One of the first steps to analyzing your organization is to conduct a SWOT Analysis. This is frequently done in a brand new business to secure financing and investors. A SWOT Analysis can also be conducted in an existing business, often times used as a basis for a business plan update to create a foundation for setting strategic goals. A SWOT Analysis can also be used for internal purposes in existing businesses to create awareness when training managers, strategizing a new product or service, or aiming for a culture shift.
The basic components of a SWOT analysis are Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Strengths and weaknesses are typically internal, whereas opportunities and threats exist outside the management of the organization. For example, a business might consider its net worth a financial strength, but views its low employee morale as a weakness. A new target market or demographic that has been made available to the organization could be an opportunity, while current legislative changes may pose a threat. In our Business Development Workbook we have several pages dedicated to identifying areas for each of these components that make it easy for a business owner to begin the analysis stage of the consulting engagement.