A SWOT Analysis is a great tool to use to get a snapshot of you and your business so that you can discover where they both currently stand.

The acronym is as follows:

S – Strengths

W – Weaknesses

O – Opportunities

T – Threats (or your competition)

Discover how you can use this as a quick way to keep tapped into the pulse of your business on a monthly or quarterly basis. Armed with the information you glean from doing the analysis, you can then make the necessary adjustments and course corrections to keep you on target.

Here are some of the ways you can use this insightful tool to your advantage:

Get a quick check in of the level where everyone is at in your company and then have team members with strengths in one area that you want to focus on for the month tag team with those who are not yet operating at that level or skillset so as to improve the strength of the entire team.

By being cognizant of your strengths on a regular basis you can focus your attention on other areas that need building up and/or choose to boost your strengths even more if that will bring greater benefits and opportunities to your company overall and/or over time.

You get a comparative view of both yourself and your team members where you can zoom in on where you currently are as opposed to where you think you are. You are able to discover potential causes for the discrepancies on either side of the outcome you want to achieve.

When you examine the weaknesses, ascertain to what degree they are going to impact you and your company both short term and long term. Some weaknesses may have little or no impact so are inconsequential to your outcome. Others may be very detrimental and compound over both time and volume of replications so these types of weaknesses need to rectified as soon as possible to relieve the losses you could incur both in numbers of your clients/customers and to your bottom line.

Always keep an eye on the cumulative effect of weaknesses as they can act like a snowball. At first they appear to be small and insignificant but with time and momentum, they roll downhill and can adversely affect other areas within your business, which can lead to a serious derailment of your company if not caught early on.

Opportunities are something that you should be laying the foundation for constantly so that when they do come along you are not only prepared, you have created a good infrastructure for the relationships and communication necessary to build strong connections and good long term results. This tool allows you to get your finger on the pulse of what you and your team are doing to connect with prospects, turning them into leads now and/or in the future, networking with them and all their contacts to build up your network of contacts. You never know who can be a fantastic contact for you, either because they have a huge database of clients, they have connections to people/businesses you want to connect with, they have access to resources you need etc.

Creating goodwill and connections, supporting business associates, expanding your reach within your marketplace and areas outside your marketplace that are complementary are vital for keeping your business growing and thriving.

Being aware of threats is another area where you can gain valuable insights on what’s going on in the marketplace surrounding your business or other markets that can potentially impact it, what’s going on with companies that you directly interact with as well as what’s going on within your company itself.

A threat can be something such as complacency, apathy or fatigue, poor communication or management skills that may be prevalent with some of your employees, vendors who don’t deliver what has been agreed upon in their contract, product spoilage, marketing not meeting expectations, deadlines not being met, valuable client assets choosing to go with another company other than yours, products & services in your marketplace that surpass or supersede what you offer, not having enough funds etc. By being aware of what your threats are you can be prepared and create a strategy to offset the impact where applicable.