We’re getting excited for the nominations to open on September 1st, and helping small businesses grow has definitely become the topic of the month.
So I’m going back into my bank of tried-and-true strategies to bring you the best tactic you can have in your toolbox when you’re trying to grow your business.
I’m talking about a SWOT analysis. That stands for Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat.
This process takes you through an examination of your business and your competitors to help you determine what steps to take next.
Let me break it down:
- Strength. Identify what you’re good at. What makes you stand out from the crowd? Why do customers come to your business now?
- Weakness. What are you struggling with? For example, you might be a great business owner who loves being in the shop but you can’t seem to find time to plan out a marketing strategy.
- Opportunity. Find what’s missing in your community. Is there a niche you could fill that is currently not being served?
- Threat. Take a look at your competition in the community to see where they stand and where they might be heading. Do any of the local businesses pose a potential threat to your business?
Strength and Weakness will be your internal analysis. It shows you how you’re doing now and how you can improve.
Opportunity and Threat will be your external analysis. It lets you know where you can expand and who to watch out for. Both are vital to growing your company.
Take each letter one at a time to write out detailed lists. Don’t leave anything out at first! Get feedback from employees and customers to help you get a well-rounded analysis of your business.
Once you’ve identified every last strength, weakness, opportunity and threat, remove the unimportant details.
For example: you may have included “untidy back office” on your list of weaknesses, but it doesn’t compare to your need for someone with accounting skills, so it can be crossed off.
Now, take your strengths and weaknesses and compare them with your opportunities and threats. Where the two lists cross is where you’ll find your chance to grow and shine!
For example: a restaurant owner might list “fine evening dining” as an opportunity and “exceptional food” as a strength. Next steps: jazz up your atmosphere and hire additional evening employees.
After you identify your growth opportunities turn them into clearly defined goals for you to put into action and you’ll have a fine-tuned strategy for growth.
Have you used a SWOT or another kind of analysis to grow your business?