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Business Planning Considerations: Assess Strengths and Weaknesses

Your business plan should directly address your strengths and weaknesses. In business, strengths and weaknesses come in the form of eight key capabilities that make up the essential elements of success:

  • Research and development (R&D): Your ability to design and develop new products, services, or technologies

  • Operations: Having the resources and systems necessary to produce the highest-quality products or services in the most efficient ways possible

  • Marketing: How well you get your products or services into the marketplace, onto customer radar screens, and through the sales process

  • Distribution and delivery: The ability to get your products into customers’ hands

  • Customer service: Everything you do to create a loyal clientele that supports you with purchases, repeat purchases, and praise

  • Management and leadership: How you provide direction and a vision for your company

  • Organization: The procedures, people, and business structures that enable you to make the most of your resources and business opportunity

  • Financial condition: The financial health of your business

Not all capabilities are equally important to every business. For example, a state-of-the-art distribution and delivery system may be essential to the success of one firm but not particularly important to another. R&D may be crucial for a computer manufacturer, but of little impact to a massage business. And, to a one-person business, management capabilities — at least as they apply to staffing issues — may be largely irrelevant.

Don’t jump to conclusions, however. Chances are good that, in some way, shape, or form, each of the key capabilities contributes in some way to your company’s ability to compete and succeed.

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