A SWOT Analysis Guide (+ Worksheet)
Undertaking a SWOT analysis is one of the best ways to get your Business plan started!
Most business and marketing plans kick off with an audit or an analysis of your current situation, and it's totally up to you how in depth you go with that!
However, if you're short on time (and/or patience!), completing a basic SWOT analysis can be the best way to get started in a short amount of time.
1 | Strengths & Weaknesses
This section of the grid is for discussing the strengths and weaknesses of your business. Try to be as detailed and specific as you can, as it will help when completing the other sections. You can consider things like:
Your Unique Selling Point (is this successfully setting you apart?)
Your branding and collateral (is it consistent and modern? Does it portray your vision?)
Your website (does it match your branding? Is it engaging, appealing and leading to conversions?)
Your product/services (are they as excellent as they could be? Are they cost effective or exceptional quality?)
Your financials (is the business growing? How are the sales? Is your profit margin working?)
Your customer service (is it exceptional or could it use some work?)
Your processes (are you streamlined, or not very efficient? Which areas could you improve?)
Your marketing (how big/small is your budget? Is it working effectively? Do you have a strategy?)
2 | Opportunities & Threats
Now that you've done your internal analysis, it's time to take a look externally.
Have you completed your Competitor Analysis yet? Because that will seriously help you to fill in these sections. Using your information from that, outline areas where your business has an opportunity to thrive, or where there is a threat to the success of your business' plans. Consider:
Number of directly comparable competitors (hard to measure, but good to include if you can!)
Are there any large competitors who you can't compete with on some elements such as marketing budget or economies of scale? (Can you find a niche to overcome that?)
What are your competitors doing marketing and content wise?
How fast are they growing? (Can you find their financials on CompanyCheck or DueDil?)
What sort of range/variety of products/services are your competitors offering?
Look at your competitors' branding and websites; are they better or worse than yours?
What is their customer service like? Are there testimonials you can find?
Are their processes effective?
As well as including information about your competitors, you should also consider some 'PESTEL' factors (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental and Legal).
Political & Legal:
Are there any new laws or government initiatives that may affect your business?
Does government stability have an impact on the sales of your products/services?
Do you need to consider new Employment laws, Discrimination laws, Data protection laws, or Health & Safety laws?
What happens if taxes or interest rates increase/decrease?
How are employment rates? Do people need to have disposable income to pay for your services/products?
If you operate internationally, how will exchange rates affect you?
How are peoples' tastes changing? Are there any trends you need to be aware of?
Consider changing attitudes towards health, saving and investing, 'green' products, and imported products
Is your website modern enough and responsive?
What are customers using to make payments to your business? Is there a newer/better version they would prefer?
What technology/tools are you using in your business processes? Are they outdated?
How does your business communicate with customers? Is there a better way?
Is your business efficient in its use of energy?
Does your business comply with environmental rules and regulations?