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- Involve employees from all the key areas of your business in your SWOT analysis (SWOT: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats).
- Consider involving key customers, suppliers or other sympathetic outsiders who know your market and can provide an objective view.
- Ask participants to collect and review information on internal resources and external factors affecting the business.
- Arrange a brainstorming session to identify your firm's strengths and weaknesses and the opportunities and threats facing it.
- Decide whether you have the skills and objectivity to chair the session yourself, or should use an external facilitator.
- Create an open and honest atmosphere; avoid judging or disagreeing with suggestions; try to draw out weaknesses and threats.
- Review internal operations (such as finances, marketing, management and personnel, production) to identify strengths and weaknesses.
- Review external organisations (eg competitors, customers and suppliers) and the business environment and market to identify opportunities and threats.
- When there are no further suggestions, discuss the ideas that have been raised; agree the key strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
- Identify any additional information you need to confirm your analysis; if necessary, carry out further market research.
- Assess the significance of your SWOT analysis; identify areas where you have a competitive advantage (or disadvantage).
- Create and execute an action plan to tackle weaknesses, capitalise on strengths and opportunities and deal with threats.
- Use the analysis and action plan as a review tool before important decisions, so that your decisions fit what your analysis suggests.
- involve a team which understands your business
- encourage openness and honesty in brainstorming
- assess issues objectively
- use your analysis to create an action plan
- avoid uncomfortable home truths
- criticise or ignore suggestions made while brainstorming
- base your analysis on inadequate information