We recently had the opportunity to moderate a SWOT Analysis for key stakeholders of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry. Conducting SWOT Analyses are one of our favorite initiatives at MI. They are a great way to quickly gauge where your company is versus where you want it to be.
Unfortunately, most people are doing them wrong. Here are three common mistakes you can avoid to get the most from your SWOT Analysis.
- You aren’t doing it enough. Most small to medium-sized businesses will spend over 50 hours planning for 2015 and yet they spend no time during the year reviewing their progress. Our recommendation is to conduct a SWOT analysis prior to beginning strategic planning and each quarter throughout the year. Your goals change and your SWOT will reflect your current market position.
- You are taking way too long. A SWOT analysis should takes 20-30 minutes; however, most companies take over three hours to perform this critical task. Most of this time is spent building consensus. The point of a SWOT is to voice viewpoints of all of the stakeholders, not lobby for your own viewpoints.
- You are trying to conduct the analysis yourself. A third-party moderator that can guide the discussion eliminates emotion and can keep the conversation focused and timely (remember point #2?).
A well-executed SWOT Analysis should give you three priorities in each focus area (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats). Are you making any of the three common mistakes? One of our service offerings is to conduct a quarterly SWOT Analysis. Call us if you would like to learn more.