Analyzing your situation

Still in the brainstorming phase, its time to looks at strengths (S), weaknesses (W), opportunities (O) and threats (T), also known as SWOT.

What’s working for me now? Where do things break down? Where is there room to grow? What dynamics could cause you problems?

Don’t breeze over this step. It can be quite revealing. The results from your SWOT will come into play when its time to work out your actual tactics to put your plan into action.

In the SWOT section on the Writer Business Plan template, list everything you can possibly think of for each section. Be realistic. Take off any rose-coloured glasses. Power out the obvious and keep drilling to find the hidden gems. Remember, sometimes with threats and opportunities, the flip side of one dynamic can appear on the other list.

Here are some examples to get you started:

Strengths: determination, stable job, lots of ideas for projects.

Weaknesses: limited time, few contacts in the biz.

Opportunities: more time as my kids get older, new technology opens up new options for getting stories to an audience, people have an endless appetite for new stories.

Threats: personal vulnerability to increased demands at work and with family, flux within publishing industry can derail deals/books.

For example, if one of my weaknesses was having only a single computer in my household, one of my tactics could be to address how to get another computer (within my budget), determining the best type of computer (laptop? mini-laptop? another desktop?) and when it made the most sense to make the acquisition.

Once you’re done your SWOT brainstorming, review your list. Combine any that are similar and be sure you’re clearly describing each point.