SWOT Analysis for Small Businesses

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats + Trends

Comprehensive Consulting Solutions for Small Businesses has worked through many SWOTs with clients. With our current environment and new normal from COVID-19, we highly suggest that all business owners revisit their SWOT Analysis – or even complete a new SWOT, but either way – make sure and add another T for trends.

Most of our clients have completed a SWOT with the normal points – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, but the big missing is Trends. Sometimes, business owners include the trends in Threats or Opportunities or in internal areas like the Strengths and Weaknesses sections – either approach works.

Just make sure you are accounting for trends – could be within the other sections or within its own area of the SWOT. We will get to Trends more in depth later, but for now – let’s review the basics of a SWOT Analysis.

A SWOT is never a final document, like a business plan, it is a work in progress. It should be updated and reviewed at least once a quarter to account for recent changes, current trends, etc. A SWOT can be very simple or complicated – it all depends on the business owner. We have completed some that are 1 page and others that were several pages long – each business has different needs and each one is unique.

When completing a SWOT, don’t over complicate it – there is not one correct answer and, as mentioned, it is a working document. It will change and improve or time – just like other tasks within a business – the more you practice, the better it becomes!

Many of our clients have questions on examples of each component of the SWOT – since it feels like sometimes, they overlap. And they could – the employee that is amazing and knows everything is a strength, but also could be a weakness if she/he left. Also, there is usually some confusion on strengths being the same as an opportunities or weaknesses and threats being the same.

When you are completing a SWOT, think about Strengths and Weaknesses as internal factors and Opportunities and Threats as external. This usually helps owners distinguish between the categories – since we, as business owners, know what we can control (internal) and what we can’t (external).

Don’t let it all bog you down – just complete or revisit your SWOT as best as you can (if you need help, we are here for you). Here are some examples to, hopefully, make the process a little easier.

Examples of Strengths – the S in SWOT (Internal):

• Experience / Employees

• Repeat Clients

• Reputation

• Low Operating Costs and/or High Profit

• Strong Supply Chain

• Equipment is Maintenance Free

• Recognized Brand / Superior Product

• Strong Financials

Weaknesses – the W in SWOT (Internal):

• Lack of Experience or New Employees

• Marketing Plan

• Employee Turnover

• Bad Location

• Lack of Internal Controls

• Weak Supply Chain

• High Costs and Low Profit

• Training - Poor Customer Service

Opportunities – the O in SWOT (External):

• Expand Geographically

• Diversify Products/Services

• Develop Strategic Alliances

• New Target Market based on Consumer Behaviors

• Identify and Enter Underserved Markets

• Improve Partnerships – Education, Communication, etc

• Acquisition of a Complimenting Business

• New Technology or Automation

Threats – the T in SWOT (External):

• Competition

• Market Saturation

• Global Virus

• Shift in Supplier Options

• Tight Credit Market

• New Taxes or Business Regulations

• Vendor Pricing

• Increase in Interest Rates

As we mentioned above, add another T to your SWOT for Trends. Trends could be related to the industry, consumer habits, or COVID-19 – such as no contact transactions, change in types of interactions, city restrictions, or change in customer purchasing powers. The virus was not on many SWOTs – who would have thought this would have happened! We can’t control that it happened, but we can control how we plan for the future – a future that is different than it was in January 2020. When we take in consideration of trends, we can better plan for how our business will operate going forward.

Trends – the Added T in SWOT (if not added in the other sections above):

• Industry Trends

• Environmental Trends

• Transportation Trends

• Consumer Habits

• No Contact Transactions

• Change in Types of Interactions

• City Restrictions and Consumer Reactions

• Possible change in customer purchasing powers

Hopefully, this information was helpful. If you want to learn more about a SWOT Analysis or read more of our blogs, check out the links below…

SWOT Resources:

Score’s SWOT Analysis Worksheet

How to Conduct a SWOT Analysis for Your Business


SEO SWOT Analysis: Focus your efforts in areas that deliver results

Strategic Planning to Actionable Items: From SWOT to TOWS Analysis

Gaining a Competitive Edge by Conducting A SWOT Analysis on Your Workforce

Other Blogs to Read:

Business Plan

Business Planning 2020

1st Quarter 2020 Checklist for Small Business Owners in Arkansas

How Business Consulting Can Help your Small Business

Benefits of Using a Small Business Consultant

Please note: the resources listed above aren’t endorsements by us – they are provided only as information. We were not paid by or affiliated with any of the companies listed.

Comprehensive Consulting Solutions for Small Businesses is a business consulting firm located in Northwest Arkansas that consults and coaches business owners across the country. We help small businesses with the pieces of their small business puzzle such as marketing, operations, retention, sales, processes, recruiting, and more. Our founder, Mollie Watkins, is an Accredited Small Business Consultant® – the only one in the state of Arkansas. If your business needs help with a SWOT or has a current or upcoming transition, challenge, or opportunity, call a Small Business Consultant today at 479-935-2488 to schedule your free consultation!