Do you really understand what a SWOT analysis is and how it can help identify your strengths and weaknesses?
Are you actively looking for opportunities and threats?
Conducting a SWOT analysis is the missing key ingredient to creating a successful small business strategy.
There is no doubt that knowledge is key to running a successful business.
- Knowledge about your customers,
- Your competitors,
- Your own operation, your team, product range, service offering, financial situation and
- The wider business landscape and conditions.
A SWOT analysis will help you gather the information you need to make a proper assessment of your business and your market.
A SWOT analysis is easy to complete and becomes one of your most powerful tools in your business strategy toolbox to help you to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your operation and the opportunities and threats you face in your market.
It provide you will give you a clear picture of how well your business is running, gaps in the market for you to explore new products or services, and the wider marketing and sales environment your business is trading within.
Business analysis – look within your business, what are your strengths and weaknesses?
You need to be open and honest with yourself when identifying your businesses strengths and weaknesses, too often we kid ourselves and gloss over critical information as it makes us uncomfortable or we dont want to face the fact that we got it wrong.
If you really want to conduct a thorough SWOT analysis consider employing someone like myself or an experienced business coach who will be able to look at your business from the outside in.
Dont be afraid to include talking to your staff, customers and suppliers when conducting your SWOT Analysis.
Your SWOT analysis will be more useful if you look at your strengths and weaknesses in terms of what you are trying to achieve and if you compare yourself with your key competitors. Where do you have a competitive edge – or a problem?
Opportunities and Threats
Opportunities and threats come in many shapes and disguises,
Make sure you also look to the broader business environment and how it is changing using a PEST analysis:
- Political and regulatory. What new laws could change the way you operate or open up new opportunities?
- Economic. How is the current economic condition likely to affect you over the next 12 months?
- Social and cultural. How are social trends and cultural influencers affecting your customers’ needs?
- Technological. How are you leveraging our ever changing technology landscape?
A good PEST analysis can provide you with a strong foundation for an effective marketing strategy.
Focus on how you exploit opportunities that play to your strengths and how you address weaknesses in your business in order to deal with threats that face you.
Your marketing strategy should also aim to protect your business against threats, build stronger relationships with your existing customers and making sure that your products and customer service excel as key element in your defence against the competition.