Chapter Two: Weaknesses & Opportunities
Without spilling too many words for an introduction lets recap our previous chapter, and jump right into the second in our guide to conducting a SWOT Analysis.
In chapter one we covered what the S.W.O.T. Analysis is, what it does, why it’s an important tool to help grow your business, plus we kicked things off by looking at the “S” — or, your cleaning company’s strengths. Chapter two will focus on how to identify your weaknesses, and on the opposite end of the scale, how to spot opportunities. So, let’s jump right in.
Everyone knows what a weakness is — something that you’re not good at. Something that brings you down. Something that makes you less strong, less competitive. Weaknesses hold you back. Why is it so important to self-identify your weaknesses as a business? Because without doing so, you won’t be able to turn them into strengths. To solve a problem, you first need to realize there is one, right? It’s time to get humble. Consider the questions below when outlining your weaknesses in the S.W.O.T. Don’t hold back.
Psst: We’ll touch further on what you’ll do with the S.W.O.T. in Chapter Three.
The Difference Between a Weakness and a Threat
While similar in nature, weaknesses and threats as identified in your S.W.O.T. Analysis play different roles. Think of your weaknesses as something internal, that you have control over changing. Threats, on the other hand, are not things that are inherently “wrong” with your cleaning company, but come from the outside. Threats are external, but can still cause a lot of damage. Being proactive and identifying these threats helps you to brainstorm ideas around avoiding the threats, or at least making the best of them. One big example could be a new competitor opening up in your area. While you can’t control this from happening, you can have a strategy in place on how you’ll compete with what they have to offer. But more on that in the next chapter.
Pinpoint Your Weaknesses by Answering the Following Six Questions:
- What could we do better?
- What’s holding us back from doing our best?
- What do our clients sometimes complain about?
- What do our cleaners not like about working with us?
- Are there opportunities we are not taking advantage of? If so, why?
- What are some of the reasons we’ve lost cleaning contracts?
In chapter one, we explained the difference between strengths and opportunities. Opportunities are typically external factors that could be tapped into that will give your janitorial company a competitive advantage. Opportunities can range from applying for a grant for funding your company, to simply not using your own cleaners as recruiters. In the last chapter we used the recruitment idea as the main example, so let’s expand. Why is this an opportunity?
The Recruitment Program Example
You have cleaners working for your business that are rockstars who do their jobs well, and love working for your cleaning company. Yes, we know this isn’t the case for every single employee, but likely for a handful. These rockstar cleaners are the perfect people to help recruit other, like-minded, hard-working cleaners to your company. You, as a business owner, have a major opportunity to design an employee-led recruitment program. This is an opportunity because it’s something that could help grow your business. It’s an opportunity because you’re not already doing this, but you could. Self-reflecting and identifying opportunities is an amazing way to brainstorm some seriously smart ideas for your company. So let’s get started.
Learn About Your Opportunities by Answering These Questions:
- If you’re part of a franchise: What tools and support systems are you not taking advantage of?
- How could your cleaners help you to find more cleaners?
- Are you currently asking for client testimonials?
- Are you currently asking clients for feedback?
- Do you do employee surveys?
- Do you ever gather information on your competitors?
- Are you using janitorial software?
- How do you find new clients?
- Are there any external support systems that could help my business? (I.e. associations, groups)
Turning Opportunities into Strengths: One Final Example
One easy example of turning an opportunity into a strength would be identifying an industry association for business owners that you could join. Associations often provide valuable information on business insurance, grants and funding, mentorship programs and more. Taking advantage of this opportunity will allow you to tap into these support systems and learn how to better grow your business.
Swept is dedicated to highlighting stories that touch everyone in the janitorial industry. Having started as a commercial cleaning company ourselves, our hearts go well beyond the janitorial software we offer. Learn more about Swept’s cleaning company software here. And to keep up on all the trends in the janitorial services industry, subscribe to our blog!