S.W.O.T. Analysis

This is called different things in different countries, but it’s almost always some kind of analysis of your businesses “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats”.

This can be valuable to consider – and better get down on paper – so that you’re fully aware of each of these 4 things… and you can address them in advance… before you start your business.

The most valuable part of this is looking at the negatives: your weaknesses and your threats. Sounds odd that it would be valuable to focus on negatives but entering your business with full consciousness of your advantages and disadvantages is ALWAYS a wise move.

What’s more… most of us are well aware of our strengths. It’s easy to look at what’s awesome about ourselves. Conversely it takes a mature soul to honestly appraise one’s weaknesses.

So do your Strengths and Opportunities first. Get them down. Then, ponder the opposite for a while a while. Some weaknesses you might consider are…

- Your business is new, you’re starting from scratch in your market, you haven’t had a cleaning business before, you’ll need outside funding, the market in your area is mature, the market in your area (the kind of people who get their houses/businesses cleaned) isn’t large, your financial situation puts time constraints on your hours of operation…

And there are many more possible. Haha, not SUPER fun to think about, are they. We’ll do Threats now, then we’ll get to the MOST important part.

Then consider your threats. Things like…

- Economic conditions in coming years might force people to cut back on luxuries like house cleaning… competitors in your area could be really well established… you might have some upcoming event in your personal future that – if it went a certain way – make continuing the business more difficult… you could run out of money…

And there are more too. Ok, that wasn’t so bad. Let’s get to…

A Plan To HANDLE Your Weaknesses and Threats

People who look at business plans all day know what they’re looking for. They know anyone can be confident about their strengths. But when they see someone honest about their weaknesses/threats AND that have a plan to overcome them… that stands out.

So let’s take some common weaknesses, and discuss possible plans for how to overcome them.

Possible Weakness #1: Management have no prior industry experience

Plan to Overcome Weakness: Management will be spending time during the start up phase, meeting with and discussing the business – inside out – with people in the industry. Since there is no formal way to “learn” how to be in cleaning business, management will gather as much information as they can, from as many different sources as they can, on the inner workings of the business and the industry.

Further, management are undertaking their own independent study of business and marketing principles through XYZ (whatever it is) to do everything possible to guarantee future success.

Note: Having gone through material like The Ultimate Cleaning Business Package will work hugely in your favor here – as well generally helping you to profit from your cleaning biz as quickly as possible.

Make sense? (Note: You actually have to do those things as well. And they’re smart things to do. That kind of insider knowledge that can people gained through experience is PRICELESS to you).

Possible Weakness #2: XYZ Cleaning (your business name) are starting from scratch in a market where existing competitors are reasonably well established.

Plan To Overcome Weakness: Management have identified a segment of the existing market that they feel is low in saturation, and have a unique selling point that will allow better access to that segment in the wider market, and with the potential for new access to new sub markets in the area. (could state what the unique selling point is here – established in our last post – for most emphasis)

Got it?

Each person & business that goes through this process will have different weaknesses and challenges to deal with. The point isn’t to deal with them in XYZ perfect way, it’s just to TRY to deal with them, and demonstrate that you have done that. That’s what will help you, and that’s what will help others to know that you’re deserving of their help.

Finishing this stuff – that’s your SWOT Analysis done. Now you can move on to…

Your Competitors

This starts out nice and easy. You have to list them.

If you didn’t do it in other steps from our previous posts – naughty – start today. Go out and hunt down the best cleaning businesses in your area and take notes. Scan local directories for them, look online, hustle local billboards.

You want to try and isolate your top 2 or 3 (up to 5 if it’s a big area and there are more). And by “top 2 or 3″ I mean those of them that look as though they’re doing the best. How do you know who’s doing the best? Great question. Some hints are:

- The most expensive looking ads: Color, size and how professional they look can be hints that the person is paying a lot for their ads. Of course, this is dumb, and if they’re wasting big money on ads like that, you’ll be able to do it better than them… more about that later :)

- Age of their company: In most countries you can search a government database of businesses and see when a corporation (or company, or business) was registered. You can assume that the longer your competitor has been in business, the better they are (since they’ve survived for that long).

- Who answers when you call? Ask them. Is it them who’s cleaning your house, or is it an assistant of the company who will take your appointment and have the cleaners come around. That means they have a bigger company with more employees, for which they’d need a bigger turn over.

And you should record this data for your business plan as well. It’s good to know these details, and anyone assessing your business will  get a lot from seeing it in there.

There are other ways to determine your best competitors as well. That should be enough to make your top competitors list in approximate order of best to worst.

Next…

How Do You Rate Compared To Them?

This one we should have worked out. You should be able to write a paragraph stating (based on your strengths and weaknesses established earlier AND your unique selling point) how your competitors are good, how they’re bad, and how you plan to be different and better.

That should be easy since it’s based on things you’ve already worked out.

After that, you’re done the Marketing part of your business plan!

Time now to move on to the next step… Your Company’s Vision… This is an exciting one :)

Click Here To Go To “Making Your Business Plan: Your Company’s Vision”.

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