How To Use A SWOT Analysis To Improve Your Business

SWOT is short for Strengths, Weakness, Opportunity and Threats.  A SWOT Analysis is a powerful tool often used by business consultants when reviewing a business that is not performing as well as it should be.  It’s a simple to understand but powerful tool that you should be able to use yourself.  So how can you use it to improve your own business?

Well first of all you need to set some time aside and tell yourself that you are going to be perfectly honest with yourself about the state of your business.  Sit down and set up a grid with Strengths and Weaknesses at the top and Opportunities and Threats at the bottom.

Strengths and weaknesses are internal to your business and are factors that you, the entrepreneur, can change.  Opportunities and threats are external forces on your company that you need to be aware of so that you can either take advantage of, or mitigate the risks to your company. Thus you should capitalise on everything on the left hand side and avoid or mitigate everything on the right hand side.  When reviewing your SWOT’s you should look at:

  • People
  • Technology
  • Processes
  • Market
  • Products
  • Customers
  • Management
  • Suppliers
  • Pricing

So lets look at some SWOT’s:

Strengths

  • What does your company do well?
  • What does it do better than your competitors?
  • What competitive advantage does it have?
  • What advances have you made lately?
  • Are you as profitable as you can be?
  • Are you as efficient as you can be?

Weaknesses:

  • What is not going so well?
  • What are your competitors doing that you can’t?
  • What products don’t you have that you really would like?
  • Do you have any staff or personal problems that are reflecting on your business?
  • Do your processes work end to end?
  • Is your technology up to date?
  • Do you have enough working capital?
  • Do you have control over your suppliers?

Opportunities:

  • Are there any gaps in the market?
  • Are there any emerging trends?
  • Can we launch a new product profitably?
  • Can you change your raw materials to cheaper products?
  • Do you have the opportunity to employ some talented staff?
  • Is there some legislation coming that will help your company?


Threats:

  • Are you competitors getting stronger and squeezing you out of the market?
  • Have you lost some key staff?
  • I their a current recession?
  • Do you have banking problem?
  • Are you facing a shortage of raw materials?
  • Are you facing labour problems?
  • Are you facing more costly bureaucracy?


If you spend time finding out answers to your SWOT’s and how to avoid, mitigate and profit from them and are true to yourself, you will find that your business improves in no time!