Business Operations

SWOT Analysis

 

  • Understanding how your social enterprise will fare in current and changing environments is an important step in the business planning process. A SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis helps you identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats related to your social enterprise. With this understanding, you be better able to build strategies that maximize strengths and opportunities while minimizing weaknesses and the risks of potential threats.
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  • Business Assessment

  • Your social enterprise is impacted by forces, both exernal and internal, that determine its success or failure. First, consider the internal strengths and weaknesses of your social enterprise's ability to implement and execute its goals.
  • Strengths are internal conditions - skills, aptitudes and aspects - that enable your social enterprise to effectively deliver products or services based on your customers' needs. Strengths enable your social enterprise to distinguish itself from its competitors as well as block their attempts to imitate your products or services. Examples of strengths include skilled staff, a good reputation, or access to particular resources.

  • Weaknesses are internal conditions that can lead to poor performance. Examples of weaknesses include obsolete technology or equipment, poor quality control, or weak managerial skills.

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  • Customer Perception

  • Customer perception is an important factor that you can (in theory) control internally. Think about how your offering is perceived by potential customers. Consider the specific features of your product or service, perceived value to customers, quality, reputation or name recognition, brand and image. Are these elements strengths or weaknesses?
  • List at least three of these and other factors relevant to your social enterprise as either a weakness or a strength.
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  • Business Operations

  • Business operations can also be influenced internally, leading to social enterprise's success or failure. Think about your social enterprise's mission statement, resources available to you, capacity and infrastructure, operating efficiencies or economies of scale, strategic alliances, your business location, organizational structure, client relationships, manufacturing capabilities, human resources, leadership capacity and industry expertise. Of these elements, which would you consider strengths or weaknesses?
  • List at least three of these and other factors relevant to your social enterprise as either a weakness or a strength.
  • Operating Environment Assessment

  • Your social enterprise is also impacted by external forces, things that you have little control over. These factors are important to consider so that you can respond effectively. In this section, you'll be asked to consider the opportunities and threats your social enterprise faces from external forces in the environment.
  • Opportunities are current or future conditions in an environment that a social enterprise might be able to turn to its advantage. An example of an opportunity is an increase in consumer awareness of cause-related businesses that might offer a marketing opportunity. Or a change in procurement laws might be an opportunity for a social enterprise to expand its market.

  • Threats are current or future conditions that might harm a social enterprise. A change in health and safety regulations that required protective packaging on food products or pharmaceuticals might threaten production methods, packaging technology, and invariably cost.

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  • Operating Environment

  • Think about legal and regulatory policies that your social enterprise faces, changes to the economic or political environment, transportation or communication factors that could affect your business, changes to the market or the physical climate, technology advancements, shifts in material availability or supply chain structure, or shifts in the demographics of your market. Of these elements, which would you consider threats or opportunities?
  • List at least three of these and other factors relevant to your social enterprise as either a threat or an opportunity.