Using SWOT Analysis to Build and Expand Your Business

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If you’re anything like me as an entrepreneur, you spend a lot of time working on day-to-day activities to generate revenue and satisfy clients. Even though we’re likely in different industries, we probably do a lot of the same things. My days (and nights) are filled with client meetings and many hours sitting in front of my laptop writing different kinds of documents to help clients meet their deadlines. Add in all of the other hats I wear (mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, volunteer), and the days fly by.

Setting aside time to look at your business objectively, including setting goals and planning for the future, is hard to come by. You know it’s necessary to help your business grow (as any business book or seasoned entrepreneur will tell you), but you’re unsure how to go about it.

What is SWOT Analysis?

I’ve been an entrepreneur for three years. Prior to that, I worked for a Fortune 100 Company for eight years before I opened my business. I learned a lot from that experience. I use what I know from all areas of work in life to benefit my business.  

When I worked for an organization, I attended many Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats (SWOT) Analysis strategy meetings. I saw teams collaborate, share ideas and commit to achieving business objectives—and follow through on them. Simply stated, I trusted this tool because I saw it work. I started to wonder if there was a way I could apply this tool to my business. If SWOT Analysis is new to you, I recommend reading The SWOT Analysis: A key tool for developing your business strategy. It’s a very quick read that explains how the information from each of these areas will help you set business goals. I credit SWOT Analysis for developments in my business like deciding when to hire staff on a contractual basis.

Making a Plan and Following Through

If I was going to commit to reflecting and setting goals regularly, it couldn’t be a task that I dreaded or took up too much time. On a monthly basis, I book 90 minutes in my scheduling. I take myself on a lunch date to Baskin Robbins, put on earphones and lose myself in a playlist while I fill out a SWOT Analysis template. Now, I am not advising you to eat ice cream for lunch, but I’m not against bribery if the end result is a positive one! 

I know how hard it can be to get out of the office (and out of my head) when I am facing a busy time or a deadline, but it is one of the best things I can do. I encourage you to set aside time every month to honestly and critically evaluate your business against your goals—or set some if this is your first time—and challenge yourself to grow.  

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As the owner of The Write Approach Professional Services, Julie Ferlisi has combined her passion for helping others and the written word in various forms to assist clients with resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, blogging, grant applications, website content and editing.  Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Julie was a Technical Writer for Shepell.fgi, ParaMed Home Healthcare and Honeywell; she was also an elementary school teacher for three years.

Julie’s diverse background helps her assist clients with a wide range of editing and writing assignments. Calm, professional and intuitive, Julie is committed to helping her clients meet their employment and business goals through high quality, customized writing and editing.

Dedicated to being actively involved in her local community, Julie proudly supports DeafBlind Ontario Services, Rose of Sharon and volunteers regularly at her daughter’s elementary school.

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Overwhelmed by the transition to entrepreneurship?

I’ve been there. When I left the corporate and small business worlds to start my own business, I didn’t know what I was in for. I saw other women living lives that I wanted to be mine, and wondered, “How are they doing it?” Knowing something had to give, I totally changed the way I’m running and building my business.

As a mother, blogger, mentor, speaker and business owner, I am used to balancing the demands of many roles. It is hard to “do it all,” and I have learned how to adjust to those expectations. Stick with me and you’ll be diving into your business with fresh eyes and a growth-centered mindset faster than you ever imagined!

It all came to a head in the Fall of 2015. With my daughter’s autism diagnosis and my postpartum depression following my son’s birth, my Spring/Summer that year had been pretty rough. I was feeling pretty kicked around — to say the least. As I was crawling out of the dark and twisty places life had cornered me in that year, I knew that everything had changed.

For many reasons, I couldn’t go back to my corporate life. One of the biggest reasons was that my perspective on how I was going to live my life had changed. A shift had happened. My time away from my children was going to be spent doing things that I was passionate about. Doing things that got me pumped about life. In May of 2016, I went out on my own and started my business. It was great. I was finally doing things that had me pumped about my time away from my kids. I had the flexibility to spend more time with them. At the end of the day, I had the energy to work in my household and my marriage.

But, while I was living my passion and excited about my life again, it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. Previously, I was a teacher, a sales professional, marketing leader and client services manager. By setting clear objectives, I succeeded in each role, even though they were in different industries.

But being an entrepreneur was a whole new world. I felt the loneliness. I had self-doubt. I didn’t know where to start…and I wasn’t the only one in this boat.

Whether I’m out speaking to a room full of female entrepreneurs or leading a workshop, one of the things that I hear over and over again from these amazing women is how great it is to be out from behind their desks and surrounded by a group of like-minded women. And as our conversation continues, it becomes clear that they are looking for a tribe of women that they can connect and collaborate with regularly in an environment that is welcoming, encouraging and safe enough to let their walls down and share. I needed a community like this too. One that encourages fellow members as they conquer fears, overcome obstacles and achieve their dreams. A tribe that leaves me with a new comfort level and the confidence I’m craving to expand my growth and limits — both personally and professionally.

And most importantly, I wanted a place that would offer me more than inspiration. One that would give me the actionable advice, education and mentorship, support and accountability that we all need.

And from these conversations and my own needs, Fempire Builders was born.

You see, it’s not just me. And it’s not just you. We are not alone. And when we come together, it’s a powerful thing. With the Fempire Builders community supporting me and holding me accountable, I have experienced the business growth that previously I had only dreamed about.

Just as it has been for other Fempire Builders, it will be the same for you, too. Wait and see!