The ‘S.W.O.T. Snapshot’—Zooming in on Your Business

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Completing a S.W.O.T. is like taking a ‘snapshot’ of your business, capturing it as it is at that very moment in time.

This snapshot will reveal aspects about your business inside and out.

A S.W.O.T. analysis literally means reviewing your:

  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Opportunities
  • Threats

Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors to your business. That is, they are issues that need addressing within your business. You and your team members have control over each and every one of these items.

An example of a strength could be the experience of your team members; a weakness could be poor record keeping or lack of qualified team.

Opportunities and threats are external to your business.  They are issues that need addressing from sources outside your business. They may be items you have no control over.

For example, opportunities would be issues like new markets opening up for you or access to new products or services. For instance, imagine you build swimming pools. Then imagine a new property developer comes into your geographical area of business and creates a new suburb for 10000, homes. Given that you know that 55% of the population in your area purchase pools, this is obviously an opportunity for you that you (perhaps) didn’t create. (Unless, of course, you had already struck a deal with the developer and the builders to package pools as an optional extra with every home.)

Threats would be people like you. That’s right—competitors. Other threats could be government legislation that can affect industries heavily, and so on.

Once identified, strategies or ideas can be developed to build on your strengths and maximise your opportunities. Or strategies to correct weaknesses that could be barriers to your success, and strategies to minimise the effects of threats.

Here are some issues to review internally:

Strengths & Weaknesses

Sales and Performance

Pricing policies

Meeting customer needs and wants

Sales level compared to capacity

Market share

Profit performance

Marketing plan and budget

Personnel

Experience and expertise of your team

Training given to the team

Using team capacity

Team motivation and satisfaction

Regular team meetings

Using an accountant or lawyer

Physical Resources

Adequacy of premises

Effectiveness of machinery and equipment

Financial Resources

Effective purchasing system

Cash flow

Accessing additional funding

Accessing financial information

Analyzing financial indicators

Debt collection system

Potential for growth or improvement

And the external environment:

Opportunities & Threats

Economy

Economic condition of the country

Current interest rates

Family disposable income

Competitors

Products and services

Pricing policies

Performance

Customer base

Technology

Innovations in manufacturing

Technological development of product

Social patterns

Population makeup

Status of women

Percentage of work to leisure

Standard of living

Environmental/legal issues

Current environmental issues

Changes in legislation

Physical factors

Climatic conditions

Physical infrastructure

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you Implement this strategy..

Step 1

Involve your team.

Your team is on the front line, dealing with your customers on a day-to-day basis. They understand what works and what ‘hiccups’ in your business.

Step 2

Set up a meeting. Schedule a day or half day to work through all the topics outlined above.

Step 3

Work through each point on the list, asking if it’s…

A strength or a weakness?

An opportunity or a threat?

Please note: If you think a given point is both a strength AND a weakness, or an opportunity AND a threat, as can happen, look at it again. Sometimes this is genuinely the case. However, people often think, ‘Well, we’re going to fix that, so it’s a strength’ or ‘That was a strength, but because of what’s about to happen, it’s becoming a weakness.’ In this instance, people are looking at the business from the point of view of the past or the future rather than the present—where the business is at today.

If this is the case, just double-check by asking this question: 

What is it today? Right now, what is it today?

Step 4

It’s important to establish the impact of that issue on your business. As you answer each question, ask yourself and the team this:

On a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being the lowest and 10 being the highest, how much impact do you feel this issue has on your business? How significant an issue is it? 

For example, if an item has a great impact, the number rating would be 8 or 9. If it had little impact, it could be 2 or 3. If it exists and you need to be aware of it, it might have an average impact of 5.

Reach consensus in the group and note the rating.

Step 5

Look a little further into each topic.

Discuss why you’ve given it that rating and why it’s a strength, weakness, opportunity, or threat. It’s important to talk about why this issue exists that way.

Why has that situation, whatever it might be, come about? (This session is a great tool for educating all team members about the issues facing your entire business, not just their individual areas.)

Step 6

Talk about what could be done, if needed, about maximising your strengths and opportunities and minimising your weaknesses and threats.

Present this to the group as a way of coming up with solutions for those issues. Position this as your group’s goal to do together and take action from there.

Step 7

Appoint ‘champions’ to move on the agreements and tasks you’ve suggested as a group. Make sure the work load is shared.

Try not to let one team member be stuck with every strategy, whether it be improving the promotion of a positive or solving a negative issue.

Try to involve those team members who tend to be kept in the dark and start them out with some smaller tasks.

(A ‘champion’ is someone who will co-ordinate a particular function or action or who will be solely responsible for implementing a particular action.)

Step 8   

Set the next meeting with your team to review your ‘snapshot,’ approximately 12 weeks from now. (It’s important to repeat the process every 12 weeks.)

Ideally, you’d take this ‘snapshot’ of your business—complete a S.W.O.T. analysis—every 12 weeks. This will give you a continuous feel for what’s being improved and what still needs work, and will help you identify new opportunities or threats as they arise. It will also mean that the great ideas you and your team come up with at your meeting don’t die an unnatural death, never to be heard of again.

Our way of doing things is unique and it’s why it produces unique results for our clients…

We would love the opportunity to help you clear your head on what is the right way for you to accelerate your business… 

We highly recommend you watch this step-by-step case study of how we grew Beefy’s Pies into a Famous Aussie Icon from a small stressed out bakery into a family owned chain. Click here to get all the insights into their success…

Or if you have heard enough about how we work with our small business owners, then let’s have an off the record chat about your current situation and see what we can do to immediately guide you…click this link to see what time best suits you.

Wayne Hutcheson

P.S. Ask if our Boardroom Program intake is open for enrolments…It works best for business owners who see the benefit of having us on as their ‘external partner’ so that they are not alone in the day to day decisions of their business. 

One of the most valuable activities you can do as a business owner and sales professional is to build relationships with people. High quality relationships are not built around a desk.

Try this: Identify the biggest 20% of the relationships you have in your business and go out there and talk to them. Get rid of your desk for 14 days and do just that.

Connect up with your top clients/prospects/centres of influence and see what comes of it. I assure you, you’ll get rid of your desk in an instant on the 15th day.

My accountant did just that, except he didn’t wait until the 15th day. He did it on the first day he heard about this lesson.

It’s what I truly admire about him. Many people over-analyseo an idea, and they do that as a habit over many things in their business. As a consequence they delay progress. They become their own worst enemies in moving their business forward.

Here’s what my accountant did:

Despite having a schedule full of client appointments the next day, it didn’t stop him from removing his desk, removing all shelving, removing all cabinets and removing all traces of paperwork. All he had left in the room was his trusty whiteboard on the wall and four chairs.

No desk.

 

 

Our way of doing things may or may not be right for you…

Either way, it’s always good to get a second opinion on your business situation.

Let’s have an off the record chat about your current situation…click this link to see what time best suits you.

Wayne Hutcheson

P.S. Ask if our Boardroom Program intake is open for enrolments…limited to 8 Businesses.

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About the Author:

Wayne Hutcheson is a Coach of the highly regarded Grow Business Grow Boardroom Program. He works closely with a hand full of clients to help them achieve growth in their business and to enjoy 'guilt-free' time away from their business without it affecting their profitability.
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