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SWOT analysis: Examples and templates

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A SWOT analysis helps you identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for a specific project or your overall business plan. It’s used for strategic planning and to stay ahead of market trends. Below, we describe each part of the SWOT framework and show you how to conduct your own.

Whether you’re looking for external opportunities or internal strengths, we’ll walk you through how to perform your own SWOT analysis, with helpful examples along the way. 

What is a SWOT analysis?

A SWOT analysis is a technique used to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for your business or even a specific project. It’s most widely used by organizations—from small businesses and non-profits to large enterprises—but a SWOT analysis can be used for personal purposes as well. 

While simple, a SWOT analysis is a powerful tool for helping you identify competitive opportunities for improvement. It helps you improve your team and business while staying ahead of market trends.

What does SWOT stand for?

SWOT is an acronym that stands for: 

Opportunities

Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats

When analyzed together, the SWOT framework can paint a larger picture of where you are and how to get to the next step. Let’s dive a little deeper into each of these terms and how they can help identify areas of improvement. 

Strengths in SWOT refer to internal initiatives that are performing well. Examining these areas helps you understand what’s already working. You can then use the techniques that you know work—your strengths—in other areas that might need additional support, like improving your team’s efficiency . 

When looking into the strengths of your organization, ask yourself the following questions:

What do we do well? Or, even better: What do we do best?

What’s unique about our organization?

What does our target audience like about our organization?

Which categories or features beat out our competitors?

 Example SWOT strength:

Customer service: Our world-class customer service has an NPS score of 90 as compared to our competitors, who average an NPS score of 70.

Weaknesses in SWOT refer to internal initiatives that are underperforming. It’s a good idea to analyze your strengths before your weaknesses in order to create a baseline for success and failure. Identifying internal weaknesses provides a starting point for improving those projects.

Identify the company’s weaknesses by asking:

Which initiatives are underperforming and why?

What can be improved?

What resources could improve our performance?

How do we rank against our competitors?

Example SWOT weakness:

E-commerce visibility: Our website visibility is low because of a lack of marketing budget , leading to a decrease in mobile app transactions.

Opportunities in SWOT result from your existing strengths and weaknesses, along with any external initiatives that will put you in a stronger competitive position. These could be anything from weaknesses that you’d like to improve or areas that weren’t identified in the first two phases of your analysis. 

Since there are multiple ways to come up with opportunities, it’s helpful to consider these questions before getting started:

What resources can we use to improve weaknesses?

Are there market gaps in our services?

What are our business goals for the year?

What do your competitors offer?

Example SWOT opportunities:

Marketing campaign: To improve brand visibility, we’ll run ad campaigns on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.

Threats in SWOT are areas with the potential to cause problems. Different from weaknesses, threats are external and ‌out of your control. This can include anything from a global pandemic to a change in the competitive landscape. 

Here are a few questions to ask yourself to identify external threats:

What changes in the industry are cause for concern?

What new market trends are on the horizon?

Where are our competitors outperforming us?

Example SWOT threats:

New competitor: With a new e-commerce competitor set to launch within the next month, we could see a decline in customers.

SWOT analysis example

One of the most popular ways to create a SWOT analysis is through a SWOT matrix—a visual representation of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The matrix comprises four separate squares that create one larger square. 

A SWOT matrix is great for collecting information and documenting the questions and decision-making process . Not only will it be handy to reference later on, but it’s also great for visualizing any patterns that arise. 

Check out the SWOT matrix below for a simple example. As you can see, each of the quadrants lists out the company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

[Inline illustration] SWOT analysis (Example)

When used correctly and effectively, your matrix can be a great toolkit for evaluating your organization’s strengths and weaknesses. 

How to do a SWOT analysis, with examples 

A SWOT analysis can be conducted in a variety of ways. Some teams like to meet and throw ideas on a whiteboard, while others prefer the structure of a SWOT matrix. However you choose to make your SWOT analysis, getting creative with your planning process allows new ideas to flow and results in more unique solutions. 

There are a few ways to ensure that your SWOT analysis is thorough and done correctly. Let’s take a closer look at some tips to help you get started.

Tip 1: Consider internal factors 

Often, strengths and weaknesses stem from internal processes. These tend to be easier to solve since you have more control over the outcome. When you come across internal factors, you can start implementing improvements in a couple of different ways.

Meet with department stakeholders to form a business plan around how to improve your current situation.

Research and implement new tools, such as a project management tool , that can help streamline these processes for you. 

Take immediate action on anything that can be changed in 24 hours or less. If you don’t have the capacity, consider delegating these items to others with deadlines. 

The way you go about solving internal factors will depend on the type of problem. If it’s more complex, you might need to use a combination of the above or a more thorough problem management process.

