Having an overview of your business before you create a business plan is essential. These four headings provide a framework for analysing a company, business proposition or any other idea. Strengths and Opportunities are positive factors, while Weaknesses and Threats are negative factors.
Take some time to consider what you believe are the strengths of your business. These could be seen in terms of your staff, products, customer loyalty, processes, or location. Evaluate what your business does well; it could be your marketing expertise, your environmentally-friendly packaging, or your excellent customer service.
For example, if you and your competitors provide the same prompt delivery time, then this cannot be listed as a strength. It is very important to be totally honest and realistic.
Try to include some personal strengths and characteristics of your staff as individuals, and the management team as individuals. Whatever you do, you must be totally honest and realistic: Recognize Your Weaknesses Try to take an objective look at every aspect of your business.
Ask yourself whether your products and services could be improved. Think about how reliable your customer service is, or whether your supplier always delivers exactly what you want, when you want it. Try to identify any area of expertise that is lacking in the business.
For example, you might realize that you need some more sales staff, or financial help and guidance. Is there enough parking, or enough opportunities to attract passing trade?
Your main objective during this exercise is to be as honest as you can in listing weaknesses. Try to see the broader picture instead and learn from what happened.
It may be that your systems or processes could be improved so that customers are contacted at the right time, so work on boosting your systems and making that change happen rather than looking about for someone to blame. Your customers, on the other hand, may perceive this wealth of experience as an old-fashioned approach that shows an unwillingness to change and work with new ideas.
Be prepared to hear things you may not like, but which, ultimately, may be extremely helpful. Completing a SWOT analysis will enable you to pinpoint your core activities and identify what you do well, and why.
It will also point you towards where your greatest opportunities lie, and highlight areas where changes need to be made to make the most of your business. The next step is to analyze your opportunities, and this can be tackled in several ways.
External opportunities can include the misfortune of competitors who are not performing well, providing you with the opportunity to do better. There may be technological developments that you could benefit from, such as broadband arriving in your area, or a new process enhancing your products.
There may be some legislative changes affecting your customers, offering you an opportunity to provide advice, support, or added services. Changes in market trends and consumer buying habits may provide the development of a niche market, of which you could take advantage before your competitors, if you are quick enough to take action.
Another good idea is to consider your weaknesses more carefully, and work out ways of addressing the problems, turning them around in order to create an opportunity. For example, the pressing issue of a supplier who continually lets you down could be turned into an opportunity by sourcing another supplier who is more reliable and who may even offer you a better deal.
If a member of staff leaves, you have an opportunity to re- evaluate duties more efficiently or to recruit a new member of staff who brings additional experience and skills with them. Watch Out for Threats Analyzing the threats to your business requires some guesswork, and this is where your analysis can be overly subjective.
Some threats are tangible, such as a new competitor moving into your area, but others may be only intuitive guesses that result in nothing. Think about the worst things that could realistically happen, such as losing your customers to your major competitor, or the development of a new product far superior to your own.
Listing your threats in your SWOT analysis will provide ways for you to plan to deal with the threats, if they ever actually start to affect your business.
You should now plan to build on your strengths, using them to their full potential, and also plan to reduce your weaknesses, either by minimizing the risk they represent, or making changes to overcome them.
Now that you understand where your opportunities lie, make the most of them and aim to capitalize on every opportunity in front of you. Try to turn threats into opportunities. Try to be proactive, and put plans into place to counter any threats as they arise.
To help you in planning ahead, you could combine some of the areas you have highlighted in the boxes; for example, if you see an external opportunity of a new market growing, you will be able to check whether your internal strengths will be able to make the most of the opportunity.Here is a SWOT analysis example (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) for a small business working on developing a marketing plan.
The small business used in this example is a dog grooming business. 10+ Individual Development Plan Examples & Samples – PDF, Word. Plans, in the simplest words, are detailed list of goals, steps, or actions to be acted upon in the near future. A business plan, for example, It also highlights the strengths and weaknesses, as well as the development needs of an individual, and lists the necessary.
A basic part creating your business and marketing plan is conducting what is called a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis. SWOT analysis is a staple in most business programs but I bet you didn’t hear much about it in art school.
For example, if you say your weakness is a particular program, you might say that you are currently taking an online course on how to use the program (of course, only say this if it is true). Some examples of hard skills you might mention when answering an interview question about your weaknesses are.
Weaknesses in a business plan indicate one of two things -- either the plan was not well written and researched, or the business concept is not sound.
Once you identify the strengths and weaknesses in your plan, you can decide how much time and money to put into the endeavor. If a role cannot be found in the business that works to your list of strengths and weaknesses and preferences, it is better to plan an exit strategy than to ‘grin and bear it’.
This may seem strange coming from business coaches but a happy purpose-filled life is more important than the business.