SWOT Analysis Template

A SWOT analysis is a high-level strategic planning tool that will help you identify where you are doing well and where you need to improve, both from an internal and external perspective.

It is an acronym for

“Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.”

You typically want to conduct a SWOT analysis at the beginning of your strategic planning process or during a strategy refresh. Your entire team should be heavily involved because they should have the ability to look across your shop and offer insight into your competitive environment and/or your shops’ landscape. When the team offers appropriate recommendations regarding your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, you will end up with a SWOT analysis that has the credibility to be used constructively as:

  • Part of an annual strategy review
  • To react and respond proactively to a changing environment
  • To explore new initiatives
  • To focus and redirect efforts and resources
  • As part of emergency and crisis planning
  • As a broad environmental scan for initial planning

Strengths

Strengths are characteristics that give you a competitive advantage and can be leveraged for success. When choosing strengths they should be unique to your shop. If everyone in your industry has the same strength then it’s not a strength, it’s necessary for your survival.

Top strengths typically include:

  • People/Staff
  • Reputation
  • Longevity in Market
  • Customer Service
  • Product Availability
  • Product/Service Knowledge
  • Trustworthiness

List of example questions:

  • What do we do better than anyone else?
  • What unique resources can we draw upon that the other shops can’t?
  • What do our customers see as our strengths and why do they choose us?

Advantages Your Shop has over your Competitors

There are many potential advantages your shop could have such as location, longevity, business connections, community connections, etc. The key point in identifying the advantages that you have over the other shops. 

                         Exercise 1 – List 5 Advantage over your Competitors

  1. _______________________________________________________
  2. ______________________________________________________
  3.  ______________________________________________________
  4. ______________________________________________________
  5. _______________________________________________________

Identify Your Shops areas of Excellence

List things you do better than anyone else. There are many services in the auto repair that are the same and there won’t be much difference between you and your competition. However, if there are one or more characteristics of your business that set you apart from the competition they can equate to great strengths.

                            Exercise 2 – List 5 Areas that set you apart

         

  1. ____________________________________________________________

           2____________________________________________________________

            3____________________________________________________________

             4___________________________________________________________

              5____________________________________________________________

Identify any Unique Resources that you have

Are there employee skills or specialized equipment that your business possesses then you have an advantage over your competitors. Unique resources can bring business and can also allow for better profit margins.

                          Exercise 3 – List 5 Unique Resources

1 . _____________________________________________________________

2._____________________________________________________________

3._____________________________________________________________

4._____________________________________________________________

5._____________________________________________________________

List Low-Cost Resources you have

Personnel, parts, or equipment that can be employed at a lower cost than the competition are extremely valuable. These factors can be used to increase sales and achieve greater profits.

                      Exercise 4 – List 5 Unique Resources

1____________________________________________________________

2____________________________________________________________

3____________________________________________________________

4____________________________________________________________

5____________________________________________________________

What are your Unique Selling Programs

The unique selling programs is defined by the factors that will help you get sales. It is the method by which you promote the benefits offered by only your shop in the products or services you provide.

  Exercise 5 – List 5 Unique Selling Position

1____________________________________________________________

2____________________________________________________________

3____________________________________________________________

4____________________________________________________________

5____________________________________________________________

Are you Customer Focused?

“The Customer is the greatest strength for your shop because without them there is no business to be had. If you take really good care of them they will help your business thrive and grow. If you don’t, They are more than willing to take their business to one of your competitors.”

Weakness

Weaknesses are issues that reduce your competitiveness and require improvement.

Top weaknesses typically include:

  • Weak Performing Employees
  • Employee Turnover
  • Communication and Phone Skills
  • Lack of Professional Systems/Processes
  • Interface Between Service and Sales Teams
  • Quick to Discount to Save Sale
  • Inconsistency

A list of example questions e.g.

  • What are the other shops doing better than you?
  • What makes potential customers buy from others?
  • What factors cause you to lose sales?

What areas need improvement?

Weaknesses are areas in which your competitors have an advantage. From another perspective, weaknesses can be recognized as characteristics that customers view as negatives.

 Exercise 5 – List 5 Area of Improvement needed

1____________________________________________________________

2____________________________________________________________

3____________________________________________________________

4____________________________________________________________

5____________________________________________________________

List Markets, Areas or Sales to Avoid

In any business, there are markets in which you cannot compete. There can also be specific customer attributes in your defined target market in which you cannot perform well. Competing in these areas can be more of a detriment than a benefit as success may not be possible to achieve.

 Exercise 5 – List 5 Markets/Areas/Sales to Avoid

1____________________________________________________________

2____________________________________________________________

3____________________________________________________________

4____________________________________________________________

5____________________________________________________________

Areas your Target Market will Perceive as Weak

The perspective of the customer is the most important factor in determining areas of weakness. Analyzing lost sales is a good source of information on areas of weakness. Prospects and customers who decide not to do business with a  company and are willing to provide reasons for the decision are excellent sources of identifying areas of weakness.

 Exercise 5 – List 5 Areas perceived as weak

1____________________________________________________________

2____________________________________________________________

3____________________________________________________________

4____________________________________________________________

5____________________________________________________________

Itemize Factors that cause Loss of Sales

Customers that decide not to buy and are willing to divulge the reasons why it can be an excellent source of identifying weaknesses. Asking customers why they chose to do business with a competitor over you will provide information on areas in which improvement is needed. A sample of 25 or more lost sales will give you an idea of the most prevalent reasons for business loss.

 Exercise 5 – List 5 Factors that cause a loss of Sale

1____________________________________________________________

2____________________________________________________________

3____________________________________________________________

4____________________________________________________________

5____________________________________________________________

Are you Customer Perspective?

