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You’ve got questions about SWOT analysis and it’s time to answer them. Even though we discuss exactly how do conduct an analysis for various industries and careers, questions are bound to turn up.
Get detailed answers about the leading questions you need answered today.
1. When is the best, most optimal, most perfect time to do a SWOT analysis (to get the most amazing results)?
Unfortunately, I can’t recommend a time that precise. I mean, no one can tell you “do your SWOT analysis once a month between 8am – 9am or suffer the consequences!”
Because it doesn’t work that way.
With that said, there are situations where a SWOT analysis will be more beneficial than at other times. For example, don’t start if you can’t focus on the task. If the kids are constantly asking questions and breaking your train of thought, it’s probably time to put the analysis away for now.
But also consider the situation. If you’re on the fence about changing your career, SWOT analysis can provide insight to help you make a decision.
SWOT Analysis: Leaving current job for a new career
- Exciting change
- Change of pace/scenery/topics
- It’s something I care about more than with current career
- Booming industry
- Pay cut (for at least a few years)
- May require transferring to new cities
- Don’t know anyone/current connections won’t help
- Make 30% more in a few years than current job
- Branch into new sectors/industries related to this one
- Can work from home/remotely 2 days a week (be with partner or kids more)
- Alienate current connections
- Lose friends/coworkers (if moving, etc)
- Not easy to go back to an old career if this doesn’t work out.
This is just a short example, but you’re able to write down the good, the bad, and the potentially great advantages. And you can do it objectively before taking that leap. You don’t want to be that person who changes careers without accounting for the pay cut. You’ll be stressed and maybe even resent the change.
SWOT analysis helps you think logically and make a decision based on that logic. So rather than focusing on a specific, literal time to do it, think about the situation. If you’re considering doing something – a change of any sort – would it be smart to do SWOT analysis first? Most likely the answer will be “Yes!”
2. Do I have to be an analytical genius to do SWOT analysis?
Of course not. The average person can do SWOT analysis and still uncover useful glimmers of truth. Take a look at the above SWOT analysis example. It’s incredibly simple and barebones, isn’t it? And yet, it still offers insight about the topic. It allows a person to manage their thoughts in a logical and coherent way.
You don’t need to block out 4 hours of your time to research and write. If you’ve got 30 minutes, you’ve time to do SWOT. That’s what makes it so popular: It’s available for everyone at any time.
Obviously, the more time you can dedicate to the analysis, the better it can be. You’ll be able to think more critically, more thoroughly. It’s easy to pop out the first few thoughts and ideas. But after awhile? You’ll be plagued to write down even one more thought. Yet that’s when the best insights reveal themselves.
I’ve seen business owners use SWOT to figure out their unique selling proposition. Or authors who want to understand the best and worst parts about their book (and then they figure out how to address the issues). Business analysts also use SWOT but the point is, you don’t have to go to school to use it.
3. What do I do after the SWOT analysis?
This was quickly addressed above but simply put? You got to use what you learned. It’s disheartening to realize many people become so focused on doing the analysis that they chuck their results to the side. Although it can be helpful just to know your strengths or threats, it’s always smarter to figure out ways to use the info directly.
Have you ever taken an online course for something? People do it for business. They’ll take a course about social media or marketing strategies. They’ll go through the teachings/modules fill a binder full of notes. They nod to themselves while they listen, occasionally smiling because everything they’re learning totally makes sense. Butthen the course ends and they jump right onto the next one. All those notes? Might as well just be a paperweight.
What they should do is start practicing what they learned. In the case of SWOT analysis, that means figuring out when and how to implement information (whenever possible). What’s a smart way to go about it? When should you do it? Can you wait to handle the outlined weaknesses to prevent threats from taking over?
Think about the information. Think about how to use it. And then put it to good use.
4. Do I have to do the whole thing?
No, you don’t. But I recommend that you do.
Many people just do the first half (strengths and weaknesses). I believe it’s because they’re the simplest. You can quickly figure out what you do right and wrong. And then? You just fix them. They’re the “easiest” parts to fix and you have the most control while doing it.
But with the second half (opportunities and threats), it’s a little less set in stone. You can create opportunities, sure, but many just appear. Your input isn’t necessary. You don’t even have to take the opportunity. Threats aren’t that different. They exist, they manifest, but you can’t always do something in the moment. Basically, you’re not powerless during these sections, but you’re not as powerful either.
If you need quick answers and know that unveiling strengths or weaknesses will help (and you can put the information into effect immediately) go for it. But you’ll get the full picture of your situation from doing the entire analysis.