Let’s start at the beginning. What is a SWOT analysis?
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats and is an excellent framework for taking a deep-dive into how your business is performing, where roadblocks might exist and where you outstrip the competition. Once you know this, you’re in a strong position to develop a robust marketing strategy that sets you apart from your competitors and helps you compete successfully in your specific market.
How Do I Do a SWOT Analysis?
Here’s an example of a SWOT analysis grid. Looks simple enough, right?
The real work comes in completing each section as succinctly and truthfully as you can!
Let’s take a look at each section in more detail:
Your strengths are specific to your business and are a reflection of what you do best. Your strengths could be based on your unique approach to business, your specific training or what you do better than your competitors.
This area can be more tricky to identify and really requires you to be totally honest with yourself. Consider what areas or your business need improving – perhaps in knowledge training, procedures, staff issues or even pricing. Be sure to add in perceived weaknesses too. “Perception is reality” and if you, or indeed your customers, consider a specific area to be a weakness, then in order to move forward successfully, this area must be addressed.
Here’s the fun bit – time to think outside the box! Are there new trends that you can maximise on? Is there a gap in the market that you can capitlise on? What’s a competitor doing that you know you can do better? Opportunities don’t need to be game-changers or necessarily large opportunities, they can simple be somewhere where you can gain a competitive advantage.
This is where you consider any outside factors that may negatively affect your business. This could be issues with your supply chain, an aggressive competitor undercutting you on price, or evolving technologies (always a challenge!). Recognising potential – or real – threats will allow you to get out ahead of the curve and tackle the threat head-on. Forewarned is forearmed!
Once you have your SWOT Analysis completed, let it sit for a few days and then review it again. This shouldn’t be a quick exercise – it’s better to take your time and produce an honest, deep-dive review of your business.
From there, you’re in a good position to build an action plan that is bespoke to your specific business. Look for ways to mitigate your weaknesses and move them to strengths. Use your strengths to tackle threats and take advantage of opportunities.
Remember, one size does not fit all! To work, your plan must be reflective or your situation and be aligned to your growth goals.
Now that you know how it works, stick on the kettle and grab a pen and notepad and get going on completing your own SWOT analysis!