As we all bask in the warm weather, it can be easy to slip into thoughts of holidays and time off rather than work, yet this time of year is also a great opportunity for reflection and planning. September to Christmas is the longest continuous slice of business time. With Easter, bank holidays and summer vacations peppering the rest of the year, the Autumn is a great chance to really drive your business forward. But you need to be ready to hit the ground running as soon as the school holidays are over. If you aren’t prepared, before you know it it’ll be October and ‘Strictly’ will have started! Don’t get me wrong, time off is great, but if you are anything like me, it doesn’t take long to start to get bored. Use your free time to think about aspects of your business that maybe get overlooked in the hurley-burley of day-to-day work – the fundamentals. Think of the fundamentals of your business. Analyse where you are up to with a tried and tested S.W.O.T. Analysis
What’s a SWOT?
The SWOT analysis has been around for over 50 years. Its origins are lost in the mists of time – even Wikipedia isn’t sure! – but there is no doubt that it is a great way to take an objective look at your business to help identify the good, the bad – and the ugly! SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats The analysis is a holistic approach to look at both internal and external factors in your business. The Strengths and Weaknesses primarily focus on the internals while the Opportunities and Threats look out into your markets and competition A SWOT analysis can be used in many different ways depending on your objectives. Here are some examples:
- Explore new solutions to a problem
- Identify barriers to prevent achieving objectives
- Decide on the best direction to take
- As a structured brainstorming session
How to SWOT
Doing a SWOT analysis is simple. You just write the 4 headings on a piece of paper and then, under each, make relevant notes. If you are doing an overall business review then simply work through what you think and feel about your business, good and bad! If you prefer a more visual approach, something like framework this may work for you: The important thing is, to be honest with yourself. Ideally, work through the SWOT analysis with someone else to help keep things objective.
Don’t Forget to Do Something!
Analysis and planning are important and can be very useful – but only if you do something with them. Doing a SWOT analysis is only half the job. Once you have written down and organised your thoughts and ideas you need to take the next step. Make some decisions about where you are going and formulate an action plan to get there. When you run your own business, the lines between work and leisure certainly get blurred. This said, working on your business on your own terms, without the phone ringing every 5 minutes can be enjoyable and a great way to clarify your thoughts. Taking some time out across this summer to work on your business with a SWOT analysis gives you chance to create a solid platform for planned development activity through the Autumn and on towards December when you will undoubtedly find yourself being dragged to working in your business more than you might prefer. If you’d like some help with a SWOT analysis for your business, give me a call