One of the most common methods of assessing the strengths and weaknesses of your business is to conduct a SWOT analysis, where SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
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Essentially, this defines your company’s competitive advantage. Some questions to answer include:
- What does your business do well?
- What resources do you have access to (human, financial, intellectual property)?
- What are you known for in the market?
- What is it about your business that your competitors cannot match?
This looks at the areas where you and your business need to improve. Some questions to answer include:
- What doesn’t your company do well?
- What don’t customers like about your products or service?
- Where are the pressure points in your business?
- What do competitors do better than you?
This sets out the areas where you could grow your business in the future. Some questions to answer include:
- What are the trends in your industry that could create opportunities (technology, demographic or social changes, regulation)?
- What new products do your customers need?
- What products would complement your current offering?
- What geographic areas could you target?
These are external and internal factors that could create problems for your business. Some questions to answer include:
- Do you lack the resources to grow your business?
- Are your competitors threatening your business in any way?
- Are industry trends such as changing technology or regulations a threat to your business?
- Are you vulnerable to an economic downturn or other economic changes?