This is by far the best way to teach yourself the SWOT Analysis.
Because you get to do it, FOR YOURSELF.
And improve your skills at the same time.
But the best part…
You don’t even need to be a Business Analyst to use this example.
Everyone loves thinking about themselves.
But what if you could do it with conviction.
And with a purpose.
To improve your confidence for any situation, at any time…
Well you’re in the perfect place for that, because today I’m going to explain EXACTLY how to create, complete and maintain the perfect SWOT Analysis Template.
I’ll also tell you what it is, why it works AND show you how to use the template for YOUR ultimate benefit.
Plus, when you’re done, you can adapt your knowledge to any future analysis projects.
Note: The date is important because your SWOT Analysis should be forever evolving – alongside your CV - mine is!If you want to find out how to write a resume that gets 95% response rate then have a read of my Business Analyst Resume post.
But Wait a Minute, What the heck is SWOT?
If you know the definition and you’re just here for the action, you can skip this part, honestly, I don’t mind.
For those who don’t know - SWOT Analysis is a strategic planning tool created by 4 business gurus in the 1960’s.
Here’s a very detailed explanation if you want one - http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/4245-swot-analysis.html
But in short – It’s a four-piece framework used to identify AND improve any businesses or persons INTERNAL Strengths & Weaknesses and EXTERNAL Opportunities & Threats – Simple!
But how will it benefit me?
First, you’re evaluating your personal proposition in a unique way, which gives you a superb opportunity to take solid action.
Second, upon completion it WILL become the core of your future improvement efforts.
So when do I do it?
Once a year is a good time.But even more importantly. When planning your next move, be it in business, work or even your personal life.
Yes! – That’s how flexible it really is; so while you’re reading this post, do make sure you take action!
Before we begin, A Success Story
A few years ago, my friend was seeking out a new work opportunity.
There were so many jobs on the market, which was exciting for sure.
Problem - He didn’t have a clue which role(s) to apply for.
Didn’t know where to start, other than search on Jobsite.co.uk for Business Analyst jobs in the local area.
www.Reed.co.uk/Business-Analyst-Jobs – if you fancy an up-to-date peak.
So I said “why don’t you do a Personal SWOT?”
He said “a WHAT?”
I said “a SWOT” and then I explained.
He took immediate action, which eventually opened the door to an amazing opportunity.
Here’s how he did it:
His CV needed a revamp to guarantee an interview and his interview skills needed uplifting to guarantee the role.
He didn’t know…
Which roles to apply for.
Or which key words to focus the CV on.
Or even which improvement areas would help to ultimately achieve the best opportunity.
So he acted by…
1. Completing a SWOT Analysis with an ultimate focus on himself, for himself.
2. Simply listing what should be acted upon - now, soon, or later.
3. Then acting upon that list and managing his progress.
After creating the perfect CV and attending 2 gruelling interviews (which by the way, provided unbelievable learning curves)
SUCCESS! A 3rd interview, the best opportunity of the lot and a job offer he just couldn’t refuse!
Now I’m not saying it was ALL down to the Personal SWOT Analysis template but it sure provided great focus – as he told me afterwards.
Psst. You can download a SWOT template as part of my free 72 BA Templates series.
I’m Eager, Let’s Do My SWOT Analysis
If you’re clear on how to do a SWOT, just scan over this section.
But DON’T skip the Analysis section – click here to go straight to it
Step 1 – Set the Framework
The first thing you need to do is draw a big box
Then put a horizontal and a vertical line through the middle of the box. Splitting the box into 4.
Then add your labels in each corner for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. As so...
Step 2 – List Your Strengths
A personal strength is an asset to you.
You MUST nurture them and use them as a way to distinguish yourself from others.
So, now answer the following questions:
- What do you do well?
- What are your best skills?
- What certifications do you have?
- What do others say you are good at? (Ask others what they think)
- What achievements you have received?
- What drives your enthusiasm?
- What resources do you actively use to better yourself? (Books, Blogs etc.)
- What personal contacts do you have that benefits your position?
- What online contacts do you have in relation to work i.e. LinkedIn, Twitter.
Tip: keep Facebook social if you can.
For assistance at this stage you can use my article:
Step 3 – List Your Weaknesses
If you answered ‘NONE’ to any of the questions in the Strengths section.
