With ‘work from home’ becoming ‘work all the time,’ we found ourselves in need of an easy way to organize and evaluate our business, and our competitors. Enter the SWOT, a simple template for analyzing your own strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It’s a tried and true method that you can use often, and can transform into a roadmap for growth and success.
What is it?
A SWOT analysis is a way to evaluate your own business, and can also be used to analyze your competitors business. It helps you organize information in a thoughtful way. It will help you identify what your business is best at, where you need improvement, where you have the most opportunities and where you need to keep your eyes and ears open, to reduce threats to your business.
SWOT stands for…
Strengths: the things that you do well, and make you different from your competitors; remember, these are only things that your comps do not do, or things you do better than your comps.
Weaknesses: the things that you don’t do well, and may be hurting your business; be honest, and look for how others are viewing you in your industry.
Opportunities: the things that are happening outside of your organization that you could take advantage of, to grow your business.
Threats: the things that are happening outside of your organization, that could hurt your business.
Internal vs External
The strengths & weaknesses sections of a SWOT look at your internal organization. If you are using a SWOT on your competitors, it would be looking at their internal organization. The opportunities & threats of a SWOT look at your external environment, outside of your organization. Many of these things you have in common with your competitors.
A note on strengths
When looking for your strengths and weaknesses, remember to look for points of parity and points of difference. A point of parity, or POP, is something that you must have in order to be competitive in your industry. If everyone in your industry has that, it’s not a strength of your business, because it doesn’t make you different from your comps. If you don’t have it, you could count that as a weakness. A point of difference is something that makes you different than your comps, which could be a strength of your business.