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Financial Words of the Week (Small Business Month): SWOT Analysis

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Now that we’ve entered Q3, it’s 2015 planning time for small business owners. What better way to plan than by returning to the method you probably learned in business school: a SWOT analysis? SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This analysis will lead to better awareness of your organization and insight into areas of growth, especially heading into a new year.

Strengths and Weaknesses

This should be an internal review. What are you doing well that is separating you from your competition (talent, product, process, etc)?  Understanding your company’s weaknesses is just as important and sometimes difficult to discover. Think of objections you might get during the sales process.  Keep your strengths in mind as you review your business as you might be able to leverage them to offset a weakness in your organization.

Opportunities and Threats

Many businesses are great at evaluating internally, but are challenged to look externally. Looking beyond your direct competition is important. How could government, technology, talent allow for an opportunity for growth in your market?


Once the analysis is complete, ask for feedback from your senior leaders.  Develop a plan that will allow you to minimize your threats and capitalize on your opportunities.  Assign owners to these projects and take your business to the next level.

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UMB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: UMBF) is a diversified financial holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking services, payment solutions, asset servicing and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Arizona and Texas, as well as two national specialty-lending businesses. Subsidiaries of the holding company include companies that offer services to mutual funds and alternative-investment entities and registered investment advisors that offer equity and fixed income strategies to institutions and individual investors.

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