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How SWOT Analysis Can Help Your Business Grow a Lot

How SWOT Analysis Can Help Your Business Grow a Lot

There are so many options when it comes to assessing the performance of your business that it can be hard to know which to choose. SWOT analysis is a popular tool that helps you to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your organisation, and identify the threats and opportunities that could affect your future. [1]

    Read on to find out how a SWOT analysis could help your business grow.

    Why SWOT analysis is so powerful

    SWOT analysis is so helpful as it combines both internal and external factors to paint a completely clear picture of where your business currently stands, and where it’s likely to be in the future.

      Other techniques might be great at helping you assess your own organisation, but could ignore serious threats from competitors. An analysis that’s too insular could also miss key opportunities for growth and development outside the business.

      On the other hand, focusing solely on external factors means you’re reliant upon the actions of others, which takes control out of your hands and limits opportunities for internal improvement.

      Carrying out a SWOT analysis ensures you get the right balance of internal and external factors.

      When should I use a SWOT analysis

      A SWOT analysis can be helpful in many areas of your business, and we’ve listed some suggestions below:

      • When setting new business objectives

      • To analyse existing strategies

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      • When planning projects

      • When monitoring project/strategy success

      • When planning your marketing strategy

      There are no strict rules about where and when to use a SWOT analysis. As a general rule, they’re useful anytime you’d like to assess your current strengths and weaknesses and look for opportunities for growth.

      How to do a SWOT analysis

      Wondering exactly what a SWOT analysis looks like? Here are some key questions you should ask for each section.

      Strengths

      • What’s your unique selling point?

      • What do you do better than any of your competitors?

      • Which aspects of your organisation are particularly strong?

      • Which factors make customers choose you over similar businesses?

      • Which product or service makes you stand out from the crowd?

      Weaknesses

      • Where is there room for improvement within your business?

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      • Which factors cause you to miss out on sales?

      • Which area of your business has consistently encountered problems?

      • What about your business are customers likely to perceive as weakness?

      Opportunities

      • Are there any current trends you could take advantage of?

      • What changes in your market could provide opportunities for growth?

      • How can you take advantage of changes in policy?

      • Are there any local events you could become involved with?

      Threats

      • What are your competitors doing? Is this a threat to your business?

      • Could changes in your market negatively affect your business?

      • Do you have any quality issues?

      • Do you have any issues with cash-flow or debt?

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      • How seriously could these threats affect your business?

      Still not exactly sure what your SWOT analysis should look like? Check out the full examples below for inspiration.

      Example SWOT analysis 1

      You run a fast food shop that’s been experiencing a drop in sales, and conduct a SWOT analysis to find out why. Here are the results.

      Strengths

      • Cheaper food than any nearby shop.

      Weaknesses

      • High staff turnover – many staff are not fully qualified.

      • Scored very poorly on several recent health inspections.

      • Food quality much lower than nearby shops.

      Opportunities

      • New nightclubs are opening in the surrounding area, which will increase the number of customers late at night.

      • A local competition for best fast food shop is taking place soon.

      Threats

      • The increase in online review sites means that people can read negative reviews of the shop when deciding whether or not to visit.

      • A new chain fast food shop is opening down the street.

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      In this analysis, we can see that the weaknesses of the fast food shop outweigh the strengths – this is a key warning sign. Looking for ways to remedy the current weaknesses, and taking advantage of the listed opportunities should help this business to grow.

      Example SWOT analysis 2

      You run a small toy shop on a busy high street. You’d like to increase the growth of your business and decide to carry out a SWOT analysis. Check out the results below.

      Strengths

      • More unique toys than nearby shops.

      • Very friendly and personalized service, excellent staff.

      Weaknesses

      • More expensive toys than competitors.

      • Brand not as well established as big chain toy shops.

      Opportunities

      • Local children’s hospital is holding a big event to encourage toy donations. Sponsoring the event and donating toys could improve the company’s brand image and lead to positive publicity in local media.

      • A certain brand of toy is trending on social media. Focusing marketing efforts on this toy will encourage customers to visit.