Tip 2: Evaluate external factors

External factors stem from processes outside of your control. This includes competitors, market trends, and anything else that’s affecting your organization from the outside in. 

External factors are trickier to solve, as you can’t directly control the outcome. What you can do is pivot your own processes in a way that mitigates negative external factors. 

You can work to solve these issues by:

Competing with market trends

Forecasting market trends before they happen

Improving adaptability to improve your reaction time

Track competitors using reporting tools that automatically update you as soon as changes occur 

While you won’t be able to control an external environment, you can control how your organization reacts to it. 

Let’s say, for instance, that you’re looking to compete with a market trend. For example, a competitor introduced a new product to the market that’s outperforming your own. While you can’t take that product away, you can work to launch an even better product or marketing campaign to mitigate any decline in sales. 

Tip 3: Hold a brainstorming session

Brainstorming new and innovative ideas can help to spur creativity and inspire action. To host a high impact brainstorming session, you’ll want to: 

Invite team members from various departments. That way, ideas from each part of the company are represented. 

Be intentional about the number of team members you invite, since too many participants could lead to a lack of focus or participation. The sweet spot for a productive brainstorming session is around 10 teammates. 

Use different brainstorming techniques that appeal to different work types.

Set a clear intention for the session.

Tip 4: Get creative

In order to generate creative ideas, you have to first invite them. That means creating fun ways to come up with opportunities. Try randomly selecting anonymous ideas, talking through obviously bad examples, or playing team building games to psych up the team.

Tip 5: Prioritize opportunities

Now, rank the opportunities. This can be done as a team or with a smaller group of leaders. Talk through each idea and rank it on a scale of one through 10. Once you’ve agreed on your top ideas based on team capabilities, competencies, and overall impact, it’s easier to implement them.

Tip 6: Take action

It’s all too easy to feel finished at this stage —but the actual work is just beginning. After your SWOT analysis, you’ll have a list of prioritized opportunities. Now is the time to turn them into strengths. Use a structured system such as a business case , project plan, or implementation plan to outline what needs to get done—and how you plan to do it.

SWOT analysis template

A SWOT analysis template is often presented in a grid format, divided into four quadrants. Each quadrant represents one of the four elements. 

Use this free SWOT analysis template to jump-start your team’s strategic planning.

Identify the strengths that contribute to achieving your objectives. These are internal characteristics that give you an advantage. Some examples could be a strong brand reputation, an innovative culture, or an experienced management team.

Next, focus on weaknesses. These are internal factors that could serve as obstacles to achieving your objectives. Common examples might include a lack of financial resources, high operational costs, or outdated technology. 

Move on to the opportunities. These are external conditions that could be helpful in achieving your goals. For example, you might be looking at emerging markets, increased demand, or favorable shifts in regulations.

Lastly, let's address threats. These are external conditions that could negatively impact your objectives. Examples include increased competition or potential economic downturns.

Why is a SWOT analysis important?

A SWOT analysis can help you improve processes and plan for growth. While similar to a competitive analysis , it differs because it evaluates both internal and external factors. Analyzing key areas around these opportunities and threats will equip you with the insights needed to set your team up for success.

Why is a SWOT analysis important?

A SWOT analysis isn’t only useful for organizations. With a personal SWOT analysis, you can examine areas of your life that could benefit from improvement, from your leadership style to your communication skills. These are the benefits of using a SWOT analysis in any scenario. 

1. Identifies areas of opportunity

One of the biggest benefits of conducting an analysis is to determine opportunities for growth. It’s a great starting point for startups and teams that know they want to improve but aren’t exactly sure how to get started. 

Opportunities can come from many different avenues, like external factors such as diversifying your products for competitive advantage or internal factors like improving your team’s workflow . Either way, capitalizing on opportunities is an excellent way to grow as a team.

2. Identifies areas that could be improved

Identifying weaknesses and threats during a SWOT analysis can pave the way for a better business strategy.

Ultimately, learning from your mistakes is the best way to excel. Once you find areas to streamline, you can work with team members to brainstorm an action plan . This will let you use what you already know works and build on your company’s strengths.

3. Identifies areas that could be at risk

Whether you have a risk register in place or not, it’s always crucial to identify risks before they become a cause for concern. A SWOT analysis can help you stay on top of actionable items that may play a part in your risk decision-making process. 

It may be beneficial to pair your SWOT analysis with a PEST analysis, which examines external solutions such as political, economic, social, and technological factors—all of which can help you identify and plan for project risks .

When should you use a SWOT analysis?

You won’t always need an in-depth SWOT analysis. It’s most useful for large, general overviews of situations, scenarios, or your business.

