Ways to Improve Your SWOT Analysis

Nexis, Research Solutions, LexisNexis BIS

Complacency has been the cause of downfall for many big organizations; whether you are a global corporation or a renowned political party, you have to be aware of your competition always. Some time back, during an interview for a Knowledge@Wharton podcast, Lisa Bodell, founder and CEO of Futurethink and author of the book, Kill the Company, cited a complacent culture as a serious danger for companies. She said, "It's the, 'Oh, everything's just fine' mentality, and we see that at a lot of big corporations. They have the money and the brand, and they can ride it out for a long time, until all of a sudden, where did that small company come from?"

The time is always right to remove your blinkers and do a SWOT analysis to break out of a complacent mindset. News, business researches and industry reports are required to be studied time and again to boost your awareness into strengths and weakness, opportunities and threats. Here are a few ways for conducting an effective SWOT analysis.

  1. 1.              Determine Your Point of Comparison.

You can start with labelling your aspects as strengths or weaknesses. Choose these reference factors – they can be previous performances, future plans, current industry benchmarks or anything else. Eventually, zero down your specific research parameters to acknowledge more specific questions.

  1. 2.              Evaluate What was Missing from Previous SWOT Analyses.

Consider your previously done SWOT Analysis and try to answer questions like 'why did or why didn't we think of that?'. Try to determine if there were gaps in your research that might have made a difference. You can consider the following points while studying your past SWOT Analysis-

  • Did you have expert industry analysis sources?
  • What about regulatory insights?

So basically, remove your attention from the obvious and recall what types of resources could have made more difference. After this scrutiny, you'll be able to get a more complete picture of your gaps and current requirements.

  1. 3.              Expand the Scope of Your Research.

This step comes naturally. Apart from having a meticulous monitoring inside your company, make sure you have a broader outlook to include rest of the players, market scenario, industry regime etc. while doing your SWOT Analysis. Defining your firm's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats within a pre-mentioned, restricted periphery will tend to identify same issues, will make you follow the same pattern and ultimately achieve the same results as in the past.

Try out on a global perspective and consider each and every smallest factor to generate better view of your analysis. Have a greater awareness to the external forces that can cause threats or create opportunities. Look into every aspect- politics, economy, technology etc. – to enhance your company's strategic decision making.

At the end, revisit your SWOT Analysis. It should be able to address long term issues and opportunities. You can activate alerts and regular monitoring techniques to keep a track of industry changes or environmental forces. Having a good SWOT Analysis is always helpful – whether you are operating on a corporate landscape or a political campaign trail.