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The recent post SWOT Analysis: A Powerful and Underutilized Tool was very popular and generated some terrific comments. This post is a follow-up with a list of questions to ask during your SWOT Analysis.
SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. The goal is to examine internal (Strengths & Weaknesses) and external (Opportunities and Threats) elements of a business. If there are multiple product lines or lines of business the SWOT Analysis can be defined more or less narrowly as necessary.
1) What are your assets?
2) Which asset is strongest?
3) What differentiates you from your competitors?
4) Do you have immensely talented people on your staff?
5) Is your business debt free or have a better debt structure than your competitors?
6) Do you have a broad customer base?
7) What unique resources do you have?
8 Do you have a sustainable competitive advantage?
9) Do you have specific sales or marketing expertise?
1) What areas do you need to improve on?
2) What necessary expertise/manpower do you currently lack?
3) In what areas do your competitors have an edge?
4) Are you relying on one customer too much?
5) Do you have adequate cash flow to sustain you?
6) Do you have adequate profit levels?
7) Do you have a well of new ideas?
8 Are you over leveraged (too much debt)?
1) What external changes present interesting opportunities?
2) What trends might impact your industry?
3) Is there talent located elsewhere that you might be able to acquire?
4) Is a competitor failing to adequately service the market?
5) Is there an unmet need/want that you can fulfill?
6) Are there trends emerging that you can profitably service?
7) If you package your product differently, can you extract a higher premium for it?
8 Can you take advantage of the historically low interest rates to refinance your debt?
1) Is there a better equipped (funding, talent, mobility, etc) competitor in your market?
2) Is there an entity who may not be a competitor today which could possibly become one tomorrow?
3) Are your key staff satisfied in their work? Could they be poached by a competitor?
4) Is your intellectual property properly secured (trademarks, copyrights, firewalls, data security plans, etc) against theft & loss (both from internal & external sources)?
5) Do you have to rely on third parties for critical steps in your development process that could possibly derail your delivery schedule?
7) What if your supplier runs out of product and you experience an extended stockout or shortage?
8 What if there is a natural disaster?
9) What if your customers go bankrupt?
10) What if your website is hacked?
11) What if you are sued?
Ask the tough questions during a SWOT Analysis to best understand the nature of the environment your business or product line faces. Then, take action on your findings.
Those are the ideas. What do you have to add? Please comment below.
1. What other questions would you add to the list?
2. Do you find SWOT Analysis to work best with a set of questions or with a free flowing conversation?
3. Will you change your approach now that you have seen a list of questions to use during your next SWOT?