Everyone who has sat in a lecture on business strategy has probably heard of SWOT analysis—Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. But is such an analysis actually useful? No.
Well, mostly no. There is one part of SWOT that is useful: Identifying Opportunities. Couple Opportunities with one more puzzle piece and you will create progress, but Weaknesses, Threats and Strengths are not part of the extra puzzle piece.
I have seen hundreds of companies write down their Weaknesses and Threats, only to get discouraged. SWOT analysis is supposed to force companies to figure out how to overcome or minimize their Weaknesses and subdue their Threats. But the reality is, if any time is spent focusing on Weaknesses and Threats, you get distracted from the pursuit of Opportunities. And while listing Strengths sounds encouraging, often an entrepreneur’s Strengths are few and tiny at first. Let’s face it, spending time on SWOT analysis is mostly time wasted.
But Opportunities abound. Opportunities are magnets for solution-oriented entrepreneurs. Identifying and addressing Opportunities is what turns a “solopreneur” into a giant company delivering innovative products to an enthusiastic customer base.
Conventional SWOT wisdom says you’re supposed to use your Strengths to address Opportunities. But your current Strengths are almost certainly insufficient to fully address any Opportunity you find in the market. Often those Opportunities have been invisible until right now, and no organization has yet what is needed to address them. New Strengths must be developed.
So, what is the missing puzzle piece that goes along with Opportunities to create progress? IDEAS!
Ideas, and the willingness to act on them, are the hallmark of entrepreneurship. In fact, one can argue that ideas are what separate humans from the rest of the natural realm. Without ideas there is no progress, the future looks like the past. Without ideas, there is no hope. With ideas, you can dream of a better future, not only for yourself, but for everyone else too. Random ideas are fun and possibly, eventually useful. But when you attach your ideas to Opportunities you have potential to make giant strides.
So, trash three-quarters of that SWOT analysis you did last year, and dust off just the Opportunities part. Then grab your favorite beverage and ponder those Opportunities. Which one(s) draw you in? Forget those hurdles you dwelt on as Weaknesses and Threats. What can you do to address the Opportunity that most speaks to you? Jot down your own ideas, ask your people what ideas they have.
Build a future that puts you and your organization at the heart of the Opportunities you believe in. Create a plan to use your ideas to address those Opportunities. While others are dwelling on how to overcome their Weaknesses, you’ll set yourself up to become the market leader!
Entrepreneurs are going to save the world, and Argent Place Law wants to help. That’s why we are a team of entrepreneur-lawyers serving Entrepreneurs just like you. Think how great it will be to have a legal team with entrepreneurial experience to call on when you meet with your partners to take advantage your strategic business opportunities. Call Argent Place Law to find out: 703-539-2518.