Evaluating your business is important in determining where and how to spend your time and money, but many businesses, law firms included, may not be sure where to start. A SWOT analysis is a simple, free marketing tool that brands and businesses of all sizes use to understand their business and how it fits into the market.
A SWOT analysis is a process used to asses a business’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This simple four-step assessment is one of the most effective business and decision-making tools that can help a company’s strategic planning and shape its marketing strategy. A successful SWOT analysis can help law firms maintain current business and, by identifying areas for growth and improvement, increase revenue and client base.
Why Perform a SWOT Analysis
A SWOT analysis has many benefits, but most importantly, it helps you and your business understand where your law firm stands currently, how to improve, and ultimately, how to grow your business. Additionally, a SWOT analysis can help determine future marketing plans, business models, and more. Here are some reasons we recommend a SWOT analysis for your law firm.
- Simple and free: A SWOT analysis is a simple method for evaluating your law firm’s current capabilities, and future opportunities for growth. It doesn’t require external software or help, unless you want to hire a non-biased facilitator. Since there is no software or training professional needed to facilitate a SWOT analysis, the process is completely free. Your law firm just needs a spreadsheet and time to accomplish this marketing valuable tool.
- Better decision making: A SWOT analysis may be simple, but it requires a hard look at your company. Having a blend of qualitative and quantitative research at your fingertips can help determine where to spend your time and money, improve planning initiatives, and help to make more informed decisions.
Performing a SWOT Analysis
The assessment looks at both internal (strengths and weaknesses) and external (opportunities and threats) factors that impact your business. Both internal and external factors are essential to look at when trying to grow your business, and a thorough SWOT analysis can help.
When performing the assessment, businesses must remain objective and thorough, which can be challenging at times. As part of the process, businesses are forced to look at not only their strengths but also weaknesses and opportunities for their firm to improve. Aspects of this analysis, like examining weaknesses and threats, may be challenging, but that introspection is crucial for growth. A SWOT analysis should be performed annually for best results. Ready to get started? Here are some tips for getting started on your own SWOT analysis for your law firm.
Strengths are factors that are unique to your law firm. Your employees, your law firm’s reputation, and your clients are (hopefully) examples of your brand’s strengths. These questions might help you focus on your strengths:
- What does your law firm do best?
- What aspects of your firm do customers consistently praise?
- What makes you, your employees, or your law firm successful?
- Why would a client choose you for representation over your competition?
Determining weaknesses may be an uncomfortable aspect of the SWOT analysis. While you may be hesitant to recognize shortcomings and open up your law firm to criticism, remember that understanding where your business is lacking is vital in improving. Like strengths, weaknesses are internal factors that may be hindering your law firm’s success. High client turnover, low-brand visibility, and inefficient processes are examples of weaknesses your law firm may face. If you need help thinking of weaknesses, try answering some of these questions.
- In what areas do you feel you, your employees or your law firm lack expertise?
- What has caused you to lose business to your competition?
- What aspects of your law firm are you least likely to brag about?
Law firms must take time to evaluate opportunities in order to grow their business and clientele. Taking time to asses upcoming opportunities positions your business to capitalize on these and maximize growth. Here are some questions to help you get started:
- What areas do you wish your law firm had more time for?
- Are there upcoming trends or events that could result in more business for your firm?
- What changes in technology could affect your business?
Threats are similar to weaknesses in a SWOT analysis, but typically they haven’t impacted your organization directly yet. Analyzing threats to your business is a crucial component to plan how to mitigate the consequences of those threats. Threats look at external factors that may negatively impact your business. Being aware of threats to your business means you can be prepared with a contingency plan in place. Consider these questions as a starting point when evaluating potential threats:
- What are some of your biggest hurdles to increased revenue?
- Evaluate your competition; why are they your competition and what do they do differently?
- Are there upcoming legal judgments that could impact your business?
After the SWOT Analysis
The most important part of the SWOT analysis is what happens after the assessment. After comparing all the information in each quadrant, use the analysis to help with your strategic planning. Use this awareness to capitalize on opportunities for growth, while also planning to mitigate threats and potential adversities to your law firm. Implement a clear strategy for tackling any obstacles or hurdles identified during the analysis, and share your findings with employees and staff.
SWOT Analysis Perspectives
A SWOT analysis is one of the most versatile tools available to businesses of all sizes. The analysis can be helpful for your law firm as a whole, but it can also be a useful tool for individual case assessments or part of an annual employee review. Follow the same process outlined above, and have your employees or staff fill out a SWOT analysis and review every six to twelve months. Or utilize the assessment to look at each case individual case critically, using the same measures of assessment: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Tips for a Successful SWOT Analysis
Performing a SWOT analysis is a vital component of a company’s strategic growth and shaping your marketing strategy, but it can be hard to look critically at your brand. To get the most out of your SWOT analysis, take a look at these tips:
- Avoid generalities: Get as specific as possible. If you list ‘great communication’ as a strength, get specific with how your law firm is great at communication. A SWOT analysis is only as accurate as the data put into it, so put as much detail as possible into each quadrant.
- Be objective: No one likes negative feedback, but it’s a crucial part of the SWOT analysis and a core component for growth and improvement. Consider asking for outside opinions if you’re having a hard time evaluating your law firm objectively.
- Include others: Include other staff in the SWOT analysis and share the results with your employees and staff. This creates alignment and focus within your organization. Encouraging employees and staff to participate in their own SWOT analysis also requires introspection and opportunity for growth, both individually and for the company.
- Action plan: The real value of a SWOT analysis is not the assessment itself but the information learned from the analysis. Make informed decisions about utilizing the information, and ensure employees and staff are aware of the implementation.
A SWOT analysis shouldn’t be the end of your law firm’s strategic planning but rather an opportunity to raise awareness of your firm’s current situation and any potential problems that might arise down the road. Following the analysis, your firm should have a clear picture of where to focus its priorities. The assessment can also mitigate weaknesses and prepare for potential upcoming threats. Performing this yearly assessment is a simple way to keep an eye on your industry and ensure your firm is doing everything to maximize growth.
Interested in getting started with Scorpion? Contact us today to learn how we can help you and your law firm.