- Are there new technologies that the company can use to innovate?
- Are there opportunities to extend work into related areas?
- Are there reasonable acquisition opportunities?
- Can the company move up the value chain?
- Are there opportunities for strategic partnerships?
- Are there money-losing ventures that can be divested to increase profitability?
- Does the company excel in an area needed by larger companies?
Threats in the Marketplace
No organization is immune to threats. Threats come from external factors that your company may have no control over. By answering the questions below your company can avoid or overcome potential threats.
- An inability to provide secure supply.
- Does the company have adequate reserves to withstand a down cycle?
- Is there trade union activity that could have an adverse effect?
- Are out of state competitors eating away market share or driving down prices?
- Does lack of access to capital limit the company's ability to invest?
- Are economic, political, environmental or labor issues affecting your business?
- Are there new technologies emerging that can hurt your business?
Strengths and weaknesses are about you and your company, its nature, history, and what it does and doesn't do well. You can change them over time, but it will take commitment and forward planning. Threats and opportunities are external factors outside of your business. Your strategy should play on your strengths and away from weaknesses to take advantage of opportunities and avoid threats.
As a contractor, you do not need a strategic plan to build jobs, bid work, and make money. On the other hand, how do you build something more than just jobs, make better than average profits, expand your capacity and build your businesses? The answer is you really do need a strategic plan and the first step to building business success is to complete a SWOT analysis.
Linda Hanson, CMC, is a certified management consultant and author of 10 Steps to Marketing Success. She writes, speaks and consults on marketing, management and customer service issues and can be contacted at www.llhenterprises.com. Sign up for her free newsletter The Superior Performance Report.