285_2700729A few years ago, I wrote a  post about how a SWOT analysis can be  your best friend. A lot has happened since I wrote that post but my point remains the same. If anything, this review of your business is more necessary now than ever. Turbulence has become such a norm for all businesses, but it is perhaps felt more keenly by small businesses. While you can’t anticipate absolutely everything, you can know where you stand if something catastrophic does occur. As CEO of your small business, it is essential that you have the big picture of what is currently going on in your business, what could happen and planning your goals accordingly.

No matter what, it is still your best friend

When you have a deep conversation with a good friend, it is a moment of self-discovery and learning. A SWOT analysis can help you the way a good friend who asks you those incisive questions and holds your hand when you discover things are as bad as you thought. You can also hold your own hand when things aren’t as bad as you thought.

Parts of a SWOT Analysis

So what are those questions that will reveal how you and your business are performing? And how will these questions help you with planning what’s to come for your business? Well, first you have to know the parts of a SWOT Analysis.

Strengths:

  • What is working well?
  • What is special about your business?
  • What advantages does your business have?
  • What are the perceived strengths of your business?

Weaknesses:

  • What problems are you facing?
  • Where are you struggling most?
  • What disadvantages does your business have?
  • What are the perceived weaknesses of your business?

Opportunities:

  • What are your clients/customers saying about you?
  • What are the current trends in your industry?
  • How could you increase revenues?
  • What could help your business grow?

Threats:

  • Who are your competitors and what are they doing?
  • What are the current risks/obstacles your business is facing?
  • What is changing in your market/industry?
  • What could hurt your business?

When I work with clients with their SWOT analyses, I recommend that they also include anything that might be pertinent from their personal lives. Marriages, divorces, moves, children and personal health are some of the things that can affect how you perform as CEO of your small business. This might seem surprising, but small businesses are more readily affected by the personal highs and lows of the business owner’s life.

Sit down with your best friend and plan more effectively

It is a conversation worth having with yourself. Savvy small business owners know that the SWOT analysis is not a report card where you receive all failing grades. Far from it! The process provides an opportunity for clarity, truth-telling, creativity, and action. It’s like having a conversation with a best friend who cares deeply about what happens to you.

What could your “best friend” tell you?

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