If you’ve ever thought about SWOT analysis for your business, this article may be exactly what you need. Small and large businesses alike can benefit from this procedure, and we’re going to show you exactly how to implement it for maximum success.
SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This is pretty self-explanatory, but the process can be a little more in-depth than you may think. Keep reading to learn how to do this for your business!
How Do You Know You Need One?
Picture this scenario: you’ve been in business for a few years now. You have several clients that are regulars, your team is solid, your revenue has been (relatively) steady, and you’re happy with your products and services. Despite all of this, your company seems to be caught in a stagnant pool where no growth is occurring, and you can’t seem to branch out to new horizons.
In this scenario, a SWOT analysis is the perfect solution. You’ll analyze where your company shines (customer service, quality products, etc.), where it falters (consistency, growth, perhaps marketing?), and what kinds of opportunities and/or threats lie on the horizon.
This helpful analysis can tell you things about your business you otherwise wouldn’t have known. Armed with this information, you can move your business into the future and create a more secure company overall.
You’ll probably want to perform a SWOT analysis anytime the company takes major action or enacts major changes. If you’re changing your company’s policies, for example, a SWOT analysis may identify problems that require new or updated policies in order to address them.
Step One: Gather Your Representatives
Since you’re going to be analyzing the business as a whole, you’ll want to gather representatives from every part of the company for a comprehensive analysis. Don’t leave out the smaller departments, as they’re part of the company, too! Set up a meeting time that’s coherent with everyone else’s schedules, and get right to it.
Step Two: S.W.O.T.
The next thing you need to do is enact the SWOT acronym properly. As we learned, SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Focus on each individual part fo the acronym and brainstorm at least 3-5 items for each section.
Strengths: Possible strengths for your business could be good customer service, quality products/services, punctuality, good ratings from customers, safe and honest business practices, environmental consciousness, a strong and reliable team, or smart financial planning.
Weaknesses: Some things in business that could be considered weaknesses for your company include high turnover rates, inconsistent quality of work, failure to deliver on time, bad marketing practices, a poor leadership team, sub-par materials or methods, lots of customer complaints, poor internal policies, and more.
Opportunities: While the opportunities that present themselves to individual businesses will vary according to the industry and other factors, some opportunities in a general sense can include the opportunity to expand, reach new customers, release new products, partner with another business, and more.
Threats: Threats are different than weaknesses in that they’re an immediate danger to the company. These can include things like massive amounts of debt, lawsuits, new competitors with better products and services, and more.
Okay, so you and your team have brainstormed 3-5 from each category. Now, it’s time to take a closer look at these items and come up with solutions for your weaknesses and threats. Consider your strengths and how you can use them to your advantage, and how you can reach for those opportunities on your doorstep.
Step Three: Convert Into Strategy
Now that you’ve brainstormed with your team, your SWOT analysis is pretty much complete, and the next step is to convert what you’ve learned into a real strategy for the company. Start by setting some short and long-term goals for the company. How will you address those weaknesses within a specific time frame? What needs to change in order to reach your goals?
You may find that you have to generate more capital, find better employees, or implement a much more audience-specific marketing plan in order to keep your customers engaged. Whatever the case may be, your SWOT analysis is pretty much useless if you don’t do anything with it, so start planning, and don’t forget to set realistic goals.
The Importance of SWOT
What’s the best way to improve oneself? Self-reflection. The same is true in business. Without self-reflection, you’ll be chugging along at the same pace, facing the same issues, and coming to the same conclusions over and over. A business that doesn’t grow and evolve and work to resolve its internal and external issues cannot thrive. It’s that simple.
Try a SWOT analysis withy our team today and see why it’s one fo the most widely-used strategies for large and small businesses alike to get a better grip on their inner-workings.