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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 January 21, 2020

      How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

      How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

      We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

      So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

      While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

      Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

      What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

      How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

      But what does being productive actually entail?

      Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

      Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

      It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

      Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

      9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

      1. Avoid Multitasking

      Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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      Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

      If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

      2. Turn off Notifications

      According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

      Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

      The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

      Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

      3. Manage Interruptions

      There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

      Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

      If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

      By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

      4. Eat the Frog

      Mark Twain once famously said that:

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      “if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

      What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

      We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

      Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

      5. Cut Down on Meetings

      Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

      You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

      The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

      But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

      If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

      6. Utilize Tools

      Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

      If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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      And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

      Some examples of tools that could be used:

      Communication
      • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
      • Samepage for video conference software.
      • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
      Task Management
      • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
      • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
      • Wekan for an open source option.
      Database Management
      Time Tracking
      • Clockify for a free tracker.
      • TMetric for workspace integrations.
      • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

      You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

      7. Declutter and Organize

      Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

      Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

      Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

      Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

      8. Take Breaks

      Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

      As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

      Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

      Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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      9. Drink Water

      Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

      Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

      Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

      A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

      If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

      You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

      The Bottom Line

      The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

      After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

      In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

      A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

      Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

      More About Boosting Productivity

      Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

      Reference

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