As the New Year approaches, you’ll hear a lot about goal setting- even from me! But lets do this a bit differently….
I truly hope that part of your goal setting is that you’ll do (or revisit) your company’s Strategic Plan.
As a business owner, having a clear vision of the future is important. Unless you like the drudgery of dealing with the same issues the same way, every day.
Part of Strategic Planning is doing a SWOT Assessment or SWOT Analysis of your business.
S.W.O.T. stands for Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats.
Grab a coffee as you read this article, and also grab a pen and some paper. And keep checking back to the blog because I’m going to do a step-by-step walk through of effective strategic planning here.
Our Strengths and Weaknesses are internal. We can control them or have influence over them.
As you write your notes, use short crisp language. Be succinct and painfully honest with yourself. Think of your internal strengths. These need to be true strengths. If you write down “we have the lowest prices”, please call me immediately! You’re in trouble!
What are your real strengths in your business? Do you have a truly great Customer service system? Do you have unique machinery, unique skillsets? Maybe you’re the undisputed leader in something special in your industry? Are you the best marketers in your industry? Work on your list until you come to only 4 or 5 distinct strengths.
Now, lets be painfully honest with our Weaknesses. How is your A/R? What about your people? Do you have a healthy team? How many of your key people will retire in the next 3 years?
Whatever it is, being brutally honest with yourself pays dividends later. You would hate to be the Emperor with no Clothes on this one.
Ok, now we can move on to the external factors. What are the Opportunities and Threats you or your industry faces?
I’ve often found that clients like to get lost in the Opportunities column. Because, of course, its fun.
The best thing you can do when this is part of strategic planning is making this just another section. Sure- get excited, but don’t let that excitement cloud reality!
Opportunities can come from so many places. Here’s one that is often overlooked … Have you really tapped into the leverage point that is your client or customer feedback? Look at your Yelp reviews or at feedback from your customers. Do you do a Net Promoter Score? If so are you using it as a tool for growth or change?
Again, make sure you are jotting these things down. In a strategic plan this is one of the first sections you’ll complete!
As a business coach, and trainer of business coaches, I’m a big fan of taking action.
So all I’d ask you to do is commit to taking one action form this article. At the very least, take a post-it note and write “S.W.O.T.” on it. The put it on the dashboard of your car!
That’s how I get into your head!
Here’s what we’ve found amongst all our coaches, and all our clients. Some of you may know that I’ve built a high performing team of professional business coaches around the world. Those coaches report back that most business owners don’t do regular strategic planning.
So- just by doing this exercise makes you one of the top 20-25% of Business Owners.
By taking action on the insights you get form doing a SWOT, you move into the top 2%.
Nice place to be, isn’t it?
Thanks for reading; I’m looking forward to your comments, thoughts, tips and tricks on this one!
You can read this on Linkedin too!
Title photo credit;Headlineshirts.net