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Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats – Do You Know Yours?

By   /  January 13, 2014  /  Comments Off on Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats – Do You Know Yours?

With the New Year come those pesky New Year’s Resolutions. Maybe, in addition to resolving to stop all your bad habits, you also made a resolution to develop, or at least think more about, your business plan. If so, here are a couple tools that might help you on your way.

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Courtesy of scottchan and freedigitalphotos.net

Courtesy of scottchan and freedigitalphotos.net

Have you ever thought of SWOTing your way to success, or at least to a plan for heading that direction? SWOT is a method for evaluating your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, as part of your business planning process.  Thinking about strengths and weaknesses helps you focus internally on what you can and maybe can’t do.  Threats and opportunities is a look at the external factors that influence y our business that you may or may not have control over. Taking the time to identify these factors in your business will also help you identify where your strengths and opportunities intersect to increase your chances of success as well as things you should avoid.

When working through this process, involve the people that are most directly involved with your business, including spouses, family members that work in the business with you and hired employees.  Consider asking for input from outside advisors like your attorney, banker, a farm planner, or accountant.

To help you get started thinking strategically about where you’re headed, I put together two different SWOT worksheets with prompts to assist you in assessing your strengths and weaknesses and what’s happening around you.  Print them out and take a run at it.  You might like the results!

On Farm Business Plan SWOT Worksheet.  Click to download.

On Farm Business Plan SWOT Worksheet. Click to download.

UVM Dairy SWOT Analysis.  Click to Download.

UVM Dairy SWOT Analysis. Click to Download.

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About the author

Mark Cannella is a farm business management specialist for University of Vermont Extension. He has been working in the field of agriculture in VT for over 10 years. He has managed farm operations in vegetable production, maple sugaring and agricultural education. His current focus is the management and delivery of farm business planning programs, business management trainings and farm economic research. Mark contributes to programs that serve a diverse audience of farm producers raising different products at different scales. His areas of expertise are farm financial analysis, farm business planning, project/program management and applied food systems research.

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