As part of the process of developing or establishing a social enterprise it is worthwhile to carry out a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats). A SWOT analysis is used to help assess the business position. It is best used for reviewing strategy, position and direction of the business. As a SWOT analysis is generally concerned with internal factors a SWOT is carried out after a PEST analysis which is more concerned with external factors. In general it is worth carrying out a SWOT analysis with a cross section of the organisation’s stakeholders. Below are some prompts that could be used:-
- What is particularly good about the products/service the organisation provides?
- What are your Unique Selling Points?
- What is your competitive advantage?
- How does your mission statement add to your work?
- How do your values make a difference to your work and the way it is carried out?
- What are the innovative elements to what you do?
- What resources do you have?
- How do the staff, volunteers and board contribute to your work?
- What is good about your management and administrative systems?
- Are you good at reaching particular markets?
- What makes you stand out from the crowd?
- What are the problems with your products/services?
- What are the gaps in your skills and capabilities?
- Do people know about you and what makes you different?
- Are you good at responding to pressure?
- Do you meet your deadlines?
- Are you focused and concentrated on core activities?
- What problems are there with the way you are financed?
- What market developments should you be considering?
- Are there any trends in your customers’ choices that could provide new opportunities?
- Are there any new groups of customers you should be targeting?
- How could you develop existing contracts?
- Are you limited to a particular geographical area?
- Could you achieve more by working with complementary organisations?
- Are you over-reliant on a few contracts?
- Could a political or legal change directly affect you?
- Do you have plans in place in the event that key staff leave?
- Is the current economic climate a potential problem?
- Is there any new competition?
SWOT or PEST - ?
PEST (Political, Economic, Social, Technological) Analysis is generally used for assessing the market and is normally carried out before a SWOT.
SWOT is generally used for assessing the business or proposal and is normally carried out after a PEST.