Posts filed under ‘SWOT Analysis’

Inside Out: Examine Yourself

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We’ve spent the last several months putting plans into place for your business.  We’ve written strategies, analyses, forecasts, budgets, and reports.  This week, let’s take a step out of the business and look inward.  What is it within us that will make this business happen? What is holding us back?

Last week, in working through the SWOT Analysis I wondered what it would be like to write one for myself.  What would the SWOT look like for me, the individual?  This was a really interesting exercise because in taking a look at my own personal Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats I found that there are also characteristics that do affect my business.  What happens within us affects all the facets of who we are: mother, wife, business owner, philanthropist, teacher, friend, daughter.

Your personal strengths are the things that build you up.  They are reflected in your business.  They are reflected in the relationships you have.  They are reflected in the strong decisions you make for your business.  These are the things that will make your business happen.

Your personal weaknesses hold you back.  They are the areas you know you need to work on.  They affect how “you” look in your business.  They are reflected in the decisions you make.  Identifying them can be a challenge.  But, knowing them gives you the understanding and insight to work on them.

Your personal opportunities are the prospects available to you.  These are largely out of your control, but are there for the taking if you use your personal strengths to guide you.  These life-long opportunities go beyond your business life, and much deeper into your personal life.

Your personal threats are those things that eat into at you late at night.  They feed off of your insecurity and weakness.  You want to control them, even though they are outside factors that you cannot do anything about.

Sooo…

  • How are you going to use your personal strengths to seize opportunity? (SO-Strategy)
  • How are you going to use your personal strengths to minimize threats? (ST-Strategy)
  • How are you going to minimize your personal weaknesses to make room for the opportunities (WO-Strategy)
  • How are you going to minimize your personal weaknesses to lessen the threats? (WT-Strategy)

Look inside your core.

August 11, 2009 at 8:10 am Leave a comment

SWOT’s It All About? (FREE Download)

Last week, in four parts, we created a SWOT analysis by defining the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and  Threats to your business.  One final step is necessary in putting the SWOT information together.  An analysis is only valuable if you put a plan into place. In this last step you will create a list of strategies for your business.  In this last step we’ll take a look at how we can:

  • maximize our strengths to take advantage of opportunities: Strength-Opportunity Strategies (SO Strategies)
  • use our strengths to minimize the threats to our business: Strength-Threat Strategies (ST Strategies)
  • use opportunities to lessen  weaknesses: Weakness-Opportunity Strategies (WO Strategies)
  • mitigate the weaknesses in light of impending threats: Weakness-Threat Strategies (WT Strategies)

Here is a matrix for a Wedding Florist Business to help you see how all of these details fit together:

SWOTMatrix

Here are a few observations:

  • See how we’ve lined up our niche strengths (unique floral design) to take advantage of opportunities (submitting photos to that new magazine)?
  • Notice how we’re beefing up our strengths (strong customer service) to work around the threats (increased competition)?
  • Do you see how we are taking advantage of external opportunities (cost of rent and real estate is dropping) to lessen the weaknesses (high overhead)?
  • Observe how we can mitigate the weaknesses (no blog; start a blog) to adjust for threats (advertising costs are rising)?

In Summary

The SWOT is a very powerful tool in identifying the internal and external factors that affect our business.  I find it useful to do one every 6 months.  Some of the factors don’t always change so a working word or excel document can be helpful in analyzing the constant and/or dynamic aspects of your business.  The final piece, putting a strategy in place, is helpful in determining short and long term goals for your business.  All of the SO, ST, WO, WT strategies can be put into your 1-10 year goal sheet, and into your business plan.

Do you like this? We love feedback… let us know in our SWP Survey.  And, if you love it, feel free to DOWNLOAD this here: SWOTAnalysis.

Here is a matrix for a Wedding Florist Business to help you see how all of these details fit together:

August 10, 2009 at 6:00 am 1 comment

SWOT Analysis: Defining the Threats for your Business

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Today is the T day of our SWOT Analysis.  We have defined the Strengths, Weaknesses, and Opportunities.  Today, we’ll be defining the Threats to our business.  Threats come from outside factors to your business.  It is useful in identifying the threats to your business so that you can be watchful and aware of them.  Knowing your threats will help you make better business decisions.

