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Have a S.W.O.T. Team for Your One-Person Home-Based Business

Jean has been a home-based business owner for a number of years. She has gained valuable experience and insight along the way.

What Is SWOT?

S.W.O.T. is a grid containing four squares that represent strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to your one-person home-based business. It helps you identify where you are strong and weak, thus it helps you create an action plan to cover all contingencies. It also gives you hints as to where you need to learn new skills or improve on the ones you have.

The SWOT Grid

A SWOT grid for you to fill in

A SWOT grid for you to fill in

Success Is Supposed to Be What Business Is All About

Working from home is fraught with pitfalls and land mines. If you have been out there at an actual job, you know you have to be accountable to someone, and there are other people to fill in the skill gap so everything ticks along in an efficient and successful way. Not so at home, you're it. In order for you to succeed, you have to be focused and driven. But focused on what? Driven to do what?

Discovering the “Business You” and How You Fit Into the Big Business World

The two important aspects that you need to consider are you and your business, and how they can do the business dance in the great sea of businesses worldwide.

Obviously you do not have a storefront business on a main thoroughfare and you may not have a business that brings people into your home. If you do, it is certainly not at the volume a popular storefront would have. So lets assume you do most or all of your business on-line.

There are millions of businesses on line. The best analogy I can think of is you are just one grain of sand on a tropical beach. So how does that affect your strengths and weaknesses and what opportunities and threats does it pose to you?

The S.W.O.T. Grid and How to Use It



List everything you know you are good at

Be brutally honest

Get people you know to tell you what they see you are good at

List areas in your business where you are weak


Get people you know to tell you what they see are your weaknesses.



List all the opportunities you see for your business to grow

List all the things you recognize that could impact your business adversely like your skill set, other businesses, family members, your products, your time, your organizational skills, your finances, your ability to expand your business etc.

List all the opportunities you see for you to learn and grow with your business

Leave nothing out

Your Strengths

SWOT is a process that may take you a week or so to get everything down on paper. Look at your strengths every day as you are working in your business. Write them down on your grid. Here are some ideas to consider that may be within your skill set.

customer service

disciplined with your time

clothing design

dealing with phone calls efficiently



creating business plans

making jewelry


makeup artist



product development

developing concepts






fitness coaching


creating webinars



and the list goes on



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Your Weaknesses

None of us like to admit we have weaknesses, but unless you recognize them and admit they are there, you can be blindsided when too many of them appear all too often in your day-to-day business. Come on, be brutally honest. No one is going to see this list but you, and once you have your weakness list in front of you, strategies will come to mind to help you deal with them. Some of them may look like the list below.

tired all the time

easily distracted on-line

text way too much

can't get motivated

not entrepreneurial

financially illiterate

can't seem to get filing done

snack constantly at my desk

my workbench is a mess

I put off what I don't like doing

I don't know enough about Wordpress

my spelling is poor

I lose stuff in the chaos of my workspace

I plan poorly or not at all

not good at budgeting

don't have a sales funnel

don't know how to market myself well

don't have a social media strategy

have unrealistic expectations of my time

socialize too much during business hours

take on way too much

work long hours 7 days a week

and the list goes on


A yoga pose cupcake

A yoga pose cupcake

Your Opportunities

Let's say you have a cupcake business. How can you partner with a car dealership for example, and supply them with cupcakes for a special event? What other businesses can you partner with to bring in more revenue? Can you take a pamphlet of your cupcakes to local churches that conduct weddings, or to wedding dress shops? What other opportunities can you create and what partnerships can you be involved with. Check out the list below for some opportunity ideas.

join your local chamber of commerce

join a women's/men's entrepreneurial group

is your local farmers market an appropriate venue?

If you have handmade items what about Etsy or ArtFire?

Can you start or improve your blog

make a list of everyone who could benefit from your business no matter how possible you think it is

Join local groups and associations that can cross-refer

can you partner with someone in a similar business in another city for mutual support

make a social media strategy plan

post lots of great pictures

take some of your product to the local community newspaper and get them to write a story about you

are there affiliate programs you can join that can complement your business and bring in another stream of income?

The smartphone time eater demon

The smartphone time eater demon

Your Threats

Threats to your business can come from inside or outside your business. You can only juggle so many balls in the air before something falls. If you don't have the finger on the pulse of your business at all times, you risk having a crisis. See if any of the following resonates for you.

you have to do everything because of your financial situation

you take on too much

a storefront with similar products or services has opened near you and threatens to take some or all of your market share

the all-consuming social media

your children

you need to upgrade your skills but you think you don't have time

your personal skills package

your pets

your digital procrastination

little or no web traffic

poor customer contact

your partner

getting caught in money draining SEO scams

being offered advice from family and friends with no business experience

no local suppliers

Knowing Allows You to be Proactive

When you have filled in everything you can think of, and what other well meaning people have told you, it is easier to have contingencies for everything. Business is cut-throat. You need to be aggressive in your efforts and determined in your attitude to grow a successful profitable business. If you are not in it for the money, you should not be poring what you do have down the business toilet. Think carefully how you are going to manage your SWOT team. It is here to help you.

Your S.W.O.T.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

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