October 20, 2008
Last week I talked about strengths, following up from my post on SWOT Analysis: Simple Tool to Improve Your Business. If you missed one of these previous posts it may be best to go back and review them in order.
Today I will review our discussion on Weaknesses (the “W” in SWOT) as it applies to my business as well as the 15 other small and mid size companies in the exercise. The discussion on Weaknesses was led by Alan Underkofler Blogger for Follow Up Success and Consultant on follow-up strategies for your business. (that’s me!) I started out the discussion just like the previous week. A brief description on SWOT, and discussed how are we going to interact as a group, as well as setting some guidelines for the discussion. I really stressed to everyone not to take the feedback personally but really look at the feedback and decide it it’s you or not you, is the weakness real or not real? The more real and honest the weakness is the more value you will have with the SWOT Analysis. The group had the following ideas to think about before our discussion insuring each person was prepared with at least four weaknesses:
- What could you improve?
- What should you avoid?
- What are people in your market likely to see as weaknesses?
- What factors lose you sales?
- What would your clients say your weaknesses are?
I then picked a few people in the group to start sharing their weaknesses. Here is some of the discussion:
- Rufino Autus, Independent Financial Planner for Autus Financial group listed his weaknesses is as, organization skills, time management, procrastination, prioritizing call backs, and at times when meeting with clients he tends to over educate or give them too much information. Kerry Klindtwoth, a Realtor with Keller Williams suggested hiring an assistant and committing to a calendar system. The group also talked about the perceptions we have of Rufino and making sure they are in line with who he is or wants to be.
- Owen Fabert, Consultant for Pampered Chef listed his weaknesses is as lack of organization, lack of self confidence, uncomfortable in a leadership roles, follow up, easily distracted, and listening. Paula Sassi, owner of Handwriting Consultants International added “What you perceive of yourself is not how we perceive you” . The group all agreed Owen is a leader and we could see no self confidence issues. Angie Swartz, Executive Coach and Blogger for Six Figure Moms Club quoted Howard Schultz Chairman and CEO of Starbucks on the challenge of facing obstacles and doubt while working through something unfamiliar and uncomfortable, “There’s a fine line between self-doubt and self-confidence, and it’s even possible to feel both emotions simultaneously. Back then, and often enough today, I could be overwhelmed with insecurities, and at the same time have an abundance of self-assurance and faith.” Angie points out most people striving for greatness have this same feeling. It’s not that you are not a leader it’s that you are striving to grow yourself at all times.
- Ted Pittman, Owner of T.L.E. Promotional Products listed his weaknesses as organization, some limits on capabilities, small size of company, procrastination, awareness of his company in the market. I added one of the products Ted provides is corporate apparel and suggested he should be wearing logoed apparel to promote his brand and business. Angie asked about sponsoring events and suggested donating products with his company logo on the products to create more awareness.
With this discussion on weaknesses, I found myself looking at different areas of my life, both business and personal, where all of these weaknesses have come up for me at one time or another. Time management, clients and potential clients perception of me, talking too fast, and even working too much are all areas I am currently working on. Listening to the other members of the group really allowed me to identify weaknesses from my past, reflecting on these past weaknesses is a great way to insure they do not show up again.
My last thought on this discussion of weaknesses is no matter what your weakness is you can change it. If it’s truly a weakness you cannot change the easiest solution is to surround yourself with people that excel in your weakness. If organization is a weakness for you, hire very organized people. If time management is a weakness for you, identify your highest priorities and schedule them into your day. We have solutions to each of our weaknesses, most times right in front of us. Quoting my friend John Assaraf, founder of One Coach “hire people that play at things you are not good at”.
As we move along in our SWOT Analysis reflect on your newly discovered strengths and weakness. You can start amplifying your strengths and eliminating your weaknesses anytime. If you have started making changes in your business from reading about SWOT please share them with us by leaving a comment.
Next week our discussion will be on Opportunities (the “O” in SWOT).