A SWOT analysis is exceptionally
straightforward, yet influential tools to facilitate us build up our business policy,
whether we’re building a startup or guiding an accessible company. SWOT stands
for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Strengths and weaknesses
are internal to our company—things that us
have some control over and can
change. Examples include who is on us
our team, our patents and intellectual property, and our location.
Opportunities and threats are external—things that are going on outside our
company, in the larger market. We can
take advantage of opportunities and protect against threats, but we can’t
change them. Examples include competitors, prices of raw materials, and
customer shopping trends.
A SWOT analysis organizes our top strengths,
weaknesses, opportunities, and threats into an organized list and is usually
presented in a simple two-by-two grid. When
we take the time to do a SWOT analysis, we will be armed with a
solid strategy for prioritizing the work that we need to do to grow our
business. We may think that we already know
everything that we need to do to succeed, but a SWOT analysis will force us
to look at our business in new
ways and from new directions. We will look at us r strengths and
weaknesses, and how us can leverage those to take advantage of the
opportunities and threats that exist in our market.
For a SWOT analysis to
be effective, company founders and leaders need to be deeply involved. This
isn’t a task that can be delegated to others. But, company leadership shouldn’t
do the work on their own, either. For best results, we will want to gather a group of people who
have different perspectives on the company. Select people who can represent
different aspects of our company, from sales and customer service to marketing
and product development. Everyone should have a seat at the table. Innovative
companies even look outside their own internal ranks when they perform a SWOT
analysis and get input from customers to add their unique voice to the mix. If we
are starting or running a business on our
own, we can still do a SWOT analysis.
Recruit additional points of view from friends who know a little about our
business, we are accountant, or even vendors and suppliers. The key is to have
different points of view. Existing businesses can use a SWOT analysis to assess
their current situation and determine a strategy to move forward. But, remember
that things are constantly changing and we will want to reassess us r strategy, starting with a new SWOT analysis
every six to 12 months. For startups, a SWOT analysis is part of the business
planning process. It’ll help codify a strategy so that we can start off on the
right foot and know the direction that us
plan on going.
As I mentioned above, us want
to gather a team of people together to work on a SWOT analysis. We don’t need
an all-day retreat to get it done, though. One or two hours should be more than
plenty. Gather people from different parts of us r company and make sure that us have
representatives from every part. We will
find that different groups within us r
company will have entirely different perspectives that will be critical to
making us r SWOT analysis successful. Doing
a SWOT analysis is similar to brainstorming meetings, and there are right and
wrong ways to run them. I suggest giving everyone a pad of sticky-notes and
have everyone quietly generate ideas on their own to start things off. This
prevents groupthink and ensures that all voices are heard. After five to 10
minutes of private brainstorming, put all the sticky-notes up on the wall and
group similar ideas together. Allow anyone to add additional notes at this
point if someone else’s idea sparks a new thought.
Once all of the ideas
are organized, it’s time to rank the ideas. I like using a voting system where
everyone gets five or ten “votes” that they can distribute in any way they
like. Sticky dots in different colors are useful for this portion of the
exercise. Based on the voting exercise, us
should have a prioritized list of
ideas. Of course, the list is now up for discussion and debate, and someone in
the room should be able to make the final call on the priority. This is usually
the CEO, but it could be delegated to someone else in charge of business
strategy. We’ll want to follow this
process of generating ideas for each of the four quadrants of our SWOT analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses,
Opportunities, and Threats.
Questions that can help inspire our
Here are a few questions
that us can ask us
r team when us ’re building us r SWOT analysis. These questions can help
explain each section and spark creative thinking.
Strengths are internal,
positive attributes of us r company.
These are things that are within us r
business processes are successful?
assets do us have in us
r team, such as knowledge, education, network, skills, and reputation?
physical assets do us have, such as customers, equipment,
technology, cash, and patents?
competitive advantages do us have over us
Weaknesses are negative
factors that detract from us r
strengths. These are things that us might need to improve on to be competitive.
there things that us r business needs to
business processes need improvement?
there tangible assets that us r company
needs, such as money or equipment?
there gaps on us r team?
Is us r location ideal for us r success?
external factors in our business environment that are likely to contribute to us r success.
market growing and are there trends that will encourage people to buy more of
what us are selling?
there upcoming events that us r company
may be able to take advantage of to grow the business?
there upcoming changes to regulations that might impact us r company positively?
business is up and running, do customers think highly of us ?
Threats are external
factors that us have no control over. Us may
want to consider putting in place contingency plans for dealing them if they
Do us have
potential competitors who may enter us readymarket?
suppliers always be able to supply the raw materials us need
at the prices us need?
future developments in technology change how us
consumer behavior changing in a way that could negatively impact us r business?
there market trends that could become a threat?