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Do your SWOT Analysis and Start your Financial Year Strong

12 June 2018

SWOT Analysis is the abbreviation for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. It is a critical planning tool to help small businesses stay ahead of the curve and fuel their growth year on year. 

It is a relatively simple process that will help you make informed business decisions. Strengths and weaknesses are generally relevant to understanding matters within the business, whereas opportunities and threats are generally relevant to assessing the externalenvironment in which your business operates. 


Here’s what conducting a SWOT Analysis involves. 


Assess your company’s strengths against your competitors and the feedback that you receive from your customers, suppliers and other business partners. Look for things that help you bring in repeat business. These could be your company values and culture, matchless customer service and/or your ability to provide customised solutions fast and cheap. Asking the following questions can yield useful information:


What do we do extremely well or better than others in the market? 

What has helped us build positive reputation in the market? 

What has resulted in repeat business since the company was formed? 


You can even use MindTools Worksheet for filling in the SWOT matrix for analysis and future action. 


Again, assess the weaknesses of your company against your competitors and as perceived by your network of customers and suppliers. Think of customer complaints or reasons for negative customer reviews. Consider other issues internal to your business, like slow production process or a slower than industry average sales cycle. 


Asking the following questions can yield useful information:


What can we do to significantly improveour customer experience? 

What customer complaints have we received in the last 12 months? 

Do we have any resource issues that could hamper the growth of the business in the long run? 


Look for industry trends to identify short-term and long-term business opportunities. This can be done in a number of ways: 


·      Analysing social media information with respect to your industry 

·      Analysing industry-leading publications and other media relevant to your business

·      Brainstorming new ideas and otheruses of existing products with customers and your internal team

Mostly, small businesses do well in identifying their strengths and weaknesses as these are internally driven. Because of limited resources, most business owners are busy working inthe business. This leaves little time for working onthe business. You can change this by asking the following questions:


What strengths of our business can we convert into new opportunities? 

What other market verticals can we enter with our solutions? 


The external environment includes anything from competition to buying patterns to legislation, all the way to technological changes happening in your industry. These uncertainties expose your business to threats at multiple levels. Following are some of the questions that you may find helpful:


What are some of the ways we can gain competitor intelligence? 

What quality standards related to our solutions are likely to change? 

Which of the weaknesses (outlined earlier in your analysis) pose threats to your business – today and tomorrow? 


By conducting a SWOT Analysis, you can minimise the adverse impact of these threats on your business by taking a proactive approach.