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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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