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                      Making The Most of Your SWOT Matrix

                      SWOT Now What?

                       

                       

                      “So, you want to know how to get the most out of your SWOT Matrix”

                      Many people complete their strategic analysis by filling in their SWOT Matrix and move directly into action planning. You are about to discover the critical time saving step that they have missed.

                       


                      In this article you will discover the critical step, missed by almost everyone in their enthusiasm to develop actions.

                      SWOT

                      Throughout your leadership career you will find that the SWOT analysis technique is widely used during strategic planning. It is used to both to summarize the extensive research that can occur during strategic analysis and as a brainstorming technique in simplified strategic planning.

                      Although many managers will use this technique, you will find few who will gain any real advantage from its use.

                      On completion of the SWOT matrix managers tend to jump straight into solution mode commencing the discussion of options for their next strategy. People are attracted to the creative elements of developing strategy. The resulting discussion generally has no shortage of suggestions or view points. 

                      The surprising thing is that most people who jump straight from their SWOT analysis to developing their strategy end up creating a strategy that does little to respond to the content of the SWOT matrix.

                      They often develop a strategic plan that does not respond to the issues identified by their own SWOT analysis. Last time I read research it cited that 80% of strategic plans do not address the issues identified by the SWOT analysis.

                      The analysis required to lead up to the completion of a SWOT matrix is very structured, so is the matrix itself. It is this structure that makes this technique so easy to learn and easy to use.

                      Though, the next step that makes use of your SWOT output is not as well understood, in fact few managers know what to do when they have completed their SWOT. So, what exactly are you going to do once you have the completed your SWOT?

                      Scroll down to find out

                       

                       

                      SWOT Now What?

                      Instead of jumping from SWOT analysis to solution there is another step that is required.

                      Unless your business is a start-up in its first year, you will already have a business strategy, it may not be documented by you will have a strategy. Now that you have a SWOT Matrix, revisit your existing strategy and identify which strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are already addressed by your current strategy.

                      Strategy is something that should persist year on year, it should not change dramatically from year to year. So, unless your business environment has radically changed, most if not all of the items listed in your SWOT will already be covered by your current strategy.

                      Where your SWOT has identified something that is not addressed by your current strategy, then you need to determine if you should tweak your strategy or develop a whole new strategy.

                      If your strategy should persist in its current form then the next step is to develop a business plan to pursue your existing strategy. The following table will help you to map you existing strategy to your SWOT matrix

                       

                       

                      SWOT Element

                      Comment on Current Strategy

                      Gap or No Gap

                      Leveraging Strengths

                       

                       

                       

                       

                       

                       

                       

                       

                       

                      Mitigating Weaknesses

                       

                       

                       

                       

                       

                       

                       

                       

                       

                      Taking advantage of opportunities

                       

                       

                       

                       

                       

                       

                       

                       

                       

                      Mitigating threats

                       

                       

                       

                       

                       

                       

                       

                       

                       

                      Now, you can map your SWOT analysis to your existing strategy and identify any strategy gaps. As with all things in strategy there are going to be shades of Gray, you will find that you will have items in the above mapping template that match, partially match and don’t match your existing strategy.

                      Scroll down to view examples and download your template

                       

                       

                      Example: SWOT Matrix Mapped to Strategy

                      Here is an example of SWOT items mapped to an existing strategy. In this example you will see that of the eight SWOT items only four are not covered by the existing strategy. So, the strategy only needs to be altered to cover the remaining four items.

                       

                      SWOT Element

                      Comment on Current Strategy

                      Gap or No Gap

                      Leveraging Strengths

                      Strong recognizable brands

                      We always pursue territorial supply agreements with new suppliers

                      No

                      Innovative sales techniques

                      Our sales training and data collection processes were improved last year

                      No

                      Successful relationship marketing

                      Use of data to market is working well

                      No

                      Mitigating Weaknesses

                      Insufficient financial resource

                      No strategy to resolve

                      Yes

                      Taking advantage of opportunities

                      Consider importing directly

                      No strategy to do this yet

                      Yes

                      Increased customer life cycle

                      Already catered for in relationship marketing program

                      No

                      Mitigating threats

                      Foreign exchange rate changes will impact imports

                      No contingency plan in place

                      Yes

                      Rents increasing above CPI putting pressure on our margins

                      No plan in place to change

                      Yes

                       

                       

                      Return from this SWOT Matrix page to our site home page

                       

                       

                       



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