Skip to main content

Powerful Business Planning

Lesson 12 of 20

S.W.O.T. Analysis

Barbara Findlay Schenck

Powerful Business Planning

Barbara Findlay Schenck

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

12. S.W.O.T. Analysis

Lesson Info

S.W.O.T. Analysis

A swat analysis strengths weaknesses, opportunities threats you rate the strengths and weaknesses of your capabilities we're going to go into that you assess the risks and opportunities on your business horizon it's so easy just to be concentrating so hard on this much road in front of you how you're going to get the next check to pay those bills that are sitting in your outbox in your inbox that you don't look down even far enough to see that tastes and trends air changing or there are issues with the materials you need or there's road construction that's going to really hamper access to your business and you haven't planned around it so swat analyses help you assess those things determine which strengths to help you seize opportunity and head off risk and determine which weaknesses require improvement and I really would love it and I know it's a lot to ask but I would love it if every business represented by anyone tuning in are sitting here once a year would take even a couple of ho...

urs to do this step one is to rate your capabilities these air the internal issues these air the within your own business that can affect your ability which strengths will you capitalize want which weaknesses will you work around? These are and I put continued because these aren't all of them business capabilities fall into these categories are andy is the ability to assess and develop product services and technology a lot of us think of it as being a real tech area r and d but the truth is anyone who is developing a business needs some rnd even the capability of researching competitors online assessing your own web presence determining tastes and trans tapping into your industry toe learn what research they've got for you and I go into how it applies to small business but our andy is a capability and if you are developing any changes to your business you need some capability in r and d if you're not good at research figure out of if somebody in your family or someone you could subcontract to khun get you the information you need to make decisions operations, operations air the resource is and systems necessary to efficiently produce high quality offerings anyone who's thinking about someday selling their business should be really thinking about their operations because you're going to walk away if you sell your business what they're buying is your operations market in your ability to get your offerings on to consumer radar screens and through the sales process? This is the topic right after lunch please everyone be here it's happens to be my very favorite part and you can't survive without marketing it gives you a competitive edge it establishes a barrier to entry toe others trying to come into your business arena because they know you're so good at marketing it's going to cost them too much money to try and unseat you distribution is your ability to get offerings into consumer hands, and even a service provider needs to think about distribution. How do they get to their clients with everything they need and do they bill for that time? Is that time time that they absorb? I mean, so this even for the smallest of small businesses, distribution is a capability you have to deal with. Customer service is a capability that your ability to deliver an experience the new word is customer experience it's that really is your brand is what the customer experiences in working with you. How good is your customer service? Because it ties directly into your brand directly into consumer loyalty to deliver and experience that leads to purchases. I'm astonished by the number of businesses are so good at lead generation and so bad, pulling him through the pipeline to the sale, so customer service that leads to purchase is real p purchases, loyalty and praise, preferably viral praise for any of you who have a business that gets rate raided, a reviewed online customer service fits right into praise and brand management management leadership how you set the vision and provide the leadership for your business, even if you're a one person business, are you leading yourself or you leading yourself in circles organization, the procedures people in systems and the structure that enable your without a u business to make the most of its resource is and opportunities and financial condition the financial health of your business and its financial ability to finance plans sees opportunity and reach goals. What you do with these capabilities is you rate your business, you just use this slide if you buy the course you go down these and you say, how important is this to our business? How important is ardito our business? In fact, it might not be very important if you're not developing any products you already have a good sense of of where you stand in the marketplace, the way you can read trends on the horizon you don't need a lot of research or anything it might be low now. This is an example of a restaurant planning to new outlets it's from swamp is it's from business plants kit for dummies for them they're talking about planning to new outlets so research is kind of of medium importance to them and they know that pretty crummy added operations very high. They're going to open two new restaurants they need to have really strong operations and right now luckily they're graded operations marketing very high they've got to get the word out and frankly right now they rely all on neighborhood business and word of mouth so they have very poor marketing capability distribution, delivery, because they're going to have part of their deal, is going to be delivery from these two new restaurants very important, and they're not good. They don't do any delivery right now, it's all in restaurant or pick up this is hypothetical understand, but it gives you a sense of how it works customer service very important, and luckily, they're very good at it management very important, and they're not very good at it. They run one restaurant and they're