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Send in the SWOT Team

A tried-and-true place to start in brainstorming a business strategy is a SWOT analysis.

Google “strategy” and you will find a lot of different templates and options for developing a business strategy. A tried-and-true place to start in brainstorming a business strategy is a SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis helps organizations bring clarity to all the factors that go into making key decisions about which direction to go.

S:  Start by reviewing your strengths. How do you stand out compared to your competitors? Think of your services and products and where you really shine. Is customer service a key strength? Is your ability to innovate your strength?

W: Next take a look at your weaknesses. Where are you falling short? Is it around quality? Timeliness of delivery? How up-to-date is your technology? How well-trained and developed is your staff? Sometimes organizations stop at this point, but it is helpful to carry on to the next letters in SWOT.

O: What and where are your opportunities? This could be looking at the current business climate and coming up with innovative solutions. It could be looking at key, once-in-a-lifetime legislation or possible grants. Is there an opportunity to merge with another company to become stronger? Or perhaps look at an acquisition?

T: And finally, spend some time thinking of threats. How engaged is your staff? Is there a threat of key staff being enticed away? One of my large clients reviews all its talent every year and assesses potential threats of leaving. High potential talent is developed with mentoring and training, and it is then promoted quickly without languishing in middle management for years on end.

With change happening so quickly, looking three years out is about the longest timeframe in strategic planning. Spend time thinking about what keeps your customers up at night. And devote enough time to thinking about the future.

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