One of the keys to successful business planning is a completing a SWOT Analysis. In our Coping with Crisis and business resilience series day 9, we talk about how to complete a SWOT Analysis … with a twist! Completing a SWOT Analysis is great in a time of crisis as it can uncover unexpected new opportunities. However we recommend completion when starting a business, and updating it every quarter.
Video – how to complete a SWOT Analysis with a twist
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Transcript of the SWOT Analysis Video
Hi there, everybody. I’m Jane Tweedy and I’m from FAQ Business Training. Today, our top tip is talking about SWOT analysis. It’s something you may or may not have done in the past, but it is something I urge business owners to do, both on themselves and their business every quarter.
What is a SWOT Analysis?
So how do we go about this process? Well, it’s quite simple, really, what does it stand for? SWOT analysis? Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Why do we use this?
What do we use a SWOT Analysis for?
What do we use it for? It’s a way for us to look back and analyse what we’ve done in the past, and opportunities for the future, plus also threats for the future. We look internally at ourselves at our own strengths and weaknesses, but we also look externally and what’s going on in the environment. [Please note you can perform SWOT analysis on yourself as the business owner, and on the business separately.]
External threats outside our control
Clearly at the moment we have a massive threat for us, which is obviously Coronavirus and the crisis trifecta that we’re under. The impact that it’s had to our health, our finances, and our lifestyle, and the mental health impact it’s going to have after all of this sort of progresses. So we don’t know much about, you know, when things are happening on that. We know that some places have opened up and then had second waves. We can’t control that.
Focus on what we can control
Don’t focus on what we can’t control. We can’t control on our government’s responses. We can obviously, you know, maybe agitate and you know call things out, but we can’t change it. We can change how we react to things. We can change what we do. So one of the things that we can do is look at our own businesses and evaluate them for where they have been and where they are going. So the SWOT analysis activity is something I recommend you do every quarter anyway. And I always suggest this.
Complete SWOT Analysis when starting and update quarterly
It’s great for when you first starting out. It’s great every quarter. And we can use this tool to evaluate what we can change and improve in our business. What we’re gonna to do is simply grab a piece of paper. On our piece of paper. We are simply going to divide it up very roughly in my scribbled lines into strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. So in this, I would just put S W O T in the corners and I’m just going to start writing.
Identify key strengths
So in my strengths, I might say I’m good at researching things, good at pulling out pulling out facts. OK, so might that sort of thing down, I might note that I am well known in the Hills District.
Identify key weaknesses
You know, I’m going to put down anything that I think is relevant to my strengths, so I’m going to list them all down. Then in my weaknesses, I might say things like doing my tax as I really can’t be bothered, things like that.
Strengths and weaknesses can lead to opportunity
Now, what I’m going to do is note those down. Now, some of my strengths and weaknesses might lead to an opportunity. For instance, if I’m good at researching things, pulling out the facts, then what would I do? I might, for instance, do what I did. And so an opportunity was to do some JobKeeper updates.
Opportunities can also be external factors
And that would go down into my opportunity section and I would have taken action on that, which of course I did. So what other opportunities are coming up? Well, I know that people are looking for instance, at business continuity planning. I know that people are looking at their cash flow more closely right now. They were things that I have always been planning to do something about, but just haven’t quite got around to. So they are in my opportunities boxes.
Threats are often external (but are sometimes internally created)
Threats are also things like the ongoing issue with Corona. We don’t know how long we’re going to be in lockdowns. Is they’re going to be second lockdowns? How is it going to affect people’s incomes, all of that sort of thing? OK, so that’s what I’m going to put down in here. So what I’m doing is creating these boxes with these things in it. Once I’ve done it, I’m doing what I would call an overlay of likes and dislikes.
Not all strengths lead to opportunities!
Now, this is my own little take on it I suppose. The reason I do this, is because something can be a strength. So, for instance, one of my strengths is user acceptance testing. I’m really good at getting software or getting a computer and basically pushing it till it busts. OK, I’m really good at that.
Overlay strengths and weaknesses with likes and dislikes
And I’ve done testing in the past on a money market system for instance, and it was a painful, painful process. I hated it. I was good at it, but God damn did I hate it. I would never want to do that again. So although that might be a strength I have, it would not be one that I would want to market. So it might be on my strengths list, but if it was, it would be a big fat D for dislike. If it was something that I’m good at researching, I’m pretty good at that and I quite like doing that.
Market strengths we like
That might be an L, so what I’m trying to do is work out the things that I’m good at and I like doing. The intersection of what we are good at and we like doing are the things that we need to concentrate on marketing and developing things for. So that could obviously lead to opportunities, which in this case we’d already worked out one was the JobKeeper one, and I already did it. So that’s what we’re trying to do, is we’re trying to work out strengths we like and making sure that we’ve emphasised them. Making sure they’re on our website, making sure that we’re producing videos on them.
