Welcome to Day 2 of our 5 Day SWOT Analysis Challenge!

Invite others to take the challenge! Share this article on Facebook or Twitter and use the #SWOT hashtag. Look here for Day 1, Day 3, Day 4 and Day 5 of the challenge.

5 Day SWOT Challenge - StrengthsWhether you’re new to the business world or a veteran, you know that a SWOT analysis is a valuable tool to have in your toolbox. A SWOT analysis encourages owners to evaluate their business, looking specifically at strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that surround the company.

Click here to download our free SWOT Analysis template

Many owners know the importance of a SWOT report, but it can get put off as more pressing projects pile up. That’s why we’re hosting a SWOT challenge.

Today is day two of the challenge, so we’re working through the weaknesses of your business.

The purpose of a SWOT

Today you’re diving into the weaknesses of your business. Since listing the weaknesses within your business can be tough, we thought it was a good idea to recap why this analysis is important.

For existing businesses, a SWOT report will:

  • Give you a new perspective about your business
  • Provide valuable information that can be used to make strategic decisions
  • Allow you to access the health of your business in real time
  • Identify areas for improvement
  • Give employees a chance to weigh in on the overall wellness of the business
  • Guide future plans

For new businesses, a SWOT report will:

  • Highlight the benefits of your proposed business
  • Identify potential problems
  • Encourage you to think critically about starting a business
  • Provide valuable information that you’ll need to consider now and in the future

How to define your company’s weaknesses

Every owner wants to believe his or her business is running smoothly, so this piece of the report might not be your favorite. However, it’s vital information. You need to truthfully access the weaknesses within your business for this analysis to be effective.

Within a SWOT analysis, weaknesses are internal factors that take away from your business or leave you at a disadvantage. The same categories that applied to your strengths column from yesterday can be reapplied here.

So, in your brainstorming session, which should include a variety of employees, you’re going to think of weaknesses that fit within the categories below. You’ll put this information on your four-box SWOT template. You can download the template here, if you haven’t done so already.

The categories where you might find weaknesses include:

  • Financial resources. This includes revenue streams, investments, diversified income, and grants.
  • Physical items. Consider buildings and equipment that you rent or own.
  • Intellectual property. Patents, copyrights, and trademarks fall into this area.
  • Human resources. Think of your employees, volunteers, and mentors.
  • Key players. Think of vital personnel to your business.
  • Employee programs. Think of any programs that help your employees excel.
  • Company workflow. This includes best work practices.
  • Company culture. This is the environment that your employees work in.
  • Company reputation. Think of how your business has grown its reputation.
  • Market position. You’ll consider how your business fits in the overall market.
  • Growth potential. Think of how your business is positioned for future growth.

Questions to ask to find your company’s weaknesses

We’ve gone over a few categories, but to further assist you, we compiled a list of questions that should help you identify weaknesses. These questions follow the categories that we just went through. Some questions might not elicit a negative response. If that’s the case, just move on to the next question.

Starter questions:

  • In what areas does your company struggle?
  • Are there reasons that customers select competitors over you?
  • Does something specific stop you from performing at your best?

Financial:

  • Are financial resources holding you back? If so, how?
  • Does your business get its revenue from one main stream? If so, is diversification a concern?
  • Are you preparing for your financial future?

Physical:

  • Are any of your physical assets creating a problem?
  • What condition is your office in?
  • What condition is your equipment in?

Intellectual property:

  • Are any of your patents, trademarks, or copyrights in jeopardy?
  • Is there any government red tape that’s keeping a patent from moving forward?
  • Does your company take too long to file for patents, etc.?

Human resources:

  • What kind of human resources do you have?
  • Are there any departments that are lacking or inefficient?
  • Are employee programs in place to improve your business? If so, are they working?

Company workflow:

  • What areas could be improved upon when it comes to workflow?

Company culture:

  • Are you happy with the company culture that you’ve created? If not, why?

Company reputation:

  • How does the public see your company? Are you happy with that image?

Market position:

  • What kind of position does your business hold in the marketplace?

Growth potential:

  • What plans do you have for growth?
  • Are your competitors growing in ways that you can’t?
  • What keeps your business from growing?

Tips to list your company’s weaknesses

  1. Be open-minded. As your employees suggest weaknesses, remain open-minded. It’s likely that an employee will bring up a weakness that you hadn’t thought of, or disagree with. When it happens, don’t be judgmental.
  2. Be critical of your business. Now isn’t the time for rose-colored glasses, now is the time for pure honesty. Be prepared to look at your business inside and out critically.
  3. Remember, every business has weaknesses. When you’re finished talking about the negative aspects of your business, you might feel a bit deflated. Remember, every business has weaknesses. Today is just part of a larger process that will help you better access your business.
  4. Keep your list of weaknesses 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 weaknesses in the comments section below, ask a question, or offer advice to others participating in the challenge with you!

 

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Lisa Furgison
Lisa Furgison

Lisa Furgison is a journalist with a decade of experience in all facets of media.