SWOT Analyses

3 Mar

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I just posted a few things on my Facebook page and Twitter feed about conducting SWOT analyses for your business. So I thought it might be beneficial to follow that up with a quick overview of what a SWOT analysis is and how it can help you make some important decisions within your business operations.

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. It’s utilized to examine the productivity of your business practices (i.e. marketing, publicity, finance, operational, etc.). The goal  is to determine how to better use these practices to your advantage while conducting them more efficiently. It will give you a general direction for pursuing your short- and long-term goals. And it’s simple really. You’ll have to set aside some time and commit to being brutally honest, but in the end, I think you’ll find that it was very much worth it. I would encourage you to try this at least once per year.

Here are just some of the questions to ask yourself for each item:

Strengths:

  • What are my advantages?
  • What do I do well or better than someone else?
  • What unique resources do I have?
  • What is my financial picture? (also applicable elsewhere)
  • Do I have an arsenal of new/innovative ideas?

Weaknesses:

  • What improvements could we make?
  • Where do I feel we are falling short?
  • In what areas do competitors have an overwhelming advantage?
  • What could/should I avoid doing?
  • What is my financial picture?

Opportunities:

  • Are there any interesting or promising trends?
  • Do I have beneficial partnerships on which I can capitalize?
  • Can I identify any untapped talent/markets?
  • Are there any advantageous changes in society, technology or media?

Threats:

  • Is there a competitor in my market that is better equipped?
  • How is staff morale?
  • What are my most immediate obstacles?
  • Is my changing financial picture affecting the long-term position of my business?
  • Will some of my products/services become obsolete because of technology, social changes, etc?
  • Do I have a contingency plan?

And it can be that straightforward. A simple list for each item is all you need. Audit your situation today for a more secure tomorrow. Good luck. Until next time,
~Laura~


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