A SWOT analysis is a simple, yet powerful, planning technique used to create ways to strengthen, modify and improve your business – and the only cost is your time!
All you need to get going is piece of paper divided in four equal boxes headed with ‘Strengths’, ‘Weaknesses’, ‘Opportunities’ and ‘Threats’. Then, take a good, hard look at your business, the industry and your competitors and list both internal and external factors relevant to each section.
When considering your company’s Strengths, think of the things you do well – from both your own perspective and that of your customer. Try listing the reasons a new customer recently came on board. Remember, don’t include anything that is ‘industry standard’ as these are a given and not a strength specific to you. Strengths could include:
Being self-critical and honest when listing your company’s Weaknesses can, and will be, tough. But view this as an essential exercise which will reveal what is holding your business back and that can only benefit you in the long term.
Consider internal weaknesses within your company as well as the reason why potential customers didn’t come on board or previous customers went elsewhere.
Opportunities are openings in your company’s strengths that could be exploited as well as factors in your weaknesses that could be erased. You could also find ways to exploit new opportunities in the form of future events, upcoming trends and changes in technology and lifestyles. Examples of opportunities could include:
The final element of a SWOT analysis is Threats – these are everything that poses a risk to either your company itself or its chance of success or growth.
If you find it difficult to produce a SWOT, ask somebody you trust to help, this could be a business friend, customer or supplier.
If you have an accountant, they should be your first stop for business advice. If you don’t have an accountant or they can’t help, why not contact our expert* Rachel at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07715 489460.
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