What the SWOT?

Ok – I was actually going to write a post about the laws of attraction today but in fact got a curveball that sparked my interest. In my member’s forum for Simply Staffordshire members, I was asked the question….what do you tackle first once you have completed a SWOT analysis on your business?

It’s actually a really good and totally logical question! We do our SWOTs but actually what do you do first and in what order?

For those of you who aren’t familiar with a SWOT…it is simply a 4 sector grid which include four titles – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & then Threats. You simply fill in what you think fits from your business in each category to create a clear picture of what the status of your business is.

SWOT Image

So…what to do first? Where to start?

  • Strengths – these are what goes well in your business, including your personal strengths and strengths of your team, brand and marketing etc.
  • Weaknesses – these are the things that go less well. Maybe you’re not so hot on cashflow or you haven’t mastered social media. It might list that you have a capacity issue or that you are spending too much of your energy on non profitable activities.
  • Opportunities – these are the areas of the business that you know you want to grow or you know that there is a new trend or idea but you haven’t actioned anything yet. It may be a strength that you have but are not exploiting yet.
  • Threats – these are the things that you need to be aware of and try to mitigate but you may not necessarily be able to actually change. This might be a wet summer season, political change, economic downturn or the opening of a new competitor up the road.

Once you have taken the time to list things under each heading – I would first boil the kettle and have a cuppa. Then…I would tend to look at the negatives first to get them out of the way. If there are any predictable threats then you need to check you have mitigated them and planed for them. For example a new competitor is opening later in the year up the road from you. Have you planned a new marketing campaign, perhaps strengthened your customer relationships, or are you planning to add services that will make your business unique and more special?

I would then have a look at your weaknesses and go for some quick wins….perhaps you can get some training to improve your schools or maybe you need the services of a virtual PA to get you on the road to efficiency. You won’t be able to solve all your weaknesses straight away so plan in how you will strengthen your weaknesses over time.

Finally I would focus on the good stuff. In the perfect world you want to connect your existing strengths with new opportunities for maximum impact. Think about what you already do well and see if this can help you make the best of a new opportunity.

It was suggested to me in the the ensuing conversation online that it was best to do this in the opposite way – deal with strengths and opportunities first to get the best mindset for dealing with the tricky bits…of course this is entirely up to you! I am merely suggesting what I like to do.

If you would like some one to one support with your SWOT or overall Marketing strategy or perhaps book into one of my workshops – get in touch today on www.emilywhitehead.co.uk