Following is the first of a series on Growing Your Business. Designed to help your laundry build business and margins, the articles offer simple, effective ways to identify and build strengths, minimize threats and take advantage of opportunities.
Life in the laundry business is full of daily surprises. The “Urgent” often takes precedent over the important. This article outlines a simple, practical process for taking that critical first step to profitable growth . . . Step back and evaluate your business…
- Does what you know align with what you are doing?
- Are there things you should know that you don’t?
- What are the areas of focus that will drive growth and improve profitability?
Often success is not measured by radical change or new and different ideas, but by rational, logical analysis and well thought out conclusions. Direction forged by objectively looking at your business then taking action in a deliberate manner.
To help you get started, I’ve provided a time-tested tool, the S.W.O.T. analysis that is helpful in charting a direction or validating your current course. While it may seem simple, it helps you focus on your strengths, minimize threats, and take the greatest possible advantage of opportunities available to you. Here are two links.
- A blank S.W.O.T. analysis. To be completed by you and/or your team.
- A “Prepopulated” S.W.O.T analysis. This is not intended as a substitute for your or your team’s ideas, but is intended to be thought provoking and to help you get started
The basic concept is to look at your business through 4 lenses…A few examples are outlined below (These may or may not apply to your business.)
- What are you good at?
- Why should customers pick your company/stay with your company?
- Why choose your company over the big national providers?
- Lack of a large sales force or perhaps any sales force
- Garment acquisition costs
- “Depth & Breadth” of your product assortment
- Technical Expertise
- Route/Day Flexibility
- A clear concise sales message on why a customer should choose your company
- Do I know who my target customer is? Size, location, product mix. Does the sales team know and execute to the target?
- Does my company look professional? Trucks, Personnel, Initial Presentation, Proposal, Web Site, Business Cards . . . Do I look safe to buy from?
- Do you know why you are winning and how/why you are losing… Are you asking?
- Do I have an effective early renewal strategy? Am I renewing accounts two years out? Am I proactive in helping to keep them protected from market pressures
- Low unit rates… from the large national companies
- Reuse…How do I maximize my reuse while growing my business?
- Merchandise Cost…How do I walk the line between innovation and merchandise cost?
- If my customer fires me will I be surprised? How am I perceived by my customers
i. Do I ask on a scheduled basis…Is it documented?
ii. Am I asking the right person?
These examples are conceptual in nature. Your ideas are what matters. Take the time to let your knowledge and experience work for you in a purposeful method.
Caution: Often the result of this analysis is more actions items than band width. Don’t get caught in this trap. Choose one idea that’s most important and implement it. Then move on to the next. Maybe it’s three. Two large and three small; you decide! The key . . . taking actions that make your business better.
Future Titles in this series include:
- So You Know Who You Are…Now Go Tell The Customer
- New Customers… Do You Know Who Your Target Is?
- “Show It” vs. ” Say It” … The Power Of Visual Content
- How Can I Compete With The Big Guys?