Does your business need a SWOT?

A SWOT Analysis will help you identify the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats facing your organization.  Conducting a SWOT can help companies understand their business better and develop goals and solutions for achieving their goals.

When you decide to conduct a SWOT analysis, you should always begin with an objective in mind.  For example, do you need to improve operational efficiencies, address staffing issues or relocate your office?

This type of analysis has the benefit of being very straight forward and easy to identify the key factors in each of the 4 areas.  In general, a SWOT will aid you in building upon your strengths, minimize your weaknesses, capitalize on opportunities and defend against threats.  In addition, it can prove very useful in getting the creative juices flowing for you and your team.  Think of it as an effective precursor to a successful brainstorming session.

Both your strengths and weakness are internal to your organization and will affect your ability to make improvements to move toward your goals.  Whereas, opportunities and threats are external to your organization. 

STRENGTHS

Once you have clearly identified the strengths, or areas where you are performing well, you can build upon them.  This will help to ensure you keep your competitive edge.

WEAKNESSES

When you have identified the weaknesses that put your company at a disadvantage you are better prepared to eliminate or at least minimize them.

OPPORTUNITIES          

Once you have identified your strengths and weaknesses you will be able to clearly identify anything that could hold you back from seizing opportunities.

THREATS

These are anything in the current market or climate that can hinder your business.  It might be something a competitor is doing, or it could be a downturn in the financial picture.

A SWOT analysis should be conducted every time you are facing a major decision for your business.  It should also be done each time you wish to improve a particular facet of your business and, it can even be done to look at the effectiveness of the entire organization.  In general, a SWOT Analysis should be undertaken at least every 6 months.

As with any business method, there are limitations.  Some of them include the fact that you may come up with an exhaustive list of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.  Also, the method won’t help you to determine how to prioritize the areas that need improvement.

In order to have a more successful outcome to your SWOT Analysis you should, 1) keep each list to between 3-5 items in length (2) list facts rather than opinions (3) always compare yourself to your competition (4) focus on a specific goal or issue (5) prioritize your results (6) keep your competitive advantage in mind.

Although you will need to involve key players from your organization during this undertaking, it can prove very helpful to include a non-partisan third party to the process.  This is because we sometimes don’t see ourselves as clearly and non-judgmentally as others do.  A third party can also keep you on track and avoid being too general when identifying your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Let the Selbst Consulting Group help you with your SWOT Analyses.  We will work closely with your team to conduct this evaluation tool and help you create an action plan you can start on immediately.

To your success!

Loree Selbst is a Partner in Selbst Consulting Group. She is a leader who has a passion and expertise for identifying the strengths in others and helping them achieve success. Over the course of her career, she has succeeded in accomplishing more effective ways to optimize operational efficiencies. Loree is Six Sigma Yellow Belt Certified with a reputation for building strong teams focused on quality and exceptional customer service. You may contact Loree via email at loree@selbstcg.com or by phone at 480-210-2638