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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 August 16, 2019

      15 Smart Ways to Approach Interpersonal Relationships at Work

      15 Smart Ways to Approach Interpersonal Relationships at Work

      Once you have embarked on your professional life, whether it is after college or high school, you will be making a transition to the workplace. If possible, it is good to find an employer that is flexible. In other words, one that possesses a culture that is diverse and tailors to the needs of its employees as a bottom line.

      But, even if you don’t land your dream job right away, there are many ways to improve your experiences within the workplace as you climb the career ladder.

      In the subsequent sections will be looking over ways to engage your relationships at work, including 15 ways to effectively approach interpersonal relationships at the workplace.

      1. Open Up Cautiously

      Depending on if its a startup, a small business, enterprise or corporation it’s important to be aware of your surroundings.

      Be mindful of how much you open up about yourself, specifically regarding your personal life. You do not want to give the wrong impression, so be careful how much or what details you divulge about being in a relationship or having children.

      You have to reach a certain comfort level and rapport with the rest of the staff to be able to engage in transparent conversations. A good general guideline is to stick to small talk.

      2. Observe Your Surroundings

      There will be times when we are summoned to have a leadership role or to undertake a project to lead a team.

      Try not to be too bold or overcompensate at every turn when there is a meeting or an interaction among other staff or employees. The last thing you want to do is to be the person who wants to monopolize every conversation and every interaction.

      Be a passive observer at first, and more often than not, you will learn a lot by letting others talk a lot about themselves.

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      3. Listen Actively

      It may seem redundant, but it is essential to practice the art of really listening to the other person.

      Developing interpersonal skills and connections with others at work comes down to listening. It is not just paraphrasing what your superiors or colleagues are trying to communicate; it is about understanding what is at the core and reading between the lines.

      Phrases like “I can see what you are saying” or “I can acknowledge your insight” are just some examples. Learn to empathize and relate with people with whom you have a genuine connection.

      4. Consolidate All Feedback

      When you learn to listen to others and to allow them to finish their thoughts you are on your way to be being a great communicator.

      One of the toughest tasks to accomplish is to include everyone’s voice. Don’t rely on shout-outs or trying to come up with the best answer. Including everyone’s voice is about listening to all suggestions and putting together an entire picture. When everyone feels part of the process there is great cohesion.

      5. Never Make Sweeping Judgements

      As person and a human being with compassion never make any assumptions about anyone.

      Just because they have a certain skin color, clothes or physical features, never make stereotypical or generalizations about anyone.

      6. Keep Emotions in Check

      Work-related stress is something we all have to deal with at some point or another. Whether you work in the public or private sector you will encounter stressors or stressful co-workers. In this case, it is good to keep open the lines of communications.

      Always ask to clarify how a person feels and where they are coming from. It is better to entertain these conversations before they make a person lash out or have a negative reaction. Ask to speak privately and get feedback. When you do this it really shows you care about what your role is and that you are a true professional.

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      7. Give Help to Others

      Having compassion and empathy for others is a noble attitude to practice.

      Though, do be careful about how much you want to get involved with colleagues at the office; it could jeopardize the nature of your work relationship and the roles you both have.

      It’s best to separate the personal from the professional and lend a hand by using your best judgement.

      8. Broaden Your Horizons

      Once you have worked in a company or an organization, things can get repetitive and dull. Sometimes we need to remember that we are human and need to fulfill certain responsibilities.

      Often we want to try to change things by introducing our best abilities or perhaps our inventions, but we need to be realistic. Change does not happen overnight, rather it is a long process.

      Step back and take a look at the big picture, and, put all your cards on the table to get perspective. Sometimes we approach situations in life from the wrong point-of-view.

      9. Be Optimistic

      This is probably one you have heard time and time again.

      When we suggest to have a positive attitude it does not mean to fake it until you make it, nor to conceal your feelings. This is not the case in this situation. Overall, you want to try to be authentic in how you are feeling, because life will throw curve balls that are beyond our control.

      10. Be Sensitive to Cultural Norms

      Whenever you are around other people within a professional workspace, do not make assumptions in trying to figure people out in an instant.

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      Some cultures discourage physical contact, while others may be inviting. Always be courteous, respectful and ask questions. It will not only make you more aware of others’ needs, but show that you are considerate of the differences.

      You do not want to get off on the wrong foot by being too friendly or too touchy. Just observe how people respond to your approach and let them lead the way of what is a safe practice to meet and greet the first time around.

      11. Show Professionalism

      How you interact and carry yourself around others will be the difference between a job promotion or losing your job. No matter what, always respectful and professional towards others.

      You will have an opportunities in life and at work, so showcase an outpouring of great and positive energy in the face of adversity.

      12. Get Involved with Activities

      When you are part of a company, there are often opportunities for organized activities outside of the office space.

      Sometimes it is worth exploring uncharted terrain and to get to know people in a different environment. Plus, you will have an opportunity to be seeing in a different light.

      Even though you are off the clock, keep your professional tenure and set boundaries. You want to be vulnerable, but not put yourself in a comprising position. Use your intuition and common sense to evaluate these situations.

      13. Get to Know Your Company

      With your smartphone or your laptop, you have at your fingertips a mine of information online. Just as you would do before a job interview, conduct ample research to get familiarized with what your company does and how its branding is perceived via the media or social networks.

      Rather than just focusing on doing your job and fulfilling the duties, see what the business is up to. It is fundamental to really know what organization you belong to. Get educated on what other ventures they are involved with as well as the ones that you are directly in the know about.

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      14. Learn to Problem Solve

      Problem solving is going to be a skill you will acquire with experience and by making mistakes. Furthermore, not only will you make mistakes but you will likely also sometimes fail. This is okay and is part of the natural swing of things!

      Learn to take responsibility for your actions and decisions. At the same time, do not blame others for coming up short. When you come forward with the truth and responsibility, your supervisors or superiors will take notice of your authenticity.

      One of the greatest gifts in life is fail and once you experience you start to get a different perspective on how to move forward at the job.

      15. Do Some Prospecting

      If you have coding, computer, language or other beneficial skills, be sure to pitch these at the right time.

      When you start out new at a company it is best not to show all your cards. It is like poker: don’t let others see if you believe you have the upper hand. Take time to get familiarized with your company and organization before promoting your outside skillset.

      You will know when to put forward your amazing talents, so proceed with caution.

      Conclusion

      Learning to refine your interpersonal skills is a lifelong process. In time, you will also became more effective and skillful after accumulating work-related experiences.

      Exert humility, understanding, compassion, and mindfulness and the rewards will come!

      Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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