Before we start our Journey of Success, please complete a SWOT analysis of your past, existing and future business ventures as well as consider completing one on you to get a realistic evaluation of yourself. SWOT – stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats – an extremely effective tool to provide a base for a realistic evaluation that will lead to the next step – planning – a process which is so essential to every business. The SWOT analysis is based on an exhaustive study of four areas that form the foundation for any business venture or the situational analysis of individual contributions. 1. Identify trends 2. Analyze the competition 3. Realistically asses the organization itself or an individual Manager 4. Evaluate current and prospective Customers and markets. For Example:

Internal Strengths
Core Competencies
Recognized Market Leader
Solid Strategy for Every Area
Proven Management
Cost Advantages
Driven Advertising Efforts
Internal Weaknesses
No Clear Strategic Direction
Obsolete Facilities
Subpar Profitability
No Management Depth & Talent
Weak Market Image Results
To Narrow a Product Line


External Opportunities
Serve New Customers & Markets
Expand Product Lines
Transfer Skills/Technology
Falling Trade Barriers In Active Markets
Complacency Among Rival Firms
Ability to Grow due to Increases in Market Demand
External Threats
Lower Cost Global Competition
Sales of Substitute Products
Slower Market Growth
Costly Regulations
Vulnerable to Recession and Business Cycles
Changing Buyer Needs and Tastes


As the first step, have each department or key area develop a list of SWOT subjects listing everything that is stated – then review the list and prioritize the top five – no more than ten – Points. You can the have each department present their SWOT Analysis with key managers in attendance. Based on the outcome of that meeting each key department will be able to develop a brief plan for the coming year or a specific project such as an acquisition and what will be needed to make the transition smooth. This is a management exercise, because they will be held accountable for meeting and exceeding goals that spell success if implemented and supported by all areas of a business. The Managers should involve the employees for clarification purposes only. When the final company plan is completed, then the employees should be informed in a group meeting in order to make sure that everyone understands what their role will be towards the company’s success.

In conclusion, each SWOT analysis will result in specific actions that will build on a strengths, correct weaknesses, exploit opportunities and above all recognize and avoid disaster. This is a very simple but effective method that sets the foundation for subsequent planning efforts. Once you complete a SWOT chart on yourself you will gain respect for the power of this tool, and the improvement actions you will have to take.

We look forward to receiving questions regarding SWOT and hopefully we can provide direction and the answers to contribute to you and your businesses effectiveness. Should you want to see an actual SWOT chart from a business, we will make every effort to supply one.