A SWOT analysis is most helpful:

Before you implement a large change—including as part of a larger change management plan

When you launch a new company initiative

If you’d like to identify opportunities for growth and improvement

Any time you want a full overview of your business performance

If you need to identify business performance from different perspectives

SWOT analyses are general for a reason—so they can be applied to almost any scenario, project, or business. 

SWOT analysis: Pros and cons

Although SWOT is a useful strategic planning tool for businesses and individuals alike, it does have limitations. Here’s what you can expect.

The simplicity of SWOT analysis makes it a go-to tool for many. Because it is simple, it takes the mystery out of strategic planning and lets people think critically about their situations without feeling overwhelmed. 

For instance, a small bakery looking to expand its operations can use SWOT analysis to easily understand its current standing. Identifying strengths like a loyal customer base, weaknesses such as limited seating space, opportunities like a rising trend in artisanal baked goods, and threats from larger chain bakeries nearby can all be accomplished without any specialized knowledge or technical expertise.

Versatility

Its versatile nature allows SWOT analysis to be used across various domains. Whether it’s a business strategizing for the future or an individual planning their career path, SWOT analysis lends itself well. 

For example, a tech start-up in the competitive Silicon Valley landscape could employ SWOT to navigate its pathway to profitability. Strengths might include a highly skilled development team; weaknesses could be a lack of brand recognition; opportunities might lie in emerging markets; and threats could include established tech giants. 

Meaningful analysis

SWOT excels in identifying external factors that could impact performance. It nudges organizations to look beyond the present and anticipate potential future scenarios. 

A retail company, for example, could use SWOT analysis to identify opportunities in e-commerce and threats from changing consumer behavior or new competitors entering the market. By doing so, the company can strategize on how to leverage online platforms to boost sales and counteract threats by enhancing the customer experience or adopting new technologies.

Subjectivity and bias

The subjective nature of SWOT analysis may lead to biases. It relies heavily on individual perceptions, which can sometimes overlook crucial data or misinterpret information, leading to skewed conclusions. 

For example, a manufacturing company might undervalue the threat of new entrants in the market due to an overconfidence bias among the management. This subjectivity might lead to a lack of preparation for competitive pricing strategies, ultimately affecting the company's market share.

Lack of prioritization

SWOT analysis lays out issues but falls short on prioritizing them. Organizations might struggle to identify which elements deserve immediate attention and resources. 

For instance, a healthcare provider identifying numerous opportunities for expansion into new services may become overwhelmed with the choices. Without a clear way to rank these opportunities, resources could be spread too thinly or given to projects that do not have as much of an impact, leading to less-than-ideal outcomes.

Static analysis

Since SWOT analysis captures a snapshot at a particular moment, it may miss the evolving nature of challenges and opportunities, possibly leading to outdated strategies. An example could be a traditional retail business that performs a SWOT analysis and decides to focus on expanding physical stores, overlooking the growing trend of e-commerce. As online shopping continues to evolve and gain popularity, the static analysis might lead to investment in areas with diminishing returns while missing out on the booming e-commerce market trend.

SWOT analysis FAQ

What are the five elements of swot analysis.

Traditionally, SWOT stands for its four main elements: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. However, a fifth essential element often overlooked is "actionable strategies." Originally developed by Albert Humphrey, SWOT is more than just a list—it's a planning tool designed to generate actionable strategies for making informed business decisions. This fifth element serves to tie the other four together, enabling departments like human resources and marketing to turn analysis into actionable plans.

What should a SWOT analysis include?

A comprehensive SWOT analysis should focus on the internal and external factors that affect your organization. Internally, consider your strong brand and product line as your strengths, and maybe your supply chain weaknesses. Externally, you'll want to look at market share, partnerships, and new technologies that could either pose opportunities or threats. You should also account for demographics, as it helps in market targeting and segmentation.

How do you write a good SWOT analysis?

Writing an effective SWOT analysis begins with research. Start by identifying your strengths, like a strong brand, and your weaknesses, like a small human resources department. Following that, look outward to find opportunities, possibly in technological advancement, and threats, like fluctuations in market share. Many businesses find it helpful to use a free SWOT analysis template to structure this information. A good SWOT analysis doesn't just list these elements; it integrates them to provide a clear roadmap for making business decisions.

What are four examples of threats in SWOT analysis?

New technologies: Rapid technological advancement can make your product or service obsolete.

Supply chain disruptions: Whether due to natural disasters or geopolitical tensions, an unstable supply chain can seriously jeopardize your operations.

Emerging competitors: New players entering the market can erode your market share and offer alternative solutions to your customer base.

Regulatory changes: New laws or regulations can add costs and complexity to your business, affecting your competitiveness.