Take 15-30 minutes today to work on defining the threats to your business.  These are the challenges you will face along the way.  Here are some helpful questions and tips for defining your business threats:

  • Look at the economic, social, and political climate. How can changes in these factors present threats to your business?
  • What is happening within the wedding industry?  Are there changes that could be challenges to your business?
  • Talk about other professionals in your segment (both your competitors, and your non-competitors).  Do they present any threats in market share?
  • Is anything happening locally that could affect your business negatively?  Nationally? Internationally?
  • What are the market trends?  Are they moving with your business or in another direction?
  • Are there any economic factors that affect your suppliers?  How can these factors present a threat to your business?
  • Is your reputation at risk in any way?

Those are some scary questions, aren’t they?  But, it feels better knowing the imminent threats to my business.  It helps me understand where I need to go and how I can change my business to adjust for those threats.

On Monday, we’ll tie it all together.  We’ll take a look at what to do with all this great information.  Come back to the blog tomorrow for another awesome industry insider!

August 6, 2009 at 7:00 am 2 comments

SWOT analysis: Defining the Opportunities for your Business

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This week, we are working on the SWOT analysis for your business.  This exercise will give you a chance, to identify Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.  Today, we are going to uncover the opportunities outside of your business.  If you’ll remember from our discussion on Monday, your opportunities and threats come from outside factors affecting your business.

Take 15-30 minutes today to work on defining the opportunities for your business.  These are the “places you will go” and “things you can do” with your business.  Here are some things to think about while working on your opportunities:

  • Look at the economic, social, and political climate.  How can changes in these factors define opportunities for your business?
  • What trends are happening in the market?  How can your business fit into these trends?
  • What opportunities are there within your market segment?  In your local market?  At the national level?
  • What relationships can you build upon?
  • What investments can you build upon?  Investments can be those made into equipments, supplies, inventory – or – advertising, promotion, public relations.
  • Where do you see lemons?  Can you make lemonade?
  • Where do you find a challenge at the consumer level?  Can you create a solution?

Ahhhh… fun!  Are you starting to see it all come together?  Are you starting to be abuzz with ideas?  There’s a whole world out there, and the SWOT Analysis is very helpful in helping you find it.

August 5, 2009 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

SWOT analysis: Defining the Weaknesses of your Business

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This week, we are writing a SWOT analysis.  We are defining the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of our Business.  I find this exercise extremely useful in taking the temperature of my business.

Take 15-30 minutes today to write about the weaknesses of your business.  This can be challenging because it forces you to face some of the thoughts you may be avoiding.  Remember that by recognizing your weakness, you can build strength.  Here are some thoughts to help you determine these weaknesses:

  • What are the things holding your business back?  holding you back?
  • What is unhealthy about your business?
  • What are the struggles that your business has and that are difficult to overcome?
  • What are your daily challenges?  your larger challenges?
  • What are your sources of frustration?
  • What negatively impacts your relationships with vendors, clients, and/or employees?

Spend some time dreaming about the things you’d love to improve about your business.  We’ll summarize the entire SWOT analysis at the end of the week.

August 4, 2009 at 6:00 am 2 comments

SWOT Analysis: Defining the Strengths of your Business

This week we are going to do a SWOT Analysis of your business.  This is a helpful tool in which you take a step back to examine key characteristics of your business.  This is a strategic analysis that is done in all businesses of all sizes: small sole proprietorships on up to Fortune 500 organizations.  I encourage all businesses in the wedding industry to do this twice a year. It’s great at quickly assessing:

  • whether you are moving in the right direction or not
  • what is AWESOME about your business
  • what needs to be changed and improved
  • what external factors (trends, economics, politics) affect your business

SWOT Analysis

The SWOT breaks down into two components, of two parts each (four parts total):

Internal Factors:

  • Stengths – the strengths of your business, IN your business
  • Weaknesses – the weaknesses of your business, IN your business

External Factors:

  • Opportunities – opportunities for your business, OUTSIDE of your business
  • Threats – threats for your business, OUTSIDE of your business
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Creative Commons License: Xhienne

Define the Strengths of your Business

Take 15-30 minutes today to write down the strengths of your business.  Be honest and realistic.  This is to be used to help you make decisions about the health of your organization.  Here are some things to think about when defining your strengths:

  • How is your business different from others?
  • What are the intangible assets (people, experience, knowledge) and tangible assets (office, equipment) that makes your business strong?
  • What do you personally bring to your business?  What do your employees bring?
  • What are some of the achievements your business has had in the last year?
  • How is your business perceived within the wedding industry?  What is its reputation?  What is your reputation?

Hold onto these strengths, we’ll be putting it all together at the end of this week.

August 3, 2009 at 7:00 am 9 comments


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