familiar with it and they don't really have systems that they're going to need organization, medium importance, they're good at it, financial condition very important, and they're not very good at it. They don't have a lot of money reserves, so in that case and I don't think I come back to the restaurant, so I'll tell you what the restaurant did. They decided to hold off opening the restaurants for a six month period while they established systems for the restaurant there in and while they got together a partner to help them with funding the swat analysis led them to the decisions they needed to to get where they need to go. So I'm going to go back for one second because I'm going to tell you, really, if this is all you do once a year. It would be worth it to sit down and say really truly do it at the time of your business plan this is what this business plan is requiring this is what is going to be important to its succeeding this is honest to god where we are now and you get really really with yourself and if anything I would say be more lenient I always say under budget under budget expenses and over budget costs just to be on the safe side and it's not that different here don't say you're strong where you don't say you're excellent where you're not truly truly truly excellent but do say it's of high importance if it's even maybe of high importance so that you really make sure you get the strengths you need. Are there questions about this because this is important is anybody online saying it makes no sense ok sounds like everybody's following um how capabilities I know this is a lot of writing how capabilities apply to a one person business because a lot of you are one person aren't is how you stay current with software, hardware training, competitive environment I just called I think my mac book air is in great shape so I and peter keeps telling me I need a new one and I called and what I learned is that my system is going to be old enough that they're certain upgrades I'm not going to be able to get if I don't upgrade it great my r and d is not strong I need to upgrade my computer so by doing this how you stay current with software, hardware training, competitive environment, business and consumer trends the smallest of small businesses needs to consider rnd operations how you're set up for billing, accounting, scheduling, service support working with suppliers and subcontractors and emergencies um but particularly start with billing so many small businesses do not have firm billing policies they don't no whether they charge interest of things aren't paid in thirty days all of this should be set up while while you agree to a commitment with the customers so that they know what to expect when they're going to get their bill we talked about working progress yesterday instead of always waiting until the end of the project to bill so that's operations marketing is the strength of your brand identity particularly for freelancers and small businesses. Larger businesses tend to know that they want a name that others know small businesses think they can get by with just their name and especially if a search for their name shows up a bunch of college photos you really might want a business that you can start migrating to for a first impression so strength every brand, identity and reputation marketing materials do you need them online presence and interaction promotions, networking presentations and sales this is how a small business needs this capability distribution I already said how you get yourself to and from in a manner that the customer wants and professionally customer service your customer experience online and offline and in the marketing session we're goingto go into that the customer does not distinguish what they see online is needs to be completely the same us what they experience offline and so that's part of customer service management is your ability to set in reach goals stay on track, run the business effectively so no small business conseco management is not important in fact it's probably doubly important financial condition having the funds available step two once you've determined your capabilities and how strong they are is to identify your opportunities and threats. These are the external issues that could affect your ability to succeed which opportunities when you plan to seize which risks or threats will you plan to avert or overcome to identify them? You just look around what are opportunities and threats these air examples new or stronger competitors once a year you go through and you say this what's happening competitively new technologies that you're gonna have to catch up with shifts in market size or demographics and we go into this in the after lunch session but if you know that you serve primarily, I don't know just say retired people and retirees are moving to the south and that number of prospects in your area happens to be declining. You have a couple of choices figure out how you're going to reach them in other markets, or how you are going to start drawing other age groups into your business, or that your business is going to start to shrink. So shifts and market size of demographics changes in economic conditions. We all know I don't have to explain to anybody what changes in economic conditions do changes in how customers arrive or by all of a sudden, if every well look what happened to retail. All of a sudden retail outlets became showrooms, and the even the small main street businesses who aren't adapting to that and figuring out ways that they're going to counter act this tip, this shift in market conditions are going to be in trouble. That is an opportunity. It is also a threat changes in politics, policies, regulations, changes in availability or price of materials. This is an amazing one for a lot of businesses when particularly I mean let's say that, well, it doesn't matter what it is if there's a kind of material that's important to your business and suddenly it's getting more expensive or less in supply, and one thing you could do is buy up a big supply of it and give yourself a competitive advantage of barrier to entry to others. But can you get it? You need to find out is it going to be a risk? Is it