Three Tips for Your Next SWOT

Each annual session, my clients go through an exercise to identify their Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT). Like anything else, a tool is only truly useful if you plan to use it to its fullest extent. Below are three tips to help your leadership team get the most out of your SWOT analyses.

Why SWOT?

After doing this a few times, some leaders get tired of them and wonder, “Why do we have to do a SWOT analysis again?”

I was once a skeptic, too. Prior to becoming an EOS Implementer®, I was part of SWOT analyses in organizations. The teams I worked with seemed to like them. Yet no one ever seemed to know what the heck to do with them, and so zero action ever came of them.

I urge my clients to be more strategic when they complete their SWOT analysis. When used correctly, a well-done SWOT analysis can help build a great Issues List for your team. With a little more effort put into planning and thinking, the results will pay off.

1. Do a PEST Analysis

PEST stands for political, economic, social, and technological. (Yes, we love our acronyms, don’t we?) These are any factors that could impact the business in the future. While you may not have control over these items, you can prepare for how your company will address them.

After brainstorming, the leadership team selects the top three items that will likely have an impact on the business in the coming year. Using these three items, the leadership team will revise their SWOT, keeping these issues in mind.

2. Preparation

When you look at your data and processes, what do they say about your strengths and weaknesses? For example, compare your top customers by revenue and your top customers by margin. Or compare your top-quality issues from the previous year with those of the current year. What is most important to your business or areas where you see issues cropping up frequently?

No matter what they are, generate a list of things and bring them to your annual meeting.

3. Ask Your Customers

Customers could be internal, external, or both. But ask your customers what they like and what they wish you did better. What could you do that would make their jobs easier?

Also, consider asking them bigger questions, like what their customers are asking for in the coming year. What are their biggest challenges in the coming year or their top three problems they need to solve?

See Step 2: Gather their information and bring it to the annual meeting.

Think Bigger

When you approach the SWOT analysis with more strategic thinking and put in more effort, you’ll get more out of the exercise. If you’re unsure where or how to get started, I recommend reading Traction.

Reach the next level of entrepreneurial success. Read Traction and strengthen the Six Key Components of your business.

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