There are many different types of consultants. Business, IT, HR, Marketing, etc. IT consultants can fix hard drives, cloud problems; HR consultants can protect you from wrongfully terminating an employee and teach you how to hire in order to get the best candidate for the job; Marketing Consultants can help you launch a product. Business Consultants offer strength in business strategy and an overall picture. Without a doubt, professional Business Consultants help clients by utilizing at least some form of these 3 analytical assessment tools: SWOT, SLEPT, and Value Chain. Below, we discuss what these are, and how YOU can start streamlining your business for success today!
SWOT (Inside your company: Strengths, Weaknesses; Inside Your Industry: Opportunities, Threats)- This analysis is often the hardest for an owner/manager to do on their own company as we are either our company’s harshest critic, or biggest fan. This analysis asks what are your company is good at and what could your company improve upon. It also asks what opportunities industry has to offer, and what threats do working inside that industry entail?
Challenge: Always remember strengths, especially when you are feeling like you just can’t get ahead. Never forget that weaknesses can become strengths when you identify and fix them. Take advantage of the opportunities in the industry you are in. Turn your threats into opportunities by doing what it takes to become first to market or research to fix the mistakes other companies have made launching their product ahead of yours.
SLEPT (Inside your Industry-Social, Legal, Environmental/Economic, Political, and Technological factors)- This tool helps to analyze the industry within which you are competing, in order to find Opportunities and Threats in the areas listed above. For example social trends play a huge role in opportunities available in an industry just based on what large percentage of purchasing target markets are wanting to pay for. Legal generally has to do with threats due to regulations of the area or industry. Environment and Economy play a huge role in whether a product or service is sustainable or affordable and if that happens to be an opportunity or a threat to the position your company is in. Politics plays a large role in what is available as tax rates either skyrocket or are given a break to business owners. Technology is either a disruption or offers an opportunity base on what industry, skills, and commitments are needed.
Challenge: Taking 5-10 mins per day for a week to read a few top articles/posts on what is going on in the world that affects your industry. This can be immensely important to staying ahead of competitors.
Value Chain-(inside your company): This one goes a little more in-depth than the others do. It focuses on the Support Activities (what helps the business run: Infrastructure, HR, Technology, Inventory) and what’s called Primary Activities (minutia, details of how the business runs: what happens when stuff comes in and out of the company, how the product is created, what marketing and sales pieces are applied, how customers are served).
Challenge: When you are able to analyze what you are doing well and what you are struggling with in each of those areas, the next step is to take a look at the rest of your industry and even other industries. Do they have ways they have fixed those issues you have? Is there another way to perform business or support the company that will lead to lower costs and higher return on investment? Once you have made these considerations, take a look at 1-3 items your company can improve on. Open up ideas to the members of the company and get some cross functional answers. Implement changes in a steady and consistent manner.
These tools should be performed biannually, scheduled just before the annual company meeting and the 6-month check in meeting. It’s also a good idea to follow up on progress of the changes at quarterly meetings. As with any business strategy, it’s best to get a professional outside opinion, and have courage to follow through consistently on your specific goals.