Identifying Weaknesses in a Business

Before you can begin to improve or grow your business, you have to first be able to recognize its weaknesses. By identifying weaknesses in a business, you’ll better know where your company falls short and what areas you need to make better to increase profits, efficiency, and productivity.


Follow these tips for identifying weaknesses in a business:


  • Look at every area of your business. Leave no stone unturned. Examine every department of your company and determine any shortcomings or areas where things may fall short, or could be done better. Is the department doing things as effectively as they could be? Is the general structure of the department working? Delve into each department’s politics and procedures, and pinpoint any problem areas. Also, be sure to look at how departments work together, too. A great company is only as good as the sum of its parts, so you need to ensure your individual departments are working together cohesively and cooperatively. It may be wise to consult managers in this step and get a feel for what weaknesses they may spot within their own departments.


  • Rate the severity. When you’re identifying weaknesses in a business, it’s important to note that not all issues are created equal. Take the time to rate the severity of each weakness you write down. How serious is it? How much does it affect your bottom line? How quickly does this need to be fixed? When you’re done with determining all your company’s weaknesses, you’ll likely have an exhaustive list. Rating the severity of each item can help give you some guidance as to what to focus on first.


  • Be honest and objective. It may be difficult, but in order to truly identify all the weaknesses and shortcomings of your business, you have to be completely honest and candid. This process is designed to help your company, not hurt it, so try to be as objective as possible. Doing so will better arm you to improve your business and its productivity.


  • Evaluate your employees. This doesn’t mean just review your employees’ performance, but instead, look at their jobs as a whole. Are job duties aligned in a way that is using your staff’s skills and resources to the best of their ability? Do some people have too much on their plate, while others have too little? Also, look at training. Are your employees properly trained to complete their duties? Are they incentivized and motivated to do better? These are all things to think about when looking to improve the efficiency and productivity of your company.


  • Check out the competition. Take a look at the marketplace as a whole. How does your business differ from the competition? Do your products or services offer something unique that stands out from the other companies? Especially look at the costs and value of comparable products. If someone else is doing it better, delve into why. How can you get your company to the level they’re at?


  • Take stock of your equipment. Look closely at your company’s equipment and technology. Is it all still in working order? What will need to be replaced soon? Specifically take time to analyze your computers, phone systems, and other resources. Technology trends change quickly and often, so these items tend to become obsolete in just a few years. Identify any items that are out of date or may need upgrading in the near future.


  • Consider your reputation. To really get a handle on the state of your company, you need to consider your reputation – how you’re viewed by customers, by the public, and by your industry. Would customers choose your product over another company’s? Is your brand trustworthy? If your reputation just isn’t where it should be, write it down as a weakness.


  • Include others. Once you’ve built your comprehensive list of weaknesses, have a review session with key players on your management team. Let them provide input on your list, and ask for any additional items they’d like to add. Then you can begin brainstorming ways to improve upon the areas you all agree show weakness.


Need help identifying weaknesses in a business? Here at the Connell Curtis Group, our strategic management consultants will use the SWOT analysis method to determine strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, so you can improve and better your company’s performance.


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