SWOT - Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats

Strategic Assessment: Health Angel’s SWOT for Medi-Mental Health and Homecare

Introduction

Medi-Mental Health and Homecare (M-MHH) is a private home support and mental health services company.  This company started in May 2017. “A vision represents a view of what the organization (or a department, group, or another unit) can and should become” (Hughes, R. L., Beatty, K. C., & Dinwoodie, D. L, 2014, p.75).  The company’s vision is to become one of the best Home support and mental health services companies around lower mainland, British Columbia, with a five-year goal to expand in other provinces, preferably Ontario. M-MHH is still in its initial stages and is currently undergoing a lot of changes and facing some challenges.

One of the biggest challenges is getting clients. Kamal Badesha is the CEO of this company and currently holds a full-time job, and working on her master’s degree. Therefore, Kamal is not able to expand her company as quickly as she would like to and is a slow process. This is perfect timing for the HC2 team to come together and support M-MHH Company while focusing on SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats).  This will bring light to how M-MHH can grow and be more effective. Keep in mind this company is currently in its initial stages and in the process of hiring staff. It is slowly offering the services as the staff is hired. There is not enough clientele at this point, however, it is a work in progress and M-MHH is determined to reach its best potential. M-MHH Company is appreciative and grateful to be chosen by HC2 for the SWOT analysis.  M-MHH anticipate the following SWOT analysis will provide some guidance and awareness for the company so it can build a better business model. M-MHH is eager to hear about the recommendations proposed by HC2 and implement them within the company in order to further succeed.

Strengths

M-MHH company offers a variety of services; geriatric support (companions helping with chores, shopping, bathing, meal prep etc.), Mental health support (online 1:1 counselling available, nursing assessments, psychiatrist services if needed).  This company has qualified and certified health care professionals in different areas. For example, M-MHH provides nurses with different expertise and educational training, such as wound care, foot care, diabetic care and so on. We have counselling in dialectical behavioural, cognitive behavioural and addiction areas.  We are available around the 24-hour clock to ensure clients have the support they need. We offer a variety of services which other typical home care companies do not offer, not yet anyway.  There is no overhead cost at this point since the company is still in very early stages and working on building clientele and hiring more staff as there will be more need for services by the public.  Kamal, the CEO of this company has a clear plan and vision of how this company will eventually become well known. “An action plan helps you manage the workload, review and appraise project progress, and communicate about the work to be done” (Lepsinger, 2010, p.45).

Leverage on the Strength of Professionals and Create a SMART Action Plan

M-MHH company has many strengths.  Staff with different health care backgrounds and knowledge can help the company further excel in providing services.  HC2 recommends M-MHH company utilizes the unique professional backgrounds and build services not offered by other home support companies.  This may take some time for M-MHH as the CEO does not have much time to give the company and hiring may take a while. Perhaps the CEO can explore how to create an app to offer online services for mental health support and counselling. This app will be offering daily mental health updates.  There will be a chatline option available for those logged on at the time for communication.  Online bookings can also be done using this App.

One of the recommendations is to utilize the action plan suggested by Lepsinger, 2010 Exhibit 2.2 on page 46.  With a vision to expand while offering unique services as online counselling unlike other home care companies, it is recommended M-MHH set smart goals. “SMART goals also ensure there are no misunderstanding about what is expected so that follow-up conversations will be constructive rather than frustrating or punishing” (Lepsinger, 2010, p.62). SMART goals have been around a lot, and this will help M-MHH develop a clearer plan.  Smart goals will help narrow down priorities from long-term goals to short-term immediate goals.  This will help M-MHH stay focused.  Finally, if one of the strength is having professionals with many different backgrounds then, these professionals together could develop a program to help with mental health concerns. This can be a one-stop online program created by those with expertise and knowledge in mental health and counselling.  M-MHH can develop something like this as well using the different expertise educational backgrounds.