These points must now become a weakness.
For example – if you don’t have any online contacts – that is a weakness
Whatever comes out at this stage – DO NOT see your weaknesses as blockers to your progression.
Weaknesses are purely opportunities for growth. There is always something you can do to overcome your weaknesses –
So, these are the questions you need to answer –
- What tasks do you usually avoid?
- Where do you lack confidence?
- What do others see as your weakness?
- What are your negative work habits?
- What qualifications or particular skills do you lack?
- What are your fears in relation to your working situations?
Step 4 – Filtering your Strengths and Weaknesses
This step is pretty easy…
You need to remove any duplicate entries as you get carried away writing down your strengths and weaknesses.
Because you can’t have one attribute listed as both a Strength and Weakness.
So if you find any duplicates, decide at this point, which one it is.
As a final heads up, some areas you might have focussed on to identify Strengths and Weaknesses include, but is by no means restricted to:
- Time keeping
- Attention span
- Finance availability
- Other Commitments
- Technology knowledge
- Interpersonal skills
- Medical situation
- Family support
Be Creative – you’re sure to find some great strengths, but even better, you'll find great opportunities to work with.
Step 5 – List your Threats
Some would recommend listing Opportunities before Threats.
Neither is officially correct.
But I like to use threats to identify opportunities.
Here’s the proof…
Threat - Changes to the BA Project methodologies could leave me behind.
Opportunity – Use blogs, books and social media to keep up-to-date with new methodologies.
Here are some questions that will need answers:
- What obstacles are there at work stopping you progressing?
- Is your role or area of expertise changing/evolving?
- Are technology advancements automating your work – and shrinking your industry?
- Could any of your weaknesses actually become threats?
Note: Weaknesses are current, Threats are future.
Add your answers to the template as downloaded through the bonus section.
Step 6 – List your Opportunities
Now this is an extremely powerful part of the SWOT
It’s the future of your existence and gateway to pure excitement
As some might say – “Save the best ‘till last”
So let’s get straight to the point, there’s a lot to think about here:
- How can you take advantage of new technology?
- What qualifications could you get?
- Is your industry growing / changing?
- Are there possible future contacts out there both online and in person?
- Is there a need in your company that no one is yet filling?
- What industry events could you attend?
- Has someone recently left or soon to leave within your company?
- Are there any projects you might be able to get involved in?
- Is your current company growing?
Step 7 – Filtering your Threats and Opportunities
As with your strengths and weaknesses, you need to remove any duplicated entries into your Threats and Opportunities.
You could take this one step further and identify at least one opportunity for every weakness and at least one opportunity for every threat.
Once done, move onto the fun AND most important part.
OK I’ve Done ALL that, What Now?
Step 8 - Taking Action
The aim of taking action on your SWOT Analysis should be:
- Move Weaknesses into Strengths
- Move Threats into Opportunities
- Use Opportunities to overcome Weaknesses and create Strengths
- Nurture and Capitalise on Strengths
And here's how you do it.
Now that you’ve completed the previous steps, you have a clear and super actionable SWOT Analysis.
What I'm about to say here is for sure the most important part of a SWOT Analysis, so don’t procrastinate.
I repeat, don’t delay this exercise.
If you don’t do it, then any previous work you did on your SWOT will be little more than pointless.
But that’s not all.
Completing a proper analysis of your work will clearly focus your improvement efforts on the most valuable aspects first.
But what’s the best way to do this?
Open up Microsoft Excel
Create a spreadsheet with the following headings:
- Type (start with weaknesses - W,O,T,S)
- Description (taken from your template)
- Required Action (how you will take action to maintain/improve your SWOT)
- Urgency (How quickly you need to take the required action)
- Date to be completed
Here's an example:
Work all the way through your completed SWOT template until you have filled in whole spreadsheet.
You can then filter your spreadsheet to show the immediate actions.
Step 9 - Managing Your Progress
In order to manage your progress effectively – you need to return to your SWOT spreadsheet every 2-3 months.
Update the necessary content on your spreadsheet in relation to your new Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
I suggest you save a copy of your SWOT in the same folder as your CV.
That way you can work on them together whenever you feel necessary.
Ready to begin?
Click the image below and enter your email address to get access to an example and template of a completed SWOT Analysis.