A SWOT analysis is a business management tool (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) – I would like to state that your strengths and your weaknesses are the same thing. In your strength lies your greatest weakness – in your weakness lies your greatest strength.
Andrés Godoy is a guitarist born in San Antonio in Chile. His music is defined by his one arm. From his one armed technique comes a definitive sound – a smooth, exotic celebration of acceptance to use his disadvantage to his own end. He tours the world, runs workshops and invests his leadership in the music industry.
In business the SWOT analysis is a road map allowing you to follow (develop) your strengths and to avoid (contain) your weaknesses. At best, companies invest into their weakness to bring them into alignment with their strengths. This way their company profile is flat i.e. no noticeable strengths and no noticeable weaknesses – just a plateau of sameness. Example: Toyota before 2010 – a flat brand with no remarkable features. A Toyota was an excellent choice if you wanted reliability and you did not want to be noticed. Toyota’s greatness strength became their weakness.
For the rest of us there is a better way. Buried in your weaknesses is the seed of uniqueness, perhaps even greatness. Harnessing your weakness can lead to innovation and an irresistible offering to prospective clients. Take another look at your challenges, disadvantages, adversities and shortcomings. Is there a way that these can spawn a new way of doing things, a new product, protocol, structure or service?
Our family business is small but that is our advantage. We can offer a top-down custom approach to our clients that cannot be matched by large competitors. For us there are no rules and no departmental governance (besides meeting our tax obligations). Every client is a opportunity to reinvent our business offering. We embrace new clients and we dump old clients if they don’t match our commitment to quality. In some cases we invest in the client’s business model based on nothing more than our gut reaction to their commitment to quality. We can do these things because of our greatest weakness – we are a small family owned business. For us the SWOT analysis helps us use our strengths and weaknesses in a fresh new way.
“A heart, a spirit in flight does not yield to mediocrity, not surrender to adversity, or waiver of the impossible. Long before we, the entire universe composed a symphony of decay, creation and life” – Andrés Godoy