Do you need a leg up in setting some goals for your company as the new year approaches? Consider doing a SWOT analysis beforehand.
SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Strengths and weaknesses are about looking internally, while opportunities and threats are about looking outside your organization.
Once you've compiled an accurate snapshot of your company at the end of 2013, it becomes much easier to set specific goals for 2014.
There's a good chance your biggest strength is people. This could include employees, members of your team, strategic partners, and, of course, yourself. Each person you work with – and the skills they bring to the table – is a potential strength.
Some common strengths might include:
- Skill sets and core competencies of employees and team members
- Strong relationships with clients, partners, vendors
- Team chemistry and communication
- Your company's identity, brand, and core values
- Your company's products and/or services and value they provide
This portion of the SWOT analysis might be more uncomfortable to complete than the others. But honesty is important - the goal is to take weaknesses and turn them into strengths, and you can’t do that if you don’t accurately identify specific areas where your company is weak.
Some common weaknesses might include:
- Lack of resources – money, personnel, or time
- Weak sales or marketing
- Lack of a specific skill set
- Pricing is too low or too high
- Poor communication between team members
Opportunities don't just mean potential clients – they could also be current clients. Think big – opportunities aren't just limited to your specific niche.
Some common opportunities might include:
- Selling more to existing clients
- Identifying potential clients
- Identifying potential partnerships
- Moving into a new market, or providing a new product/service
- Favorable economic factors
You think 'threat' and the first thing you might picture is your competition. But your partners and vendors can be threats as well – maybe even more so.
Some common threats might include:
- Partners and clients changing their business model
- Clients going through a leadership or personnel change
- Market conditions
- Unfavorable economic factors