As your business grows, it’s important to set clear, well-defined goals to maximize new opportunities and overcome challenges along the way. Goals provide direction, motivation, and a clear way to measure your progress, but identifying them can be a challenge. Before setting goals, you should always bring it back to business basics and do a SWOT analysis!
What is a SWOT analysis?
A SWOT analysis is a strategic planning model that helps businesses identify their Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It’s divided into two main categories: internal factors and external factors. Strengths and weaknesses are internal to the company and can be changed over time. Opportunities and threats are external. They are out there in the market and can’t be changed. So, what do each of these elements mean? Let’s break them down.
S – Strengths: Characteristics that give the business its competitive advantage.
W – Weaknesses: Characteristics that a company needs to overcome in order to improve its performance.
O – Opportunities: Elements that the company sees in the external environment that it could pursue in the future to generate value.
T- Threats: Elements in the external environment that could prevent the company from achieving its goal or mission.
How to conduct a SWOT analysis
To conduct a SWOT analysis, identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to your company. This is an opportunity to bring your team together and brainstorm factors in each of the four categories. Each leader should know the internal and external strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Below are some questions you may want to ask when developing your SWOT.
To begin your SWOT analysis, focus on the strengths of your company. These are the positive attributes, tangible and intangible, that are internal to your organization.
- What does your company do well?
- What advantages do you have over your competition?
- What do your customers love about your company or products?
- What’s your unique selling proposition?
- What internal resources do you have? (Knowledge, background, education, skills, etc.)
- What tangible assets do you have? (Capital, technology, existing customers)
Once you identify your strengths, think about the aspects of your business that place you at a competitive disadvantage.
- What does your company lack?
- What are your most negative brand attributes?
- What things are your competitors doing better than you?
- Does your company have limited resources?
- What do your customers dislike about your company or products?
- What are the biggest obstacles/challenges in your current sales funnel?
Then, consider the external factors that represent reasons your business could improve sales and grow as a company.
- What opportunities exist in your market that you can benefit from?
- What kind of messaging resonates with your customers?
- Is there new demand for your product or service?
- Are there any changes in technology or markets that your company can benefit from?
The final step of your SWOT analysis is identifying your threats. These are external factors beyond your control that could place your strategy or business at risk.
- Who are your existing or potential competitors?
- What obstacles does your company face?
- What situations might threaten your marketing efforts?
- Has there been a shift in consumer behavior that could reduce your sales?
Using SWOT to Define Your Goals
Once you have identified and prioritized your SWOT results, you can use them to develop short and long-term goals for your business. Then, you can create a strategy to support those goals!
Here are some ways you can use the data from your SWOT:
- Brainstorm ways you can combine your strengths and opportunities to develop new strategies.
- Create a list from your weaknesses and opportunities to determine areas ready for improvement.
- Identify areas to avoid that fall under weaknesses and threats.
Once you are comfortable critically thinking about the results of your SWOT analysis, you can continue using this as a tool when exploring new opportunities and area for growth within your business.
Get help from PMD Group
If you’d like an outside perspective on a SWOT for your business, we can help! Contact us to get started!