One of the most common strategic planning tools used in business is a good SWOT; it will help you understand your niche in the market and uncover things which could impact on your future business success.
The elements of a SWOT analysis
Strengths describe the positive attributes of your business, both tangible and intangible. Your strengths are internal to your company and completely under your control.
Ask yourself: What do you do well? What advantages do you have over your competitors? What unique resources can you offer?
Consider your strengths from both an internal perspective, and from the point of view of your customer. Anything likely to give you an edge is deemed a strength.
Review what detracts from the service you offer and gives you a competitive disadvantage. Like your strengths, your weaknesses are internal factors within your control.
Consider: What you could improve? Are your competitors doing anything better than you? What factors lose you sales?
Be rational and realistic. The more truthfully you identify your weaknesses, the more valuable the SWOT will be for your business.
Opportunities are positive external factors to your business. They reflect potential possibilities that if taken advantage of can boost your position in the market.
Things to consider: What can you do that your competitors aren’t? What market trends can you capitalise on?
Opportunities fall under factors out of your control. If you identify an opportunity internal to your company, this will be listed as a strength.
Threats are factors that place your business at risk and are external to your company.
Things to consider: What hurdles do you face? What situations threaten your efforts? Are changing factors threatening your position?
Class your threats according to their “seriousness” and “likelihood”.
The better you identifying potential threats, the more likely you can prepare yourself to combat such risks.
Review and implement
Listing your strengths and weaknesses, while determining your opportunities and threats is pointless if you aren’t going to utilise the data to implement a strategy.
Map out a plan that will utilise your businesses strengths by taking advantage of opportunities and plan to avoid potential weaknesses caused by specific threats.
Need help conducting your SWOT analysis?
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