A SWOT analysis is something which has been around a long time and is nothing really new. But what is old is new again as a new generation of leaders comes into leadership. It is a term used to help a company, a specific project, or an individual evaluate in the effort towards improvement. And of course, improvements are key to growth, both personally and professionally, regardless of size.
If you have already done a SWOT analysis sometime in your past or you are doing it on a regular basis, then you already have a pretty good idea of the benefits this may bring. Like any other goal setting, if you don’t do the follow-up, then this would be a waste of time. The benefits of the SWOT analysis are to help in planning your goals for the coming months or year to provide direction on what is most important, allowing you to prioritize what should be done first.
One way to do this with your company would be to have all key members do a SWOT Analysis individually and then bring the group together to get everyone’s input. Once everyone has contributed, then everyone can agree on the priorities and work out a plan going forward. Getting the team involved is a great way to help drive improvements along the way. It is a good idea to define what is being looked for under each topic. Here are a couple definitions which may help for clarification.
Strengths and Weaknesses are both internal factors, one being positive and one being the opportunities (negatives.) Looking at your strengths will help keep the focus on doing more of what you do well and may define some future actions to keep these strong. Looking at the weaknesses will help define opportunities for improvement and these should be prioritized by what will get the biggest results with the lowest amount of efforts. Getting big wins from doing this out of the gate will create a winning feeling among the team.
Opportunities and Threats are both external factors, one being positive and one being the opportunities (negatives.) In looking at the opportunities, this may be new legislation which affect your business in a positive way. It could even be a product or service you offer which is well needed in the marketplace, but not enough people know about it, or it could be a competitor closing shop. Threats could be things like increased competition, pricing of competitor’s, or things you aren’t doing which your competitors are doing, and could even be something like upcoming road construction, driving the traffic pattern away from your business for a while. Your ability to minimize the threats may be a big factor in your future goals and can be turned into a positive with the right plan of action.
These definitions will help you get on the right track in doing a SWOT analysis and gaining clarity to the process, and as important, the takeaways in doing this. Making it a team process with the key members of the team will create a better environment not only in getting more ideas but in working towards the key goal of making things better for your company.