Does your company have a SWOT Team? I am not referring to a group of guys toting rifles to shoot down the guy that has robbed the bank and taken hostages. I am talking about a group of leaders that are focused on understanding the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) of your business. As this economy becomes more and more global and challenging we have to at least annually do an internal report card on how our companies measure up.
How do contractors get started in doing a SWOT analysis? They take some time away from the day-to-day grind, go ask themselves the following questions, and then discuss and debate the answers.
Strengths: What advantages does your company have in the marketplace? What does your company do better than anyone else? What unique or low-cost resources does your company have access to? What do others see as your company’s strengths?
Weaknesses: What could your company improve on? Where does your company have fewer resources than your competition? (People, capital, etc.) What should your company avoid? What are others likely to see as your company’s weaknesses?
Threats: What obstacles does your company face? What is your company’s competition doing? Are the required specifications for your job, products or services changing? Is changing technology threatening your company’s position in the marketplace? Could any of your company’s weaknesses seriously threaten your business?
Opportunities: What good opportunities are open to your company? What trends could you take advantage of? (i.e. Changes in age of population, lifestyle, etc.) Looking at your company’s strengths, how can you turn these into opportunities?
A SWOT analysis helps an organization define what makes them unique while outlining the organization’s strategic advantages so that they can leverage these in the marketplace. Pretty simple, right? Wrong! These are hard questions that need a hard look with objective viewpoints being discussed and debated. The stripes need to come off during these discussions and by that I mean that the head of the organization needs to make sure that his team opens up and really tells it like it is. This discussion needs to be free of rank and penalty relative to opinions. Once you agree it is important to understand the SWOT for your organization, you should also agree that you should do this exercise for your major competitor. If your business is in a market that is growing then everyone can ride the positive curve. But if your market isn’t growing then the only way to grow is to take market share from someone else. In order to do that you need to focus your strengths on your competitor’s weaknesses.
As you contemplate whether your company has the time, energy and manpower to spend on this endeavor let me ask you a question: How will you feel if you learn your major competitor is doing their SWOT right now? By the way, what if they will be wrapping up their strategic planning by doing a SWOT on your company?
Roger Bostdorff, president of B2B Sales Boost, a consulting company helping organizations improve their sales and overall business processes. He will be presenting two sessions at National Pavement Expo, Feb. 15-18 in Memphis. For more information visit www.nationalpavementexpo.com. Visit www.b2bsalesboost.com or call 419-351-4347 for more information. To receive the B2B Sales Boost Newsletter send an email to email@example.com.