SWOT Analysis Part 3of5

SWOT Analysis Part 3of5
February 1, 2019 Tim Walterbach

The SWOT Analysis is an excellent tool to help any business to excel. This is Part 3of5 by Tim Walterbach #000260

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SWOT Analysis (3 of 5)

by Tim Walterbach

We are continuing our series about SWOT Analysis.  If you remember, that’s an acronym identifying four important areas – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats — that give you guidelines to analyze yourself and what you bring to your business.

Especially as an entrepreneur in business, you can sometimes feel alone.  We want to project an image of strength and excellence in leadership.  But sometimes being a bit vulnerable can be helpful, too. SWOT can be used privately, or it can be a healthy process when we talk through it with friends, colleagues, maybe even competitors, giving them the opportunity to speak into our lives.

The SWOT analysis process helps force you out from hiding behind things.  It helps you seek and understand other people’s perceptions and provide you with help in areas where you’re not so strong.

Let’s review strengths:  those are things that separate our company from competitors, things we do well.  Within you, strengths are internal resources that you have – tangible assets that make us who we are.  Strengths are the fun part to share and to talk about.

Are you ready to think and talk about weaknesses?  It’s often the most difficult part of the analysis process.  But it can also be the most profitable.  If we can clearly identify those areas that need improvement, that will have a direct effect on the bottom line.  If we aren’t open to clear scrutiny of the areas where we’re lacking in personal growth or business growth, it’s going to affect our market share.

You might want to save some of the more personal issues for another setting, but when you’re among your peers in business, there are some healthy ways to share weaknesses that might help everyone to gain.  This should be an invitation for others to share their experiences.  Once you share your weaknesses, other people will be more open to share their weaknesses.  We learn from each other’s experiences.  It helps us to make sense of the negative things that have happened in our lives.  It provides a release and helps us feel good to know that somebody could benefit from the things we failed at.  Don’t hesitate to share the areas where you lack.

I’ve been a home builder since 1994, along with some ministry work, but I’ve never been strong at bookkeeping, or had a clear understanding of some of the details of running a business.  Just acknowledging that caused me to seek out people who are strong in those areas.  I’ve always had administrative assistants.  Your customers, along with the Internal Revenue Service (or the government tax agency for your nation), expect your business records to be kept in an organized, manageable way so information can be retrieved and to be sure you are following all the laws.  I’m more of a “big picture” guy.  But I want to be strong in that area of my weakness.  Acknowledging that has allowed me to build an organization around me that plans for my weaknesses.

Next, we need to know where our competitors are doing better than we are.  Sometimes that’s difficult.  As a home builder, I walk through other builders’ homes.  Sometimes it hurts when I see that they are doing a better job than I am.  But if I am not open to seeing where they excel, then my competitors—not my company–are always going to get that market share.

I have a friend who’s an architect.  He says if you don’t have good taste, buy it.  For him, that means hiring people with good taste.  It’s a common mistake in my industry to think that most people have good taste. That seems reasonable on the surface, since people have strong opinions about houses. After all, they have lived in houses all their lives.  But that doesn’t mean everyone actually has good taste.  So I acknowledged a weakness in that area and sought out some of the best interior designers, kitchen planners, and architects.  Sure, they worked on a house I built, but the house is still my creation.  I had to pull it all together and “get the horses going in the same direction,” so to speak.  That was my strength – organizing those very talented people.  If I hadn’t looked at my competitors to see what they were doing better, and made an honest assessment of my weaknesses, then I might not have been open to change.

Next in this series, we will talk about the third part of the SWOT analysis – opportunities.  Thank you.


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