Weakness

Weakness is not a downfall instead something to work on to achieve greater heights. Knowing the weaknesses gives you an opportunity to better understand the functioning of the organization and power to improve. Some of the bottlenecks of the M-MHH concluded after discussion with the owner of the company are:

  • The organization is relatively new and still working in its initial stages. One of the major shortcomings is prioritizing of the project, as mentioned earlier the CEO has a lot on her plate right now and is not able to put in the required amount of effort for the association. There is still an absence of a marketing plan due to the high cost associated with it.
  • Lack of commitment from the staff is another concern the organization is dealing with at the moment.
  • The major organizational blind spots, as mentioned by the director, are time management and inadequate policies and procedures at this budding stage of the company.

Outsourcing the Weaknesses

According to bridge builder one, the first step is clarity about the state of business and its vision for the future depending upon which a strategic plan is developed (Lepsinger, 2010, p. 29). At this point, the CEO is well aware of the barriers preventing M-MHH from reaching the company’s mission and vision. Augmentation of the policies regarding the human resources and development of a schematic design will be the best move forward for the company.

There are four different stages of development as per the Strategic States Model- Eagle, Fort, Slim Down, and Circled Wagons and M-MHH is in the initial or the Eagle stage which requires it to effectively sustain staff and make marketing efforts to move forward (p. 30). One way of preventing the commitment dip from the employees which M-MHH is currently facing is by making them a part of the process. Sharing the mission, vision, and values of the organization with the employees and making them realize how it aligns with their own beliefs is helpful in retaining the staff. Also, building a relationship with the employees is crucial to successfully influence them (Hughes, 2014, p. 158). We think this would also help M-MHH to retain its staff.

Opportunity

With the rise of mental health issues and the ageing of the population, M-MHH has many opportunities to serve the needs of Canadians.  This coupled with an overburdened public health care system, unable to meet the demands of patients, allows a private company such as M-MHH to alleviate the burden of the hospitals and provide access to health care for those with urgent needs.

Source: Globe and Mail via Vancouver Coastal Health and Providence Health Care

In September 2013, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and Vancouver Police Chief, Jim Chu, declared a mental-health crisis in the city of Vancouver (Woo, A., 2014).  British Columbia has the highest rate among the provinces in Canada for hospitalization of mental illness patients (Ellis, E., 2015). Where most provinces have at least one mental health condition among their top 10 reasons for hospital admissions, British Columbia stands out with three: mood disorders; substance abuse; and delusional disorders, including schizophrenia. These are credited with more than six percent of all hospital stays, double the national rate, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (Ellis, 2015).  The emergency centre of St. Paul’s Hospital in downtown Vancouver saw an 88-percent increase in visits due to addictions and mental illness between 2009 and 2014 (Ellis, 2015).

The population in Canada is ageing.  The 2016 Canadian Census recorded there are more seniors than children living in Canada with 5.9 million people aged 65 and older in Canada for the first time in Census history, just slightly more than the country’s 5.8 million children under the age of 14 (Young, L., 2017).  Statistics Canada attributes this, in part, to the post-war baby boom. As the first group of baby boomers turned 65 years of age and entered their senior years, they had a disproportionate impact on Canadian demographics (Young, 2017). Moreover, in the next 16 years, the rest of the baby boomers will become senior citizens and the disproportion could be up to 23 percent of the population at their senior age (Young, 2017).  With almost three in every ten people being 65 years of age or older, the demand for health services for geriatric care is on the rise. Canadians over 65 years of age consume roughly 44 percent of provincial and territorial health care budgets (The Canadian Medical Association, 2013). With this information in mind, M-MHH has the opportunity to provide specialized geriatric care to the elderly population unable to seek assistance from the public health care system in a timely fashion.

