Most business experts suggest having a business plan. But trying to think of all the different parts of running a business can feel overwhelming.

Some entrepreneurs use the SWOT method for businesses.

What is SWOT?

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. The SWOT method (also called a SWOT analysis) is a way to measure what’s working – and what’s not working – for your business. You can then use this information to build and grow your business.

You can also consider doing a SWOT analysis, for one or a few of your competitors. Learning from your competitors can help you make better business decisions and find ways to make your business stand out.

Let’s take a closer look at how to use each part of the SWOT method to help your business.

1. Know a business’ strengths.

Take time to think about the things you and your business do well. You can also look at what’s working for your competitors. Here are a few strength-related questions to consider:

  • What processes are working well for my business?
  • What compliments do I hear or read from my customers?
  • What features make my products or services unique compared to similar businesses?

2. Identify weaknesses.

There’s always room for improvement, even if your business is doing amazing things. It’s not easy to look at your business issues or problems. But being honest will help you learn what isn’t working for your business and look for ways to make needed changes.

Here are some questions to ask about weaknesses:

  • What could my business do better?
  • What is my business struggling with compared to others in the industry?
  • What do my customers often complain about?

3. Discover new business opportunities.

After taking an honest look at your business problems, you can lighten things up by looking for ways to be creative and grow your business.  Here are some questions to ask while looking for business opportunities:

  • What’s trending and working for businesses like mine?
  • What are some upcoming events (online or local) that I can go to help my business grow (entrepreneur conferences, trade shows, holiday events, etc.)?
  • Are there opportunities to try new online sites, apps, or local places where I can promote my business to different groups and bring in new customers?

4. Be aware of possible threats.

Having competitors does not automatically mean that they, or anyone else, are out to get you and your business. But there are some things that can hurt a business, no matter what someone else’s intentions may be.

Here are some questions to think about for possible threats to your business:

  • Is there one, or a few customers, who are very vocal about being unhappy with your products?
  • How can your business deal with rising prices?
  • Are there any changing rules on your fave social media app, a local/federal government rule, or any other type of rules that could hurt your business?
  • Is there any new technology, or a new product being offered that could make your business’s product or service less relevant to your customers?

Takeaways from the SWOT Method for Businesses

As your business continues to grow and evolve, your answers to each part of the SWOT method will probably also change. That’s why it’s a good idea to look at your own business and your competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats on a regular basis.

It’s a great way to know how much your business has grown and how well your business is currently doing.

Photo by Aleks Dorohovich on Unsplash