Top 5 – SWOT Success – Part 2

Last week we brought you Part 1 of a two part series on SWOT Analysis.  We delved into detail on the four areas of the SWOT, Strengths and Weaknesses as well as the Opportunities and Threats.

In summary the essence of the SWOT analysis is to discover  what your business does well, how you can help improve it, whether you are making the most of the opportunities you uncover and understanding what are the changes and potential threats to your market such as technology advances, mergers or unstable suppliers.

This week in Part 2 of the series we outline five key factors that will help ensure success as you complete a SWOT for your business.

1.Clear Goals
A compulsory first step when performing a SWOT is to define the end goal or an overall goal that needs to be achieved in order for the SWOT process to be deemed a success.  The goal must be clear and agreed upon by all those partaking in the SWOT analysis process.  By not completing this step the business risks wasting resources and not completing the process.

An example of an overall goal might be: ‘Expand 10% of the meat processing arm of our business into the Asian market by year end 2013.” Remember to be realistic.

 2. Seek input from others
Collect as much information as you can. You can gather information using interviews, reports, focus groups and group brainstorming sessions.  Your goal at this stage is to get as many details about each of the four sectors of the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats).  The quality of the information you collect is extremely important for determining the success of the SWOT process.  You can develop the most comprehensive plan ever seen, but if it is based on faulty or incomplete information it will fail.  Keep in mind the SWOT can also help highlight what you don’t know.

3. Identify potential Blind Spots
In “Six Ways to Prevent Corporate Tunnel Vision,” Adrian Ott lists six questions you can ask to uncover hidden risks and opportunities. (Fast Company, April 5, 2010)
– Can a competitor with a new business model explode the economics of your industry?
– Do you evaluate the same competitors now as you did three years ago?
– Can your category be simplified?
– How well do you evaluate the broader customer context independent of your products?
– Do you regularly seek the next wave of technology or methods to serve customers, even when they will make your current products obsolete? (think Blockbuster or Borders)
– Do you have the same channel partner portfolio mix as three years ago? (think Google or Paypal).

4. Perform the SWOT Analysis process many times
A SWOT Analysis should perform multiple times.  Your business environment will be constantly changing so use the SWOT as an ongoing business tool that is reviewed regularly.

5. Relying on SWOT as a holistic diagnostic strategy
Remember, use the SWOT as an overall strategy to analyse your business, not in isolation. See it as a guide not a complete decision making tool.  Be mindful not to base all major decisions on this analysis and nothing else.

Now it’s your turn!! We hope you have found this two part series on the SWOT Analysis Process useful and informative, please let us know what you think………..

Almost 90% of survey respondents use SWOT’s to navigate the unknown.  Don’t be left in the dark! Happening People have helped many organisations discover their strategic planning prowess!  Call Happening People on 1800 68 67 69 or go to www.happeningpeople.com

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