Being responsible to make business decisions during this time can be overwhelming. People are depending on you to quickly make decisions and it seems that you have to pivot daily to adapt to market changes, growing team needs and state/nation policies.
While it is an uncertain time there is one thing for certain, your ability to shift. I want to share a tool that will help you improve your chances of taking actions that support your decisions. This tool is called the SWOT analysis.
A SWOT analysis helps you to prioritize areas to focus on while understanding the risks that impacts your business or your team. SWOT stands for: S – Strengths, W – Weaknesses, O – Opportunities, T- Threats.
SWOT analyses are effective because it leads a team to take an assessment and compare it to how it aligns with the existing goals and vision set for a team, a business or company. Utilizing the SWOT Analysis can guide you to create an action plan that incorporates newly defined improvements and approaches that bring positive impact. I recommend that you block 2-4 hours to perform the Analysis and use your original SWOT to access with the team on a weekly basis until times return to some “normalcy”. Dedicating time on a SWOT analysis can save you multiple hours in inefficient effort.
Below are steps to help you perform a SWOT analysis:
Revisit your values, mission and goals. Communicate with your team and have this serve as a reminder of why your business, company or team exists (the purpose).
Create/Brainstorm a list of functions (people/roles), processes, activities (services and products) and areas that relate to your business.
Now it’s time to begin working on your SWOT Analysis.
Let’s start with your S - Strengths.
Strengths: Questions to ask when evaluating your Strengths are:
What does your team (or you) do well?
What key skills, services or products can you use/offer?
What strengths or attributes do others see in you? (Customers, Network, Potential Customers)
Insights to help you with this section:
When identifying the strengths of your company, team or yourself (as it contributes to the business), identify the areas that you can perform that you do in a way that is noticeable, unique from what other customers can offer. Unique being attributes and skills that lead to your reason for how you are positioned in comparison to competitors. This can include the efficiency of key processes you perform, the skill-sets/attributes of you and your team. What are the things that attract others to your company. Strengths are the areas that provide an advantage above the necessities (compliance, quality, durability, etc.) that is expected by your target market.
Next, focus on your W - Weaknesses.
Weaknesses: Questions to ask when evaluating your Weaknesses are:
What areas can you improve upon?
What processes are you currently struggling with? (What can you improve?)
What areas are your resources lower than others?
What can customers (internal and/or external) see as a weakness of your company?
Transparency is key here. Communicate with honesty and ensure that your team is comfortable enough to provide insight on what they feel are weaknesses. The key to thriving during these times are to understand areas of weaknesses that may exist. Areas to assess can include people, processes and operations and how it compares to the ideal state of what you need to reach and how they compare to competitors within your market.
Now we are onto O – Opportunities.
Opportunities: Questions to ask when evaluating your Opportunities are:
What current opportunities exist for your team, company or yourself?
What is happening within your market that you should be paying attention too?
What areas can your strengths support opportunities identified?
With the increasing demand for conversion into the virtual/online world or increased convenience offerings, opportunities that you identify can help contribute to leading in market needs, customer needs and stand out from competitor offerings. How are the recent mandates changing in the country? How are they impacting decisions that your customers have to make? Incorporate all current and near future factors when considering opportunities.
Last, we are going to focus on T – Threats:
Threats: Questions to ask when evaluating your Threats are:
What existing threats can harm you?
How is your company handling threats in comparison to your competitor?
How will the weaknesses impact your ability to grow and/or retain customers if no changes are made?
When analyzing the threats, it brings visibility to challenges and obstacles that are currently faced by you, your team and your company overall. Look at the people, processes, operations and the market to analyze what changes or potential impacts can affect the flow you desire to happen for your company. For example, what would happen if the materials for your products are not able to arrive in a timely manner due to COVID-19 concerns, how does that propose a threat. What areas are you vulnerable in (people availability, money availability) that can be a threat?
Want to make the most of performing a SWOT Analysis? Assign a person on your team or an outside expert to serve the role of facilitator (a person that can ensure that everyone’s insight is captured and the progress is kept on focus during the time allotted for the SWOT analysis).
We can help facilitate your team in applying a SWOT Analysis. Contact us at: email@example.com or at 615.669.7090. Our founder: Domonique Townsend, can also be found on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/domoniqueatownsend
We can also provide a full digital download of our SWOT Analysis Template as well. Email us and we will send it for free! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
May you succeed and soar! These times may be uncertain, but the value that you offer the world is not.