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  • How to do a SWOT analysis
    (Plus a free template tool for teams)

    What is a SWOT analysis

    So you've been tasked with doing a S.W.O.T Analysis, and your first thought was:

    "What the hell is a SWOT Analysis!??"

    Well this post will not only explain it, but it will BUILD OUT a customized SWOT Analysis for you (which you can then download and pretend it's your own).  

     

    What is a SWOT Analysis?

    It stands for:

    Strengths.
    Weaknesses.
    Opportunities.
    Threats.

    A SWOT Analysis is a simple exercise you should do maybe twice per year on your business. It will tell you:

    • What are the major threats to your business.
    • What trends you should be paying attention to.
    • Figure out where you should be focusing your time.

     

     

    Step 1.) Find Your Strengths:

     

    Swot Analysis Strengths

    The first step in a SWOT Analysis should be finding your strengths.  You can write out a huge list of these, but below are my 3 favorite "Strength" questions to ask.

    1.) What can our company do better than ANYONE else out there??
    Ex: "We have a better store location than any other burger stand in Pittsburgh."
    Ex: "Our cold email templates work 75% better than our competitors."
    Ex: "We have a patented way of manufacturing purses for cheaper than anyone."

    2.) What do OTHER people think our strengths are??
    Ex: "They think we have the best tasting burger in the neighborhood."
    Ex: "People like our weird style because it's more fun than typical business jargon."
    Ex: "They see we have higher Amazon ratings than other purses."

    3.) What unique resources do you have available to you??
    Ex: "Our storefront has the most patio seating of any place downtown."
    Ex: "We have weirdo writers who do things differently, and are more entertaining."
    Ex: "We are backed by Nordstrom's venture capital branch and have unlimited funding." 

     

    Step 2.) Find Your Weaknesses:

     

    Swot Analysis Weaknesses

    Where are you weak in your business?  Being brutally honest here is very important!  Below are my 3 favorite "Weakness" questions to ask:

    1.) What do we do a POOR job of??
    Ex: "We suck at social media compared to our competitors."
    Ex: "We don't have any sales people actively drumming up new customers."
    Ex: "Our purses don't have the same "prestige" as brands like Gucci or Coach."

    2.) What do OTHER people think our weaknesses are??
    Ex: "We have lower Yelp ratings than the other local burger joints."
    Ex: "They think our wacky style makes us unprofessional and not useful in the B2B world."
    Ex: "People still buy more expensive purses because they have more "prestige" than ours."

    3.) What does our ACCOUNTANT think our biggest problem is??
    Ex: "While we have a great location, the rent keeps going up every year, biting into profits."
    Ex: "We only sell one major product, and aren't diversified."
    Ex: "We are selling purses for really low profit margins, and need to increase the price." 

     

    Step 3.) Find Your Opportunities:

     

    Swot Analysis Opportunities

    This step helps us figure out what trends or opportunities will be around in the near future.  Here are my 3 favorite "Opportunity" questions to ask:

    1.) What LONG SHOT OPPORTUNITIES could we take??
    Ex: "We could buy the open storefront next to us and make a convenience store."
    Ex: "We could offer "Product Refreshes" for people selling products on Amazon."
    Ex: "We can showcase how our purses are all organic and contain no animal material."

    2.) What NEW TRENDS are catching on??
    Ex: "Healthy food and gluten-free buns are being requested all the time."
    Ex: "A more casual style is catching on in the B2B business world, and no one is teaching it."
    Ex: "More and more people are looking online at reviews before purchasing, and we have super high reviews."

    3.) What NEW PRODUCTS or services could we sell??
    Ex: "Gluten free and Vegetarian burgers would sell very well in this city."
    Ex: "We could do live in-person trainings in major cities to teach people about cold emailing."
    Ex: "We are backed by Nordstrom's venture capital branch and have unlimited funding." 

     

    Step 4.) Find Your Threats:

     

    Swot Analysis Threats

    The final step in a SWOT Analysis is figuring out the threats you face in the near future. Here's are 3 of my favorite "Threat" questions to ask:

    1.) What should we be AFRAID of in the next 6 months??
    Ex: "Burgers have a bad rap as unhealthy, and that's all we sell in an increasingly health conscious city."
    Ex: "We only sell digital information that isn't proprietary."
    Ex: "If Amazon drops us from the listings, we would lose 80% of our business instantly."

    2.) What MAJOR TRENDS are we not utilizing??
    Ex: "People more and more are finding about restaurants from social media, but we have none."
    Ex: "People are paying more for experience-based and in-person events than ever before."
    Ex: "Many brands do well with influencer marketing, but we're doing none of that."

    3.) Where can our COMPETITION crush us??
    Ex: "If a healthy restaurant opened up near us, it would bite into our lunchtime crowd."
    Ex: "If someone promotes the same information much better than us, they could steal business."
    Ex: "If a well known brand like Armani or Gucci makes a lower-price-point purse, it could hurt us badly." 

     

    SWOT Analysis Examples:
     

    Burger Store in Pittsburg:

     

    Cold Emailing Writing Service Company:

     

    Low Priced Purse Company:

     

     

    Free SWOT Analysis Template:
    Here's is a free template you can use at a meeting to perform a SWOT Analysis:
    swot-analysis-google-doc-template

     

    Click the template above. You can then make a copy of this SWOT Analysis template as a Google Doc, Word Document, or PDF. I sincerely hope you learned and enjoyed these SWOT Analysis examples and templates!

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