going to create an opportunity and changes in tastes, trends, fads and fashions? And I put trends and fads both here because a trend is long lasting, a trend starts and it gains momentum and it ends up in true marketplace change ah, fat is a spur of the moment some fads turn into trans many of them come and go cupcakes cupcakes were a fad and just yesterday we were walking along and I saw a restaurant because in portland there were two big cupcake restaurant, a cupcake bakeries and one of them's already closed and, you know, I've answered questions on and on the msn about this in the q and a's when I have to do those forget to do those I want to start this kind of a acre, whatever I say, if it's a fad, make sure you don't give it a name that isn't elastic if your name is cupcakes and more that's pretty hard to expand sweet indulgence, as I mentioned yesterday, a business that I have nothing to do with except I was interviewed about them, they may have done cupcakes, but they are very, very easy to switch to the next bad, so be careful when you're catching a fat an example of the restaurant again and how they do it okay opportunities they know there's a growing number of working couples in a mark in their market area they go through what's on our horizon they went through that list and this is sort of the summary of the opportunities that they saw based on the list I just showed you a growing number of working couples growing interest in organic ingredients, increased demand for in business catered events and increased use of the web for catering planning and orders so they see these opportunities that they can jump on the threats are in home catering is perceived to be expensive and they are having a hard time getting although people want in home meals they considered an indulgence so they know that that's a threat that could hurt their ability in that area if they don't address it increasing cost of employee benefits is increasing their prices so they have to deal with that growing number of restaurant caters and food delivery services so they know that they're going to be in a competitive environment and improving supermarket delhi's and that this I put him because I want you to realize you also have in direct competition it's easy to think about the other restaurants but you have to think where else could they go? That's an indirect competitors the supermarket deli is an indirect competitors to the restaurant so as you go through your own opportunities and threats really think about beyond your direct competitors, and then you plan around them, you end up with a chart that looks like this. What are strengths, the's air the capabilities that prepare you to seize opportunities? Maybe if you know that people are price sensitive to catering and yet want catering, and you happen to have a menu that can really scale down and be the more you make, the cheaper it gets, that would be a strength for you. You plan to capitalize on everything that fits in this opportunities in this strength, everything is an opportunity in your strong on that's, where you capitalize everything that is a weakness, and yet there's an opportunity. You decide you're going to improve that weakness if there's a threat you intend to avert and you see conditions that could threaten your strength. You start monitoring, you agree? Every month we're going to monitor this condition and weaknesses that risk your ability to survive threats e this takes time to do, but you have to say what could actually do us in what could really what competitive what threat could really do us in material shortages or one of them, um, your lease that you know, your lease is up for negotiation, and it could really do you in eliminate that threat? Go talk to them early find out what it is I mean we all kind of put off you know let's not ask because they could raise around wolf if the chances are they're going to anyway go find out so that you still have time to think about relocating eliminate the weaknesses that could do you in so that's what you come down with that's really a swat analysis the next time somebody asks you about it that's really the conditions that you're monitoring the capabilities that you're assessing the opportunities and weaknesses that you're lining up with opportunities and threats after you do that you plan to take action you put down in writing in your plan the opportunities you plan to seize the strengths you planned to build upon and this is what anybody supporting your business wants to know they want to know what opportunities are these really opportunities how bigger these opportunities and how are you configured to grab him if you could tell them the opportunity israel and vibrant and your strengths are definitely in line with the task at hand you will get the support you need weaknesses you plan to improve don't be shy if you have a weakness put it in your plan let people know here's the weakness I see here's the point of vulnerability I understand and here's I'm going to deal with it and these are the conditions I'm gonna watch then you develop your goals and objectives they come right off of these they lead straight to goals and objectives and I told you I would come back to the brewpub make a difference by crafting great beer that people love in our brewpub on tap at celebrations and because we support important causes okay crafting great beer okay, so they want to generate major publicity's so that people believe they craft great beer they want to enter contests they want to win they vote for creative live in the crunchy but I mean this is it this is what you see it all the time and that's why somebody has the goal to say you know what we want that level of recognition it's important and so crafting great beer general major publicly becomes a goal generate major publicity that people love in our brewpub ok? They're going to enhance group of activity because that is part of their mission and purpose this year is to really gain vibrancy for the brew pub that's the next goal they're going to build brewpub activity people love it on tap they're going to increase event enough permissive sales they're going to make a commitment to getting taps in other pubs in and bar settings