SWOT: The #1 Planning Strategy Business Owners Need for 2021

SWOT analysis

Has this year got you wondering why your business truly exists?

Are you disillusioned with your business’s purpose and doubting your path?

You aren’t alone and the solution may be as simple as reinvigorating your strategy with a SWOT analysis to determine your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Many business owners around the globe have been shaken to the core this year, so don’t feel rattled if you are finding yourself second-guessing your business strategy. Because you have had to navigate an onslaught of change, you have likely put out of your mind the business fundamentals that drive every strategic decision you make.

You might be thinking about how to bounce back after a year of COVID-19 restrictions, but have you considered where you are in the present moment?

Are you viewing your business strategy in terms of challenges you must overcome or opportunities that you have created?

Is your business plan a cut-and-paste from previous years or are you going to transform the way you operate to adjust to change?

Going back to basics will help you gain clarity and confidence in moving forward.

But most importantly, revisiting your fundamentals will help you create a more organised and productive business.

It all starts with SWOT

Many businesses consider SWOT as something of a sanity check or a stock-standard procedure to make sure there are no red flags so they can continue business as usual.

But we believe a SWOT analysis is the gold standard for business planning.

When conducted thoughtfully and thoroughly, a SWOT analysis gives you the opportunity to assess where your business is at and then define and prioritise realistic and achievable actions that will help you achieve your goals.

A SWOT analysis can:

  • Define your purpose and realign it with your vision
  • Distinguish your business’ strengths in the eyes of your customers and competitors
  • Position your business authentically and powerfully against or away from your competitors
  • Carve your company culture to better reflect your business values
  • Identify realistic and genuine activities and outcomes that you can work towards immediately.

How to get the most out of your SWOT analysis

One of the biggest pitfalls for business owners is neglecting the tough decisions and tricky conversations that come with a SWOT analysis.

A SWOT is not intended to be comfortable and straightforward. It is designed to challenge your perspective, interrogate your approach and evaluate your decisions.

So, make sure you have a team of diverse thinkers who are not afraid to pull things apart. It also helps to break your SWOT analysis down into a staged approach as this will prevent you from getting overwhelmed and losing focus.

At Nenke Consulting, we advise our clients to use the following approach:

  1. Business Purpose – Why does your business exist? What transformations do you need undertake to become the business you dream of? Is your business profitable, meaningful or both? Get to the bottom of your business fundamentals and determine your current state of play. Ensuring you have a solid and collective understanding of your business will guarantee you can stay on track for the next few sessions.

  2. SWOT Session – Thoroughly investigate your business’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. If your ‘Business Purpose Session’ is about creating your central hub of concrete knowledge, your SWOT session is about mapping out all your potential destinations (or places to avoid!)

  3. Strategy and Planning Session – You have determined where your business is at and have plotted all the places you could possibly go to, but how do you get there? Your ‘Strategy and Planning Session’ begins to synthesise your SWOT analysis with your business fundamentals.

  4. Prioritisation – Now’s the time to decide which route you should take first. What strategies can wait? What are urgent and important? What is realistic? If you started your SWOT analysis by agreeing on your fundamentals, you should be concluding by agreeing on a roadmap to take so you can all work towards the same renewed vision.

How do I run a successful SWOT analysis with my team?

A SWOT analysis sounds simple on paper but putting it into practice requires substantial effort. With so many ideas and opinions floating around, you can quickly steer off track or get caught up in the whirlwind of brainstorming.

Consider involving an independent third party to mediate your SWOT analysis. A third party can help you stay focused and bring a fresh perspective to your business without any bias or ‘baggage’ from within the company.

Whichever way you would like to do it, a SWOT process such as the above will help set you up for success in 2021 with a new, refreshed approach to the year!

DOWNLOAD YOUR SWOT and Strategy Program Application Form

It includes everything you need to know about running a successful SWOT analysis along with some information on our SWOT analysis offering.