SWOT Analysis – simple business tool

SWOT Analysis for businesses is a really interesting tool which can be applied to so many aspects of your business systems. ‘SWOT’  reminds me of a more basic system that some may use in their personal life….. it’s the old: ‘pro’s and cons on a page.

The Tool:

This tool in its basic format is sufficient to be thought provoking to challenge your business and staff alike.  The tool will focus  mindsets identifying various aspects of risk in and around the company and its daily activities.

Again as per most tools, various examples can be quickly found on the various internet search engine platforms. It uses very simple headlines to make individuals think: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

Application:

For example; the SWOT analysis tool can be applied to look at areas such as: internal departmental systems, processes, sales to name a few. The tool indirectly (and as a consequence of actions) may encourage better communications within your business and among its stakeholders. Indirectly, the SWOT tool will encourage engagement from all areas of your business. A visual tool such as this, often aids to clear mindsets, helps to focus stakeholders and can encourage teams to bounce off one another creating an element of ‘thinking out of the box’.

Using the tool:

Start by choosing a task / problem,  challenge each title/segment within the term ‘SWOT’.  Challenge each key word in turn: so you may identify for example: ‘new sales’ as a task. You may have a strong experienced field sales force which you may list as a strength’.  You then may identify: Internet sales as an opportunity’ for growth however you recognise that the business isn’t geared for the internet.  This failing should then be listed as a ‘weakness’.  You may then identify a changing market place, a move from traditional field sales will be listed as a ‘threat’.

The key then for the business is to convert: the opportunity, fix the weakness and neutralise the threat. This task as you will imagine can lead to some challenging questions and thoughts on differing tiers of management! The tool is just a different form of identifying RISK management. The tool may aid you as the SME business owner / manager and employees alike confront problems. You can then analyse possible fixes, consider consequences of any ‘actions’ and indeed plan the contingency should the worst happen!

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