and they're going to do some things that generate and you get to that in a minute and that we support important causes they're going to heighten their community given these are their goals group bill brewpub activity generate major publicity increase event heightened community giving once you've written your purpose statement you can write your goals this is really great stuff I know online communities a lot of creative people is always our photography is our creative joining us today they're asking would it be possible to do it's what announces without putting on the spot of creative industry or a creative company rather than in a restaurant that we can make a to a creative you know the segment or if you feel comfortable going with it now I think that's sort of in depth analysis and that's what would really help them with their own particular businesses ok creative as in it's easy for me to do ad agency but let's that's not probably they're thinking about give me an example photography of free it's great I mean we have a lot of talk about our audience as you know well okay the opportunities is the opportunity is for a wedding where people have never loved photos more that's an opportunity they are sharing photos with number of photos that people are grabbing right now are phenomenal so that's an opportunity interest in photos sky high another opportunity is short video that you no longer need professional edited video short video has become extremely popular so this is an opportunity for photographers and that you don't need the same videography that you needed even three years ago to create the kind of video a lot of businesses and people are looking for, and another opportunity is that people, particularly young people, are really loving, staged photos at their events, and and there are a lot of events there, just more events where people it used to be at a wedding. There were disposable cameras on all the tables that everybody would help chronicle the event by taking pictures and putting it down. Now, there's really a different level, and the third, the fourth opportunity, I would say, is there's been some riel success with professional photographers marrying up with brands, and I think of anesta lauder campaign, where pro photographers went in and helped after s delaughter makeovers, free makeovers at the counter than professional photographers would take their picture and put their logo wanna the estee lauder and the photographers logo and then send it out into the social media, and it became people's facebook photos, and it got posted all over, and the photographer got a lot of business, so there's a lot of opportunity, with brands wanting to marry up with photographers. I mean, these are possibilities, same sex marriages, that's, a huge opportunity, huge, huge events, absolutely events, so now the threats are iphones to a very good job cellphone, still very good job, so I think consumer has become a self photographer that's a threat? You can't deny it. The other threat is photos are very available online for free usage and theft of photos or there's. Probably a better word for than that, but people using photos that they don't have copyright permission for it it's very hard to chase down, so these are threats. Another opportunity, of course, is that the photographer in some ways their material costs have gone down with digital, so so those would be examples of the threats then you come down to okay what's the opportunity, the opportunity is people are loving, staged photos and brands need social media presence. Is there a brand I could and I'm configured for that. My photography business is configured that's in the I'm gonna capitalize, I'm going to look and I would start with low hanging fruit. I wouldn't go to estee lauder if I were a local photographer, I would go to the place is and even the brew pub and say, ok, you're having this great big event. Would you like me to come and take pictures of people that then we'll both both of our locals will go, you know, whatever and you get some free advertising for it a client who is a beauty maker and hand makes beautiful five beautiful skincare products and she has a relationship with the photographer and once a month the photographer comes and features a different model on a difference product in nature and bloggers when they write reviews of this maker use those images the same way there you have it, they capitalized on opportunity so I would think that's an example weaknesses you say our weaknesses we really count on our stock file to make money for years that's how our primary money's come people come to us, they buy our stock photos, we get payment people aren't buying stock photos the way they used to I'm assuming that now I haven't been a photography buyer for awhile because we saw the ad agency, but I'm assuming stock purchases air down that's a weakness can you improve it by maybe a couple of contract relationships with companies that buy a lot of photos or can you sell to? I don't know how it works, but to a getty or someone like that where you end up getting your photos in there for a one time payment. But you decided that something you can improve on and you have to improve on it because you've got all the staff photos you can't just walk from them so that's an area for improvement threats would be that may be a competitive down the road has really gotten active in some brand relationships and so they're going to walk ground work around that and realize that's when they have to monitor and even kind of chase what they're doing and weaknesses that they're going to eliminate. I don't know. Figure out your biggest weakness and how are you going to eliminate it? So they go? I can't spend more time, but that's sort of how it works online audience, you know, this is your chance. Might if you do. It's what analysis for us on the more share some of those on the way come back after the break, get in the chat rooms. Let us know what you think and how you would do that if you're a business. That was fun. It was a lot of e understand it was for the moment, so it may not be all accurate, but it gives you a sense of how it works. Okay, um then you plan to take action and you develop your goals