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If you have a business, you should be using SWOT analysis. It’s really that simple.
SWOT analysis is a strategic management tool to help you identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in a variety of situations.
The analysis is easy. You can decide how much detail you want to include, but even a simple brainstorming session can unlock unexpected gems. If you decide to use SWOT analysis only a couple of times for your business, be sure to do it these two ways.
1. Improve Your Communication Strategy
Communication is critical for every business. If you can’t adequately communicate with your team, partners, investors, and customers, then problems are destined to happen. SWOT analysis can identify how to better communicate with an individual or team.
Or you can focus on the weaknesses in your communication strategy. Just by eliminating the weaknesses, the strategy can become strengthened.
You also want to pay attention to the “T” of SWOT, also known as threats. While it’s good to take control and eliminate weaknesses, threats can strike without warning. But you can minimize the damage or the threat now before it blows up.
For example, let’s say your team complains that the manager doesn’t effectively communicate project expectations and deadlines. The first threat is your team members deciding to another company that communicates better. But there are others, such as the manager who doesn’t communicate well, and projects that aren’t being completed properly.
When the threats are identified, you can break them down. First, you can talk to the manager and the team separately to document their complaints. Then provide alternative methods of communication (phone and email, for example). Perhaps the manager is terrible at managing and responding to emails, but he provides all details perfectly via phone.
SWOT analysis can be applied to a variety of communication issues. It helps you identify key issues, but it’s up to you to fix them.
2. The Elusive USP
You need a unique selling proposition (USP) to catch the attention of prospective customers. Basically, it’s the thing that sets you apart from the competition. This is that thing that speaks directly to a customer. SWOT analysis can be especially encouraging for new business owners and entrepreneurs who haven’t nailed down their USP yet.
It can be something simple like you’re the only company in the area that provides overnight delivery. Or your USP can be more detailed, like the story of how you started the business. For example, were you desperately seeking a specific product that no one else was producing? Chances are, you weren’t alone. But you’re the first to do something about it.
The SWOT analysis will be focused on your brand. List every strength you can think of. You can even compare it to a list of what the competition does well. But you’d have a better shot listing what the competition struggles with (weaknesses) and see how your strengths align.
The best part of SWOT analysis is you can use it repeatedly and as often as you want. If you decide to change your USP, especially if you decide to go into a new industry, then pick up the old pen and paper again and start scribbling down your strengths.