In addition to the needs of the Canadian population as an opportunity for M-MHH, the interview conducted with the company owner provided insights into other company opportunities to leverage:

  • The CEO indicated the desire to have additional services made available to patients so it is even more accessible.  For example, counsellors specializing in different areas such as mental health, addictions, family therapy. Being a privatized company, M-MHH has the flexibility to add or make changes to their services without being bound by the bureaucracy typically found in government organizations.
  • M-MHH aims to utilize the appropriate technology to provide better methods of service.  For example, the use of online counselling services for mental health patients to reach their counsellors at any time.  This can be done with a native application installed on client phones and allow them to have access to help at all times.  Technology can also help with the needs of geriatric care such as providing the means of ordering and delivery of groceries or other necessities online.
  • M-MHH strives to provide the best care by utilizing staff who are fully certified and well-trained.

The points illustrated above for M-MHH will provide many opportunities for the company to provide quality health care for those in need.  Our HC2 team are making two strategic leadership recommendations to M-MHH to leverage the opportunity currently available: 1) Utilize the Customer-Centric Real-time Strategy for their organization; 2) Fostering agility within the team.

Leverage Opportunity by Utilizing a Customer-Centric Real-time Strategy

A customer-centric organization focuses on the needs of the customer and structure the organization to create products based on the customer’s needs or preferences (Galbraith, J. R., 2014).  There are many companies creating a product or service they believe best serve the needs of others; however, in many circumstances, it may not provide the level of service needed.  For example, the public health care system is designed in such a way where everyone receives health services in a similar manner. This one system is supposed to serve the entire population without the ability to consider the needs to smaller community groups.  As a private health care company, it means patients seeking services from M-MHH will incur a cost comparable to patients seeking help from the health care system. For a patient required to pay out-of-pocket on health services otherwise free when provided by the public health care system must worthwhile.  Having a customer-centric organization allows the company to cater to the needs of patients which adds value to the services. When also considering the overburdened public health care system, where it may take a long time for a patient to receive assistance, patients may elect to pay a little bit more to receive quality and timely care.

Customer-centric real-time strategies means the organization focuses on the needs of patients but utilizes data collected to make real-time decisions based on such data to improve services (Galbraith, 2014).  When M-MHH provide services to patients, the data collected should be considered for subsequent services and provide direction to potential new and improved services in the future. As a private health care company, M-MHH can leverage the ability to add on or change the services they offer in order to provide the best care possible.  The public health care system collects a lot of data but seldom use the date to direct their services. Public health care services are mandated by higher levels of government and so there is very little desire for systems to change or update. Also, with many health authorities already operating over capacity, there is very little time for health care units to take on additional projects such as looking for trends and patterns in data.  HC2 recommends the use of Customer-centric real-time strategies for M-MHH as an organizational strategy in order to effectively provide quality and timely services not possible for the public health care system.

Foster Agility to Create More Opportunities

Becoming a customer-centric real-time organization will require the organization to be agile in their operations.  Agility in the sense of strategy is the organization’s ability to sense and respond to turbulence in the competitive environment quickly and effectively (Hughes et al., 2014).  As stated in the previous recommendation, the ability of M-MHH to cater to their patient’s needs in a quality and timely way is a big advantage compared to the public health care system.  HC2 recommends M-MHH must foster agility within the organization and team members for these decisions to be made effectively. In the rigid and bureaucratic nature of public health systems, the ability for M-MHH to provide customized care for patients will provide a significant advantage for patients deciding to utilize M-MHH services.

Threat

In spite of the growing market base for home care services, M-MHH faces several hindrances. Apart from low brand recognition and less clientele, there might be multiple external factors hovering on the company’s progress:

  • Crowded market- Well established brands provide similar services.
  • Lose focus- The company offers a wide range of services covering mental health, geriatric health as well as marriage counselling. The company might not be able to tackle all the areas given the CEO is unable to give enough time. Hence, rather than getting overwhelmed by offering multiple services at the beginning, new start-ups should narrowly focus services further expanding the services with time.
  • Brand awareness- Lack of marketing results in a lack of brand awareness making it difficult for consumers to differentiate among competing companies.
  • Failure to ensure workers’ safety while at the patient visits, might lead to ruin the company’s reputation. Customer confidence- Customers prefer well-established brands when it comes to health. Startups lack consumer confidence.

