Re-Think Your SWOT Analysis –OR–SWOT Your SWOT Analysis

Re-Think Your SWOT Analysis

–OR–SWOT Your SWOT Analysis

Re-thinking the WHOs, WHENs and HOWs of doing a successful SWOT Analysis

Part of any successful analysis is to clear away any bias or pre-conceived notions you may have.  The same is true when performing a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis. Here are answers to three questions I frequently get asked:

When should a SWOT Analysis be done? It should be done periodically.  I say “periodically” because I don’t think it should be a routine exercise, one done at the beginning of every year like setting resolutions.  Nor should it necessarily be part of the budget process.  Because a SWOT analysis is an invaluable tool to focus your priorities and strategies, you need to have one for the entire business and when taking on new initiatives. A SWOT may be about only one focus – relocation, new product line, succession planning.  A SWOT can be done at any time and for many different reasons. But at a minimum, be sure to have a SWOT done on the entire business.

How should a SWOT be done? The SWOT process is basically a brainstorming session.  It should be announced beforehand what is happening and participants should be gathering data and thinking about their contributions and where they should be included – a strength, a weakness, an opportunity or a threat.  There are many ways to conduct a brainstorming session and I’ll be covering that in a later blog post.

The brainstorming session must be approached without a pre-determined end result.  If you think you know the answers, then you will probably go through the exercise and guess what– your pre-determined answers are correct.    If that’s your approach, go straight to “Weakness”, you have your first one.

Who should participate in a SWOT analysis?  A SWOT should start with a brainstorming session among a select group of people who represent the different disciplines of the organization.  Typically a group should consist of at least one person from:

  1. executive management,
  2. finance,
  3. marketing,
  4. operations and
  5. HR.

If you are a smaller company and don’t have people in those positions, you may rely on external sources to help give you a more diverse view of your SWOT.   Consider including the following:

  1. The person providing CFO services (ME!),
  2. CPA, banker,
  3. Ad agency, marketing support,
  4. insurance broker (particularly workers compensation coverage) and
  5. Attorney.

Don’t think they know enough about your company to participate?  Then you have a large Opportunity.  How can they properly advise you and your business if they don’t know enough about your business to help with a SWOT? So you have the opportunity to teach them about your company and get more value for your money!

Did you like this post?  Here is recommended reading on this topic:

Compelling reasons to take a second look at this important business planning tool

Stimulate thinking and participation in your SWOT Analysis discussion

6 follow-up strategies to keep the dust of your SWOT Analysis and get actionable results


Need help with your SWOT and financial analysis?

Do your financials continue to elude you in spite of how much you pay for them?

I am fluent in ‘financialspeak’ and can translate your monthly numbers into strategies for future success.  Contact me – I take companies to a higher level of success.  Email :  Phone: 909-732-4917


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