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Business Plan

Using SWOT

Using the SWOT to Create your Business Plan

Article by: Sara Pantaleo

The SWOT analysis is a great way to get you thinking about your business in new ways. It doesn’t take much time, and doing it helps you think outside of the box regarding what you need to focus on and future success.

The importance of a SWOT analysis cannot be overstated. Developing your business strategy and considering all opportunities and threats from potential competitors or new market trends is essential. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats. This analysis leaves no stone unturned and brings self-awareness into your company’s goal-setting and future planning.

A company’s strengths and weaknesses are internal to the business. You can change them over time, but only with some work on your part!

Opportunities and threats are found in the external environment, a threat to your business and can’t be changed, but risks can be mitigated with the self-awareness a SWOT demands.

The truth of the matter, whether you like it or not- the competition in the market will always influence what happens within your company; good or bad!  We must stay prepared for anything that might come along; a SWOT helps us to be prepared.

The SWOT analysis is a great way to assess the changing environment and respond proactively. It can be used at any time; in fact, the more often, the better, but at minimum, once a year. 

You can either use one four-square SWOT analysis template or make lists for each category. Below, you’ll find examples of a traditional four-square SWOT analysis. However, lists for each square achieve the same outcomes.


Asking the right questions when doing your SWOT analysis

The right questions start with involving the right people. When conducting a SWOT analysis, having people with different perspectives and stakes in your company is essential. The more voices included, the better the chance for an objective result.

A group effort can help create data with greater accuracy because each member brings something unique yet valuable towards understanding how you’re doing and what needs improving or changing about operations. Questions should be focused around each square; Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats.

Ask the right question

Here are some questions you may ask for each; there are many more you can ask, but these are just some examples.

For strengths, you may ask:

  • What are we doing well?
  • Where have we exceeded KPIs?
  • What goals have we achieved to date?
  • What are the positive traits of our culture and our people?
  • What do customers love about our service?
  • What factors offer us a competitive advantage?

For weaknesses, you may ask:

  • What could we improve?
  • Are we lacking resources anywhere?
  • What are our competitors doing better?

For opportunities:

  • What opportunities exist in the market?
  • Are there any new market trends you can tap into?

For threats:

  • Are there any shifts in the market?
  • Any new competitors to be aware of?

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What your business plan should include

What your Business Plan Should Include

Article by: Sara Pantaleo

The business plan is your guide when it comes to planning the future of your company. The business plan is a great way to ensure that your company’s future goals align with its current operations. Whether you’re looking forward or backward, this document will help provide principles and tactics for taking actions within an organisation to achieve growth successfully!

The key to success in business is planning and action. A good business plan will help your company succeed and flourish by keeping it on track with goals, strategies for reaching those destinations, and what steps need to happen before that can happen.

This article will help you understand the different components of a business plan and why it’s essential to have one.

Plan you year

Your Strategy  

The power of a business plan is in the strategy; it lies in its ability to provide clarity and direction. The strategy includes the big picture and long-term company vision while also giving clear instructions on how you’re going to accomplish your goals.


Your SWOT    

A successful business is only as strong and healthy as its foundation. The backbone of any company lies in understanding what makes it unique. How to improve on those strengths while minimising or removing weaknesses for future growth opportunities – this will help you run your organisation confidently! To get a proper understanding, that’s where your SWOT comes in.

The analysis will show you what’s working in your business and how to improve it so you can meet future goals.

Your Action Plan

The operational backbone of any successful business plan is execution tactics, also known as your action plan. These tactics ensure that time and effort won’t be wasted, as everyone will know what needs to happen at each step for the plan’s success!

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Getting things done with a business action plan

Getting Things Done with a Business Action Plan

Article by: Sara Pantaleo

Action plans help you get things done; scheduling those objectives and taking action will have you getting things done like never before. The best part is that we’re not just doing something to be productive; our actions are strategic, ensuring we are moving the ship in the right direction and kicking big goals along the way.

Clear Direction

With an action plan, you can be more focused and organised with your time. This keeps you out of the day-to-day mentality of just ticking things off for the sake of it. With an action plan in place, you’ll always have clear direction and avoid getting lost. Action without direction is pointless; a well-thought-out action plan ensures you’re making the right moves. An action plan focuses on high-value tasks and investments; this ensures the consistent best use of your time.

Getting things done

Set Timelines   

Your action plan will have timeframes for each action step so that you can track progress towards achieving all steps on your action plan – the timelines let you know when items need attention and keep you on track to achieving your strategic goals. The timelines are crucial to ensure you get things done in the business.

Set timelines

Achieving Goals

Your action plan is tied to strategic goals, ensuring you get things done and achieve big things along the way. Your action plan makes achieving goals faster and smoother.

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The Importance of Business Planning

Article by: Sara Pantaleo

An effective strategy and plan are key to success in any business. Plans can help you set goals for your company and develop the best strategy for your organisation’s future, so it’s worth taking your time to develop a solid business plan. Planning is key to making sure your business strategy will be a success!

Business Planning

Setting & Communicating Goals      

A sound business plan should ensure a high communication and transparency level. Strategic planning is essential to any business but often fails when communicating these goals to your wider organisation. It can be challenging for those outside decision-making teams to understand why they should care about your goals; this part of developing a plan is worth carefully planning; with the right communication, the strategy will likely succeed.

To have a successful communication plan to back up your strategy goals, mission, vision and so on, it’s essential for the message to be clear and concise without being too simple or complex to get a wider buyer in.

Some of the ways this can be achieved are:

  • Have a company-wide meeting.
  • Detail matters. Think through how any changes may be perceived; people often react negatively to change, so this needs to be thought through, and anything of this nature can be addressed immediately.
  • Go over the Company’s history and vision and how the plan will help drive everyone there. Ensure everyone is aligned around the values that drive the team forward. We need to talk not only about how strategy plays a vital role in growth but also give context around what has led up until now and the challenges faced by this company. In doing so, your team will understand why any changes are necessary.

Avoid failure   

The lack of a strong business plan usually causes small businesses to fail. You must develop one because it will help avoid many potential problems in your company and ensure everything goes smoothly for years to come!

Reducing risk

The most important decisions a business owner can make are based on research and information from an effective plan. That’s why it is critical to have one in place before starting your own company, so you know what could go wrong or right when things really matter! Strategic planning minimises blind spots and mitigates risk.

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