Don’t mention strengths you don’t like
The ones that we don’t like, maybe we don’t mention. So we leave them there. So somebody needs me to do some user acceptance testing because I’m doing some other work for them, or they need some help to set up a framework. So I can say to them, hey, guys, by the way, I can actually set up that framework for you. I can help you out in that regard. But it’s not something I’m going to put out there as something I want to do. Why? Because I’ll attract people wanting to do it. Bad idea. So that’s what I’m going to do.
Weaknesses you don’t like can be outsourced or delegated
So I use my strengths to create opportunities that I like to create opportunities. The weaknesses that I dislike, things like doing my tax, maybe I look at outsourcing that. So maybe I go to a bookkeeper or something and get some further assistance on that. Maybe I get an admin person or something to help me so that I don’t have to do as much in that regard.
Weaknesses you like can be a learning opportunity
So weaknesses that we dislike are great opportunities for outsourcing. They are also areas that, yeah, we are not going to want to evolve into. However, a weakness, so you may not be good at websites for instance, but you may like doing them, or you may like the idea of doing them. So that would lead to an opportunity that we can note down here to do some training in how to create websites, how to update websites or whatever.
We can also simply accept a weakness and minimise it’s impact
So that weakness becomes an opportunity. So the weakness can become something we can outsource or it could be an opportunity or it could be just something we accept and go, you know what, we’re not great at public speaking. So you just don’t do things which require you to speak in public.
Or learn to adapt
Richard Branson is a perfect example of this. Richard Branson, did you know that he’s often on stage, but if you watch him on stage, he isn’t just on stage talking to you and presenting. No, no, no, no. He’s on a couch like this having a chat da da da.
He is only talking to the other person. He is having a conversation on a couch. He doesn’t think about projecting to the audience, talking to the audience. He’s talking to the person on the couch. Because that’s how he processes his weakness or his perceived weakness of public speaking. Now, there’s ways and means we can do about that. He could have chosen to work on that as an opportunity. He could’ve chosen to learn how to do it, but he instead has accepted that it’s a weakness and just maintained it and been happy with it.
Do a personal and a business SWOT analysis
So, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. I would love for you to do yours, to update it. You can do it from both a personal basis, you as a person and your business. So, for instance, you as a person may be a huge expert in your area. You may know what you do inside out. You may be absolutely awesome. But you may be lacking in your business of being around very long. So it would cloud your judgement of what you write on your business one.
Be objective about your SWOT Analysis
So try to be as objective as possible, and do your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. As I said, the strengths and weaknesses are more yourself (internal). The opportunities and threats are a combination of your strengths and weaknesses, as well as the external environment around you. So now is a great time to review these because you may have worked out things, for instance, you may be really adaptable. May have been able to adapt to change really quickly. You have may have suddenly learned how to use Zoom and recording tools.
Update your marketing material for new strengths
They are all things that now become potentially strengths and offerings of yours. So maybe in the past you never had an online service, now you have an online service. So think about the things that you do differently. Then what we’re going to use is those strengths that we like to update some of our marketing material. To update our website, to write blogs about to share to the world these are things we are now good at and we would like to do with you or for you.
SWOT Analysis is a core part of business planning
So I hope that was helpful. So SWOT analysis is honestly such a core part of the business planning process and it is so important to do in times of trouble, times when you’re trying to see through the other side because you actually realise there are a lot of opportunities.
One strength can create amazing opportunity for your business
And I’ve had people do this exercise in just a normal environment, not during Coronavirus, and they have literally written one word on strengths and then their brain has just gone ping. The little light bulb went off and ping and off they went onto their opportunities and that was it, they were gone. They had literally just recreated their business by writing one sentence down. So it’s amazing the impact that this has really, honestly, as it is unbelievable. So don’t diss it till you’ve tried it. As I did say though, in our first video, you don’t have to do it all. But I do recommend doing SWOT analysis as something that is something good to do in your business on a quarterly basis and obviously each quarter you can pull out the last quarter and you can just update it from there.
Move your paper copy online or in a visual form
So what I tend to do is I just do it roughly on a piece of paper like this, but then I might put it into a spreadsheet or something like that to maintain it. If you’re more visual, you might make it more pretty pictures, do it more like a vision board type structure. Totally up to you. There’s nothing prescriptive here. It’s all about making it work for you and how you work best. So SWOT analysis 100% love it with that like / dislike overlay.
Share with us your new found strengths and new opportunities
Try it. Use it. Let’s hear what things that you notice as strengths of yours, particularly new strengths of yours that you see as an opportunity in the current environment or when things return to more like ‘normal’.
Thanks for tuning in. I’m Jane Tweedy. I’m the founder of FAQ Business Training and join us for further tips. Thank you. Bye.
Author – Jane Tweedy, Founder
Jane is the Founder of FAQ Business Training and loves helping owners of small to medium sized businesses uncover their true potential. Tools like SWOT Analysis allow for a re-evaluation of where a business and it’s key people are at, and look for opportunities to grow.
If you’d like to know more about Jane please check out her about page.