Use a SWOT analysis to look for new opportunities for your business


Chantal

Every month the team at Appletree gets together to talk about how we’re doing and where we’re going. It’s a great opportunity to share ideas and discuss any issues that have come up. At our last meeting, we did a SWOT analysis on the business. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

Strengths are what you’re good at in your businesses, while weaknesses are what you’re not so good at. One of the weaknesses that went onto our flip chart was not knowing our USPs (Unique Selling Points) or what makes us different from our competitors. Until we looked at all the strengths we’d listed! When we read through the list of what we’re good at, we realised that we all knew what our USPs are and can tell anyone who asks.

Opportunities are ideas that you could put into action, to improve your service, provide a new product or break into a new market. Every idea that came up was put onto our flip chart – no matter how outrageous it seemed; and we didn’t worry about how we might achieve any of them. We’ve put the flip chart sheets onto the wall of the office and will come back to them at next month’s meeting, to see which opportunities we’re still excited out. Those are the ones we’ll start looking at more closely, to see if they are achievable, if there is a market or a need for them.

Threats are usually the external factors that might affect your business – they can also be internal. Once we had our list of threats, we went through them one by one, to see what we should do about them. Competitors charging less than us could be a threat, so we’ll be keeping an eye on what they charge and what they offer. We will then make sure that even though our prices are higher (because we don’t compete on price) we offer a better service and higher value.

There are two main reasons for carrying out a SWOT analysis on your business. Firstly it’s a great way of bringing your team together, sharing ideas and making everyone feel involved in the future and the direction of your business. Secondly, it’s a great way to generate ideas for that future and direction. I could have come up with a few ideas on my own; between the whole team we came up with lots more ideas, including some I would never have thought of.

When did you last do a SWOT analysis in your business?

And would your business be interested in undergoing one? Call me on 01635 578500 to find out more.

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