Does you preparedness plan include a S.W.O.T. Analysis? S.W.O.T. is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunity’s and Threats.
I first learned about a S.W.O.T. analysis when I was a general manager. Once a year I would have to complete my P&L (profit and loss statement), My yearly budgets and a S.W.O.T. analysis.
The reason for this was to get a better idea about who our competitors were, what our competitors were doing, and how we could change what we are doing to become better.
A S.W.O.T analysis works when it comes to preparedness also because not only does it give you a better idea about what your strengths are, more importantly it gives you areas of weakness that you can build on to become more prepared.
Let’s dig a little deeper into each of these…
You will want to do a S.W.O.T. assessment on each of the threats you might face, but you want to start out small before you start diving into the different larger disaster scenarios. This is because we need to have a baseline to build on.
Most of us already know what we have, and what we are good at, but by doing a S.W.O.T assessment we can possibly uncover some things we didn’t think about, and areas we can improve in.
Analyzing your strength will give you a better idea about how prepared you actually are. Sometimes we give ourselves a little too much credit. Sometimes we overlook what we have that could help in a survival situation.
When assessing your strengths, think about what skills you have that might be useful…
- What are some things you think of as hobbies that might be useful?
- What skills have you learned? Woodworking, Welding, Mechanics, Electronics, Sewing, First Aid, etc.
- What classes or training have you had? CPR, communication, wilderness survival classes, public speaking, debate, etc. Add anything you can think of, you never know what might be useful.
- What supplies do you have? This might be a long list even if you don’t think you have that much. Think about everything, Tools, Blankets, personal hygiene items, prepping supplies, Fuel, Storage space etc. Again just brainstorm and write everything down, you never know what is hidden in the back of your mind.
- What resources are in your area that you could utilize if you needed to? Wild food, rivers, emergency shelter, escape routes etc.
- What would you add to a community? Funny, strong, hardworking, intelligent, tactical, crafty. What are your best traits?
Make this list as long as it needs to be and add everything that comes to mind, you never know when one of these strengths will come in handy. Being an engineer might not be all that useful in the initial stages of a disaster, but it would in the rebuilding stage.
It’s time to get critical about yourself. It’s time to be brutally honest. We all like to think that we can figure anything out (I know I do) but the reality is that if we don’t take an honest look at our weaknesses we are not doing ourselves any favors.
I’m pretty good at woodworking, but I could be much better. You might be good at organization or mechanics, but where can you get better? If we think about it hard enough we can all find areas of improvement here, if you can’t…try again.
- What supplies do we know we need? As you start doing this threat assessment you will probably be adding to this list so keep it handy.
- Location, location, location. This is a very important one. What is in your area that might be a threat?
- Not only chemical plants, nuclear plants, military bases, crime rate and population, but what about places that will become a threat? What happens in prisons when the grid goes down? What happens when the supply line to the gas stations and grocery stores gets cut off?
- If the supply line is cut off, what does that mean for you? How will you get out if need be?
- What about you or your family’s health? Do you need prescription medication?
- How does the age of everyone in the family affect your prepping?
- Are there any mental or physical limitations that restrict your ability’s?
Try to think about everything you can when it comes to weaknesses, we can only get stronger if we are critical of ourselves and our family. After you know what your strengths and weaknesses are you can move on to listing out the opportunity’s you have.
In my opinion there is no such thing as bad lucky, I think we create our own luck. If we are lucky enough to survive a disaster it’s more likely to happen because we took advantage of an opportunity when it presented itself, and it has nothing to do with how lucky we are.
To create our own luck we need to look at our strengths, our weaknesses and our surroundings and take advantage of everything we can.
Take a look at your weaknesses and start building a list of opportunities…
- What supplies do you need?
- What skills can you become more proficient in?
- What skills do you need to learn?
- What resources are there that I could take advantage of in a survival situation?
As Thomas Edison said “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” This might seem like a lot of work. But as long as you take action, once it is complete it is well worth it. We have the opportunity to put ourselves in the best possible position for survival, and we should take advantage of everything we possibly can.
Doing a SWOT threat assessment before you do a Personal Threats Assessment might seem a little like reinventing the wheel, but remember, this is a general SWOT analysis. As you go through the threats you will uncover additional threats that are repercussions of the initial threat.
This can be pretty simple at this point, as you are thinking about possible threats like an EMP, Martial law or Grid down event think about the weaknesses you listed and think about additional threats caused by the initial threat. Let’s use an EMP as an example…
- What supplies will be lost due to an EMP?
- What resources will be affected by an EMP? Gas stations, Street lights, refrigeration, light etc.
- What threats are likely to follow? Martial Law, looting, rioting, theft, murder etc.
As you go through the different disaster scenarios whether that be a job loss or an EMP you will have a better idea about how a SWOT analysis works. Don’t worry if this seems like too much right now, as you do this it gets easier and easier. You will begin to see all the pieces fall into place and what seemed like a bunch of scattered puzzle pieces coming together.
I recently made a video about how to do a personal threats assessment that also ties into doing a S.W.O.T. analysis. Doing these will give you a better idea about where your attention need to be. Click here to watch the video.