I wrote this a few years ago but am re-posting it because it is such a relevant article for planning ….. Go create the business you want!!! 🙂
For years I avoided the whole SWOT experience.
It seemed just too corporate for a solo operator of such a unusual type of service.
But, once I finally sat myself down and did a SWOTT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats and Trends) I realised what a useful visioning process it can be.
This process can be fun and bring brilliant ideas that may be lurking in the sub-conscious to the surface. At the very least it will enable you to articulate the fears you have, deal with them and recognize what you have to offer, a process which helps to calm the mind. Un-articulated fears are the most frightening of boogey men!
I suggest you take time, at least an hour, to do this. Bring in any staff or people who work with you or know how you work, the more the merrier. They may see something you would miss. It is useful to brainstorm, rather than make a list, to bring in your creative right brain. So make space and grab some big paper and coloured textas and start scribbling.
NB while working on each list in order is a good way to start don’t be afraid to go back and add things to a previous list.
For our purposes these are both your personal strengths and those of your business. These can include such things as personal traits, skill levels, people (staff, virtual assistants, mentors, etc), technology and infrastructure, niche positioning and market share, connections with powerful people, resources such as design, copywriting, etc, reputation or recognition in your industry, testimonials and endorsements… anything that contributes to your position in the marketplace.
This can be a bit painful, however you may find that some of these are a mirror image of your strengths, your light and shadow. You will also very likely find that many on this list will be mitigated by a strength already recognised. Be courageous!
This is a fun one! Brainstorm all the opportunities that are out there. You may not be interested in pursuing them at present but you don’t know what could happen down the track. You can also consider new directions within your business and other, perhaps non-traditional ways, that you might do business. Could you operate solely via the internet and email for example? What about adding a mobile arm to your business? Link up with other complimentary businesses….? Be creative.
Again an area requiring courage, however you should by now have such a list of potential that these will seem much less frightening than they would have been had you attempted this list earlier in the process. Threats include external things such as competition or the financial environment as well as those threats that come from within, either within your business or yourself. These could be staff issues, being the only one doing it all, aging technology, etc, or such things as a lack of confidence, lack of skills, or limited time.
This final area, added to the original concept of a SWOT analysis, challenges you to look at trends in your industry, the marketplace, the environment, etc. Once you have an idea of the trends that may affect your business you can start to workshop how to address any issues that these trends may raise.
In the end this process is designed to be an exploration and opportunity to expand your thinking. So enjoy it!
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