Each month this year, I am going to give you a business to do project.  Obviously, it is up to you to complete the project but I assure you, if you work these items, your business will be healthier by the end of the year or before.

With the beginning of the new year,  everyone focuses on the changes they want to make in their life and in their business.  We feel like the changing of the calendar year signifies newness in all areas of life.  However, many times we make these changes based on feelings rather than facts.

January project: complete a SWOT analysis of your business.

By analyzing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for your business; you can accurately assess what changes need to be made, what’s working for you and what you need to do to plan for the future.

  1. On a sheet of paper, draw one line down the center vertically and one line down the center horizontally.
  2. Label the boxes as follows – top left “strength”, top right “weakness”, bottom left “opportunities”, bottom right “threats”
  3. Consider the following for each section:
    • Strengths: capabilities, competitive advantage, unique selling points, resources (assets, people, etc), experience, finances, marketing, innovation, location/geography, price, value, quality, qualifications
    • Weaknesses: gaps in capabilities, lack of competitive strength, reputation, finances, vulnerabilities, cash flow, ability to meet deadlines, distractions, morale, commitment, leadership, qualifications, processes/systems, succession
    • Opportunities: market development, competitor vulnerability, industry/lifestyle trends, technology development and innovation, global influences, new markets, niche target markets, new unique selling points, business and product development, information and research, partnerships
    • Threats: political, legislative, environment, IT, competitor intentions, market demand, new technology, partnerships, sustaining internal capabilities, obstacles, loss of key staff, financial stability, economy
  4. Assess each of these categories from the following perspectives:
    • Management/Leadership – those in control of influencing change within your organization
    • Employee – what is their perception of the organization?
    • Customer – how does your business compare in their eyes to the competition?
    • Industry – how is your business perceived by those doing the same thing as you?

Organizational change is inevitable, however we must be sure that we are moving a direction that will lead to the success of our company and not just operating off of gut feelings.