Create a Comprehensive Picture of Your Business with a SWOT Analysis

Businesses are in constant flux… It’s what makes being a business owner both exciting and perilous! In the blink of an eye, a golden opportunity can turn into your worst nightmare, while an investment you would never consider can suddenly reap major rewards. That’s where a SWOT analysis comes in handy!

That’s why it’s so important to consider not only your perspective of your place in the market, but the perspectives of your competitors, customers, and stakeholders. Assessing where you stand frequently can help you unlock new potential and avoid unnecessary risk, even as the market changes around you. 

Using SWOT to Evaluate Your Businesses 

One easy way to evaluate where your business stands is by conducting a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis. It can help you get a better handle on ways that your company can be successful by optimizing your strengths to take on opportunities, while minimizing your weaknesses and mitigating risks. 

This puts you in a powerful position to craft a business strategy built on playing exactly the cards you are dealt, while you continue to plug away at becoming even stronger. 

Strengths

Strengths are an internal factor that represents what your business brings to the table. These can be both tangible or intangible, but this piece should heavily focus on what sets you apart from the competition. Some questions to ask yourself as you determine your strengths include:

  1. What does my business do well?
  2. What makes my business different from others selling the same or similar things?
  3. What resources does my staff have access to that give us an edge?
  4. What backgrounds, educations, reputations, skills, or networking abilities do the people who work within my organization offer?
  5. What tangible assets, like technology, cash on hand, or inventory, does my business have that helps us stay in the game?

Weaknesses

Honesty is the best policy, especially when you’re considering your company’s weaknesses. While it can be hard to take an earnest and opportunistic look at the truths of where you’re falling behind, it helps to think of them less as failures and more as chances to grow. It can also help you control how others in your industry see your business. Your competition is going to look for weaknesses to capitalize on, but there is power in owning them with a growth mindset. 

Consider the following:

  1. How does my competition see me in terms of strengths they have against me?
  2. What can I control internally that stops my business from living up to its full potential?
  3. What does my strongest competitor have that I don’t have YET?
  4. What resources do I need in order to continue honing my competitive edge?
  5. What growth areas are there for staff and employees that would help them become better resources?

Opportunities 

While opportunities are external, it does not mean that they are out of your control. Putting your irons in every fire might seem like the best way to accelerate your growth in your industry, but it can quickly become too much for your business to handle. Evaluate your opportunities to help your company carefully select the ones that are most appropriate and that offer the biggest reward in terms of helping your business grow:

  1. What opportunities are there to increase public perception of my business, like online reviews or community outreach?
  2. What does overall growth of the market look like globally? Nationally? Locally?
  3. Are there opportunities that are more temporary than others that should be prioritized before those avenues are no longer available?
  4. What are my competitors doing that makes them successful?
  5. Are there external resources that could be brought internally to help us grow?

Threats

Threats are the external factors that could have a negative effect on your business if they are not avoided, or at the very least, mitigated. While these cannot be controlled, you can pose your business in such a way that they can be overcome with the right planning, resources, and information supporting your business strategy. Threats can include anything from the obstacles you face opening your doors as a new business to barriers to sale that exist when you’re ready to transition out of your business, plus everything in between. 

  1. What competitors already exist? What competitors are emerging?
  2. What regulations at a global, national, state, and local level could potentially interrupt my business?
  3. Is there any negative perception of my company in the public eye? If so, what caused it?
  4. Are there any manufacturers or suppliers who might change costs suddenly? If so, how difficult is it going to be to reestablish an even keel for steady distribution of materials or goods?
  5. Is the market shifting away from your particular product or service? If so, how can you reset your company to address the new market perception?

Now that you understand the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) facing your company, it’s time for the fun part: Using them to your advantage to craft a business plan for sustained success. Getting to this point is difficult enough, but if you’ve never used SWOT to craft a strategy, doing so can be particularly tough. That’s why it’s valuable to have a business coach in your back pocket. 

Catalyst Group ECR works with business owners and executives to help them realize their potential and experience growth in their focus areas. Through one-on-one meetings, we work with you to build a sense of community and rapport that provides a foundation for growth.

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