If you went to business school or ever took a marketing class, then you know what a SWOT analysis is. Traditionally, it is a structured planning method and strategic process used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a project or in a business.
The purpose of a personal S.W.O.T is to analyze your personal brand – yourself as a service provider, strategic solution and problem solver for your clients. This tool will help you more clearly understand how you stack up against your competition. I talk about this important assessment and tool in my book Beautifully Branded: The Girl’s Guide to Personal Branding.
The notion of doing a personal S.W.O.T can be tricky for some especially since it is more commonly done on a company. It is extremely hard for us to take an external look at ourselves and truly evaluate our strengths and weaknesses. But there are some tricks to getting it done. Here are three tips:
1. Combine your personal self and your professional self
When evaluating your strengths and weaknesses, don’t just look at what you do on a professional level. Look at where you thrive and where you may fail on a personal level as well. Where these two areas intersect is where your most unique qualities reside. You are your brand. Your abilities in your personal life and your personality traits play a large role in how you treat your customers. If you are a mom for example, patience may be one of your strengths that will prove to be an asset to your brand.
2. Recruit some help
Enlist a combination of your friends, colleagues, business partners and current or past clients to help you capture your strengths. Ask them to write a quick sentence or two about how you have added value to their lives, business or project and what makes you unique. Ask them what you do that no one else can do. And ask them how you make them feel (getting at the emotional benefits you provide, not just the functional benefits). By getting a combination of personal and professional testimonials, you can tap into your truest self expression and that sweet spot where your personal self and professional self overlap.
3. Smack it up, flip and rub down each weakness
We can all be extremely critical of ourselves so it shouldn’t surprise you when it’s easier to come up with a list of weaknesses versus strengths. But what we have to realize is that our most unique value proposition often times lies within what appears to be a weakness that can be flipped to our advantage. Speaker and researcher Brene Brown talks about this in her book The Gifts of Imperfection: Letting Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embracing Who You Are. For my personal S.W.O.T., I listed attention deficit as one of my weaknesses. And a creative entrepreneur, I’m constantly finding my mind wandering, dreaming up my next big project or business launch, making it difficult at times to focus on the tasks at hand. While this is a weakness in many cases, it is also one of my strengths – being creative, never complacent, dreaming big (for myself and my clients) and seeing the potential for new ventures.