A SWOT analysis is a handy tool for auditing your business both internally and within your industry; this is the place where many marketers truly begin their planning. SWOT stands for “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats” by fully evaluating your business you can learn how to better focus on issues that are key to your organization.
Think of a SWOT analysis as your personal roadmap showing you how you should proceed, what opportunities you may be missing out on, and how to tackle the threats at your door.
The best part: it doesn’t have to take you more than an hour! The only rules are that you should be realistic about your organizations strengths, as well as weaknesses, be specific with your verbiage, and keep it short and simple.
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Now that you know what a SWOT analysis can do for you, it’s time to get started!
The first step is to identify your strengths, keep in mind these are internal factors. Generally, a strength could be anything from a new innovative product or service to the strength of your marketing team. For example, say you are writing a SWOT analysis for your marketing efforts towards a new product, one strength could be a hefty social following that could be leveraged for a launch.
Next it’s time to dive into your businesses weaknesses. A weakness could be a lack of marketing expertise, products that are too similar to those already on the market, or even a damaged reputation. Take time to consider areas of your business that are the least profitable or even where you lack talent. Building off of the previous example, when creating a SWOT analysis for a product launch one weakness could be that you have not differentiated this new product from others on the market.
Once you have your strengths and weaknesses fleshed out, it’s time to look ahead and consider your opportunities. This is the time for you to really dream big, and think outside the box. An opportunity could be anything from a expanding into an international market, or creating strategic alliances to moving into a new market segment that has a lot to offer. This category goes hand in hand with your weaknesses, what opportunities could you take advantage of if you perfected your weakest areas.
The last step of your SWOT analysis is to acknowledge your threats. There is a good chance that this is something you have already put some thought into, whether you meant to or not. Some examples of threats could be a new competitor, a better-priced competitor, or a competitor with a new and innovative product or service. The best way to thoroughly consider your threats is to gather your team and brainstorm; What is happening in your industry? Do you know what you are competitors doing? How are you going to reach your goals?
At the end of the day, a SWOT analysis can help you gauge your progress, tackle challenges and better understand your environment.