve your business. Once all of this has been collected, categorized and analyzed, it is time to develop an action plan and your goals. We will be reviewing that step in our next blog so stay tuned!