Narrow Business Focus to Eliminate Threats

In an era of “one stop shop”, companies do not want to miss out on the opportunities, ending up giving multiple services. However, it is not always feasible for the start-ups keeping in mind the limited resources. As suggested by Kenneth Andrews, “Our theory begins with a simple proposition that every business organization… should have a clearly defined set of goals which keeps it moving in a deliberate direction and prevents its drifting in undesired direction” (1971, p.23). Start-ups should have a narrow focus, preferably in its area of expertise enabling it to create a succinct brand story for the target audience (McLaughlin, 2016). The temptation to get into a wide array of services might lead to a loss of direction and chaos; while, restricting the area of operations, conserves resources and increases efficiency by allowing it to focus energy on limited elements (Ries, 1992). Moreover, as pointed out by Bernhard Heine, a business and executive coach at Professional Business Coaches, Inc., focused brand marketing becomes easier and more digestible’ here.

Hence, narrowness as a strategy can be  helpful

  •    Planning strategies
  •    Managing staff
  •    Budgeting
  •    Easy monitoring of services

M-MHH  should narrow its boundaries to initially providing online services and telemedicine which would help to reduce the company’s operational cost.

Conclusion

HC2 carefully examined Medi-Mental Health and Homecare via a SWOT analysis.  Some interesting recommendations were; managing staff, budgeting, planning strategies, branding awareness, and customer-centric organization focus.  M-MHH has the potential in being a successful company if the recommendations are considered.  HC2 came together as a team and offered impressive insight and feedback to M-MHH. The HC2 team is excited and eager to see the outcome of their given recommendations.

References

Andrews, K. R. (1971). The concept of corporate strategy. New York. Retrieved from https://books.google.ca/bookshl=en&lr=&id=pechXoVRX4EC&oi=fnd&pg=PA52&dq=the+concept+of+corporate+strategy&ots=g75yo03O59&sig=CF7huTuUnBvnvLHVzaLmgoBjCVU#v=onepage&q=the%20concept%20of%20corporate%20strategy&f=false

Ellis, E., (2015, March 5). B.C. has higher rates of hospital stays due to mental illness than the rest of Canada. Vancouver Sun. Retrieved from http://www.vancouversun.com/health/higher+rates+hospital+stays+mental+illness+than+rest+Canada/10865534/story.html

Galbraith, J. R. (2014). Designing organizations: Strategy, structure, and process at the business unit and enterprise levels (3rd ed.).  San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Hughes, R. L., Beatty, Collarelli-Beatty, K., & Dinwoodie, D. L. (2014). Becoming a strategic leader: Your role in your organization’s enduring success. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Lepsinger, R. (2010). Closing the execution gap: How great leaders and their companies get results. Jossey Bass.

McLaughlin, C. (2016). The Importance of Narrow Focus and Differentiation. Retrieved from https://thefinancialbrand.com/57346/banking-focus-differentiation/

Paterson, R. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.changeways.com/presentations/depressiongroup.html

Ries, A. (1992). The discipline of the narrow focus. Journal of Business Strategy, 13(6), 3-9. Retrieved   from https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/eb039520

The Canadian Medical Association. (2013, December). Health and Health Care for an Aging Population. Policy Summary of The Canadian Medical Association.  Retrieved from https://www.cma.ca/Assets/assets-library/document/en/advocacy/policy-research/CMA_Policy_Health_and_Health_Care_for_an_Aging-Population_PD14-03-e.pdf

Woo, A., (2014, October 17). A year after Vancouver declares mental health crisis, cases continue to climb.  The Globe and Mail: British Columbia.  Retrieved from https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/vancouvers-act-teams-need-more-action-to-battle-mental-health-issue/article21154660/

Young, L., (2017, May 3). Census 2016: For the 1st time, more seniors than children living in Canada. Global News.  Retrieved from https://globalnews.ca/news/3423047/more-seniors-than-children-in-canada-2016-census/