Planning for a Successful Business


One of the challenges in planning a new venture or business is taking an objective look at what is ahead for you.  Time and money are two critical resources for startups and applying them to the tasks in the right priorities is important in defining the business and executing the business plan.

One of the traditional ways of doing this is using a simple approach called the SWOT method of analysis.  This acronym stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats.   I’ve done this a number of times for a variety of projects and its always sheds some light on the matter that wasn’t intuitive.  Its a fairly simple process and you can start by yourself or get others to participate in the effort.

Here’s what I am talking about:

●      Strengths: characteristics of the business or project that give it an advantage over others

●      Weaknesses: are characteristics that place the team at a disadvantage relative to others

●      Opportunities: elements that the project could exploit to its advantage

●      Threats: elements in the environment that could cause trouble for the business or project

By creating a table that lists the elements in these categories, a variety of things begin to emerge. 

●     First it may show you that the objective of your new business may need to be redefined in some way to allow you to accomplish your objective.

●     New strategies may begin to emerge that weren’t apparent before

●     Asking and answering questions that generate meaningful information for each category makes the analysis useful and provides an opportunity to find their competitive advantage.

Taking a look at how a separate SWOT analysis looks with regard to the 4Ps of Product, Price, Promotion and Place, will bring some things into focus as you try to try to balance a negative element with a positive ones.  Failing to find a way to overcome a negative that you uncover will help you modify your strategy.

Once you get familiar with this way of clarifying your thinking about your business you’ll begin to realize how even the simplest of planning efforts provide a huge advantage in setting priorities.  Start planning for your success with a simple panning method and you will save time and money as a startup.


Pamela Kidwell
Executive Director, Business Innovation Center

Virtmark Consult

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