Don’t Start a Business Without Doing This First
If you haven’t done a SWOT analysis for your small business, start taking notes now. When I was working in marketing for a large insurance company, we did a SWOT analysis before we rolled out any new product or program.
This allowed us to gather knowledge on what was already out there, what was missing in the market, what we could contribute, and how to move forward strategically.  The same concept applies to your small business.
Have you done this type of analysis yet on your business or product offerings?

If not, here is what a SWOT analysis is and how it can help your business take off:

S Stands For Strengths:

The strengths and weaknesses part of the analysis are usually internal factors; take some time here to really examine what it is you do and what you offer. No doubt you spent a lot of time planning and organizing your business before your launch, here’s a chance to explore why you started in the first place.
Questions to ask:
  • What makes us shine?
  • What do we do better than everyone else?
  • What advantages do we have?
  • What resources do we have that others don’t?
  • What makes us stand out?

W Stands For Weaknesses:

Now is the time to take a critical look at the weaknesses of your business. Perhaps this is a step that a trusted business colleague or mentor can help you with.
Questions to ask:
  • What can we improve?
  • What do others see as a weakness in our business?
For me, that second question is hard to answer but crucial.  Knowing how your potential clients and competitors see you is necessary. Maybe your website isn’t current and needs some work? Or the packages you’re offering are not specific enough?
Don’t be afraid to explore weaknesses – they may show you new opportunities for success in the future.

O Stands For Opportunities:

Here is where you can brainstorm ideas of ways to expand your business and products.
Questions to ask:
  • What is going on around you that you are not already taking advantage of?
  • Are there any interesting trends in your industry?
  • Is there new technology in your industry to explore?
  • Are there potential changes in government policy that could benefit you?
  • Are there any upcoming local events that can showcase your business?

T Stands For Threats:

Examining your threats and weaknesses can seem daunting and overwhelming, but try to flip the script. Instead, look at them as challenges that you can overcome. You got this far already, don’t be afraid to complete this step and bring your new business to the next level.
Questions to ask:
  • What is challenging to your business right now?
  • What are your competitors doing that is challenging your business?
  • Is there new technology that is helping or hurting your business?
  • Is there a new product coming out that will threaten what you offer?  For example, there are apps for just about everything, is there one that offers what you do, but in a more user-friendly way?
  • Is your business threatened by government policy? New government policy can also be a help or hindrance; stay current on what lawmakers are doing and how it may affect your business.

[RELATED: 4 Marketing Rules For Starting a Business]

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