Guest post by Julissa Prado, founder of haircare company Rizos Curls

A successful business needs a good strategy. As a small business, you can’t afford to put your efforts into something that doesn’t have a foreseeable return on investment. It is important to optimize all your resources and campaigns to ensure they give you the best results. A strategy allows you to hone in on what success looks like, and create a blueprint to accomplish it. Your strategy will serve as a roadmap for your business, and will allow you to clearly see where you want to go and the route you need to take to get there.

Below is my secret method for how I build a winning strategy for my business utilizing the SWOT analysis method. SWOT stands for: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. There are many examples online for how to best fill one out, but below is how I like to conduct a SWOT analysis for small businesses:

Strengths: What does your business do well? What is your competitive advantage? Are there any internal/external capabilities that set you apart?

Weaknesses: Where do you struggle? What are your shortcomings? What areas do competitors do better than you?

Opportunities: What trends have you not taken advantage of? What are new areas for growth that have not been explored yet? What new opportunities are present in your industry? Any underserved markets?

Threats: New competitors? Changes in the industry landscape? What is the competition doing? What threats could potentially hurt your business?

How do businesses use SWOT analysis?

Step 1: Use the above information to fill out a SWOT Analysis for your business, competitors, and any successful businesses you admire.

Step 2: Circle anything that is a strength on your list, but is a weakness, opportunity or threat on the other businesses list.

Step 3: All the items that you circled should now be a part of your strategy plan. You should focus your efforts on becoming the BEST at those items. As a small business, it’s going to be harder to compete with big-time competitors on their strengths, BUT will be easier to compete with them on their weaknesses, opportunities, or threats. Work on becoming the industry leader for the items the competition is falling short on. Write out your business goals and plan out how you will use your strengths to set yourself apart from the competition and get to your goals utilizing the items you do better than them.

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