How does a SWOT analysis for small business work?

How to do a small business SWOT analysis

Owning and running a small business is a tough gig. You need to be on top of everything in the day-to-day, but also be looking to future are how you'll continue to grow and prosper.

A handy analytical tool for doing this is the SWOT analysis – a system that looks at your business' strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.


The first part of the SWOT analysis is examining the strengths your business has. What are the competitive advantages you possess? What do you do so much better than the competition?

Knowing your strengths is useful because it can help you better understand how to market yourself. Highlighting your value to customers and emphasising what makes your business unique makes you stand out from your competitors.

Examining your business from a number of angles is what a SWOT analysis does best.Examining your business from a number of angles is what a SWOT analysis does best.


Next is looking at your weaknesses. What does your business do poorly? Where are the chinks in your armour?

Being honest in this section is key. Only you and your management team need to see these answers – it's not like you have to share them with the world, so do your best to identify those weaker elements. Knowing your weaknesses gives you clarity around what you need to improve on and where your product or services might come up short in the customer's eyes.


This is the start of the second half of the analysis. The first is more descriptive – it's about taking an objective look at your business and laying the cards on the table for you and your managers to see. This second half is prescriptive – you take the cards and ask yourself "what do these strengths and weaknesses imply for our business?"

Together they will spell out some opportunities to develop your business. A strength can give you a launchpad to starting a new marketing campaign, or increasing your efforts in a certain sector. Yet weaknesses too can be opportunities, as they shine a light on the places you have the chance to improve in.


Strengths and weaknesses will also present some threats. The threats from weaknesses are likely more clear – disgruntled customers or even lost business can result from things you aren't great at. But strengths can also present threats, because they make you a target for other businesses. If you're known in your area for being the best at something, that can be enough for other businesses to up their game in that respect, as well as make efforts to tarnish your brand.

To learn more about how the team at Wilson Porter can take your business to the next level, get in touch with a member of the team today.