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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.

Over Easy or Well Done? Your SWOT Made to Order
The SWOT analysis can be customized to your company’s individual needs, and made as broad or as detailed as necessary. It’s a great way to warm up ideas prior to a strategy session, or it can be used as a serious tool with specific, complex and thorough examination. Any way you do it, a SWOT analysis can lay the groundwork to…

  • Gain a better understanding of your business
  • Address weaknesses within the organization
  • Minimize outside threats
  • Take advantage of opportunities
  • Carve out a competitive niche

How to Kickstart Your SWOT
While a SWOT analysis can vary greatly depending on the organization, here are some basic sample questions to help you get started.

STRENGTHS

  • What advantages does your company have?
  • What do you do better than your competition?
  • What resources do you have that others don’t?
  • Where are you most profitable?

Tip: Consider these questions from both an internal and external (customer-centric) point of view for a more meaningful analysis.

WEAKNESSES

  • What can you improve?
  • What factors hinder sales?
  • What do people in your industry likely think is your weakness?

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?

OPPORTUNITIES

  • Are there any emerging changes in social patterns, population profiles or lifestyles that can lead to new target markets?
  • Are there any new technologies that could be beneficial?
  • Are there any shifts in government policy related to your industry?

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.

THREATS

  • What are your biggest barriers to continued growth and profitability?
  • What are your competitors doing well?
  • Are there any changes in technology or government policy that may hinder your success?
  • Are there financial issues that threaten the health of your business?

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.”

Want to dig deeper into new ideas and opportunities
for your business? Let Nurture Marketing guide your team
through this and many other tools to open new doors and
create even greater success in 2014.
Contact Eric Rabinowitz at Ericr@nurturemarketing.com

Here’s to a happy and successful 2014!

*Quotes sourced from “SWOT Analysis: Examples, Templates & Definition” by Ryan Goodrich, BusinessNewsDaily.com
Other sources include
http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTMC_05.htm And http://smallbusiness.chron.com/perform-swot-analysis-5050.html

 

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For more information, contact Eric Rabinowitz at 732 636-1001 x 27 or via e-mail at ericr@nurturemarketing.com and visit our website at www.nurturemarketing.com.

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