The challenge faced by all businesses is delivering the client a product or service he or she values and doing so better than the competition. To meet this challenge, a business or firm must examine its operations and set meaningful goals based on its current environment and financial position. A SWOT analysis is an excellent tool that will enable you to capitalize on the areas where you shine and improve aspects where you fall behind.
If you’re really looking to gain a stronghold in your industry, don’t stop at examining your own business – look at your competitors too. Performing a SWOT analysis on them can provide you with a competitive edge, because you will learn how your company can set itself apart.
What is a SWOT Analysis?
A SWOT Analysis is an integral component of the strategic planning process that examines a business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Using this method, you can:
- Gain insight into potential challenges and limitations that may face your company as you move forward;
- Capitalize on your strengths; and
- Develop business goals and strategies to achieve them.
Below is an overview of the four SWOT categories:
Strengths are the areas in which your company or firm is well versed and they determine your overall success. They may be intangible qualities your employees embody, like dedication and determination, or the capabilities of the business itself, including legal expertise, financial resources, social media planning, product design or customer service.
Weaknesses, on the other hand, hinder a business’s productivity and ability to accomplish its mission, making it difficult to succeed and grow. Weaknesses are factors that do not meet organizational standards. They may include depreciating machinery, poor planning and decision-making, lack of resources, high employee turnover, and debt. In order to turn your weaknesses into strengths, you will first need to identify them. A SWOT analysis will not only help you recognize your weaknesses, but can help you create a strategy to alleviate them.
Opportunities frequently present themselves; it’s a matter of recognizing them when they appear. To exploit opportunities, you must examine industry, environment, and market and execute a strategy to achieve profitability. Existing opportunities may include developing or taking advantage of new technology, the failure of a competitor, or utilizing existing resources that have yet to be explored.
Threats are uncontrollable circumstances that endanger the success and profitability of a company or firm. Examples include: unrest amongst employees, competition, decline in profits, and drastic changes in technology.
Benefits of a SWOT Analysis
A SWOT is a multi-level analysis that will provide valuable information about your busness or firm from a variety of angles. You may be able to identify threats that were initially unknown, such as the launch of a competing product or impending new government regulations. Recognizing weaknesses, like the lack of a social media plan, may suggest the need to hire a coach/consultant and develop a plan. Everything you ascertain from this analysis can be used to conduct strategic planning and other competitive studies.
A SWOT analysis can help you:
Identifying weaknesses is the most critical area that must be improved upon before the business can succeed. Continuous improvement is key if you want to stay ahead of your competitors. Utilize your weaknesses as a learning experience and positively apply what you learned as you move forward.
In order to grow, you must continuously seek out new opportunities, whether it is new talent, customers or products. Performing a SWOT analysis will help you pinpoint emerging opportunities that need to be jumped on now and forecast potential breaks down the road.
Through an open exchange of dialogue, a SWOT analysis will enable your employees to share information in several functional areas where they would otherwise not collaborate. Using their first-hand experience and insight, you can make changes in your organization that will drive results.
By performing a SWOT analysis on your three primary competitors, you can gain a better understanding of how to position yourself in the market, attack your competitors’ weaknesses with your strengths, and avoid areas where they have an extreme advantage over you. This analysis will demonstrate that even the most successful companies have weaknesses that can be subjugated.
SWOT Analyses provide outstanding insight into the ins and outs of your company or firm and are incredibly advantageous to any company, small business, non-profit or individual who is looking to cultivate success.
If you’re ready to thoroughly evaluate your business and your competitors, pushing the boundaries of your success even further, contact By George Coaching at 215.738.5289 or firstname.lastname@example.org.