In order for SaaS companies to grow effectively they need to be able to assess their own strengths and weaknesses. You can only iterate when you know what’s going right, and you can only improve when you know what’s going wrong. A SWOT analysis can also be a useful tool for an individual.

If, for example, you’re between occupations or if you’re struggling to take your place in the SaaS landscape, it can be helpful to do a thorough analysis of your own strengths and weaknesses, then you can be more targeted in your job search. 

How to perform a personal SWOT analysis

Devised by Edmund P. Learned, C. Roland Christensen, Kenneth Andrews and William D. Guth in the 1960s, SWOT analysis is a way to assess four criteria: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Taken together, these four criteria can give you a holistic profile of a company or individual’s current state and potential. 

An important distinction to make: strengths and weaknesses are dictated by you, while opportunities and threats come from the outside.

However, by considering your own strengths alongside external forces, it can reveal to which opportunities you’ll be able to take advantage of using your skills. On the flip side, it can reveal which threats your current weaknesses might make you vulnerable too. 

For a SWOT analysis of your company, threats may include shifts in the market, or economic recession, while a SWOT analysis of your personal strengths  may be your experience with SEO, while a weakness may be that you sometimes struggle with time management. 

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With SWOT analysis, it can be beneficial to have an idea of what your goals are for either yourself or the company.

We all have a whole host of strengths and weaknesses, but this isn’t a task where you need to list them all, but rather it’s about listing the ones that are going to impact your current goal either positively or negatively. So, first be clear about what your goals are, make them as concrete and actionable as possible, then you can start putting together your SWOT analysis. 

With a SWOT analysis, it only really works if you're as honest and objective as possible. Sometimes we're totally unaware of what our own strengths and weaknesses are, so it can be helpful to gain the perspective of a colleague or friend.

How to start a swot analysis? 

The first step is to either find a template online, or you can take inspo from some examples online and make your own. In order to perform an effective swot analysis, there are certain questions you should ask yourself, such as:

  • Where do my inherent strengths lie?
  • Which skills have I actively cultivated?
  • What innate talents do I possess?

It’s not as simple as asking yourself what you’re good and bad at, you should separate weaknesses that you might be able to work on as opposed to those that are going to require a lot more effort. Remember, the main purpose of a SWOT analysis is to be able to form a plan for further development, so you should be as precise as possible when categorizing your qualities. 

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The next step is to identify weaknesses, try asking yourself these questions: For your company you might want to ask the following: 

  • In what areas are we growing? 
  • Where has growth stalled? 
  • How might we be viewed by or competitors?

Or, if you’re conducting a SWOT analysis on yourself, ask the following: 

  • What negative work habits and traits do I exhibit?
  • Are there any aspects of my education or training that require enhancement?
  • What weaknesses might others perceive in me?

Next, you need to move onto opportunities. Think of new events occurring that you can take advantage of using your unique skills. If you’re making a SWOT as an entrepreneur, this may be gaps in the market, where users aren’t having their needs met These are the kind of questions that need to be asked:  

  •  Is my industry experiencing contraction or shifting direction?
  • Do I face significant competition in the market?
  • What represents the primary external threat to achieving our goal?
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These questions will also work if you’re simply an individual pursuing a new role, you need to ask yourself similar questions, but you should also consider which skills are high in demand in the industry and whether your skills align with them.

The truth is, by really getting honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses you can force yourself to seek out new opportunities that you might not have noticed before. A big part of professional development is self assessment and it’s always better to take stock and consider where you are before going forward.

Determining the outcome of your SWOT

The point of Swot is to determine opportunities for development, so when you identify a weakness you can think about how you can utilize your strengths to turn weaknesses into new strengths. 

Similarly, with your threats, you should think about how potential dangers can be turned into strengths. If threats are going to lead others to struggle, can you use your strengths to swoop in and save the day. 

Or on the personal side, if one of your weaknesses is that you struggle with the bustle of office life, it might be in your best interest to apply for one of the many remote or hybrid jobs on the market right now. 

Wrapping up: Post SWOT action

Once you've got your action plan sorted, make sure to keep tabs on your progress. Set some benchmarks and just keep chipping away at them. Stick with it, and bit by bit, you'll find yourself exactly where you want to be.

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