Welcome to Day 1 of our 5 Day SWOT Analysis Challenge!
As an entrepreneur, you want to know your business inside and out so you can make informed, money-making decisions. To do that, a SWOT analysis is the key. By conducting a SWOT analysis you’ll have a comprehensive look at your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats—which is what the acronym SWOT stands for. We know “SWOT analysis” sounds pretty technical and a little dry, but we’ve got a great way for you to create an analysis without feeling overwhelmed.
On Day 1, you’ll tackle the “S,” or “strengths,” piece of SWOT. Before we dive in, you’ll have to do a few things to prepare.
Preparing for a SWOT analysis
For starters, we need to talk about what a SWOT analysis looks like and how to go about conducting one.
1. Understand the format
A SWOT analysis is usually completed using a four-square template. There’s one box for each of the four categories: strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats.
Here’s a quick glance at what a completed template looks like:
2. Download the template
We have a digital four-square template ready for you to download. You’ll want to download our SWOT template before you begin.
3. Review SWOT examples
Before you get started on your own SWOT analysis, it’s a good idea to review others. By taking a look at other completed reports, you’ll recognize additional areas that you should consider in your business. We recommend looking through at least three other examples. You can find SWOT examples here.
4. Organize a meeting
To conduct a thorough analysis, it’s always best to bring in several people from your company. Organize a 30 minute meeting each morning this week where you and your staff can talk about the company. You should invite employees from every level and from every department. The more perspectives that you have while conducting a SWOT analysis, the better the evaluation will be.
5. Write down bullet points
During your brainstorming session, you’ll ask each person to supply one bullet point for the category they are working on. For today, each person will supply one strength of the company. Make sure one person is responsible for writing down all of the strengths mentioned.
How to define your company’s strengths
Before you start listing your strengths, let’s define the parameters a bit. Strengths are positive internal factors that are within your control. Think of the experience and resources that are available to your business. Here are a few categories to think about:
- Financial resources. Think of revenue streams, investments, diversified income, and grants.
- Physical items. Think of buildings and equipment.
- Intellectual property. Think of patents, copyrights, and trademarks.
- Human resources. Think of your employees, volunteers, mentors, and so on.
- Key players. Think of vital personnel to your business.
- Employee programs. Think of any programs that help your employees excel.
- Company workflow. Think of your work practices and how things get done.
- Company culture. Think of the environment that your company has created.
- Company reputation. Think of how your business has grown its reputation.
- Market position. Think of how your business is poised in the marketplace.
- Growth potential. Think of how your business is positioned for future growth.
Questions to ask to find your company’s strengths
To help you lock in on your company’s strengths, we’ve created a list of questions to help. The questions are broken up by the categories that we just went over. Keep in mind, some of these questions may not apply to your business. If that’s the case, skip the question and move on, or modify it so it does apply.
You’re looking for strengths here, so if you end up with a negative response, hang on to it until tomorrow when you go over your company’s weaknesses.
This may seem like a lot of questions, but we wanted to give you a full list to run through to save time.
- What do you do well?
- What do you do that your competition can’t?
- Why do customers come to you?
- What kind of financial resources do you have?
- Is your revenue diversified?
- What kind investments do you have for the future?
- What kind of assets do you have?
- What are the benefits of your company’s space and building?
- What kind of equipment do you own?
- What kind of intellectual property do you have in your business? List trademarks, patents, etc.
- What kind of human resources do you have?
- Are there vital players in your company’s hierarchy?
- What kind of programs do you have that improve your business and employees?
- What kind of processes do you have in place that makes your company efficient?
- What kind of working culture has your company created in the workplace?
- How does your clientele or community view your company?
- How did you achieve your reputation?
- Does your company have an edge in the marketplace that your competitor doesn’t?
- What plans do you have in place to improve your market position?
- What plans do you have for growth?
- Do you have potential to grow in certain sectors where your competitors don’t?
- What’s the main reason you’re able to grow?
Tips to list your company’s strengths
- Be truthful. It probably goes without saying, but if you’re not truthful during this process, the entire analysis won’t be effective.
- Allow for feedback. As you’re brainstorming strengths, make sure your employees are comfortable offering their feedback. You may not agree on some strengths, but it’s best to talk them through.
- Stay focused. You want to hear many viewpoints, but when you get several people in a room, time can get away from you. Keep the group on task.
- Keep your list of strengths handy. Keep your list in an accessible spot. You’ll analyze all of the data that you collect over the next few days at the end of the week.
How’d you do? Post your list of strengths in the comments section below, ask a question, or offer advice to others participating in the challenge with you!