How To Bring Substance to Your Business Planning

Give SWOT A Try

One of my favorite quotes dealing with planning is an African proverb, “for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” Is your business planning for tomorrow? If you’re not sure, try a SWOT.

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It’s an analysis to prepare your small to medium business for tomorrow. Free SWOT analysis templates to suit your taste abound on the web, even if you’re partial to colored leaves.

Download one which inspires you. Begin with the internal elements of strengths and weaknesses. For the list of assets, focus on the most profitable part of your business and what makes it so. Is it people or product or an area of expertise?

Run through your business’ weaknesses and be pragmatic. Do you lack resources including technology or is your competitor more nimble?

Move on to the external elements, opportunities, and threats. These are elements which you have no control over but affect your business. Opportunities represent new markets for your product or new technology to boost your business process. Look around, be practical but don’t limit the possibilities.

Consider the threats to your business. Is new regulation headed your way or has a competitor released a marvelous new product?

Examine each quadrant thoughtfully and notice how they interact in both good and bad ways. A threat counteracted by strength or a new opportunity. An opportunity canceled out by a weakness.

SWOT brings substance to planning for the future.
Author: Kris Keppeler, writer for Crossing Genres, and The Must Go List on, and Does This Happen to You? on Channillo. Follow her @KrisKKAria on Twitter.

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