SWOT Analysis: Finally Find Clarity, Direction, and Focus

For a lot of business owners, clarity feels like an impossible ideal.

You know the routine. A few informative podcast episodes convince you increasing your marketing budget is crucial at this phase. But then a competitor adds a second truck, and you wonder if you should also invest in a second truck so you don’t get left behind. A colleague suggests that you should focus on cold calling, anyway — that’s how you get the high-value clients. But as an article you came across on LinkedIn tells you, an investment in updated office technology will help you scale your business in the long-run.

Pretty soon, you have no idea what your next move should be. You don’t know which investment will serve your company best.

Believe it or not, there is a tool that can help make the right decisions clearer: the SWOT analysis.

If you’re not familiar with a SWOT analysis, this is a straight-forward document that provides a snapshot of the four most important considerations when making any decision for your business.

  1. Strengths
  2. Weaknesses
  3. Opportunities
  4. Threats

A SWOT analysis reveals priorities, steers you away from “opportunities” that aren’t right for you, and guides you towards opportunities that offer the best chance of success. Best of all, it’s not that hard to put your own SWOT analysis together.

Let’s take a closer look.

Strengths

What are your company’s superpowers? This includes everything from unique talent and values to tangible assets like intellectual property and capital.

When you identify your strengths, you should be especially mindful of those advantages that separate you from your competitors. What do you do better than them? What can you offer customers that the Other Guy cannot?

Knowing your strengths is central to decision-making because your best strategy will always be the one that leans into your superpower. Your strengths inform your marketing decisions, your sales approach, your customer service policy, and your team development. And with this insight on-hand, you’re better prepared to jump on an opportunity that gives you a chance to shine.

Weaknesses

What’s the flip side? In what ways does your company struggle to keep up with the competition? What resources are you lacking? What talent gaps do you have yet to fill?

In most cases, weaknesses do not demand your immediate attention, but you do want to be aware of them. If no one on your team is particularly strong in managing day-to-day operations, you might make that a priority when you’re ready to hire a new team member. Or you might invest in training for an existing employee.

Weaknesses also guide strategy decisions. If you don’t have a huge budget for advertising, you may need to prioritize cold calling and in-person sales calls. If your competitor has been operating in the area longer, you may want to avoid focusing on your years of experience in your marketing.

Opportunities

Where is there an opening to improve your product, innovate within your industry, or boost your visibility? Maybe your company has recently been covered in the news for hosting a charity event. Or maybe there is an underserved market you can reach.

We’ve seen the importance of recognizing opportunities in the last year. The pandemic turned everyone’s life upside down, and the businesses that survived were the ones who adapted to serve new needs.

Realizing that gyms would be closing, many subscription-based fitness apps offered discounts framed with compassionate messaging. Clothing companies got to work manufacturing stylish face masks. 911 Restoration established disinfection services and did a major marketing push to make sure our clients knew we were here to give them peace of mind at a difficult time.

What opportunities exist for your business? Once you know, you need to act… especially when that opportunity intersects with your unique strengths and aligns with your business plan.

Threats

A threat is anything that has the potential to hurt your brand and business. This could include new competitors, negative press, bad reviews, changing industry regulations, and impending lawsuit, etc.

Much like an opportunity, a threat demands your immediate attention. You need to create a plan to handle the problem before the problem becomes more than you can handle.

How to Create a SWOT Analysis

In short, a SWOT analysis guides you to:

  • Double down on your strengths.
  • Stay aware of your weaknesses.
  • Seize opportunities.
  • Act on threats.

This analysis puts your assets and challenges in one crystal-clear snapshot. That snapshot is extremely helpful when you’re trying to choose the best course of action or communicating with your team.

So then how do you create a SWOT analysis?

I’ve made it really easy for you. My team and I have created a FREE SWOT analysis tool at Get Out of the Truck. There are a series of questions to fill out for each category. All you do is enter your answers, then click “download” or “print.” The tool generates a SWOT analysis you can keep on file.

Then what?

Reference your SWOT analysis often. Revise it as circumstances evolve. And if you haven’t already, complete a business plan. These two resources should work together to guide you from where you are now to where you want to be. (If you don’t have a business plan, we have a free tool for that, too.)

Clarity does not have to be a far-flung fantasy. You can move forward with confidence and intention. You just need to sit down and take the time to get to know your business better.

Cheers,

Idan Shpizear

911Restorationfranchise.com & GetOutOfTheTruck.life

Idan Shpizear is the founder and CEO of 911 Restoration, a disaster restoration franchise ranked among the top franchises in the United States by Entrepreneur