A SWOT analysis is a planning technique that can help you figure out the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats linked to a project or other business venture. You can even perform a SWOT analysis for yourself to help you better understand your own path to business success, or for a non-profit or charity organization.
Let’s start by defining Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats:
Strengths are internal factors that help you or your company achieve business success. For example, a well-trained staff would be a strength for a company.
Weaknesses are internal factors that impede you or your company. Being chronically understaffed would be a weakness.
Opportunities are external factors that bring your or your company closer to business success. Strong growth in your industry would be an opportunity.
Threats are external factors that negatively affect you or your company. An economic recession poses a threat to most companies.
To perform a SWOT analysis, draw a plus sign on a piece of paper, then list Strengths in the upper left, Weaknesses in the upper right, Opportunities in the lower left, and Threats in the lower right.
Next, think about how you can convert weaknesses and threats into strengths and opportunities. For example, if you are understaffed, that gives you the opportunity to fill those empty positions with highly-qualified workers that your staff could train. A recession could be an opportunity to launch a good or service aimed at the low-end market.
Finally, use your new SWOT analysis as a starting point to set SMART goals that will help you achieve business success. Of course, you want to aim to maximize strengths and opportunities while minimizing the impact of weaknesses and threats.
As a last piece of advice, remember that a second set of eyes can often spot Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats you may miss.
If you would like someone to help you perform a SWOT analysis or guide your business success planning efforts, consider signing up for our individual coaching. We can provide feedback by e-mail, telephone, Skype voice or video chat, or even in person. We’re offering free 30-minute consultations for a limited time only.