SWOT Analysis table – weather elements – orange, black and gray design
A SWOT Analysis is a quick and easy way to better understand your business. This understanding will help guide your strategy by ensuring that you have considered all your businesses strengths and weaknesses along with all the opportunities and threats that your company may face. It’s a simple tool and it forces you to look at your business in a whole new way.
SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. A SWOT Analysis is essentially an organized list to analyze these criteria. By reflecting on these four things, a business can better understand what they need to do to grow and also what may be holding them back. A SWOT Analysis should be repeated periodically as the outcomes may change over time and should be used as a period of reflection. This can be a great motivator for any company.
Strengths and Weaknesses refer to things that are internal to the company. Think about the things that you can control. This could include reputation, staff, location, innovation, and your product itself. These you can change, although it may take some work. For example, by growing your people you will develop a strong team which will turn into a strength, and ultimately strengthen other aspects of your company.
Opportunities and Threats are external and outside of your control. They happen whether you like it or not and you cannot change them. Examples include suppliers, competitors, business climate, and trends. Although you can’t directly change these factors, it is important to understand them and to position your business to work within and around them.
It is often beneficial to have multiple people within your business complete a SWOT Analysis independently. Different people in different roles provide different perspectives. If you are at the top of the chain, your views may differ greatly from those at the bottom. Once they are completed, this is also a great opportunity to bring your team together to discuss and learn together.
The most important part of a SWOT Analysis is taking what you find and using it to move forward as a company. Develop plans based around your findings and don’t forget to re-evaluate every now and then to see how you are doing.