The best way to know your business’s strengths and weaknesses is by conducting a SWOT analysis. This analysis helps you identify Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
This analysis can also be used for products, locations, projects, outside ventures, or even for individuals. This method helps you look at opportunities and shortcomings in your own business as well as outside of your business.
The following is a list of questions you can ask yourself and your team to begin the process of finding your strengths and weaknesses.
Strengths (look within)
- What can you do better than any of your competitors? Perhaps you can offer a more personal level of customer service, or you can provide the best blog for your customers to enjoy, or you may be able to offer same day deliver to customers in certain locations.
- What resources do you have access to that your competitors don’t? For example, do you have relationship that can provide discounts for a certain materials because of their jobs or connections?
- What do customers see as your selling points and strengths? Do customers compliment you on the added features that your services provide? Or perhaps they’re awed by your educational background or certifications. Ask yourself what it is that brings customers in to your business, but also what brings them back.
Weaknesses (look within)
- What resources do your competitors have access to that you don’t? Does your competition have a better location than you? Or perhaps they’re a well-established business that has become familiar with several generations of the surrounding community.
- What do you think you could improve upon? If you were to give a demonstration of your product, services and operations, which part would are you at ease about discussing? Is your customer acquisition not up to par? Is your product not as dependable as it should be?
- Do you lack experience in comparison with your competitors? Do competitors have better educational experience? Do they have more employees or employees with more experience?
Opportunities (look outside of your business)
What trends are you aware of?
- These don’t even have to be trends in your business. Ten years ago most businesses wouldn’t imagine going on social media. Today, they’d be foolish not to. What trends do you see in your business, and outside of your business that are emerging?
- What changes in government policy could impact you? Changes in government policy could help or hurt your business. Although, they could have the same impact on your competition. If you’re further in front of new government regulation than your competition is, it will always help your business.
- Are there any events that you could use to your advantage? Are there any local parades or festivals that you could get involved in? Or, if the holidays are coming around, donating some time and volunteering could gain publicity. If you have an online presence, are there trending topics could you hitch your wagon to gain some publicity?
Threats (look outside of your business)
Do you have financial or credit issues?
- How is your business being financed and is the financing secure? If you’re running your business on top of your day job, and using the money from your day job, what is the likelihood of you losing your day job? Could your investors be in financial trouble?
- Is your business being threatened by technology or outsourcing?
- What equipment and technology is being developed that could make your operation obsolete? Do you provide a skill or service that is being outsourced overseas? Is your product or service losing its “premium” status?
- Are you or any of your employees or partners dealing with personal issues such as a lost loved one or divorce? What condition is your physical health or the health of your employees?
- These are the questions you need to ask and answer in order to figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are. It’s important that you go through these by yourself, but also with members of your team. If your partners and employers are truly worth hiring and working with, they should have insights to these questions, and a different point of view, that could reveal opportunities or potential catastrophes.
- Are there any personal issues could threaten your business?
I believe that every business owner should conduct a SWOT analysis at least once a year. If you are going to be successful in business, this analysis is a must.
If you need help understanding how to conduct a SWOT Analysis, I am just an email away.
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As a reminder, for career and businesswomen it’s always about – ‘Results. Uniqueness. Differentiation.’ I call this your ‘RUD’.
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