SWOT is an essential strategy, team building, and business development tool
Organizations large and small use SWOT as part of their discovery when developing strategy to support their long term plans. Incorporating SWOT early in the planning process is invaluable. To improve perspective and achieve greater results I recommend inviting cross functional team members, those having the skills and shared interest to advance business performance, to participate.
To learn more about SWOT and how it may benefit your organization, read below.
HOW TO USE THE TOOL
To carry out a SWOT Analysis, let’s talk about the four criteria:
1. List Your Strengths:
• What advantages does your company have?
• What do you do better than anyone else?
• What unique or lowest-cost resources do you have access to?
• What do people in your market see as your strengths?
• What factors mean that you "get the sale"?
Consider this from an internal perspective, from the point of view of your customers, and people in your market.
In looking at your strengths, think about them in relation to your competitors. For example, if all your competitors provide high quality products, then a high quality production process is not a strength in the market, it is a necessity.
2. List Your Weaknesses:
• What could you improve?
• What should you avoid?
• What are people in your market likely to see as weaknesses?
• What factors lose you sales?
Again, consider this from an internal and external basis: Do other people seem to perceive weaknesses that you do not see? Are your competitors doing any better than you? It is best to be realistic now, rather than face any unpleasant surprises down the road.
3. List Your Opportunities:
• Where are the good opportunities facing you?
• What are the interesting trends you are aware of?
Useful opportunities can come from such things as:
• Changes in technology and markets on both a broad and narrow scale.
• Changes in government policy related to your field.
• Changes in social patterns, population profiles, lifestyle changes.
• Local events.
A useful approach for looking at opportunities is to look at your strengths and ask yourself whether these open up any opportunities. Alternatively, look at your weaknesses and ask yourself whether you could create opportunities by eliminating them.
4. List Your Threats:
• What obstacles do you face?
• What is your competition doing that you should be worried about?
• Are the required specifications for your job, products or services changing?
• Is changing technology threatening your position?
• Do you have bad debt or cash-flow problems?
• Could any of your weaknesses seriously threaten your business?
Carrying out this analysis will often be enlightening – both in terms of pointing out what needs to be done, and in putting problems into perspective.
Being new to the team and not understanding the root causes for this division’s underperformance, we conducted a two day SWOT analysis. To improve perspective a cross-functional team from Marketing, Sales, Accounting and Consumer Insights was invited.
Key Takeaways from SWOT Analysis
Do you need help conducting discovery to improve business performance?
If you need help discovering those issues which may be marginalizing your organization's performance, and identifying those strategies to best leverage your strengths, drop me a note or call for your initial FREE consultation.
Mike Stout | President, Tamarack Consulting Group, LLC
We can help you "get it" and "get there."