In part I of “Applying SWOT Analysis to Small Business” we determined that this method is not just for large corporations. Small businesses can effectively apply SWOT analysis to grow their business.
Once you have assessed your strengths you want to address your weaknesses. It is equally as important to focus on your weaknesses and make every effort to build them up into strengths. By knowing where your weaknesses are can strengthen them. One way is through professional development such as, training, workshops, consulting conferences and seminars. Knowing your areas of weakness only serves to have you fix them before it effects your business. you work on it, either internally or by hiring a professional in the field.
As iron sharpens iron so does one man sharpen another. By hiring a professional, consultant or coach they can help you improve where your business has weaknesses. There is also professional development these are trainings and workshops also help by professionals in areas where your company may not be as strong. Professional development whether through consulting, coaching, training or workshops always helps to build your business. It will also leave less worry, doubt, and uncertainty in the future of your business.
You will quickly learn that as you and your leadership team develops professionally, your business will also improve, as a result new opportunities will open up. Oftentimes, when weaknesses are addressed it redirects the company to new opportunities. Professionally improve yourself and your business will follow. The strengths and weaknesses of your business are certainly something that can be managed because they are internal and in your control. But then there are the external dynamics that we will now analyze.
While your products or services might be top quality, there should be continuous vigilance on what external opportunities (the O in the SWOT quadrant) are available that may expand your business. It is no secret that the 21st century has brought massive and rapid change, therefore, looking for new opportunities to take the lead on is critical even a life-line to your business. It is important to understand what is new in your industry, what is changing, what is being phased out and how you can capitalize on these opportunities. Technology, marketing, expansion, and other places where growth is possible is essential to been current on. New trends, new ideas means a business that is current, relevant and cutting edge.
Threat is the (T) in the SWOT quadrant and this is also external and out of your control. There are always threats in any business and in any industry. Knowing what these threats are and where they are brewing is key. External threats come in different forms, social, technological, economic, environmental, and political. These are all threats that can impact your business. As a business owner you need to remain abreast of any and all of these changes as they can easily become threats and your business go under as a result.
The SWOT analysis need be done regularly to keep you as the business owner perceptive to internal and external happenings. As mentioned earlier the 21st century has brought many conveniences and positive changes, but simultaneously it has altered business as usual. Businesses need be astute, aware and prepared for the next wave of change. Most leaders that are operating cutting edge businesses are using the SWOT analysis to create their strategic plan. These plans are called foresight strategic plans.
Whether you a new, small or medium size business my suggestion is pull out your business binoculars and stay alert to what is coming up in the horizon. SWOT analysis Stay tuned to more discussion on foresight planning.