January 4, 2021
Today I’m starting you on the process of getting your own business plan written, and of course we start at the foundation: your SWOT Analysis!
If you are anything like me, the idea of writing a business plan WAYYY stressed me out. I put if off for a long time and only finally got it done because it was an assignment in a business course I was taking.
As soon as I got it done though, I wondered why I’d put it off for so long. It was SO helpful!
A business plan lines out your goals, your values, your offerings, and your approach to business for the year. When reviewed at least quarterly it can be used to keep you on track and from deviating too far from your original goals (because we all get excited when we see new ideas and we just want to do ALL the things!).
A business plan does take some work the first time, but once you have one in place, updating it every year is fast and easy!
Do you have a business plan? If not, I’ve got some help for you over the next few days to help you get your first one going! Are you ready for some homework? I promise, it’s not too crazy!
You need to do a SWOT analysis. Sounds scary! It’s not!
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. You need to know all of these going into your business plan. They help you know what to capitalize on, and when things get tough they help you remember that you already knew about that tough spot!
First, start with your strengths. What do you bring to your business?
Are you a great listener? Do you like to read? Does your degree or schooling give you any strengths? List out your strengths! And don’t be modest here, you want to know what tools are in your tool belt. Can’t think of anything? Ask a trusted friend! You DO have strengths!
After (or as) you list your strengths, write out how that strength plays into business.
Need an example? Here’s my strengths section from my very first SWOT analysis for my business.
I know…no one likes this part. This part can be hard. My advice, don’t dwell on it and don’t unearth every single weakness you can think of. Be realistic and be kind to yourself. Here’s what I had (just for examples):
Here you want to list out the opportunities you have in your life that might open up doors or buoy up your business. Think clubs you are in, church networks, work, neighborhood, etc.
Now, don’t think of this as sinister threats. These are simply areas that can cause trouble or hardship for your business.
Are you a parent? That’s a “threat” to the business. I know, I hated calling it that too. But this is where you think of threats not as being malicious, just things in life that make business a little more “interesting”.
This is where you look at your competition, the limitations you have, transportation issues, etc.
Great! You’ve got it! Save that and set it aside. Next week I’ll post up Assignment #2! (There are only 3 assignments to do and then we plug them in to create the full Business Plan, don’t worry!)
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