SWOT – yes it does sound boring I know… but if there is one thing that is important in running a successful business then it has to be knowledge. You need to ensure that you know your customers, your own business and of course the business and environment of those around you.
I have been taught to always do a SWOT analysis of a business when marketing planning. Forget Porters 5 forces and the Boston Matrix. If there is one thing you should do let it be this! It is an objective way to view your business by looking to the future and showing you areas where you can build and other areas you need to up your game!
Surprisingly, one of the hardest things to know the most about is your own business, after all, the closer that you are to something then the harder it can be to pinpoint things about it. This means that you may need to try a new approach to ensure that you understand where your business sits.
A SWOT analysis is going to be key here. This looks at your strengths, your weakness, your opportunities and the threats that can face your business. But where do you start?
SWOT Analysis Strengths and Weaknesses
It is relatively easy to try and identify the strengths and weaknesses that your business has. This is made even easier if you take it as an opportunity to speak to those who you interact with. You can ask your customers, your suppliers, your business partners and of course your employees too. All to gain an insight into your performance and how you are doing as a business.
You need to look at your business as a whole, this includes staffing, operations, marketing and of course finance too, as these are all parts of your business. Even better, it is a good idea to look at where you sit compared to your competitors.
The strengths and weaknesses really apply to the internal areas in your business and nothing more. Could a weakness be that you don’t do any marketing, could a strength be that you have a robust continuity plan – look at everything internally.
SWOT Analysis Opportunities and Threats
Whilst you are thinking about where you sit compared to your competitors, it is a good idea to consider those threats and opportunities that are surrounding you. Again, this is something that you should consider with your wider network.
You need to ask what things could have an impact on your business. This includes your customers, your suppliers, your distributors and of course your competitors. They can all have an impact on how you trade as a business.
It is also a good idea to look at other factors that could affect your business. The economy, social trends, technology and of course regulations and politics too!
Once you have sat down and looked at all these things in detail, then chances are that you will understand more about where your business sits. This will give you everything that you need to have a successful business that is able to grow and develop.
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