Strategic Planning, Phase 2: SWOT Analysis

To plan your strategic position, take a look at the industry or market you’re operating in. Also, look at your company culture — teamwork, leadership, climate for action, as well as your employees and their skills and capabilities. This culture is the scenery surrounding your organization. In this phase, you begin collecting and analyzing this information and data and use it to assess your strategic position.

Before you jump in to this phase, determine as a team how wide and how deep you want to go with collecting and analyzing information. A good rule is this: You need the right information and data, not too much or too little, to feel confident in making strategic choices and decisions.

The methods to collect that information include conducting web research on macro, market, and industry trends; sending out customer and employee surveys; and acquiring information about your competitors through secret shopper, trade shows, or industry reports.

Making sense of the data comes from synthesizing main themes into a SWOT, which is a handy 2-x-2 matrix of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. In Phase 3, you use your SWOT to make strategic decisions.

The duration of this phase is estimated at two to four weeks. During this time, you answer the following business questions:

  • What are our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats?

  • What is our position in the competitive landscape?

  • What are the political, economic, social, and technical trends that may impact our organization?

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