Need to revamp your organization? New competitors are entering your market niche? Your strategy is not as effective as you thought? It might be time to sit down and SWOT up your business!
SWOT Analysis is a great tool to quickly assess both your Strengths and Weaknesses, while identifying new unexplored Opportunities and avoiding potential Threats. It works at many levels: from entry level positions up to the CEO, from small family businesses to large corporations. For the scope of this article, we will focus exclusively on SWOT for businesses.
Before getting started…
- Download our SWOT Analysis template.
- Think about who needs to be involved: is it a one-person job or a brainstorming exercise for the entire Management Team? This obviously depends on the size of your business and the scope of the issue you are looking to resolve.
- Same as above for the amount of required time: is 1 hour enough or do you need to organize a half-day interactive workshop with the whole Team?
Ready? Let’s do it!
Sit down comfortably and note down any ideas that the following questions trigger. Make sure you think from your own internal perspective as well as from the perspective of your customers and market competitors.
Strengths (internal, positive factors)
- What do you do better than anyone else?
- What do other businesses see as your strengths?
- What is your USP (Unique Selling Point)?
- What are the top performing departments within your business?
- What are your key resources?
Weaknesses (internal, negative factors)
- What could you improve?
- What is currently limiting your business growth (e.g. money, skills, equipment)?
- Where is expertise still lacking?
- What part of your business is not fully functioning yet?
- What could be improved in terms of employees’ commitment and motivation?
Opportunities (external, positive factors)
- Who can help you develop your business further (e.g. a coach, a consultant, a strategic partnership)?
- What new technologies could you use?
- What networking opportunities can you benefit from?
- What is groundbreaking in the market right now?
- What could you try that you never tried before?
Threats (external, negative factors)
- What obstacles are you facing?
- What could undermine your success (e.g. new legislation, unreliable investors)?
- What are your competitors doing?
- What factors beyond your control are preventing you from being more effective?
- What situations might threaten your marketing efforts?
You probably ended up with a loooong list of ideas by now. Great job! Now what? It’s action time!
- Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize! You will never be able to tackle everything, so what are the easiest/cheapest/most effective things you will do to solve the identified issues?
- Set a timeline: when will you do what? We are looking into a short-, medium-term commitment here. If you it’s something you can’t do before next year, chances are you will never do it. Remember, we are living in fast-changing economy!
- Be as specific as possible (“Increasing sales by 20% by the end of Q4” instead of vague statements like “Selling more”).
- Identify the right stakeholders: who in your team has the skills to implement this new strategic points?
Looking to organize an interactive SWOT workshop for your Management Team? Contact us!
PS: You can find an interesting study on SWOT from the International Journal of Business Research here.