      Threats

      • A large chain toy store is opening across the street and could threaten sales.

      • Video games are becoming more popular than traditional toys.

      In this analysis, we can see that the business has some key strengths and opportunities that can be of use when deciding how to deal with threats. Focusing on providing great service and building a good local image could help our small, independent toy shop deal with the threat of chain toy shop opening across the street.

      If you want to get a clearer idea of how your business can grow and improve, carrying out a detailed SWOT analysis is a great place to start.

      Reference

      [1] Mind Tools: SWOT Analysis

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      Eloise Best

      Eloise is an everyday health expert and runs My Vegan Supermarket, a vegan blog and database of supermarket products.

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      Last Updated on June 5, 2020

      10 Huge Differences Between a Boss And a Leader

      10 Huge Differences Between a Boss And a Leader

      When you try to think of a leader at your place of work, you might think of your boss — you know, the supervisor in the tasteful office down the hall.

      However, bosses are not the only leaders in the office, and not every boss has mastered the art of excellent leadership. Maybe the best leader you know is the co-worker sitting at the desk next to yours who is always willing to loan out her stapler and help you problem solve.

      You see, a boss’s main priority is to efficiently cross items off of the corporate to-do list, while a true leader both completes tasks and works to empower and motivate the people he or she interacts with on a daily basis.

      A leader is someone who works to improve things instead of focusing on the negatives. People acknowledge the authority of a boss, but people cherish a true leader.

      Puzzled about what it takes to be a great leader? Let’s take a look at the difference between a boss and a leader, and why cultivating quality leadership skills is essential for people who really want to make a positive impact.

      1. Leaders Are Compassionate; Bosses Are Cold

      It can be easy to equate professionalism with robot-like impersonal behavior. Many bosses stay holed up in their offices and barely ever interact with staff.

      Even if your schedule is packed, you should always make time to reach out to the people around you. Remember that when you ask someone to share how they are feeling, you should be prepared to be vulnerable and open in your communication as well.

      Does acting human at the office sound silly? It’s not.

      A lack of compassion in the office leads to psychological turmoil, whereas positive connection leads to healthier staff.[1]

      If people feel that you are being open, honest, and compassionate with them, they will feel able to approach your office with what is on their minds, leading to a more productive and stress-free work environment.

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      2. Leaders Say “We”; Bosses Say “I”

      Practice developing a team-first mentality when thinking and speaking. In meetings, talk about trying to meet deadlines as a team instead of using accusatory “you” phrases. This makes it clear that you are a part of the team, too, and that you are willing to work hard and support your team members.

      Let me explain:

      A “we” mentality shifts the office dynamic from “trying to make the boss happy” to a spirit of teamwork, goal-setting, and accomplishment.

      A “we” mentality allows for the accountability and community that is essential in the modern-day workplace.

      3. Leaders Invest in People; Bosses Use People

      Unfortunately, many office climates involve people using others to get what they want or to climb the corporate ladder. This is another example of the “me first” mentality that is so toxic in both office environments and personal relationships.

      Instead of using others or focusing on your needs, think about how you can help other people grow.

      Use your building blocks of compassion and team-mentality to stay attuned to the needs of others and note the areas in which you can help them develop. A great leader wants to see his or her people flourish.

      Make a list of ways you can invest in your team members to help them develop personally and professionally, and then take action!

      4. People Respect Leaders; People Fear Bosses

      Earning respect from everyone on your team will take time and commitment, but the rewards are worth every ounce of effort.

      A boss who is a poor leader may try to control the office through fear and bully-like behavior. Employees who are petrified about their performance or who feel overwhelmed and stressed by unfair deadlines are probably working for a boss who uses a fear system instead of a respect system.

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      What’s the bottom line?

      Work to build respect among your team by treating everyone with fairness and kindness. Maintain a positive tone and stay reliable for those who approach you for help.

      5. Leaders Give Credit Where It’s Due; Bosses Only Take Credit

      Looking for specific ways to gain respect from your colleagues and employees? There is no better place to start than with the simple act of giving credit where it is due.

