In the realm of strategic planning for businesses, the use of a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis is a common practice for making better-informed business decisions. For instance, with weighing various factors equally, an entrepreneur will naturally gravitate towards setting up a business in a location where it’s easier to obtain the capital they need from an SBA lending firm. Realizing where such opportunities exist and whether or not an organization is properly structured and positioned to take advantage is a key to staying competitive even in changing circumstances. The SWOT analysis is also a tool that individuals may apply to achieve success in their careers. Any time you’re faced with a decision that may have far-reaching consequences, here are the steps to work out.
Considering inherent qualities
When looking for a job, you probably have come up with a list of skills and qualifications—these are some of your strengths. And if you encounter challenges or receive criticism at work, there may be a personal weakness involved.
Strengths and weaknesses are your inherent qualities; knowing yourself in an accurate self-appraisal is the first step. To be effective, you need to be honest—neither under-valuing your skills nor glossing over any areas for improvement.
Go into detail, as well. Have you received any additional training or spent significant time focusing on mastering specific tasks? In any difficulties encountered, could you have done something better to change the outcome?
With a realistic picture of what your strengths and weaknesses are, not only will you have a strong narrative of development, but you can also apply yourself more effectively and focus on necessary improvements.
Analyzing external factors
Inherent qualities are not set in stone; they can be changed because they are under your control. By contrast, external factors are things you can’t influence. When these are in your favor, such as emerging trends that you’re familiar with, they create opportunities. Things that could work against you, such as an industry shifting away from the skills and tools you’ve mastered, are threats. External factors may be outside your ability to control or influence, but it’s still vital to be aware of them and the role they play in your success; after all, you still control how you respond to these variables.
Making the informed decision
The SWOT analysis lets you define yourself more precisely and achieve better alignment with the practicalities of any situation. For instance, if you have started your career as a photographer by taking photos of friends and family at events but want to delve into portraiture because it plays to your strengths, you may find that there isn’t any market demand, or, perhaps, there are already several established photographers specializing in that sort of work. Instead of trying to force that path of development, you could jump into a more open and stable market like weddings. You can focus on improving your skill of coordinating with a model and eventually leverage that when an opportunity comes along, possibly in a different area of photography.
By understanding and applying the business strategy of SWOT analysis to your career, you may achieve results that may seem the result of good fortune but are actually the result of hard work and smart decision-making.