“Customers prefer to do business with a strong organization and your weaknesses are damaging their confidence. It only takes one weak performance for them to reconsider alternatives for their future needs. If the customer is merely satisfied by your service, they’ll swiftly depart as soon as they find someone who exceeds you.”

Opportunities

Opportunities are the reasons why your business is likely to grow.

Top opportunities typically include:

  • Recruiting/Attracting Quality Employees
  • Improving Sales/Customer Service Skills
  • Exceeding Customer Expectations
  • Improving Corporate Culture
  • Implement Systems/Processes to Create Consistency

List of example questions:

  • What changes and trends in our external environment can we benefit from?
  • Is the opportunity ongoing or is there a limited window to get involved?
  • Is the market expanding or do other factors make it worth pursuing?
  • Identify New Potential Markets

Your Shop should choose a target market based on the ability to provide quality service. Competitive strengths may provide an opportunity for expansion into new markets. For example, if your shop is doing a good job of providing service in the retail market it may be possible to exploit the strengths developed in retail to the business to the business market.

List 5 – New Potential Markets

1 _______________________________________________________________

2 _______________________________________________________________

3 _______________________________________________________________

4 _______________________________________________________________

5_______________________________________________________________

  • Speculate on New Service Offerings

Opportunities can be found in providing new services. For example, an auto repair shop that doesn’t offer tire mounting and balancing may consider providing this service. Or a tire shop may consider expanding mechanical repair service offerings.

List 5 – Potential New Service to Offer

1 _______________________________________________________________

2 _______________________________________________________________

3 _______________________________________________________________

4 _______________________________________________________________

5_______________________________________________________________

  • Evaluate Technological Advances in Auto Repair

New capabilities in the areas of systems, diagnostic equipment, and vehicle components can provide the potential for advancement in vehicle repair service. Taking a proactive approach to technological advancement can result in building advantages over the competition.

List 5 -Evaluate the technology in your shop

1 _______________________________________________________________

2 _______________________________________________________________

3 _______________________________________________________________

4 _______________________________________________________________

5_______________________________________________________________

  • Assess the Impact of Governmental Regulations

Government regulations can sometimes provide opportunities for business. Anticipating changes brought about by changes in laws can allow an auto repair business to be prepared to offer necessary services ahead of the competition.

List 5 – Analysis of Government Policies Pro/Con that affect you business

1 _______________________________________________________________

2 _______________________________________________________________

3 _______________________________________________________________

4 _______________________________________________________________

5_______________________________________________________________

  • Consider Demographic Changes in the Market

The demographics of a geographic market will evolve over time. The age, income level, and other attributes of people in an area will change. Anticipating these changes can provide opportunities to offer the right services at the right time.

List 5 – How is you customer Avatar evolving/changing

1 _______________________________________________________________

2 _______________________________________________________________

3 _______________________________________________________________

4 _______________________________________________________________

5_______________________________________________________________

Are you Customer Focus?

“He/She can be the greatest opportunity for your organization. They cost far less to keep than it does for you to secure a new customer. But you must truly value them and consistently demonstrate your value to them through your actions. If you’re effective, your opportunity extends beyond just them and they are sure to tell their friends and family how well they’ve been treated. If you fail, they will become one of your competitor’s opportunities and they will make sure to let friends and family know.”

Threats

Threats are issues that might inhibit growth and competitiveness.

Top threats typically include:

  • Increased Competition (Live or online)
  • Poor Customer Service
  • Losing Good Employees
  • Carrying Poor Employees
  • Losing Customers
  • Online Customer Comments
  • Complacency

List of example questions:

  • What moves are the other shops making that impact on our business?
  • What changes will negatively affect revenue and profits?
  • What threats do our suppliers face that will impact on us?
  • Consider Advances Made by Competitors

The competition will make changes in order to succeed and those advances in their service offerings may pose a threat to ongoing business. New service offerings, pricing, etc. may cut into your market share. Knowledge of competitors’ activities can be instrumental in identifying threats before they become problems.

List 5 – What Have your competitors been doing

1 _______________________________________________________________

2 _______________________________________________________________

3 _______________________________________________________________

4 _______________________________________________________________

5_______________________________________________________________

  • Evaluate your Financial Circumstances

Are there sufficient resources available to withstand upcoming challenges. Strained financial resources can make it difficult or even impossible to deal with challenges when they arise.

List 5 -Evaluate your Financial situation

1 _______________________________________________________________

2 _______________________________________________________________

3 _______________________________________________________________

4 _______________________________________________________________

5_______________________________________________________________

  • Note any Potentially Problematic Environmental Changes

Marketplaces are not static in nature – they are fluid and change over time. Governmental regulations, changing demographics, and other factors can impact sales and business growth negatively if not recognized and dealt with.

List 5 – Anything that could impact growth

1 _______________________________________________________________

2 _______________________________________________________________

3 _______________________________________________________________

4 _______________________________________________________________

5_______________________________________________________________

  • Identify Potential Obstacles to Achieving Objectives

Generally, threats to business success can originate from any one of a number of sources. The purpose of identifying them is to pay attention to them and not dismiss them until after they become a problem.

List 5 – Possible hurdles to impede growth

1 _______________________________________________________________

2 _______________________________________________________________

3 _______________________________________________________________

4 _______________________________________________________________

5_______________________________________________________________

Are you Customer Focus?

“ He/She can be the greatest threat in your organization. They have plenty of alternatives for tires and vehicle services. So, If they feel undervalued, they will leave you for somewhere they feel valued. If you’re trying to sell them with your best interest in mind, they will take their business to someone that will put their best interest in mind. If you cannot resolve a concern/problem to his/her satisfaction not only will you lose their business but they will tell their friends and family not to do business with you.”

Examples of SWOT