A SWOT analysis is a technique for you and your organization to reflect on where the business is at any point in time, and is important to do from time to time. Performing the analysis will help you determine a game plan or strategy for all aspects of your business. SWOT, which stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, is something you and your team will want to apply serious thought towards. The first two, strengths and weaknesses, are going to be details of your business from an internal perspective. While Opportunities are going to be external. Here are some points to ask yourselves for each section of your SWOT analysis:
- What advantages does your organization have?
- What does your organization do better than the competition?
- What competitive advantage does your business posses over the competition?
- What do people in your target markets view as your strengths?
- What details of your business mean that you “get the sale”?
Consider your strengths from both an internal perspective, and from the point of view of your customers and people in your market.
Also, if you’re having any difficulty identifying strengths, try writing down a list of your organization’s characteristics. Some of these will hopefully be strengths!
When looking at your strengths, think about them in relation to your competitors. For example, if all of your competitors provide high quality products, then a high quality production process is not a strength in your organization’s market, it’s a necessity.
- What should you improve in your business?
- What should you be avoiding?
- What are prospects and clients in your target market likely to see as weaknesses?
- What will make you lose sales?
Again, consider this from an internal and external perspective: do other people seem to perceive weaknesses that you don’t see? Are your competitors doing any better than you?
It’s best to be realistic now, and face any unpleasant truths as soon as possible.
- What good opportunities can you spot?
- What interesting trends are you aware of?
Useful opportunities can come from such things as:
- Changes in technology and markets on both a broad and narrow scale.
- Changes in government policy related to your field.
- Changes in social patterns, population profiles, lifestyle changes, and so on.
- Local events.
Something to think of when writing down your opportunities, is your strengths! Do your strengths provide opportunities you didn’t know of before? What else can your strengths provide for your company that you didn’t know of before?
- What obstacles does your organization face?
- What are your competitors doing to get a competitive edge over your business?
- Are quality standards or specifications for your job, products or services changing?
- Is changing technology threatening your position?
- Do you have bad debt or cash-flow problems?
- Could any of your weaknesses seriously threaten your business?
Using the SWOT Analysis for Project Management, Goals, Forecasting, and Marketing
Congratulations, you have successfully filled out a SWOT analysis. Now what are your going to do with it? What applications can this help you with? Please note, the more critical and detail oriented your analysis is, the better. Take pride in your strengths, be critically harsh with Weaknesses, and leave no stone un-turned with the Opportunities and Threats. If you are going to be using statistics and analytics, be precise.
Project management, goals, forecasting, marketing, and every other aspect of your business will benefit greatly from a thorough SWOT analysis. Since it is compiling all aspects of your business, you are going to want this in front of you for every meeting your company has.
Are you ready to perform a SWOT analysis? Click HERE to download our premade form. Which you can print out and hand to your team members. It can be very beneficial to have various members of your company to fill this out as well. The more points of view, the better. They may see something you don’t.