When you buy or sell a home, an inspection is usually one of the last steps in the process. The outcome of that inspection can sometimes dictate whether or not a sale goes through. That’s a lot riding on just one step! Before you get to that point, though, it’s likely you know some things may need to be addressed. If you’re selling, you may know about a piece of siding that needs to be repaired. So you update it to make the house more appealing, but it also saves you from having to pay somebody else to do it post-inspection.
A SWOT analysis works for your business in a similar way. You take an in-depth observation of your company so you don’t have to pay for it later. What is SWOT Analysis? SWOT is a structured planning method that can be used to set goals for an organization or a project. It evaluates four business areas: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Strengths — What characteristics give you an advantage over others? Weaknesses — What characteristics give you a disadvantage over others? Opportunities — What could you use to exploit your organization to your advantage? Threats — Who or what could cause your organization trouble? Three Ways a SWOT Analysis Ensures Operational Excellence
1. SWOT analysis considers crafting strategy
Crafting strategy considers the broad landscape of your field. It asks questions like:
“What do clients want?”
“Have clients’ needs changed?
“How has technology impacted our field?”
2. SWOT analysis considers internal and external aspects of the company
By considering strengths and weaknesses, you think about internal aspects of your firm. By thinking about opportunities and threats, you consider external issues.
3. SWOT analysis can make you aware of potential and critical issues in your organization
By considering your firm and its landscape, you can address critical issues before they become real problems.
Practical Steps to Complete a SWOT Analysis
It doesn’t matter where you start with a SWOT analysis. You can start with the internal aspects, or you can start with the external issues. Opportunities and threats could be advantageous, though, because they are outside of your direct control. If you choose to start by analyzing strengths and weaknesses, you should consider these areas of your organization:
- Technology – List all your hardware, software, integrations and users. If you’ve adopted integrations, be sure your users are using them.
- Brand – Your brand should match the vision and marketing message you want to share with your consumers.
- Equity/ valuation – Run the numbers in Excel to see if you’re on a path to build equity and increase profitability.
- Core competencies and passion of your staff – You want the right people in the right roles. When you evaluate passion, you want to look for people who are interested in personal growth. These are people who have set goals for themselves. They also make excellent team members. They share knowledge, show respect, and accept criticism.
- Function chart of staff – Creating a chart will help ensure you have someone responsible for all the major areas of your operations and it will help make sure staff members are not overloaded with too many different functions.
- Competition and your traits – Compare your strengths and weaknesses to your competition’s.
Now that you’ve done it, how should you use it? Apply your key takeaways — the potential and critical issues in your organization — to your planning strategy. A good planning strategy matches resources according to strengths and weaknesses. It determines how to leverage opportunities, and it constructs barriers to threats. When you decide you need to take an analysis of your firm’s health, we can help you conduct a tech assessment and introduce a function chart. If you’d like to gauge some of the more thorough staff competencies recommended by a full SWOT review, we also work regularly with outside consultants to do just that. It’s often hard to be able to see the full picture of your own firm. If you need some help gaining perspective on how to achieve better processes, we can help. Click on the links below.