A slump is a cause for concern. But it’s not a cause to give in.
Still, once it’s here, dragging yourself from the dark trenches of a business slump is incredibly difficult. It strips away your motivation. You push your goals to the wayside. And the losing streak triggered by the slump continues on.
Even though it feels endless, it’s not. By setting up a plan right now, you can identify solutions to overcome the slump. SWOT analysis is one of the best tools at your disposal — once you know how to properly use it.
In business, a slump is typically a losing streak. Every project gives lackluster results. After awhile, it starts to feel like the norm. And that’s where things really start to go wrong.
What you need to do instead is prepare yourself. To get over this slump, you’re going to have to assess the issue from every angle. And that will also mean acknowledging the things that go wrong.
SWOT analysis is the process of identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. And every business slump has these. You’re going to have to list the failures that have led to this slump and divulge the gritty details.
Prepare yourself to examine the slump. Get yourself comfortable. Maybe grab a refreshing drink. And ready yourself to look at every issue objectively. It won’t be easy, but it’s necessary.
Typically, assessing strengths is the simplest part of a SWOT analysis. But when it comes to a slump, this can be the hardest part. We tend to focus on the negative and fail to see strengths.
If it’s hard to start, do this: Realize that a project failure can actually be a win. You now know it wasn’t worth the funds or time, so you won’t make the same mistake again. That’s a win.
The process of identifying strengths is easier by breaking down projects step-by-step. When you assess the individual steps, it’s easier to identify small strengths. You can learn how to implement these strengths for future projects. Expanding on them could also yield positive results.
Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself
Weaknesses can be difficult, but not for this.
You might want to write off this whole section by declaring the entire project a weakness, but that’s not beneficial to beat the slump. Take a look at your task breakdown from the strengths category (above). Now, instead of looking at it for strengths, try to see where the project began to go wrong. But identifying these small moments that led to failure, you can start to identify specific areas of weakness.
When you can see the weakness, it’s easier to notice them in the future and stop them before they get out of control.
Search For Opportunities
Opportunities can present themselves after the project ends. Just by looking, it can be hard to see opportunities. Especially when the weaknesses overshadow it all. But by following your breakdown of tasks, you may identify what would’ve been potential opportunities at the time.
When you work on similar products in the future, you can capitalize on opportunities now that you know what to look for. These opportunities may be all it takes to turn a losing streak into a winning streak.
Be Smart About Threats
Threats undermine success. All it takes is one threat to take a surefire project and render it useless.
For example, let’s say the marketing budget for a project is going to dry up halfway through the campaign. Even knowing this, you press on. Likely, you won’t see the expected results because it’s impossible to complete the campaign.
If you acknowledge this threat (funds drying up) you can make the decision to wrap up the campaign early. Then assess the results and develop a future plan based on the findings. Or you can let it continue and suffer the consequences. By identifying previous project threats – whether they came into fruition or not – you can assess the level of damage it would’ve caused the company. And you can develop a plan of action.
By using SWOT to look at failed projects in greater detail, you can devise future projects for long-term success, rather than unexpected failure.
Photo by Noah Silliman on Unsplash