Similar to conducting audience research to gain a better understanding of your target consumers, a SWOT analysis gives you a better understanding of your business. SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
Conducting a SWOT analysis means you’ll be researching and delving into these areas with your business. This specific kind of analysis is important for online business owners because of the rapidly changing digital landscape; a SWOT analysis can help your team make sound business decisions that lead to sustained business growth.
Bottom-Line Benefits of SWOT Analysis and How to Get Started
In this blog post, we’ll go over the many benefits of a SWOT analysis, how they can impact sales, and how to do a SWOT analysis for your brand.
Why Is a SWOT Analysis Important for New Businesses?
The best thing about a SWOT analysis is that it’s absolutely free. (Well, apart from your time and attention.)
A SWOT analysis can be conducted by anyone who has a good understanding and is familiar with your brand, which means you don’t need to break the bank in order to use a seasoned advisor. You or one of your managers can conduct a SWOT analysis themselves.
For start-ups or smaller businesses, conducting a SWOT analysis is a good business practice because it helps clarify major internal and external factors affecting your business. In a way, a SWOT analysis is a situation analysis that pinpoints inefficiencies within your organization and highlight your strengths. By doing this, your team can improve productivity and increase sales.
A SWOT analysis will also focus on the real-world context of your business, which means you gain a clear understanding of your business compared to the competition.
What Is the Purpose of a SWOT Analysis?
It’s important to note that a SWOT analysis is just an analysis of the facts. So, what’s the purpose?
A SWOT analysis is conducted so your team can discuss the findings and drum up solutions that will enhance your brand. A SWOT analysis isn’t done purely for factual information; it’s done to create actionable steps your team can take to strengthen your business.
If you’re still wondering how to do a SWOT analysis, you can start by asking your team the following questions. These are by no means the only questions your team should be asking themselves in their SWOT work.
Let these questions be your guide and SWOT analysis worksheet from which to build. While you are finding the answers to these questions, remember to think about the steps your team can take to enforce what’s going well within your organization, and what steps your team needs to take to change your actions for the better.
Typical SWOT Analysis Questions
- What does our team do best?
- Why does our team do this best?
- What makes our business unique?
- How do people outside of our organization describe our strengths?
- What is our company’s greatest achievement to date?
- What does our team do worst?
- Why do we feel that way?
- What are the disadvantages we have as an organization?
- What feedback have we received from colleagues and customers regarding what we need to work on?
- What do our employees need more training in?
- How do we take the negative feedback we’ve had and use it in a positive manner?
- Where do our employees need more support?
- In what ways can our company take advantage of the changes affecting our industry?
- What new business ventures can our team afford to take on within the next 6 months?
- Is there an industry need we can meet that we currently are not?
- What obstacles do we face in production, sales, workplace environment, and other areas of our company?
- Do any of our current weaknesses negatively impact our business to the point where we may not meet our goals?
- What business practices do we employ that may hinder our success in the future?
- Do our products and services provide the same quality and satisfaction as our competitors?
- What changes in our industry should we be wary of?
These questions will help you create your unique SWOT analysis template so all the information you gather is organized.
Implementing Your SWOT Findings into a Marketing Plan
After you’ve conducted your research, the next thing you’ll want to do is incorporate your findings into a marketing plan.
You first need to choose what you want to focus on based on what your team found amongst your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
From there, you can introduce a plan of action to address the issue(s) and enhance your employees.
For example, if your biggest weakness is communication and you decide that you want to improve how your team speaks to one another, consider a digital solution like Basecamp or Slack. If you’re looking to improve your sales on digital and one of the main issues your team faces is lack of experience in the area, look into outsourcing part of your team in order to choose the right digital agency to do the work for you.
How you implement your findings is strictly based on what steps your individual team needs to take to reach your goals. There is no one SWOT analysis implementation process you can follow because all answers rely all on your business’ unique context. Scholly Bubenik, a Forbes Contributor, writes,
“[t]his process requires you take the time to analyze each of these areas and develop strategies to get ahead of them. As business owners we are faced with opportunities and threats on a regular basis but being proactive instead of reactive is imperative to staying competitive.”
Whether you’re doing a SWOT analysis for a small business or a large corporation, you’ll gain a more comprehensive understanding of where you are in the market today. Conducting a SWOT analysis is not only good for sales because it helps point out inefficiencies within your business, but also for internal operations as well.
Here are the key takeaways from today’s discussion one more time:
- A SWOT analysis is a free data mining method your team can use to identify your company’s strengths and weaknesses.
- The purpose of conducting a SWOT analysis is to compile information about your business that will help lead to actionable steps to enhance your brand.
- After you’ve reviewed your research, the final step is to implement your findings into a marketing plan to execute and achieve your goals.
Now that you know how to do a SWOT analysis, it’s time to do one for your business—best of luck!
Therese Palmere is a content writer and consultant for Aumcore, a digital marketing agency in NYC that specializes in eCommerce development solutions and all things digital. Therese dabbles in social media marketing and writes about everything from web development case studies to emerging marketing trends.