When you conduct a SWOT analysis, you search for your internal strengths and weaknesses as well as your external opportunities and threats. These analyses should be a regular part of your business process because these internal and external factors can change over time. These are tips to help you conduct an effective analysis.

Choose Individuals Throughout Your Company

You should gather feedback from individuals throughout your company. You need management from different departments, but you should also have several team members in your group as well. Each person brings a different perspective to your analysis. You could even have everyone in your company participate.

Have Your Team Compile Their Ideas

Give your team members a defined amount of time to develop ideas for each of the four categories of your analysis. Have them evaluate their departments as well as the company as a whole. You may want to give them a few days to gather their thoughts individually because their ideas may be triggered when they complete certain tasks.

You can also give your staff members questions that they can consider while they create their lists. Then, have your staff turn their suggestions over to the department head or someone in the department who will be attending your meeting.

Set Aside a Few Hours for a SWOT Meeting

You may only need one hour, especially if each department has a list of ideas from their staff members. During the meeting, have each representative share their lists. Cross off those that repeat. You can provide sticky notes, have someone write each idea on a whiteboard, or compile it in a computer program that is projected on the wall. Any way you present the information is fine as long as it is clear and easily viewable to everyone in the room.

Organize the Ideas

Once you have the list, move each item into its respective category: internal strengths or weaknesses or external opportunities or threats. Discuss each initiative or idea thoroughly. Then, vote on those that are most important or exciting. By prioritizing the list, you can focus on the most beneficial or threatening initiatives to your company.

Assign Tasks

After you have determined the priority of each item on your combined lists, you should assign individuals to head them up. Choose professionals who are directly impacted by or who can directly impact the initiative. For example, if your company lacks key personnel in its accounting department, assign someone from human resources and the department to address the threat.

The goal of your SWOT analysis is to set goals and create strategies that can improve your business.