Study Your Business’s Strengths and Weaknesses - dummies

Study Your Business’s Strengths and Weaknesses

By Erica Olsen

To move from where you are today in your strategic plan to where you want to go, you have to determine your strategic position, or where you stand today. This process is like taking your SUV into a mechanic for the annual tune-up. You get an assessment of what’s working, what’s not, what you need to fix, and what can wait.

Use the following steps to get started on your strategic position:

  1. Break down your internal environment into capabilities, resources, and processes.

    By doing so, you have a place to start assessing your company. Without these categories, the task can seem a little daunting. This format ensures that you’re looking at your strengths and weaknesses holistically, instead of approaching them haphazardly.

  2. Perform a quick survey of your company’s strengths and weaknesses.

    Your organization’s strengths encompass everything your company does well, including capabilities, skills, and resources, that you can leverage and draw on to execute plans and actions in your company.

    Weaknesses, conversely, encompass everything that’s holding your company back from achieving your goals or serving your customers. You can conduct this exercise from either a bottom-up (individuals to managers to executives) or a top-down process. Alternatively, you can choose to focus just on your SWOT development on one or more strategic issues that you identified at the beginning of the process.

  3. Dig a little deeper to get more specific about each area.

    Capture all your thoughts and keep them in order. For example, jot down thoughts about your effective customer relationship processes under Strengths and problems with employee retention under Weaknesses.

As you answer the questions and track your ideas throughout this process, you have a good starting point to summarize and add to your key strengths and weaknesses. (Remember, these ideas can become the basis for goals in your strategic plan.) Consider this grid a running list of thoughts about your strategic position as you move through the process.