Here are some general questions in each SWOT category to prompt analysis of your business.
What are your own advantages, in terms of people, physical resources, finances?
What activities or processes have met with success?
What do you do well?
What are your unique skills?
What expert or specialized knowledge do you have?
What experience do you have?
What do you do better than your competitors?
Where are you most profitable in your business?
What resources do you lack?
What could be improved in your organization in terms of staffing, physical resources, funding?
What activities and processes lack effectiveness or are poorly done?
What parts of your business are not very profitable?
Where do you need further education and/or experience?
What costs you time and/or money?
What possibilities exist to support or help your effort – in the environment, the people you serve, or the people who conduct your work?
Is a new funding source available?
Is a social change or demographic pattern favorable to your goal?
Have changes in policies made something easier?
Do changes in technology hold new promise?
What are the business goals you are currently working towards?
How can you do more for your existing customers or clients?
How can you use technology to enhance your business?
Are there new target audiences you have the potential to reach?
Are there related products and services that provide an opportunity for your business?
Potential business opportunities in the place
What obstacles do you face that hinder the effort – in the environment, the people you serve, or the people who conduct your work?
What local, national, or international trends favour interest in other or competing programmes?
Is the financial situation of a funder changing?
Is a social change or demographic pattern harmful to your goal?
Have changes in policies made something more difficult?
Is changing technology threatening your effectiveness?
What obstacles do you face?
What are your competitors doing that you’re not?
What’s going on in the industry?
Whether there is any new regulations in the offing that may threaten the continuity?
Using Data Compiled in a SWOT Analysis
One of the most important parts of your SWOT analysis is using the data you compiled to identify new strategies and goals for your business. For example, you can:
Create a plan to build up your strengths even more
List ways you can work on building up your weaknesses
Set SMART goals for each of the opportunities you identified
Devise a plan to use your strengths to decrease the threats you identified
Then, look for ways to combine data from different quadrants in even more ways:
- Explore how you can combine your strengths and opportunities to develop new strategies
- Try combining strengths and threats to identify threats you can eliminate
- Look at your weaknesses and opportunities to create a list of areas ready for improvement
- Make a list of areas to avoid that fall under weaknesses and threats
Once you understand how to compile your SWOT data and find ways to use it strategically, the SWOT analysis will be a tool that you can use over and over in your business to explore new opportunities and improve your decision-making process.