Although it is sometimes painful, revealing and probing, there is a reason that the SWOT exercise is now a standard program in most business and/or marketing planning software.
As a consultant, I have memorable associations of using this method. It cost me my first big assignment. But in retrospect, it was probably the best decision for both of us. It served as a compatibility devise. The company feared their weaknesses to the point of avoidance and dysfunction. And, I was able to discern that we could never have made it past the first quarter. It saved us both considerable time and money.
While our group relies on the four distinct steps of the MODELTM System, we routinely include the SWOT steps in the due diligence (first) phase. From experience (above), we would rather know, early on, if this exercise maintains or rejects them as legitimate prospects.
A different take: From SWOT to SQUAT?
As an acronym, SQUAT could stand for “Should the Question of Use work At this Time?” In other words, maybe the issue of timing should be one more seriously considered. Let’s say everything is looking good for the business on paper, but the accountants just called with some bad tax news creating a problem that will take time to solve with undetermined costs and consequences. Or, the proprietor’s wife just found out she has a potentially terminal illness. In many cases, these threats are not obvious or current, but still have the capacity to distract and affect results.
Whether it’s physical, mental or other, what is at stake here is to be aware and sensitive to the timing of the SWOT exercise, and to be considerate that this process could become a bombshell that could cost way more than if avoided in a particular case?