Many business owners fail to do this one crucial step: take the time to understand their strengths and weaknesses and how they relate to your competitors. But this strategic analysis is so crucial in helping you determine on what you need to focus on to reach the state of where you want to be.
Evaluate what state of your business is at now, to gain vast insights into the path your business needs to take to attain success. Here are some questions to reflect on your business and its value:
- Why did I start my business in the first place?
- When I was first starting out, where and how did I reach my clientele (the process, actions,
- Why did clients buy from me originally?
- Why do they buy from me now?
- What is my main method of acquiring clients that built my business?
- Which marketing/sales methods brought in most of my clients? Specifically, in percentages out of
all my business?
- Do I test a variety of aspects of marketing/sales methods to make sure they are efficiently
producing the best profits?
- How much do I interact with my clients at the sales level (Take orders, sell, follow-up, enact
- What are the current sales methods I personally perform today? How do these methods differ
from those performed when I first started my business?
- Where are the demographics of my clients?
- Would I prefer attracting new clients or earning from my existing clientele, and why?
- Who would benefit from my success, with the exclusion of my clients, my employees
and my family members?
- Who are the suppliers that would be driven to help me grow my business, because it will directly
benefit them at a higher level?
- When I attain a new client, who else have I directly created a new client for?
- Describe my business (what and how do I sell, my prospects categorized by industry, specialized
niche or commercial classification).
- What is the mission and philosophy of my business?
- How have my methods for doing business changed since its’ inception?
- What are my sales per employee and how does it compare to the industry average?
- What is the “lifetime value” of my typical client (i.e., how much revenue
will he/she generate for me over the entire buying period he/she does business with my company)?
- What is the number 1 complaint about my business, and what am I doing to address it?
- What is my Unique Selling Proposition or USP in my overall business and in different
product/service lines or segments?
- Is my USP the main theme in all of my marketing and sales efforts? If yes, how, and if no, why
- Describe my marketing program or marketing mix (all the different types of marketing tools and
platforms and how they create synergies – i.e. social media marketing, sales letters/direct mail,
email marketing, advertisements, etc.).
- Who are my main competitors and what offerings do they have that I lack?
- What processes do I implement to counteract their advantage? Are they efficient and effective?
- Am I filling the gap in terms of my competitors’ failings?
- Specifically, what do my clients really want? What is the evidence for this?
- Calculate my market potential and my current share of that market?
- Do clients only patronize from me exclusively? What steps should I take to gain market share?
- What is the cost of acquiring a new client (i.e., if I ran an advertisement that cost $3,000 and I
obtained two new clients, my cost would be $1,500)?
- What is my most profitable and best source of new business? Am I doing utilizing all my
resources efficiently to secure and retain this business?
- What my most successful marketing campaign (defined as a specific promotion, advertising
campaign, sales letter, etc.)?
- What is my biggest marketing problem or challenge today? Completely describe it in the most
honest and direct way as possible, including personal, financial, and transactional implications it may
- What can I do to reduce the risk of transaction or lower the barrier of entry to encourage my
prospects to do business with me? (e.g. guarantees, free-mium model, etc.)
- Is there a system to communicate and resell to my clients?
- Do I have a system that captures and publishes client testimonials?
- Am I actively soliciting referral business?
- Have I tried to reactivate my former clients and non-converted prospects?
- Have I tried peddling my list of non-converted prospects to my competitors?
- Do I consistently update and interact with my clients on how and what my company is doing to
- What up-selling methods do I use and how can I improve them?
- Should I focus on gaining new clients or are reorders from current clients sufficient to sustain my
- Do I ever barter my offerings or assets with other companies in exchange for their products,
services or assets?
- What kind of guarantee or warranty do I provide. Where does it stand compared to those
offered by my competitors or the industry in general?
- What is my client attrition rate?
- Do I have a system to capture the names and contact information of all my clients and
prospects? Do I utilize this in my marketing campaigns?
- What is my average order amount, and what can I do to boost it?
- Calculate how much is the original sale to a new client worth?
- Where do I get my client lists?
- Do I rent out my client list to other companies? If so, what were the results?
What can you do?
Congratulations! You are ahead of your 95% of the businesses out there who fail to take the time to reflect on their strategy but are bogged down by the day-to-day grind of running their business.
After reflecting on these questions, you should be enlightened on the position your business is in. This business intelligence is a crucial foundation for you to make better decisions, sharpen your strategy and adapt your steps to achieve your big goals. Furthermore, you would be able to gain the profits you desire in a shorter time-frame due to the fact that you can focus in out which areas you truly need to take action.
Be clear on the areas you need improvement and the areas that need a completely overhaul to make your business more profitable and effective. Now, you know what to focus on, be sure to be consistent and disciplined to act on it!