One way to work out what needs the most attention is through a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis. Strengths and weaknesses apply to the business itself. Opportunities and threats come from the environment.

A SWOT analysis isn't a one-off task. As the environment and the business change, a SWOT analysis will suggest different areas needing action. Just because you've done a SWOT analysis doesn't mean you never need to do it again.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a disaster around the world, but it reminds us of the need to re-analyse our business model periodically. In normal times, performing a SWOT analysis too often (several times a year) could distract from the business at hand. But when an event like this upends everything, we need to question every aspect of our business.

The examples here are prompters - it's not a question of simply box-ticking - you need to be clear about what is around and in your business.

SWOT example


competitive edge (lower cost structure, clearly differentiated offering)

industry experience

personal connections