Keep your business healthy-SWOT
I have great respect for business people in Zimbabwe who have profitable businesses. The environment in Zimbabwe is very challenging and things change every day. As a business person, you need to keep your eyes on the ball. Those companies that take too long to adapt lose a lot of money. The big parastatals only exist because there is no competition. The moment that Tel One has a competitor, it will be in deep water. Most companies are just surviving because they have a monopoly.
I do watch the business environment in Zimbabwe and wonder about the artificial environment in which businesses operate. It is quite interesting to see companies slowly sinking in debt yet they continue to buy big cars and big houses for their executives. This doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world. It is interesting to find executives in Zimbabwe earning as much as US$20 000 a month, in Zimbabwe, while living in a company house and driving a company car with all sorts of benefits on the side. One would think these companies are making millions a month. A classic example is the City of Harare, whose executives earn huge salaries while failing to deliver basic services.
Some of the world’s most learned people are at the helm of Zimbabwean businesses, yet the seem to make basic mistakes. Take for example a SWOT analysis, this can show any manager how the company is doing. There is no need for expensive consultants from abroad; a simple swot analysis can show so many things.
How to do a SWOT analysis.
SWOT basically means Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Strengths and weaknesses are within your control while opportunities and threats are external and the company itself cannot change these. I always think that you should not let things within your control dictate what happens in your business. Change what can be changed. A huge wage bill puts a big dent in the profits and this can be changed. Take opportunities that come up and prepare for threats.
A SWOT analysis example
- Over half of the residents in our marketing territory are affluent.
- Our company is well known.
- We were first in the area to institute telemarketing.
- Suppliers give us excellent service.
- Our financial position and credit rating are good.
- We have strong salespeople at the top of our organization.
- The adjacent town is over 50 percent affluent residents. Penetrating that market would stimulate significant sales growth.
- One of our suppliers has offered co-op advertising, including a billboard.
- Most of our customers use us for only part of what can do with our products and services; the potential for more sales within our existing customer base is high.
- Our competitor is aging and may be receptive to a buy-out if we offer an employment agreement until age 65.
- Implementing a program to include stuffers (showing our full range of products and services) in every mailing to our existing customers could generate cross-sales.
- The independent contractors we use are difficult to control from a reliability and quality standpoint.
- Salespeople often do not follow procedures.
- Lack of a formal budget process results in expenses that could be avoided or delayed.
- Recession, business slowdown.
- A new competitor started up its operation nearby 18 months ago and is cutting prices to attract market share.
- Our employees are being lured abroad with offers of better pay.
- The dollar has been losing value and the rand has been strengthening. This has made the dual currency market unstable.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away. A simple SWOT analysis regularly keeps the consultants away. Keep SWOTing and getting ontop of your weaknesses and threats. Take advantage of opportunities and strengthen your strengths. Its like eating your vege’s. they are good for you.