Leveraging SWOT Analysis to Gain the Ultimate Competitive Advantage
The key to crafting a workable strategy that distinguishes you from your competitors and allows you to thrive in your market is being aware of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
The simplest way to achieve this is through SWOT analysis.
What is SWOT Analysis?
SWOT analysis is a method of assessing four key aspects of your business – your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
It can be applied to your organisation, a department-specific project, or a small team.
Conducting a SWOT analysis is a powerful way of evaluating your company, project or team as a whole, as well as analysing the four specific parts in detail.
How to Conduct a SWOT Analysis
As previously mentioned, SWOT analysis consists of four aspects.
Each of these aspects prompts you to ask yourself a series of questions:
What do you as an organisation/team do best?
What are your USPs?
What could your organisation/team improve on?
What are the main causes of stress within your team?
What future projects are you currently planning?
What trends/recent events could you leverage?
What risks are you currently taking?
What are your competitors doing that you’re not?
Why is SWOT Analysis So Important?
Each part of SWOT analysis is an integral aspect of understanding your business and market.
The four separate aspects of SWOT analysis give you detailed, specific insights into your business.
Understanding your strengths highlights what’s working for your organisation/team, and therefore what you should continue doing.
Understanding your weaknesses provides you with clear action steps and helps prevent unexpected from issues arising in the future.
Understanding what opportunities are available allows you to continue growing, developing and improving your organisation, project or team.
Understanding your threats enables you to pick up on and eliminate threats you may have otherwise been unaware of and unprepared for.
How to Best Utilise the Information SWOT Analysis Presents
Once you have completed a SWOT analysis, you will likely have a long list of possible action points written down in front of you.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed and be unsure about what to do first, so here is a simple 3-step method to organising your thoughts and findings.
- Firstly, refine each point you have written down; include exactly what you want to do, why you want to do it, and how you want to do it.
- Then, set deadlines for each action point and mention who is responsible for each task; make sure the deadlines are realistic and achievable.
- Finally, put the points in priority order and write down how long you predict each action point will take; this could be hours, days, weeks, months, or even years.
You will now find yourself with a detailed, organised strategy that you can start putting into action.
By using tools to increase your awareness of your organisation and team’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, you will not only start to gain a competitive advantage, but you and your team will have a new-found purpose, aim and drive.