Last month, I spent time with a young man who plans to, like many of us did , strike out on his own. He was gushing about the opportunities the market presented and was eager to share his vision for the future of his firm.

I asked him when he had last done a SWOT analysis and was shocked to find that he was ready to launch without having done one.

Strong planning and preparation is half the battle won. I urged him to take a few steps back and reflect on his strengths and weaknesses. Also on the opportunities and threats that he would have to encounter.

A personal SWOT is not restricted to those who are starting out on their own. It is advisable that every executive does it before a major career event such as taking up a new assignment, higher responsibilities etc.

However, doing a proper SWOT calls for time and effort. You can’t say you did one just now and the next is due after lunch!