If you’ve never conducted a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis of your competition, it’s high time you did! Not only will this process help you increase business efficiency and outcome delivery, but it will also improve customer experience and overall client satisfaction. More than that, a SWOT analysis will help your business grow faster than ever, helping your management team develop strategic plans and turning ideas into existence. By analyzing your competition, you will nevertheless be analyzing yourself. Here you can find a brief explanation on how to conduct a business analysis accordingly and thus, allow your company to flourish!
1. Figure out the goal and stick to it
Think about the real reason you are conducting a SWOT analysis – what is your end goal? Why do you want to assess for your business’s strengths and weaknesses? Why is it important to be aware of your opportunities and threats? How can these factors help your company grow? How could they affect your outcomes had you not been aware of them?
Many business owners decide to conduct SWOT analysis only when they decide to launch a new product or change their service delivery method, which is truly smart – but that should not be the only reason you are doing this. If you don’t ask yourself “why,” then there is no point in continuing. A successful entrepreneur always knows her WHYs and considers them before attacking the competition.
2. Do your research
Researching the market well before starting the process will give you an advantage in front of your competitors. You must understand the industry and market you are participating in, getting a wide range of perspectives on various intra and intercompany dynamics. Talk to your staff, ask them to provide constructive feedback, check on your clients through survey assessments, and discuss with your partners to examine their perspectives on your company’s activity.
3. Write down your company’s strengths
It’s time to examine your accomplishments and see where you are standing. Here are some quick questions you should have in mind when proceeding to this step:
- What are the best advantages you could think of regarding customer management and offered services?
- Why are you better than other companies present on the market?
- What do you do the best and why?
- What are the available resources that your competitors lack?
- What strengths would other business think you own and why?
Considering your strengths both subjectively and objectively is essential, since neither one of these sides is complete without the other. If your competitors’ products and services are exclusively high-quality, then there is no way you could afford to provide less-valuable commodities.
If you are unable to think this through, use the available tools online; to have your work checked by professionals or using email management to simplify and improve your customer relations is nothing to be ashamed of. We all need help every now and then.
4. Think about your weaknesses
Now that you know where you stand, it’s time to set even higher goals. Consider your weaknesses to understand what areas you must improve to help your business grow. Ask yourself,
- What can you improve and why?
- What is the one thing you should always avoid?
- What could your competitors see as weaknesses and why?
- What factors could potentially lose you important sales?
Here, it’s also important to assess weaknesses from both perspectives – internal and external, subjective and objective. How are you doing compared to your competitors? If they are better, what is the reason for that? Be true to yourself, this is the only way to climb the success ladder quickly but efficiently.
5. What could be some potential opportunities coming your way?
There’s a difference between being realistic and optimistic. Being realistic means thinking pragmatically, expecting foreseeable, calculated outcomes, and drawing sensible conclusions as a result of that process; meanwhile, being optimistic, even if helpful sometimes, can be quite useless in the business world. Successful businessmen will always think 90% realistically and 10% optimistically, but never the other way around. So, think REALISTICALLY about the opportunities that could be coming your way –
- Can you foresee any good opportunities and if so, where?
- Are you aware of today’s trends and if yes, which ones?
- What changes in technology can you predict and how will they help your company flourish?
- Will there be any governmental changes implemented soon and if so, how will they affect you?
- Can you make use of any local events opportunities to advertise your success?
6. Are there any threats that could influence your business?
All companies, big or small, face obstacles at some point in their existence. While some business managers choose to ignore them, successful entrepreneurs confront them directly and overcome the stumbling blocks.
- What are the obstacles that your business is facing right now and what are some good ways to overcome them?
- Are your competitors dealing with the same obstacles? If so, how do they manage to keep it up?
- Are there any other threats – such as policy or technology change – threatening your development?
- If you have cash flow issues, are you able to resolve them?
- Does your company have bad debt?
- Are any of your weaknesses seriously threatening the well-being of your business.?
7. Figure out your company’s priorities
Now that you have your SWOT list, it’s time to prioritize and see which issues are highly important to immediately address and which ones are not. “You should display your lists side by side and check on the overall picture – what is crucial to deal with at this moment and how are you going to do it? After you prioritize, make sure you map out a detailed plan of your work to avoid missing important data. Staying organized will help your business stay efficient!” writes Jenny Maryfloat, COO at A&M Dissertation Service.
8. Develop a strategy! Think it through!
This time has come! Now that you are finally done with the research, paperwork, and overall assessments, developing a strategy is crucial. This is in the only way in which you can use your SWOT analysis efficiently. Here is another brief list of questions to consider:
- In which way can you use your company’s strengths to make the most out of your opportunities?
- If there are any threats, how will you put these strengths to use to overcome them?
- What is the plan for overcoming weaknesses and/or turning them into strengths? What are the exact steps you must take?
- How can you minimize the remaining weaknesses to overcome the threats you have identified?
Now that you’ve answered your questions, made your list, identified positive as well as negative business characteristics, and came up with the right solutions, it’s time to implement the strategy you’ve just developed. Talking about strategies without putting them to use makes no sense, so make sure you are applying all the concepts that you’ve learned. In the meantime, good job going through all this process and good luck in your future pursuits!
About the Author:
Justin is a marketing specialist and blogger from Leicester, UK. When not working and rooting for Leicester FC, he likes to discuss new trends in digital marketing and share his own ideas with readers on different blogs and forums. Currently, he is working as a content marketer at 99papers review, Grade Miners review and Speedypaper review.