Business management degree students at Minnesota School of Business-Elk River invited local nonprofit representatives into their Small Business Management class for SWOT analysis presentations. The students conducted the analyses for the representatives’ different organizations.
A SWOT analysis consists of addressing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of a business, and is a tool commonly used by small business owners and marketers.
“It shows all of the good and potentially bad parts of your business,” said student Heather West. “If you can accurately address all of the bad, and continue the good, then your business could grow from it.”
In addition to performing a SWOT analysis, each student had to research and identify a federal law or state regulation that could potentially hinder the nonprofit of their choice.
“As prospective future business owners, business management degree students need to be aware of the plethora of laws and state guidelines regarding business operations,” said instructor Leslie Nicol. “That’s why doing an applied learning project like this is so crucial to the learning process.”
Five different nonprofits were studied by the business students for this project—CAER Food Shelf, Sherburne County United Way, 2nd Chance Youth Ranch, The Storehouse, and Second Harvest.
West performed her SWOT analysis on CAER Food Shelf in which she identified its biggest threat as needing to depend on grants and local funding to stay afloat. She also identified a current law regarding grants that could potentially limit CAER from providing services to people who need them.
“I was impressed by the interest students took in the nonprofit sector and their local community,” said CAER board member Miranda Winbush. “The SWOT analyses and candid discussion regarding their projects were helpful for our organization.”