Achieve business objectives? Nothing more simple and effective SWOT analysis for strategic corporate planning …
The last months of the year, the time when you begin to take stock and think about what are the activities and business objectives for the coming year. In business management objectives can be the most different: increase revenue, increase the number of employees, increase the customer base, cut unnecessary costs, gain market share, etc …
Whatever your business goals chosen the main issue is often related to how to achieve them. To avoid slipping to speculate or other pagan rituals in a desperate search for a solution you can leverage a simple but effective strategic tool called SWOT analysis.
The SWOT analysis, also known as “SWOT matrix” or “scheme”, is one of corporate strategic planning tool. An analysis technique that has existed for over 50 years and is perhaps one of the most shared business tools and cross. The matrix allows a rapid, complete, and concise analysis of a specific business or project. The tool allows you to uncover, analyze and evaluate …
- S: Strengths;
- W: Weaknesses;
- O: Opportunities;
- T: Threats.
Perform SWOT analysis is very simple and requires no special mathematical or economic expertise. Essentially it is a real brainstorming applied to four areas of the matrix with the aim to completely dissect the possible strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
This type of analysis is conducted regularly by the largest multinationals but is applied without any problem to any kind of business or activity that has to make decisions to achieve a goal and therefore needs an internal environment analysis (strengths and weakness) and external (threats and opportunities) for a conscious and effective corporate strategic planning.
SWOT analysis example: How it is structured and how we read
The SWOT analysis highlights the positive and negative aspects of the current business situation, and highlights the factors external to the company, such as competitive analysis and market movements.
To proceed with the analysis you need to list, then: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the appropriate boxes. To be able to compile the most of the various fields you can start from the basic questions listed in the next section of this article.
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The SWOT matrix is readable not only for individual field but also in pairs of fields.
The two areas in the upper half of the matrix showing what is happening inside the company at the time, while the two fields of the lower reported the situation outside the company.
If we look at the two fields on the left hand side, we can find advantages and opportunities that we can take advantage of and on which we should invest, while the right two areas are harmful and negative things that we should address proactively.
Doing a SWOT analysis as with applications for strategic planning
Produce a SWOT analysis requires maximum 30 minutes. All you need is a sheet divided into four parts. Then, you can start building a section at a time using as part of useful questions points to start the analysis. This is not to simply answer the questions below, partly because not all questions will be applicable to their own situation. The questions serve as a cue to start reasoning and help this line of analysis. These could trigger other questions strictly related to the business or the analyzed project, good practice would be to record these new questions for later use.
- What does your company do well?
- What are the advantages over competitors?
- What do your customers appreciate you?
- What kind of people or key resources of the company?
Points of weakness
- What could you improve in your processes, products and / or services?
- What resources or staff shortage in the company?
- What are the main causes of a lost sale?
- What are your competitors doing that you do not do or can not do?
- What opportunities for improvement and development are present?
- What positive trends you can leverage to your advantage (technology, law, economics, urban planning changes …)?
- Based on your strengths, which you could take advantage of growth opportunities?
- What new niches or market opportunities could attack to expand?
- What obstacles coming from the market and competitors you face?
- What are the competitors that could hit you with their work?
- Such negative trends lie ahead (technology, law, economics, urban planning changes …)?
- What challenges might arise from the evolution of customers interests?
Once all fields are filled and satisfied with the work, you can switch to part of strategic planning, or identify growth strategies to be pursued.
Again ask yourself some basic questions can help a lot …
- How will you use your strengths to take advantage of opportunities?
- How are you going to take action on the defects detected?
- How will you tackle the main threats?
This simple and effective method for your SWOT analysis. Are you ready for your company’s strategic planning?
Good analysis and good planning!