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Entrepreneur

SWOT Analysis: Your Annual Small Business Health Checkup

By Tom Irmen

While most of us accept the benefits of an annual physical examination, most small business owners ignore the health of their company unless a sudden calamity strikes.

A SWOT Analysis – the acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats – is a structured method used in business to evaluate the internal and external factors that can be favorable or unfavorable to the achievement of your goals and objectives. In use since the 1960s, this type of analysis is just as useful today in evaluating new opportunities, as well as managing and eliminating a wide variety of threats.

Surprisingly few small business owners are familiar with SWOT Analysis, and those that are seem reluctant to conduct them due largely to their lack of understanding of how the analysis works and how they can benefit. I have conducted dozens of SWOT Analysis for our clients, who in some instances were very reluctant to participate. Despite the apprehension on the part of some of the participants, I can honestly state that each analysis was a success and in many instances led to the implementation of new strategies that resulted in a marked improvement in the performance of these small businesses.

Wikipedia has a great description of a SWOT Analysis, and the analysis itself is much easier to conduct than you might think. I would, however, recommend that you use a facilitator familiar with this process to assist you. The person should be objective and familiar with this technique but also someone who is experienced in your chosen career field.

I think you will be both pleasantly surprised and genuinely excited by what you will learn and the potential that exists for your small business. Also, a SWOT Analysis doesn’t require blood tests or medical deductibles.

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