This simple strategic planning technique can help you identify what your business is doing well, what it needs to improve, where it needs to grow, and what could be its undoing.
Choosing the right direction for the future of your company can be a daunting task. Should you add services? Is your team staying competitive? How can you improve cash flow?
All of these questions and more can be answered by performing a regular SWOT analysis.
What is a SWOT Analysis?
SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Taking a deep look into your business by examining these four elements will provide you with an overview of the health of your company. Your strengths and opportunities offer avenues for your company to flourish, while your weaknesses and threats can inspire improvement and help you recognize emerging competition.
It’s likely that you completed a SWOT analysis in the beginning stages of your business plan to help determine where you stood in the market and identify target customers. Now that your business is established, it’s imperative to conduct regular SWOT analyses to help improve your operations and systems and stave off problems.
How to Get Started with a SWOT Analysis
The most vital step in conducting your SWOT analysis is determining what your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are, but sometimes they can be hard to narrow down.
Suggestion: Reach out to your SCORE mentor and ask to sit down and work through a SWOT analysis for your business.
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by Mary Marshall, CEO Coach
Change before you have to – Jack Welch
Change inside an organization is the one constant you can count on. If change doesn’t happen, growth slows and eventually, obsolescence takes over. Few like it, most complain about it and just wish we would stop tinkering with things and let it be, but as leaders, we can’t. However, changing things for change sake is never a good strategy and usually leads to chaos, as does poorly managed change.
So how do you do it well? Just to be clear, it’s hard. Start with the premise that it will take work and won’t be a breeze and you’re already a few steps ahead. Another assumption you need to make is that change is a constant. The minute you change something, no matter how well thought out, an unintended consequence will show up. The theory of constraints says that the minute you fix (change) one thing, you cause something else in the flow to break or need work. It’s a never-ending process and for most entrepreneurs, it’s half the fun. For employees, not so much. Continue reading
by Mary Marshall, CEO Coach
As 2016 winds down from fall to winter, it is the time most entrepreneurs and business leaders start thinking about next year. How did we do on the plan this year? What should we focus on next year? Do we have a Strategic Plan?
That last question is the one most asked. There are usually goals, and sometimes strategic direction, but for most small companies much more planning than this is rare. The problem, of course, is that if you don’t make it a priority, the direction you are going will be dictated by what is happening today. Or as I like to call it, “the whack-a-mole strategic plan.” We will take care of what comes up because we’re really good at fighting fires and taking care of problems. In other words, we react to circumstances vs. planning for the future.
So rather than just mole slaying, perhaps it’s time to do some quiet reflection and think about why you keep solving the same problem, why you never seem to make progress on your larger strategic goals, and why the team seems to be like arrows moving in different directions. Continue reading
This Inno-Versity Inno-Mation was adapted from Barry-Wehmiller CEO Bob Chapman’s talk on Truly Human Leadership. Find out more about Inno-Versity at inno-versity.com