There’s a reason why the gym is packed with newcomers each year on January 2nd. With the onset of a new year, most of us take the time to create resolutions, where we reflect on what we’ve accomplished, and what we’d still like to achieve. This exercise need not only apply to our personal lives: in the corporate world, executives do this assessment through a SWOT analysis, a systematic approach to thinking about a company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in order to identify the key issues that affect their business.
Taking the time to do an annual SWOT exercise can be invaluable, especially for a small to medium business. According to Vipe Desai, founder and CEO of HDX Hydration Mix, a startup powdered drink manufacturer, "A good SWOT analysis serves as a dashboard to your product or services and, when done correctly, can help you to navigate and implement a sound strategy for your business, regardless of company size or sector. We continue to revisit ours every year to keep it updated due to constant shifts in market trends.”
By identifying the main internal (strengths, weaknesses) and external (opportunities, threats) forces that affect your organization, executives can focus on new goals and create a healthy fiscal future.
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Tip: Consider these questions from both an internal and external (customer-centric) point of view for a more meaningful analysis.
Tip: Again, consider this from an internal and external point of view. Do you have perceived weaknesses within your industry that you might not see?
Tip: It may be useful to review your strengths and weaknesses in relation to opportunities, as that may indicate an avenue to pursue or, in terms of weaknesses, something that should be eliminated.
Tip: When reviewing threats, be sure to look at all external factors, from your customers and industry to government regulations and technology.
Remember, while a SWOT analysis is a useful tool to evaluate your business from all angles, it’s not a catchall solution for determining your company’s future. As Nikki Pfeiffer, founder of Nikki Pfeiffer Designs noted, many small businesses aren’t sure how to use a SWOT effectively. “It is about leveraging your strengths, outsourcing and partnering where you are weak, focusing on opportunities, and being aware of threats.”
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Here’s to a happy and successful 2014!
*Quotes sourced from “SWOT Analysis: Examples, Templates & Definition” by Ryan Goodrich, BusinessNewsDaily.com
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