In Part 1, we discussed completing your SWOT and some strategies for doing that. A strong SWOT gives you a good snapshot about where your business is. The next step is to analyze your SWOT for connections between the data and quadrants which may suggest growth opportunities.
It is important to draw connections between the data, not validate what you “think” is important. For example, if you felt strongly about pursuing a business strategy, but it didn’t come up during the SWOT, it may not be a purposeful pursuit. It is critical not to “reverse engineer” your SWOT to justify an idea that you had before you even began this process.
To begin making connections in you SWOT, consider these things:
- Connections between Strengths and Opportunities are the most common Review your opportunities and ask, “Do we have a strength that we can use to capture that opportunity quickly?”
- Connecting Strengths + Opportunities often create a strong solution to a weakness, and even a defense against a threat.
- Strengths that address Weaknesses typically indicate a “fix it” internal possibility. Sometimes fixing internal weaknesses creates growth but be careful it doesn’t consume resources on marginal gains that could otherwise be used to capture significant external opportunities.
- Opportunities may stand out as potential ways to minimize the impact of a weakness or offset a future threat; however, the opportunity should be paired with a Strength (or quickly acquired strength) to complete the connection.
- Threats are items where you have the least control to affect major change or resolution; however, they may be used to highlight items in the S and O quadrants that are important to pursue for long-term sustainability.
Once you start making connections, you start turning these into growth priorities. A growth priority is “smarter” than a growth possibility.
Growth priorities turn your SWOT connections into highly focused, specific, measurable directives that anyone can “rally around” and take actions to support.
We like to write growth priorities using a very specific formula:
“From X to Y by Z”
where X to Y is the growth difference and Z is the timeframe
This simple, focused statement boils everything you’ve learned in your SWOT analysis into a PRIORITY for your organization.
Here are some examples:
“Our organization will go from 4 to 8 clients in the pharmaceutical vertical by December 31, 2024.”
“Our organization will go from $600,000 to $1,00,000 in the gross revenue by December 31, 2024.”
“Our organization will grow its revenue for training delivery from 10% of our total revenue to 25% of our total revenue by December 31, 2024.”
From a growth priority statement like any of these, an action plan can be created to drive results. This is where the creativity comes in. Everyone’s plan might look a little different based on the people, departments, resources, and timelines. However, everything about the plan(s) will be aligned and focused to implementing the growth priority.
Tune in next week where we will discuss creating an action plan.
If you want to participate in this process, join us for our Business Planning Workshop, where we will do exactly this, SWOT your business, make connections from your SWOT session, and draft growth priorities for 2024, and create an action plan.