How to Do a SWOT Analysis as Part of a Business Plan or Business Process Strategy

There are many types of analyses that help to illuminate potential issues as well as areas of opportunity for a new business – one is known as a SWOT or Strengths – Weaknesses – Opportunities and Threats analysis.   This type of analysis forces the executive team of any pharmaceutical company to brainstorm these critical items before launching a new company, new division or new product – which may help decide whether or not to venture into this new direction.

Strengths are attributes that are unique to the company, product or division in question.  Some examples of strengths would be having a key scientist on your team that has a unique skill set or knowledge that will make your new product a success.  Other strength examples include patents, knowledge of a particular niche area, and manufacturing advances that allow you to create something that was not readily available in the past.

Weaknesses are just the opposite – some examples include lack of a patent or relying on unpatented discoveries, having no clear manufacturing process or significant process issues, or not having talent specific to the area you are moving towards.   Weaknesses are pointed out as areas to be addressed.

Opportunities would include an increase in the disease group that your new product is expected to address, the opening of a new global market that the product can fulfill , or a new federal grant to help subsidize the cost of your new drug or treatment.  Once opportunities are identified, a plan to take advantage of them should be created.

Threats could include clinical trials in this area by other competing companies, new regulations that would make it difficult to get approval, adverse press garnered by any preannouncements of what you are working on, or a loss of any type of funding for the project.  Threats may or may not be real – but contingency plans to address them should be in place.

A SWOT analysis of your main competitor’s position is an opportunity to demonstrate your strategic position to senior management or potential investors as part of your business plan.  It can also be a way of presenting to investors that you have mapped out the landscape for your potential product, and can both address the opportunities and eliminate or at least appropriately address the threats.   If properly mapped, each can be a consolidated  table in your plan which makes it very easy to communicate your intentions to the investors or management teams authorizing the necessary financial resources to execute the plan..

Pharmaceutical consultants can help you prepare this type of analysis to assess any new business decision you may be facing, or as part of a comprehensive business plan for a new pharmaceutical business you are launching.  Their experience, expertise, and industry insights can serve as a tremendous boost to your new venture.   Once they have helped you brainstorm these key areas, they can also help you formulate comprehensive plans for action in each of the four areas of the analysis.

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