Every business, no matter how big or small (yes, even solopreneurs) should be aware of the importance of a tool called a SWOT analysis. It stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats and is an incredibly useful tool that can help you assess your current position in the market and make strategic decisions to help you grow.
Let’s take a look at what it is and how it works.
What Is A SWOT Analysis?
A SWOT analysis is a marketing tool designed to help you understand your current position in the market by looking at four key areas:
Understanding each of these aspects of your business will help you identify where you are succeeding, which areas need improvement, and any potential opportunities that may exist for growth.
How To Do A SWOT Analysis
The first step in conducting a SWOT analysis is to define each of these criteria by asking yourself questions such as: What are our strengths? What do we do better than our competitors? Where could we improve? What opportunities can we capitalise on? And finally, what threats exist in the market that could potentially harm us? Once you have answered each question you will have a comprehensive overview of your current position in the market.
Conducting a SWOT analysis doesn’t require software or professional support – all you need is some paper, some time (and some colleagues if there’s more than one of you!), and an honest assessment of your business’s performance.
Start by writing down each area – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats – under separate headings on four pieces of paper or even just one sheet divided into four depending on how much detail you want to go into.
Or you can simply grab one of our templates at this link.
Then list all the factors that apply to each category – this should include both internal factors (such as staff skills or brand reputation) and external factors (such as new technologies or changes in customer behaviour).
In order to get the best from this exercise you have to be really honest with yourself, if an opportunity exists that will require you to recruit is that a realistic option for you right now? This is where having a couple of people to go through this with you can make the difference, it’s like that job interview question where you’re asked about your weaknesses, lots of people don’t want to accept as a person or a business that there might be something you could be better at and a second opinion will help.
It’s also something that can bring out ideas from team members you might not have spotted, perhaps there’s a person dealing with customers who have invaluable feedback that they haven’t brought back to you before now that makes for an interesting opportunity.
I personally like the idea of doing this on a Canva whiteboard and inviting different people to contribute – if this interests you, I’m happy to do a Canva hour with you in order to get you up and running.
Once you have completed this exercise it will give you invaluable insight into where your business needs to focus its attention for future success. And remember, you can go back and add something you think of later too as once you’re in this way of thinking it’s amazing how other things come to mind even if that happens to be at 3am!
A SWOT analysis should be conducted at regular intervals so that your business can stay ahead of the competition and capitalise on any potential opportunities for growth. It’s an incredibly useful tool for any size of business because it allows you to gain insight into your current position in the market and identify areas where you need to focus your attention.
If marketing is something you feel you need support with, we offer a range of services including coaching, marketing strategy, once-off consultations, and support, get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss options that might work for you, at whatever stage your business is at.
Debbie Ringwood is a Marketing Specialist with over 20 years of experience in B2B and B2C Marketing. She is a Graduate of the Marketing Institute of Ireland and the Digital Marketing Institute. She is a Linkedin Certified Marketing Insider, META Certified Community Manager, and Canva Champion.
Debbie supports, coaches, and trains businesses in Marketing, Social Media, Canva & WordPress along with her team, working with businesses at different stages of their journey.