A SWOT analysis is a business analysis procedure conducted to make sure there are clearly defined goals for any project and that any factors related to the said project are identified properly. Performing a SWOT analysis of your small to medium business does not take too much of your time and it helps you to think outside of the box when it comes to your business. A SWOT analysis also helps you come up with an effective strategy for your business by ensuring you have put all your business’ weaknesses and strengths into consideration not to mention the threats it faces in the market and the opportunities available. It is almost a business rescue depending on what you do with the results obtained.

SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. The business’ strengths and its weaknesses are internal i.e. location, patents, or reputation meaning they are within the company and you will need to work on them actively to change them with time. Your opportunities and strengths are essentially external and they could be prices, competitors, or suppliers. They happen outside of the company and you cannot change them.

Businesses can exploit a SWOT analysis any time to analyze a changing environment so they can respond accordingly. A strategy review meeting is recommended for businesses at least once every year beginning with a SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis is also recommended for new businesses during the planning process because approaching a new business in accordance to its unique SWOTs may put you on the right path from the beginning saving you a lot of trouble as you proceed.

Conducting a SWOT Analysis

For the most objective and complete results, it is best to conduct the analysis using a group of individuals with varying stakes and perspectives in the company. Customers, customer service, sales, and management can all bring valuable insight. The process of a SWOT analysis is also a chance for your team to come together while encouraging participation in accordance with your company’s strategy. Usually, a SWOT analysis is done using a four-square SWOT template but lists works equally as well. The best method to use is the one that allows you to organize the results and understand them easily.

You can brainstorm with your team to determine the factors present in all four sections of the analysis or ask your team members to complete a SWOT analysis template individually after which you can meet for discussion and compilation of the results. Bullets points might be the best way to start as opposed to elaborating each point first. Ensure you capture any important aspects according to you in all four areas. After the brainstorming session, you can generate the final version of the SWOT analysis in all its prioritized glory. The factors in each category can be listed from the highest in priority to the lowest in priority.

The SWOT results can be used to come up with short and long-term strategies for the business by maximizing the positive influences and diminishing the negative influences in your business.

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