I'm a big fan of strategic planning on many time horizons. There's the short-term (3 to 6 months), mid-term (6 to 12 months), and then long-term (12+ months). To do a proper strategic plan requires a deep understanding of what's going on in your market, where opportunities might lie, and how strong or weak you are as a market participant.
Sadly, many Startups never quantify those things. They shoot from the hip and feel they have a good handle on their market. They never bother with a full strategic plan or a simple SWOT analysis. Granted, SWOT analyses can feel like a root canal, but they do help drive the planning conversation. I'm a proponent of SWOT because of its simplicity, but I'm also a proponent of choosing a planning framework that works for your particular market.
With SWOT you thoughtfully analyze your Strengths, then you're Weaknesses in the market, followed by any Opportunities that are being missed, and lastly by what Threats are out there that might wipe you out.
While SWOT sounds so simplistic, it's rather an old way of analyzing markets and might not fit your industry best. Here are four (4) alternatives to SWOT that might fit what you're looking for depending if you're more of an action, motivational, or analytically-focused organization.
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