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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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Using a SWOT Analysis

Article by: Sara Pantaleo

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

SWOT Analysis

What is a SWOT Analysis?     

 A SWOT is a tool or framework that enables you to easily assess each of the four key areas that should always be at the forefront of your business strategy.

The SWOT analysis is an essential tool for any business to use, as it helps them identify what they do best and how they can improve in future. It also allows companies to see areas where competitors might be able to take advantage if protections aren’t put into place immediately-helping. You stay one step ahead!

The SWOT analysis is an examination of both internal and external factors to see how they can be used to your advantage. Some of these will come with control, while others may not. Still, it’s wise that wherever possible, you should take action based on what information has been compiled during this process – even if logging everything into a spreadsheet or database will help give insight into where there might still be unexplored opportunities!

Let’s explore how to carry out a SWOT analysis in this article.

When you Should use a SWOT Analysis    

The SWOT analysis is an excellent way to take stock of your position before making any significant decisions or creating a new/ updating an existing strategic plan. Throat clearing for new initiatives, policy changes or pivots can be done strategically by doing this analytical tool first so you know where all the strengths and weaknesses lie. It’s a great tool to use for identifying any blind spots that are easy to miss when you’re busy in the everyday operations of the organisation.

It’s also a good idea to include your team in the SWOT process; this way, you can ensure no stone is left unturned.

Team at work

Using your SWOT Analysis to Inform your Strategy

Performing a SWOT analysis is always valuable. But, like reading a self-help book and not putting anything into action, you’ll see no improvements. So the final and most crucial step is to create objectives and an action plan off the back of your findings so you can execute improvements immediately.

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