SWOT – Build Your Business Through a Simple Exercise

June 27, 2017

Assembling a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) Analysis is a useful component to any strategic business plan and a strategic marketing plan. This is a great exercise to conduct with your leadership team annually. By putting together a SWOT Analysis, you will determine where your employees need to spend their time and potentially re-allocate their time.

A SWOT Analysis typically takes an hour to three hours to complete with six to twelve people involved in the session. Have lots of white boards or big post-it notes to write down ideas. Most of your session should be brainstorming with the team. Make a page for each area (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) and brainstorm each department (accounting, operations, marketing, human resources, information technology, etc.) and start rattling off ideas. Some may be overlap but everyone should be engaged in contributing and shouting out ideas.

If the leadership team has some new employees, it’s recommended to do a team building activity. This is also helpful if there have been some animosity, anxiety, or trust issues amongst the team. This could include many different activities, but select one that speaks to your company’s culture and leadership’s personalities. By doing this at the beginning of the SWOT Analysis session, it relaxes everyone in the room and helps drive creativity.

After conducting the team building activity, dive right into the SWOT Analysis. Asking questions will spur discussion.

  • What are we exceptional at?
  • What do our clients say our strong points are? (If you don’t know, you need to ask)
  • What could we improve on?
  • What are the gaps and/or overlaps in our company?
  • What is the economic market look like?
  • What are the social changes in our market(s)?
  • What are the political changes in our market(s)?
  • What do we want to focus on as a company?

There are many other questions, but this will spur the discussion. Just get as many ideas written down as possible during the initially SWOT Analysis session. Exhaust all the ideas within the group.

After the initial session, several people from the leadership team will need to organize the list. This shouldn’t take more than thirty minutes to an hour. You may have anywhere from ten to twenty-five items under each area (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats). Once you have these organized, the SWOT Analysis should be sent to the leadership team for final approval. This is a step toward determining where your employees need to focus their time.

For example, if you have discovered through your SWOT Analysis that your company is really good at designing hospitals and your employees really enjoy working on these types of projects (strength), then you will need to focus on obtaining additional hospital or healthcare work. Through financial analysis from your CFO and/or controller, you may also determine these are profitable projects (strength). From your market research, you may also determine you are only designing 10% of the hospitals/healthcare projects in your geographic market (opportunity). From this information, you will be able to write a marketing plan that would include a strategy of how to obtain those hospital/healthcare projects.

SWOT allows you to write down everything in your leaderships/employees’ heads, so it can be communicated throughout the company. This is a great place to start if you are wanting to grow your company and be more focused with your time and money. A SWOT Analysis session doesn’t take long and can reap huge benefits. The important thing to note is the implementation and keeping it top of mind with your leadership team and employees. Communication is vital to the success of implementing the plan you’ve assembled from the SWOT.

Nu marketing can help you put together a SWOT analysis for your business and a business or marketing strategic plan. Call or email us today. You can also read more about our services throughout our website.