What is a SWOT Analysis and Why You Should Treat Yo’ Self To One

December is a time for many people to think back over all that has happened the past year. While you are in the mood for reflection, it can be an ideal time to think back and examine how your business has performed this year as well. 

Like setting resolutions for the New Year, performing a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis for your business  helps you create a roadmap for where your brand needs to go next. To find out what a SWOT analysis is and why it would be beneficial to complete one for your brand or business, keep on reading.

What is a SWOT analysis?

Sometimes the best way to move forward is to look back at where you’ve been. In other words, learn from the past to form a plan for the future. A business SWOT analysis will help you make that plan for the coming year. 

The term “SWOT” is an acronym that stands for “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats” that impact your business. As Hubspot puts it, this form of analysis “helps you identify areas your business can improve and maximize opportunities, while simultaneously determining negative factors that might hinder your chances of success.” This looks both at the internal factors of your business that you can control and the external factors that you can’t.

What you discover about your business’ standing when you perform a SWOT analysis can help you define the steps you take, goals you set, and plans you make for the coming year.

Why it pays to do a SWOT analysis for your business

Maybe you are someone who likes to rely on their intuition or “trust their gut” when making decisions for their business. We get where that can come in handy but it doesn’t mean you should ignore the benefits of an assessment or not rely on its data to help you make informed decisions. A careful analysis of your business for the coming year will only determine how  much more successful and lucrative it can be.

Let’s look at an example. You primarily market your business through social media and you are currently doing so using three different platforms. A SWOT analysis can give you a chance to examine if you are getting worthwhile returns from all of your social media accounts, determine how well your content strategy for each platform works and identify what roadblocks or problems have impacted your business the most. Knowing these things can help you more easily make a robust marketing plan for the next year that may very well take your business to the next level.

What are you looking for?

“How does a SWOT analysis work?” 

We’re glad you asked. As we explained above, this form of analysis examines your business’ strengths and weaknesses, along with looking at the biggest opportunities and potential threats that may pop up in the market. We’ll give you a bit more detail on what constitutes each of these four categories and (as a gift) we will give you a handy template that you can use yourself to perform your own SWOT assessment. 

SWOT analysis infographic

The first step that we advise you to take is to set a goal. There is a lot to analyze for any brand of business and trying to tackle everything at once can prove to be overwhelming. You can perform more than one analysis, but try to focus on one subject for each one such as your social media strategy or your approach to launching your products. 

Once you define that goal, use our template to assess the following:

Your strengths

If someone came up to you and asked what made your business or brand amazing, what would you say? This is the time to (reasonably) brag! Your strengths can include:

  • A strong brand voice that is recognizable across channels
  • A  community that interacts with you on a consistent basis
  • Good returns on your investments in paid social media ads
  • A well-thought-out content strategy
  • A lovely window display that draws in a crowd 

Your weaknesses

Knowing your weaknesses can help give you an idea of what you need to improve the most. Hubspot advises that it may be helpful to get input from employees, as they might point out weaknesses that you may not have thought of. These may include:

  • Problems with negative community interactions
  • Poor interactions on one or more social media channels
  • Problems with posting; quantity vs. quality issues 
  • Too many expenditures on marketing efforts that have little to no returns
  • Issues with a storefront that is cold and intimidating
  • High interaction rates but low conversions

Potential opportunities

When you started building your brand or business, it was because you saw an opportunity that you wanted to make the most of. Now it is time to do it again. Brainstorm where you want things to go next! You can consider opportunities such as:

  • Finally getting enough resources to start a TikTok account 
  • Increasing the amount of posts that you create each month
  • Hiring someone to help you manage your website or social media channels
  • Launching a new product and making a certain number of sales by the end of the year
  • Increasing your interactions and conversions to double that of what you did last year

Possible threats

There are plenty of things out there that none of us can control. While you may not be able to stop a market crash or prevent an earthquake from knocking over a display of breakable items, you can assess the biggest or most prevalent threats that your business may face such as:

  • Issues that can hinder your social media growth
  • Growing trends that could negatively impact your brand
  • Safety issues that may develop in your store (mount that display case!)
  • Construction reducing people’s access to your storefront
  • Platform changes that may reduce your follower count (see: Twitter)

Tips for analyzing the results

The ultimate goal of a SWOT analysis is to help to figure out how you want to move forward. Now that you have a better idea of your brand’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, it is a good idea to implement your findings/make changes to your social media strategy, brand strategy and other aspects of your business. 

How can the information you have help guide your social media strategy in 2023? Do you need to remove a platform from your suite or invest some extra resources in one over another? How can you update your storefront to encourage more people to stop by for a visit? How can you plan that product launch so it gets more purchases than your competitor’s? 

When to gift yourself a SWOT analysis

Here’s the thing. You don’t have to complete a SWOT analysis on your own. It can help to, well, get some help. You may not feel equipped to perform an impartial analysis or you may just not have the time. That’s okay! If you have the resources available to afford a SWOT analysis, gift yourself some free time by handing the task off to someone else…like us!

It isn’t always easy to analyze and assess the state of your business, especially if you aren’t entirely sure what is going on in the current ecommerce market. That’s why it may be a good idea to “gift” yourself a SWOT analysis. There is nothing wrong with recruiting the assistance of a marketing pro to obtain an impartial and well-informed look at where your business is and, better yet, where it can go next. 

For help with your business SWOT analysis or social media channel audit, contact RM Creative Services by sending a message to rachael@rmcsofficial.com or visiting our Contact page.

Written by Brianna Fries, a California-based writer, editor, bookworm, and mother of two. You can contact her at brianna@rmcsofficial.com or see more of her work at briwritesthings.com.

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