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How to have a positive SWOT analysis this year

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Performing a SWOT analysis of your business is an important step to growing and improving operations. The problem with the SWOT analysis is that many businesses view it as a negative process, where you’re picking apart the business for everything it’s doing wrong, and that’s a bad way to look at it.

A SWOT analysis is an incredibly useful tool, but like any tool, its effectiveness depends largely on how you use it. If you’re going into the analysis with a negative attitude, it’s probably not going to be a very positive session. Here’s how to have a more positive SWOT analysis this year.

Focus on your strengths

Many businesses seem to skim over this portion of the SWOT analysis, but in reality, this is probably the most important part of the entire analysis. Knowing where your business excels not only gives you a confidence boost in what you’re doing, but it also helps you see what things you don’t need to change or improve.

In most examples of a SWOT analysis, the strengths section doesn’t get filled up or discussed enough. If you want to have a more positive experience, encourage your participants to focus on the business’s strengths. What do you do well as an organization? What are you known for? What do your customers love about your brand?

You can also focus on your team’s strengths for the SWOT analysis for an extra boost to morale. Does the team perform well under pressure? Did they nail the last sales pitch? Are they always consistent in their work? Remember that a SWOT analysis can be performed on individual parts of the business as well.

Change how you view weaknesses

Overall, we seem to have an inherently negative relationship with our weaknesses and shortcomings. We often view them as things to be ashamed of, shunned, or hidden, but the fact is, your personal and business shortcomings are crucial to growth. A business that doesn’t consider its weaknesses carefully could fall victim to them in the future, to the detriment of everyone involved.

A good way to start with analyzing weaknesses is to change the way you view them. Don’t think of weaknesses as things that are dragging you down or holding you back. Instead, view them as opportunities for growth. How does this shortcoming effect the business, and what will happen when it’s improved? What does the timeline for improvement look like, and how will you and your team continue to work on it?

Changing how you view weaknesses can help in your personal life as well. Weaknesses aren’t something to be ashamed of, and everyone has them. No one and no business is 100% flawless. Flaws are what make us human!

Take advantage of opportunities

It’s one thing to identify an opportunity in your SWOT analysis, but if you don’t plan to take advantage of it, it’s just information. Many businesses perform a SWOT analysis and then don’t act on it. What’s the point of that?

Opportunities come in all shapes and sizes, and often when we least expect them. It’s better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to be unprepared for an opportunity that arises.

Be honest with yourself

You should always be honest when you’re performing a SWOT analysis, but it’s also important to know the difference between honesty and brutality. You don’t need to tear yourself, the business, or the team apart, but being honest is the only way to effectively make change.

We tend to be hard on ourselves when we’re identifying things like weaknesses. If you find yourself doing this in your SWOT analysis, read over the Change How You View Weaknesses section again.

View threats as opportunities

The final step to a positive SWOT analysis involves another perspective shift. Threats to the business aren’t exactly positive, but rather than viewing them as an imminent danger, look at them as opportunities. So your competitor is about to release a product that might cause your business to lose money. What can you do about it? This is an opportunity to improve your own products, customer service, and business as a whole.

Maybe your business is experiencing a drop in profits, to the point where it’s going to affect how the business is run. This is an opportunity to become more financially-conscious and restructure your business’s finances for greater success in the future.

The power of swot

The SWOT analysis is a simple and effective way to gain a better understanding of how your business or your competition operates. With this knowledge, you can make positive changes and push your business into the future with confidence. These tips will help you make the most of your analysis, and most of all, keep it positive so you’re not bringing the team down or casting a negative light on the business itself.

About Andrea Toulsen

andreat@thebusinesswomanmedia.com'

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