Treat Your Finances Like A Business – SWOT Analysis: What are your opportunities?

by Ron Haynes

We’ve been looking at our personal financial goals through the lens of a strategic business acronym called SWOT, which stands for:


Today’s post deals with Opportunities.

Opportunities are external. They’re something that can occur in the future. They are something that you’re NOT doing right now. MBA’s think of opportunities as “outside conditions that help to achieve the objective.” The key for us is to identify and exploit from each opportunity that’s out there to help us achieve our objective of financial security.

Identifying Opportunities

Much like the real estate investor in Rich Like Them, you must always have your eyes open. When the author mentioned that a profiled real estate investor had an “uncanny eye for good deals”, he said the reason was because “that eye was always open.”She was always on the lookout for opportunities, when on vacation, when on a business trip with her husband, when reading USA Today.

Ice scraperOur key “take away” is to always be thinking in terms of opportunities. Just today, I saw someone using a broom to clean snow from the roof of her SUV and thought, “What’s the opportunity here?” Could I design a non-scratching device to help remove snow and ice from the roof tops of tall SUV’s and minivans? Hmm. It would have to be collapsible, strong, ergonomic, and easily manufactured.

Perhaps your opportunity is in debt reduction, getting on a budget, changing your insurance deductible, exploring a way to make extra money in a way you haven’t thought of before, or leveraging your passion into a business you love. Maybe you want to finish your degree so you can get promoted or negotiate for a higher salary.

Exploit Opportunities

The main purpose of identifying an opportunity is to exploit it to our benefit or the benefit of others. How can I exploit an idea for a roof top snow and ice remover? I’d need to create a prototype, test it, market test it, refine and redesign it, then market it.

How can you exploit opportunities once you’ve identified them? The main thing is ACTION! Start taking a step forward, then take another and another and another. When I started a business several years back, a lot of people marveled, “I wouldn’t know where to begin.” My response: “I didn’t either. I just did.” The difference wasn’t a matter of knowing how or what to do, the difference was knowing why and getting on with it. Become an opportunity train that cannot be stopped.

All the knowledge you’ll ever need is right at your fingertips (assuming you’re reading this on a computer). There is LITERALLY nothing you cannot research and learn how to do via the Internet. Knowledge of *how* to do something isn’t standing in your way. Knowing *why* you’re going to do it IS. If you haven’t started to exercise, it isn’t because you haven’t had the opportunity or don’t know what to do or how to do it. It’s because you don’t want to do it yet. If you haven’t started that business you’ve been talking about, it isn’t that you don’t know how or what to do, it’s that you just haven’t wanted to do it yet.

How do you overcome the “haven’t wanted to do it just yet” syndrome? Rustle up some motivation and use the self discipline that’s inside of you. Getting motivated is the one thing you need to succeed. It explains how someone coming to the USA with six bucks in his pocket starts a business and in 15 years become successful beyond anything he ever dreamed. What kind of business didn’t matter, they were motivated to get something up and running. It explains why someone who truly wants to lose weight can do it regardless of which fad diet they use. The diet wasn’t what helped them lose the weight, it was their own motivation!

Where are your opportunities? What can you identify and exploit to your benefit? What are you waiting for?

[tags]motivation, weaknesses, strength, opportunities, opportunity, threats, threat, money, debt, make extra money, SWOT, strengths, SWOT analysis, management, economy, finance, discipline[/tags]

photo credit: Wayne_Parrack

About the author

Ron Haynes has written 1000 articles on The Wisdom Journal.

The founder and editor of The Wisdom Journal in 2007, Ron has worked in banking, distribution, retail, and upper management for companies ranging in size from small startups to multi-billion dollar corporations. He graduated Suma Cum Laude from a top MBA program and currently is a Human Resources and Management consultant, helping companies know how employees will behave in varying situations and what motivates them to action, assisting firms in identifying top talent, and coaching managers and employees on how to better communicate and make the workplace MUCH more enjoyable. If you'd like help in these areas, contact Ron using the contact form at the top of this page or at 870-761-7881.

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Steve C | MyWifeQuitHerJob

Hey Ron,

I couldn’t agree with you more. Nobody knows what they are doing when they first start a business. What people also don’t realize is that it’s amazing how quickly you can learn something if you just set your mind to it. The idea doesn’t have to be glamorous, it just has to solve a problem.


Thanks for a great article! I even took notes!
What really rang true to me was that so many times we identify an opportunity and then, find ways NOT to ACT on it. Excuses abound: there’s not enough time, it’ll take money, there’s more laundry to do, maybe it won’t work out anyway, etc. I’ve done all of them.

I recently read The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace Wattles, and he says alot of the same things. He suggests when we have a thought, (an idea we want to do or have something) we need to ACT on it, step out in faith and just do it, work on it, and do not hesitate.
For what it’s worth, this idea has helped me get myself in gear. And I guess “I’m ready to want to do it now”.


I like the idea of leveraging your passion into a business you love. Don’t wait until you lose your job to start thinking about your passions and what type of business you might be able to start to take advantage of that passion. Start it as a side business and move into a full time business.

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