A SWOT checkup will help you see the next move for your business
Try the exercise that helps you formulate a business strategy
Do you see an opportunity to take your business in new directions? Or, is your outlook cloudy? Whether you are starting up or have an established business, a SWOT analysis will point out where you are, where you want to go and how you can get there.
SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. A SWOT analysis is a method that business strategists often use to look at a company in context, determine its current state and uncover new possibilities. You can use this method too in your business to have a better sense of your industry’s landscape and where your business stands.
Set the best course for your small business
A SWOT analysis is simply an inventory of internal business operations and external market factors, including trends and competition:
- Strengths: What is your business great at? Its advantages?
- Weaknesses: What can your business improve on?
- Opportunities: What can your business take advantage of?
- Threats: What could go wrong for your business or have to manage as possible problems?
Focus on strategic goals, limit the rest
Executing a SWOT analysis will help you direct energy towards defined tasks, rather than trying to do everything at once and getting nowhere. Women are superior multitaskers, but the flip side of that natural ability is that we sometimes scatter our energy. Wearing many hats as a small business owner doesn’t help the feeling that you aren’t accomplishing the more important tasks. A SWOT analysis will put executive decisions into focus because the exercise will point out what’s important so you can structure your efforts.
A framework for progress
Writing on the back of a napkin is great for brainstorming. For a SWOT analysis, a task for the record, we recommend you hold onto your completed worksheet. It will be invaluable to look back at your answers when it comes time to make the next change for your business.
Protect and prosper
Being ready and willing to change is a great quality many entrepreneurs embrace. But before you change or expand, do a gut-check with a SWOT. Serving a narrow success. If you’re going for a different type of customer, making a significant change in service or product, or adding new capabilities, a SWOT will point out the pitfalls to avoid.
Get a clear view of your business weakness so you’re prepared
When you take the time to reflect on how your business is exposed to threats, you can take a defensive position and protect your assets.
How to find the answers to SWOT questions
Sometimes, it is hard to look at your brainchild critically. Running a small business is a deeply personal endeavor, but you have to be disciplined to succeed.
Ask your team and your customers for their feedback. Listening to comments and reading customer reviews are critical. If you are starting up a business, you might try out your elevator pitch with someone objective and positive. Tell them about your strengths and opportunities to give your ideas a test run.
Fruit of the SWOT exercise
A SWOT analysis will reveal what is moving you forward or holding you back. It will define a course of action, build your confidence and help you lead. You might find a strength that can offset a threat or see how an opportunity can overcome a weakness.
Here are key insights that may be revealed to you:
- Competitive edge
- Brand values and vision
- Ways to minimize risk
- Plan for growth
- Smart investments of time and people power
The most valuable part of this exercise is gaining command over the trajectory of your business success. The work you put into a SWOT analysis will help you come up with long-term strategies.
Increase the visibility of your business
List your business in the New York Women in Business Directory.