and objectives. Here's, how you develop them and your goals lied to your objectives. So go back just a minute to how we did the chart that lead from the purpose to the goals. One of the goals was to build brewpub activity. Well, you can't just say you're going to do it that's like saying let's, take a vacation this year you have to say, how are we going to get to the rocky statue to meet there at noon on october first so they're going to do it by increasing pub sales by ten percent over the year that's their goal? They're going to put it in writing, we're going to increase pub sales by ten percent that's her objective goal objective objectives are measurable and include a timeframe they want to generate major publicity's that's the only way they're going to elevate their brand as a major craft brew they're going to gain major published the coverage three times quarterly major blog's major sites, major publications inclusion in a major statewide or regionwide telecast so that's their goal increase event and off premise sales they're going to increase off off premise and events sales by twenty percent. This is a major goal. They're going to incur greece at twenty percent and they're going to heighten community giving by establishing a focus they realize they've been giving a little bit here a little bit there and it's adding up to a lot of little bits and so instead they're going to focus on child programs because they realize that a lot of family people are using that I don't know why, but that's they're going to focus on one thing so that people they can really make a mark. Thank goodness for that brew public what we accomplished, maybe there's a facility going up this year, all of their funding is going to go into that this community facility that's important, so they're going to focus and they're going to increase their donations by ten percent. Now, I want to tell you one thing, before I move on about, um, setting goals, objectives, it so happens that event and off premise sales are very significant to them, so this is a very lofty goal. It's not like taking this is not a little tiny bit of their business, it's an important amount. So this is it getting twenty percent up on that is not going to be that easy. They know that they're going to have to put a lot into it, whereas if it was something that right now is just minuscule to them, upping at twenty percent isn't that big of a deal. So really look at the scale, not just the ten percent of the twenty percent, but how much business is it going to take? How important is this sector to your business? And therefore how much you have to get out to do this that's going to lead to your strategies? The pub sales in order to get the pub sales they're going to launch a logo I'd line they don't have one now that's going to create some sales right there they're going to increase their prices three to five percent they're going to do more media ads and promotions and they're going to open an inn pub retail area just a retail area where you could go in and buy not just their products but other things strategies fall into product pricing promotion place these air called the four peace so as you're writing your strata just you say what are we going to do with products to support that objective of ten percent increase? What are we going to do with pricing? What are we going to do with promotion? What are we going to do with place or distribution or location publicly they're going to create an online media center they don't have one right now they are not going to generate what they need without having everything that media might need right in place everything from specs on the beard to awards one toe photos of labels that air reproducing called repertory production quality and they're going to publicize products and awards you notice that you don't have to have something for you in each of these categories you don't have to have something in product pricing, promotion and place you just need to have enough going on that it can reached that goal off premise sales that's, where they want twenty percent growth. Remember, they're going to launch a mobile pub. They're going to introduce bulk pricing to get into the taps in different places and to get events to buy their beer. They're going to do some mobile pub pro most, and they're going to broaden their pub retail distribution, getting more time and community giving. They're going to introduce brewing classes to get more people in to support them. They're going to target event. They're going to target some events that they co sponsor, and they're going to use pop up events, not pop up ads. Pop up events, too. Gagne trial since they've got the mobile pub, ok, that's, how it works, makes sense.

Class Description

Tens of thousands of new small businesses are started every year -- does yours have a concrete plan in place to ensure it succeeds? Join marketing strategist and small business advocate Barbara Findlay Schenck for an introduction to fast-track business planning.

Throughout this course, you’ll learn how to write and implement a business plan by clarifying your goals: how much time you have to devote to your business, how many people need to buy your product, and how much money you’ll be able to make. You’ll also learn how to set up your business legally and legitimately -- without dipping into your personal finances. Barbara will also cover the marketing and finance skills every small business owner needs to know.

By the end of this course, you’ll have a smart, strategic plan for starting, managing, and growing your business.


a Creativelive Student

Really looking forward to this course with great anticipation to learn how to put a comprehensive business plan together for a full-time & part-time wedding & portrait photography business, what are the important steps involve to create a business plan and what all should be included in such plan, when or if you should amend your business plan, should you have two business plans (a simple plan & a very detail plan).

Christina Majoinen

This course was great. I'm at the very beginning stages of creating my business, and this course really helped me to think through everything I need to plan for.


Great class!!