Characteristics - rather than Strengths and Weaknesses. When undertaking an Internal Analysis, it can be more useful simply to identify ‘facts’ or ‘characteristics’ rather than immediately decide if various elements of an organisation are either ‘Strengths’ or .Weaknesses’. This is because a characteristic (eg ‘international’, ‘small size’, ‘strong finances’) might be a strength in one context but a weakness in another. The aim is to find markets and situations in which an organisation’s Characteristics become Strengths.
Your business’ strengths rest upon a number of factors: your company’s product, reputation, profitability and workforce. If you have a product or service that’s in demand, it bolsters your profitability. By providing the highest-quality product and service, your business reputation improves. Your workforce, or human resources, enables you to create the best product you can. In addition, your workforce can build your company’s reputation by providing an optimum level of customer service and attention to your clients’ needs. These things make up the first set of internal factors to consider in your SWOT analysis.
In contrast to strengths, your business may experience some weaknesses. The same factors you evaluate as your company’s strengths are what you consider when looking at your potential weaknesses. If the shelf life of your product is limited, or if the quality of the service you provide is below par, these are potential weaknesses. If you forecast a decline in demand for your product or service, this is an area in which you can make improvements. Re-engineer your product or brainstorm with your workforce on how to improve the service you provide. These are approaches that businesses consider when detecting or anticipating internal weaknesses.
Opportunities are external factors that can affect your business, if you recognize them and follow through on taking advantage of them. Look to your internal strengths to approach opportunities with confidence. Your workforce can be an extremely valuable resource. Your employees can assist in identifying new opportunities, such as the opening of new markets or the demand for a new service offering. Or your workforce can create new opportunities by developing a new product or service your company can market to your customers.
Threats are another type of external factor you can handle with your company’s strengths. A threat to your business success could be the opening of a competing company or a competitor whose customer service levels have improved so it draws a larger client base. Another serious threat could be a dramatic drop in demand for your product or even a faulty product that will take time to repair.
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