Assessing Your Ideas

Using a SWOT Analysis

Your next step should be to assess each idea that you have outlined. One of the best ways to do this is a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (in this case, of your potential company). The strengths and weaknesses are usually considered to be internal, while the opportunities and threats are generally external to the company. This analysis helps you ask yourself, “Where are you now?” This gives you an opportunity to take stock of the overall situation before committing to a particular idea.

Make sure that you are ready to spend a bit of time when you undertake a SWOT analysis so that you are producing an accurate description of your business idea. Be sure to gather accurate data, do research, and consult experts in your field. Once you’ve done a first draft of your SWOT analysis, have a trusted mentor, coach, or consultant review and analyze it.

SWOT Matrix

A SWOT analysis is often organized using this type of matrix:

Advanced Types of SWOT Analyses

After you’ve chosen a business idea, you can analyze specific segments of it using the SWOT process. Here are some ideas:

  • Your company within your geographic marketplace
  • Your company within your industry
  • Your products and/or services
  • The community and what is currently going on that may affect future planning
  • Your primary and secondary target markets and what they want/need
  • The competition and what they are doing
  • External forces that will affect your business
  • Environmental factors
  • Human resources (including the availability of employees, safety issues, etc.)