A lot of people perform a SWOT Analysis to help them evaluate a project or business plan.
If you want to start a business, here’s a SWOT Analysis business plan template, as a pdf, from businessballs.com: Business SWOT Analysis Template Download.
Here’s the same template as an editable word document: free_SWOT_analysis_template.
I first read about a SWOT Analysis via the book, The Principles of Successful Freelancing by Miles Burke.
Creating a SWOT
The planning term SWOT first appeared in the 1960s. A SWOT analysis is really just a simple strategic planning method that helps evaluate projects and businesses. It’s based around a four-square grid, which covers Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
I’ve used it a number of times to help me make decisions around new products or service offerings under consideration, and it works just as well for business models.
To start, list all of your strengths and weaknesses – these can be thought of as the internal elements, over which you have some degree of control. Continue by identifying all of the opportunities and threats that you can – these are generally external forces, such as competitors and the industry at large. Then, look for ways to use your strengths, improve on your weaknesses, exploit the opportunities available to you, and fend off the threats.
A SWOT analysis certainly doesn’t need to be as long-winded as it may sound; I have found some of the most useful SWOT analysis are those that fit onto a single page. By way of example, let’s look at our very own Jacob and Emily.
Jacob has put together the beginning of a SWOT, which looks like this:
- natural networker
- (great with people)
- fantastic portfolio of work
- small savings
- has never run a business before
- not proficient with code
- knows the industry
- has a good understanding of market
- has many contacts who may be prospects
- many freelancers work nearby
- large firms offering a similar service
Emily, on the other hand, has put together a SWOT that is more like this.
- has a wide range of skills
- very hard working
- not very good at planning
- sometimes takes more time to complete projects than she intends to
- only web developer freelancing in her local area
- has a contract or two already lined up
- other people becoming freelancers
- lack of clients in small city
These examples are only a few lines long, but you can easily extend them to a page or more. The concept is really a succinct and useful method of establishing your pros and cons.
- (from page 21, 23-24 of The Principle of Successful Freelancing by Miles Burke)
Pictorial SWOT Example
Applying SWOT to My Personal and Professional Goals(Project)
What: Launching/Developing Community Bucket List/creating participation and a community/turning Community Bucket List into a source of income.
- I love helping people.
- I’m a great networker
- I’m great with connecting with people
- I’m passionate about Community Bucket List and creating a community where people help each other achieve their dreams and goals.
- I have great web design, blogging, social media and internet marketing skills.
- I have a good web presence and online base.
- Working on this excites and energizes me.
- My bookkeeping/tax organizing skills are not the best.
- I need a structured/organized system for how I work/keep track of things.
- I have low start-up/living funds, which puts stress on me.
- Maintaining structure in my life and a functional schedule.
- There are so many awesome lifestyle designers to connect with!
- I can get advice or connections from my mentor, Mikko Kemppe (Awesome Guy!)
- Twitter/FB/LinkedIn/Blogs/Flickr/YouTube – All ways to connect with people!
- My cousin, Ramona Minero, my brother, Albert Minero, my mom and dad, Michelle and Al Minero, and my huge ass family as a whole supply me with many connections and opportunities.
- My friend base.
- San Fran!
- East Coast Travel can turn into opportunities and connections.
- I’m here to help and connect with people, every person I meet/encounter is an opportunity to collaborate with/help, etc.
- There’s some website competition, but the great thing about Community Bucket List is that competition can turn into allies, networking, and members of or resources for Community Bucket List.
- I’m going to put more thought into possible threats because I can’t think of any more from the top of my head.
Action Steps (a.k.a) Take Action Now
- Write down what your goal/project/business is.
- Create a chart or list and fill in your SWOT Analysis.
- Put your SWOT Analysis somewhere where you can refer to it often, in a journal, in a binder where you record all of your goals and progress, on this site in the forum.
- Share your SWOT Analysis with a family member, friend, partner, or someone who you trust and who will support your goals. You can also share your SWOT Analysis with the Community Bucket List Community by posting it in the forum or in the comment section below.
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