Our businesses are continually impacted by external changes over which we have no control. I have had several recent conversations with clients and prospects that are reexamining their business models in light of fluctuations in market conditions and other factors. Are you monitoring external changes impacting your business? What are you doing about them?
A good place to start is to identify the strengths of your business. What are they? Business owners can enumerate their perception. Are they real or what they would like them to be? Owners may be surprised when customers or employees have different opinions. As businesses evolve, an organization’s strengths change. Business conditions, competition, technology and other factors impact an organization constantly.
How do you confirm your organization’s strengths? Three obvious ways are:
1. Ask customers
2. Ask selected or all key employees
3. Ask your trusted advisors
Start with the end in mind. Why are you asking the questions and what information are you expecting to receive? Each group will give you different answers based upon how the questions are posed. To create usable information, the questions should be designed to elicit answers that can be easily consolidated and summarized.
What questions should you ask? That depends on your business and the information you want to gather. For example, you may want to determine what new products and services that are not currently offered could add potential revenue streams. These questions can be posed individually or as a survey sent electronically. You can do it yourself. If you are a consumer oriented business, you could use your Facebook for Business page to elicit feedback from your fans. Alternatively, you can create an electronic survey using free or low cost tools like Survey Monkey. These electronic tools will automatically summarize the results. When you have the consolidated results, they can be used as your base line starting point.
How will you use the answers to build your business? When the results are analyzed, action items will be identified. Some action items may be short term and yield quick results. Others could lead to fundamental business model changes that will take more time to implement. Ultimately, the action items lead to new revenue generating opportunities from your business development activities. These would strengthen your competitive position.
When was the last time you validated your organization’s strengths? If it has been more than a year, it may be time to revisit them.
Do you have the time or qualified staff to accomplish this? If not, let’s schedule a conversation. For more information, contact me at (973) 933.2468, via email at email@example.com or through our website at http://www.bergerbusinessadvisors.com/contact