Conducting a SWOT analysis of your business is actually kind of fun. It won’t take much time, and doing it forces you to think about your business in a whole new way. The point of a SWOT analysis is to help you develop a strong business strategy by making sure you’ve considered all of your business’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as the opportunities and threats it faces in the marketplace.
As you might have guessed from that last sentence, S.W.O.T. is an acronym that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. A SWOT analysis is an organized list of your business’s greatest strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Strengths and weaknesses are internal to the company (think: reputation, patents, location). You can change them over time but not without some work. Opportunities and threats are external (think: suppliers, competitors, prices)—they are out there in the market, happening whether you like it or not. You can’t change them.
Existing businesses can use a SWOT analysis, at any time, to assess a changing environment and respond proactively. In fact, I recommend conducting a strategy review meeting at least once a year that begins with a SWOT analysis.
New businesses should use a SWOT analysis as a part of their planning process. There is no “one size fits all” plan for your business, and thinking about your new business in terms of its unique “SWOTs” will put you on the right track right away, and save you from a lot of headaches later on.
In this article, I will cover the following:
-How to Conduct a SWOT Analysis
-Questions to Ask During a SWOT Analysis
-Example of a SWOT Analysis
-TOWS Analysis: Developing Strategies
Strengths (internal, positive factors)
Weaknesses (internal, negative factors)
Opportunities (external, positive factors)
Threats (external, negative factors)
Example of a SWOT Analysis
Developing Strategies from Your SWOT
Once you’ve developed strategies and included them in your strategic plan, be sure to schedule regular review meetings. Use these meetings to talk about why the results of your strategies are different from what you’d planned (because they always will be) and decide what your team will do going forward.