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How to use the SWOT technique to grow your business

By understanding your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, you have a great opportunity to be a long-term business that’s around for a long time.

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The SWOT analysis stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.  It was originated by Albert S. Humphrey back in 1960 and it’s been used by businesses for years for them to understand where they’ve got some opportunity in the industry, where they’ve got some weaknesses,  and what they need to focus on to grow, this also applies to ecommerce businesses, such as Aliexpress dropshipping, etc.  Take a piece of paper, draw a quadrant, and title it  “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.”

Strengths

First, we’re going to start with strengths.  Write down everything that your business is great at.  What are you great at? What do you bring to the business?  What do you bring to the industry? What are some strengths that your businesses have that maybe aren’t reflected by your competitors or other people in the area? Have you been in business for a long time? Do you have a large customer base? Maybe a lack of competition in the area.  The strengths that you bring here are a great opportunity for you to understand where you’re strong and where maybe you want to work on, and we’ll get to that a little bit later.

Weaknesses

Next, we’re going to jump over to weaknesses.  This is a great time to spend a little bit of energy and understand what you’re not so great at. The weaknesses of your business are generally going to be internal.  Maybe it’s employee training. Maybe it’s a lack of awareness of the industry. Maybe there’s a lot of competition out there, and you’re just not really sure where you fall into that mix. These weaknesses generally come from the inside but can also be an outside influence.  Spending some time to understand the weaknesses of your business is incredibly valuable because now you can learn how to overcome them.

Opportunities

In our bottom quadrant, we want to start with opportunities.  Where do you want to go? What do you want to achieve? Let’s talk about the different opportunities that you have.  Maybe now’s the time to branch out online or focus only on the very best dropshipping products.  Maybe this is a good opportunity to take over a bigger, better location, or to move locations to where there are more people and more foot traffic.  These opportunities don’t have to be easily achievable.  They just have to be part of your vision. Where do you want to go, what benefit will this bring to your business, and how can you achieve them?

Threats

Now we want to talk about threats.  Now, these threats could be internal or external.  Threats to your business could be a lack of cash flow.  It could be that you have a difficult time retaining employees.  Threats could be a new competitor just moved into town, and they’re spending a lot more money than you are.  Another threat could be the change in the industry or maybe even a change in foot traffic if you have a local location or local business.

By understanding what your threats are, you’re able to identify where you can spend your time, where you can spend your energy, and what you really need to focus on.  Threats to your business can easily shut you down so spend some time here and focus on what you really need to pay attention to. By taking the time to develop a SWOT analysis,  you’re easily able to create a roadmap for both internal and external efforts that you and your business want to focus on.

By understanding your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, you have a great opportunity to be a long-term business that’s around for a long time.

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