Recognizing The Strengths And Weaknesses Of Your Business

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A frequently asked question in a job interview is to give your greatest strength and your greatest weakness.  Many business owners, however, don’t take the time to think about the strengths and weaknesses of their businesses.  This is important as you make plans for your business and find ways to make it grow and be more successful.  It is also important when you decide to sell, as buyers may ask you to explain to them the strengths and weaknesses of your business.

A good start to recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of your business is to put yourself in the place of a buyer.  I sometimes use that when business owners want to list their business for more than it is worth.  I simply ask them if they would pay that amount for their business, and that opens up a deeper conversation.

A strength that every business should have is integrity.  From the owner of a business and flowing down throughout the entire staff of employees, integrity and honesty are essential.  It is difficult to have a successful business if customers do not trust you and your staff.  If you find an employee is dishonest and isn’t truthful to your customers, it is best to replace that employee with someone who has integrity.

Excellent customer service is another important strength to have.  No customers, of course, would mean no business.  Building a personal relationship with customers and following up to see if the product or service sold to them is satisfactory is very important.  You are competing for these customers with all of your competitors.  Being friendly with your competitors and agreeing to sell or buy from them makes life easier for all, as either of you may occasionally need a part or something for a customer.  It is a good idea to analyze your competitors to see if there is anything you might want to do to increase your market share.  Maybe you could expand the number of products sold and even break out to completely different products.  You should continually look at possible changes in your business, as no change means you are becoming stagnant and not growing.

A good training program for new employees is important and will start them in a positive direction.  It will also help build strong employee attitudes.  As employees may need to be absent from work periodically, it is a definite strength of a business to have more than one employee with knowledge of the operation of each machine or department.  This enables the business to operate fully in the event of an unexpected absence.  Of course, the business owner should be able to step in and do any job at a moment’s notice.  As a part of the training process, employees should be trained to do what the business owner does.  You should not be so tied to the business that you never leave for vacation, and employees also need to be able to keep the business running as usual in case of an emergency that takes you out for a few days or longer.

In addition to training employees to do what you do in the business, you should plan how you would leave the business when you decide to sell it, suddenly become very ill or die.  If you become very ill and unable to work in the business or suddenly die, everything can be lost as your family tries to run the business they know nothing about.  If the employees are trained to operate it without you, they can continue, making it possible to sell your prosperous business.  You will know they can do that, as you will have been taking deserved vacations while they ran the business without you.  Although you need to be prepared for anything, hopefully you will be able to sell when you decide to retire or do something different.  The business is much easier to sell if you have trained and trusted employees who can operate the business without you.  That makes you look good and the person a new owner will be happy to follow.

When you sell your business, it is a very personal thing.  You have put blood, sweat and tears into it and are proud of your accomplishments, as you should be.  Because of this, some people are hesitant to see new owners improve the business and make it grow even more.  It is actually a compliment to the seller that the profitable business continues to thrive.  Be prepared to sell and walk away knowing a buyer paid you and appreciates you for the great business you are leaving.

  • Author: Pat Jones
  • Title: President/Owner - Business Broker
  • Company: Pat Jones Business Brokers
  • Company Website:
  • Date: October 26, 2017
  • Category: Buying a Franchise or Business
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