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María Abraín
2022-09-15

We are positive you all have heard of it before throughout your career, have you not? Maybe in high-school, college… The SWOT analysis is one of the strongest tools for decision making and strategy design. But even though it is quite popular, do you know what SWOT is and how to proper conduct it in your company? You never imagined how useful it may be. Keep reading!

What is a SWOT analysis?

The SWOT analysis is a business management tool that studies the current situation of a company. Think of it as taking a picture or a screenshot, one that will help you designing future strategies, making decisions based on accurate data…

What does it mean, anyways? What angles of my company will be photographed? Well… all of them, actually! This framework puts into the light your business’ Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats both inside and outside your office walls. Briefly, everything that may affect your business activity will be included in its template.

Something you have to keep in mind while drawing this SWOT analysis is that it has to be as close to reality as possible: now it’s not the time to project success, but to sit down and open our eyes to our weaknesses and that we are not doing right (it might be hard, but it is what it is):

Strengths

Time to be full of ourselves, oh yeah! We do things right (even better than our competitors ;)), we have the best team possible and high-quality resources, so it is important to acknowledge that in the first place.

Weaknesses

This round of the study gathers together your internal limitations, those natural characteristics you cannot escape from that could slow you down.

Opportunities

These are essential to spot during the whole year, not only now! Knowing how to identify external factors or new needs that could boost your business is vital, and also a variable studied in the SWOT analysis.

Threats

As it seems, this part of the analysis looks over those external factors that may threaten your strategy proper run, your future plans… we are speaking about inevitable circumstances that may put your project life at risk.

How to do a SWOT analysis?

The SWOT analysis is a very optical and simple scheme that will allow you to easily understand your company’s situation at a glance.

Once our skeleton is ready to go, the investigation begins:

External analysis

Your company’s environment, competitors and market are to be studied now by looking at opportunities and threats. But do not focus only on your specific business model! The social political moment, technology, climate and many other factors can also become opportunities and threats for your activity, even though they may seem to have nothing to do with it.

Remember:

  • Market moment
  • Competitors and sector
  • Environment

We would recommend you to also examine your buyer persona’s social circumstances and behaviour: what concerns them? What is their situation? Have their priorities changed?

Internal analysis

As its name states, the internal analysis assembles inner characteristics of you company and their potential to become strengths or weaknesses for your business during a given time.

The organizational structure of your company, the foundation of your corporate culture or the on-site or hybrid working model you established among your team… literally every single thing can develop into a strengthening or weakening aspect depending on what your company is going through. That’s why you must listen to your business very carefully.

These are some key points you should always include:

  • Production
  • HR
  • Financial situation
  • Organizational type
  • Distribution
  • Marketing and brand relevance

 How to correctly read the SWOT of your company?

It might be tough, we know, but you will have to remain impartial when analysing the result your SWOT gave you, never minimising weaknesses, ignoring threats, praising strengths or jumping blindly into opportunities without thinking it all through first.

Also, if you had the chance, it would be great to compare your SWOT with one of your competitor’s. The insights are priceless.

Once all the information is clear al complete, there are four strategy paths to go for, depending on which variable stands out the most. Each one of them combines one internal aspect with one external factor to minimise risks or boost potential. Here you have a tutorial on how to elaborate a strategic plan for a company.

Pairing strategy

Where should we put our efforts to boost our strengths towards an opportunity that just presented to us? Do we have exactly what the public needs right now?

Transformation strategy

Is there a way for us to turn our weaknesses into strong points? Will we be able to extract growth opportunities out of those weaknesses?

Neutralization strategy

Are our strengths able to shield us against outside threats? How well can we face a complex situation? To which aspects of our company should we hold on tight?

Defence strategy

We have been attacked on our most problematic spot, because there are threats out there we cannot escape from… what weaknesses should we take care of most thoroughly to protect the project?

Extra key features to consider

After 40 years walking side by side with companies in their adventure in Spain (because in Lexington we are so much more than their workspaces), we have collected a few tips for you to apply while studying your SWOT:

  • Everything has its place: sure, the analysis itself is easy to deal with, but we may lose our way in its simplicity and put something in the wrong box.
  • Be realistic and honest, it’s the only way to come up with efficient strategies.
  • Rely on the CAME analysis afterwards as much as possible: correct weaknesses using your market’s opportunities, adapt to possible threats minimising weaknesses, maintain strengths by facing possible outside dangers, and exploit opportunities with your strengths. Turning your company’s strategy upside down and make negative aspects work in your favour was never easier.
  • Business is based on trial and error. Analyse, make suggestions, turn your new strategy on, evaluate it and correct what needs to be improved.
  • Don’t forget SWOT is not an alive document, but a picture taken in a very specific moment, so you will want to update it from time to time to continue basing your decisions on accurate data.

SWOT examples

Need more inspo? We know the blank page is usually very frightening, terrifying if one of our tasks is basically rant our company and what we are doing wrong. Because of this, we wanted to do some brainstorming with you so you can have concrete examples of those Strengths, Opportunities, Weaknesses and Threats we talked about. This list will help you for sure!

Strengths

Maybe we have based these on our own experience, maybe not… 😉

  • Strong know-how and great experience on the market
  • Personalized attention
  • Premium services
  • Strategic location
  • Competitive pricing
  • High-quality
  • The latest technology
  • Great references and recommendations
  • Diversity
  • Potent client portfolio
  • Brand awareness

Weaknesses

  • Obsolete office space (stop! We have the perfect solution for this: rent your new office in Madrid or Barcelona and turn it into a new strength of yours)
  • Tight budget
  • High costs
  • Inefficient resource management
  • Poor marketing strategy
  • Customer complaints

Opportunities

  • New compatible market niches
  • Market opening
  • Legal flexibility
  • Financial flexibility
  • Cost reduction
  • New necessities we can cover
  • New partnerships

Threats

  • Financial instability
  • Strong competitors
  • A decrease in the demand
  • Economic crisis
  • Competitors’ lower prices
  • Political instability
  • Climate change
  • Limitations on production
  • Market saturation
  • Legal changes
  • New formulas emerging that make us obsolete

Now, you cannot tell us your SWOT won’t be a piece of cake, can you?

 

“The fragility of crystal is not a weakness but a fineness”

― Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

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