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SWOT Goals/Analysis. We are not talking about eradicating bugs, but a tool that can help you strengthen your business.

As the owner of your business, it can be extremely difficult to remove yourself from the day-to-day activities and view your business from a “30,000’ view.” Having that outside view allows you to get a more accurate picture of where your company stands right now and where it needs to go.
 
One very effective tool that is extremely helpful during any strategic planning process is the SWOT Analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

Environmental Review

The SWOT Analysis begins with an environmental review. The environmental review takes into account all internal and external factors that impact your business. As you can see by the chart below, Strengths and Weaknesses are generated from your internal review (forces within your organization), and the Opportunities and Threats are generated by an external review (forces outside of your organization.)

The two boxes in the left column, Strengths, and Opportunities are also seen as forces that can positively impact your company, and the two boxes in the left column may negatively impact your company.

An internal environmental review might reveal, for example:

Strengths:

  • Competent, Dedicated Staff
  • Strong customer service orientation
  • Large well maintained customer database
  • Inventory containing strong brand names.

Weaknesses:

  • Limited hours of operation
  • Inventory control issues
  • Marketing
  • Your lack of knowledge in a particular area of business

Opportunities:

  • Better Location
  • Marketing/Joint Venture Partnerships
  • Additional product or service offerings
  • Untapped markets

Threats:

  • Competition
  • Rising costs of goods or fixed costs
  • Poor economy affecting your industry or suppliers
  • Construction on the road in front of your store

The list can be as long or as short as you need. The important thing is to think about the internal and external environment and try to foresee every SWOT. 

SWOT/TOWS Matrix

The next step is to develop the SWOT/TOWS Matrix. In other words, how to prepare for all aspects of your SWOT analysis.

In the upper left box develop strategies that will allow you to pursue opportunities that fit with your company's strengths. In the upper right box develop strategies that will allow your company to overcome weaknesses to pursue opportunities that fulfill your company's vision.
 
In the lower-left box develop strategies that use the company’s existing strengths to lessen the company’s exposure to known or perceived threats. And in the lower right box develop a strategy to keep the company's known or perceived weaknesses from making the company more susceptible to external threats.
 
With the SWOT Analysis completed you can integrate these strategies into your strategic planning to strengthen your company and achieve your annual goals. It is a good practice to conduct a SWOT Analysis annually with your staff, a mentor, or your coach. If you do it all by yourself, you may be missing some critical aspects that could harm you down the road.

SCORE Resources:

Contact SCORE today to get matched up with a Mentor who can help you through this. An outside person can see things that you may not. 

 

About the Author(s)

 Steve   Feld

Steve Feld is a Certified SCORE Mentor and a business coach.

Business Coach, Feld Business Growth
How to Strengthen Your Business by Doing a Simple SWOT Analysis