      Don’t be tempted to take credit for things you didn’t do, and always go above and beyond to generously acknowledge those who worked on a project and performed well.

      You might be wondering how you can get started:

      • Begin by simply noticing which team member contributes what during your next project at work.
      • If possible, make mental notes. Remember that these notes should not be about ways in which team members are failing, but about ways in which they are excelling.
      • Depending on your leadership style, let people know how well they are doing either in private one-on-one meetings or in a group setting. Be honest and generous in your communication about a person’s performance.

      6. Leaders See Delegation as Their Best Friend; Bosses See It as an Enemy

      If delegation is a leader’s best friend, then micromanagement is the enemy.

      Delegation equates to trust, and micromanagement equates to distrust. Nothing is more frustrating for an employee than feeling that his or her every movement is being critically observed.

      Encourage trust in your office by delegating important tasks and acknowledging that your people are capable, smart individuals who can succeed!

      Delegation is a great way to cash in on the positive benefits of a psychological phenomenon called the self-fulfilling prophecy. In a self-fulfilling prophecy, a person’s expectations of another person can cause the expectations to be fulfilled.[2]

      In other words, if you truly believe that your team member can handle a project or task, he or she is more likely to deliver.

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      You can learn more about how to delegate in my other article: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders).

      7. Leaders Work Hard; Bosses Let Others Do the Work

      Delegation is not an excuse to get out of hard work. Instead of telling people to go accomplish the hardest work alone, make it clear that you are willing to pitch in and help with the most difficult tasks when the need arises.

      Here’s the deal:

      Showing others that you work hard sets the tone for your whole team and will spur them on to greatness.

      The next time you catch yourself telling someone to “go,” a.k.a accomplish a difficult task alone, change your phrasing to “let’s go,” showing that you are totally willing to help and support them.

      8. Leaders Think Long-Term; Bosses Think Short-Term

      A leader who only utilizes short-term thinking is someone who cannot be prepared or organized for the future. Your colleagues or staff members need to know that they can trust you to have a handle on things not just this week, but next month or even next year.

      Display your long-term thinking skills in group talks and meetings by sharing long-term hopes or concerns. Create plans for possible scenarios and be prepared for emergencies.

      For example, if you know that you are losing someone on your team in a few months, be prepared to share a clear plan of how you and the remaining team members can best handle the change and workload until someone new is hired.

      9. Leaders Are Like Colleagues; Bosses Are Just Bosses

      Another word for a colleague is a collaborator. Make sure your team knows that you are “one of them” and that you want to collaborate or work side by side.

      Not getting involved in the going ons of the office is a mistake because you will miss out on development and connection opportunities.

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      As our regular readers know, I love to remind people of the importance of building routines into each day. Create a routine that encourages you to leave your isolated office and collaborate with others. Spark healthy habits that benefit both you and your co-workers.

      10. Leaders Put People First; Bosses Put Results First

      Bosses without crucial leadership training may focus on process and results instead of people. They may stick to a pre-set systems playbook, even when employees voice new ideas or concerns.

      Ignoring people’s opinions for the sake of company tradition like this is never truly beneficial to an organization.

      Here’s what I mean by process over people:

      Some organizations focus on proper structures or systems as their greatest assets instead of people. I believe that people lend real value to an organization, and that focusing on the development of people is a key ingredient for success in leadership.

      Final Thoughts

      Learning to be a leader is an ongoing adventure.

      This list of differences makes it clear that, unlike an ordinary boss, a leader is able to be compassionate, inclusive, generous, and hard-working for the good of the team.

      Instead of being a stereotypical scary or micromanaging-obsessed boss, a quality leader is able to establish an atmosphere of respect and collaboration.

      Whether you are new to your work environment or a seasoned administrator, these leadership traits will help you get a jump start so that you can excel as a leader and positively impact the people around you.

      For more inspiration and guidance, you can even start keeping tabs on some of the world’s top leadership experts. With an adventurous and positive attitude, anyone can learn good leadership.

      More About Leadership

      Featured photo credit: Brooke Lark via unsplash.com

      Reference

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