Now is a good time to SWOT yourself! Having gone through one of the most tumultuous times in history now might be the time to undertake a SWOT analysis to recognise what you have learned (strengths) and what you still need to work on (weaknesses)! To understand where your market is at and what opportunities and threats still lay ahead.
It has been tough time for many businesses and at times we internalise what we might not have control over. It is at these times we need to focus on what we can control and look for ways to manage what we do not have control of. This is from a personal as well as professional sense.
I encourage people to take regular ‘stock’ of where they are at to both acknowledge personal growth appreciate their inherent strengths. At the same time, it is important to recognise personal weaknesses and do an environmental scan to see what opportunities currently exist in the market and where existing or perhaps new threats lie in wait for us.
What is a SWOT analysis?
This is simply a SWOT analysis. An analysis of your personal Strengths and Weaknesses and a review of industry Opportunities and Threats. Your Strengths and Weaknesses are our own – and in most situations what we can control. I know most of you are cringing right now as you recall those painful job interviews where you are asked about your strengths and weaknesses, but as a small business owner, it is important to have an awareness of self (the SW in SWOT). This will help you set goals for professional development, support you with recruitment or outsourcing and give you something to aspire to if you want to develop further in a particular area.
Your Opportunities and Strengths are the issues you have little personal control over but they influence the market and your business. By using an environmental scan to identify market Opportunities and Threats you can identify growth opportunities and put structures in place to diminish the impact of threats. For example, COVID-19 will remain a threat in our strategic planning for some time to come.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Typically when asked to do a SWOT people are more than happy to list their weaknesses but become more modest when recognising their Strengths. Not many people like to talk about how fabulous they are! The other thing that happens is that we go broad with naming our strengths e.g. I am a good communicator, but narrow when listing our weaknesses – I am bad at communicating on the phone and in emails and I hate networking. Therefore it is important to look at your strengths and extrapolate out what makes them your strength for example if you identofy as being a ‘Good Communicator’ – ask yourself what is involved in being a good communicator.
A good communicator is a: good listener, a person who can build rapport, someone who can read verbal and non-verbal cues, an active listener, someone who can mirror body language, someone who can mimic language, repeat what they have heard, ask good questions etc. So being saying you are a ‘good communicator’ means you can list all those things in your SWOT!
It does not really matter how long the list of weaknesses is – or what is on it. The same rules apply as above in extrapolating out what it is you are not good at. But the most important part of the SWOT is to take your weaknesses and decide what you are going to do about them – ignore them, get training, outsource them etc.
Opportunities and Threats
Use the PEST model to identify the Opportunities and Threats in your market. PEST is Political, Environmental / Economic, Social and Technological. By brainstorming the change in each of these areas your can identify what needs to be done to take advantage of opportunities – for example adopting new technology and overcome threats e.g. looking for ways to manage greater environmental scrutiny.
At the end of the day we know our time is precious and we want to ensure we are investing that time on areas of benefit to our personal and business growth. By doing a SWOT you will be sure to identify a couple of areas you can work on to ensure you remain relevant in the marketplace.
Be bold in owning your strengths and be sure to make them shine in all that you do. Be brutal with your weaknesses but do not let that stop you embracing change. Look at the market with fresh eyes and you might be delighted with what you see and remember COVID-19 will remain a threat to many of our businesses for some time to come.
If you want a hand with your SWOT analysis get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org.