How do you use a SWOT analysis?

Once you've completed a SWOT analysis, use the results as a decision-making aid. It can help prioritize actions, develop strategic plans that play to your strengths, improve weaknesses, seize opportunities, and counteract threats. It’s a useful tool for setting objectives and creating a roadmap for achieving them.

Plan for growth with a SWOT analysis

A SWOT analysis can be an effective technique for identifying key strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Understanding where you are now can be the most impactful way to determine where you want to go next. 

Don’t forget, a bit of creativity and collaboration can go a long way. Encourage your team to think outside of the box with 100+ team motivational quotes .

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SWOT Analysis

Understanding your business, informing your strategy.

By the Mind Tools Content Team

What Is a SWOT Analysis?

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, and so a SWOT analysis is a technique for assessing these four aspects of your business.

SWOT Analysis is a tool that can help you to analyze what your company does best now, and to devise a successful strategy for the future. SWOT can also uncover areas of the business that are holding you back, or that your competitors could exploit if you don't protect yourself.

A SWOT analysis examines both internal and external factors – that is, what's going on inside and outside your organization. So some of these factors will be within your control and some will not. In either case, the wisest action you can take in response will become clearer once you've discovered, recorded and analyzed as many factors as you can.

In this article, video and infographic, we explore how to carry out a SWOT analysis, and how to put your findings into action. We also include a worked example and a template to help you get started on a SWOT analysis in your own workplace.

Why Is SWOT Analysis Important?

SWOT Analysis can help you to challenge risky assumptions and to uncover dangerous blindspots about your organization's performance. If you use it carefully and collaboratively, it can deliver new insights on where your business currently is, and help you to develop exactly the right strategy for any situation.

For example, you may be well aware of some of your organization's strengths, but until you record them alongside weaknesses and threats you might not realize how unreliable those strengths actually are.

Equally, you likely have reasonable concerns about some of your business weaknesses but, by going through the analysis systematically, you could find an opportunity, previously overlooked, that could more than compensate.

How to Write a SWOT Analysis

SWOT analysis involves making lists – but so much more, too! When you begin to write one list (say, Strengths), the thought process and research that you'll go through will prompt ideas for the other lists (Weaknesses, Opportunities or Threats). And if you compare these lists side by side, you will likely notice connections and contradictions, which you'll want to highlight and explore.

You'll find yourself moving back and forth between your lists frequently. So, make the task easier and more effective by arranging your four lists together in one view.

A SWOT matrix is a 2x2 grid, with one square for each of the four aspects of SWOT. (Figure 1 shows what it should look like.) Each section is headed by some questions to get your thinking started.

Figure 1. A SWOT Analysis Matrix.

Swot analysis template.

When conducting your SWOT analysis, you can either draw your own matrix, or use our free downloadable template .

How to Do a SWOT Analysis

Avoid relying on your own, partial understanding of your organization. Your assumptions could be wrong. Instead, gather a team of people from a range of functions and levels to build a broad and insightful list of observations.

Then, every time you identify a Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, or Threat, write it down in the relevant part of the SWOT analysis grid for all to see.

Let's look at each area in more detail and consider what fits where, and what questions you could ask as part of your data gathering.

Strengths are things that your organization does particularly well, or in a way that distinguishes you from your competitors. Think about the advantages your organization has over other organizations. These might be the motivation of your staff, access to certain materials, or a strong set of manufacturing processes.

Your strengths are an integral part of your organization, so think about what makes it "tick." What do you do better than anyone else? What values drive your business? What unique or lowest-cost resources can you draw upon that others can't? Identify and analyze your organization's Unique Selling Proposition (USP), and add this to the Strengths section.

Then turn your perspective around and ask yourself what your competitors might see as your strengths. What factors mean that you get the sale ahead of them?

Remember, any aspect of your organization is only a strength if it brings you a clear advantage. For example, if all of your competitors provide high-quality products, then a high-quality production process is not a strength in your market: it's a necessity.

Weaknesses, like strengths, are inherent features of your organization, so focus on your people, resources, systems, and procedures. Think about what you could improve, and the sorts of practices you should avoid.

Once again, imagine (or find out) how other people in your market see you. Do they notice weaknesses that you tend to be blind to? Take time to examine how and why your competitors are doing better than you. What are you lacking?

Be honest! A SWOT analysis will only be valuable if you gather all the information you need. So, it's best to be realistic now, and face any unpleasant truths as soon as possible.

Opportunities

Opportunities are openings or chances for something positive to happen, but you'll need to claim them for yourself!

They usually arise from situations outside your organization, and require an eye to what might happen in the future. They might arise as developments in the market you serve, or in the technology you use. Being able to spot and exploit opportunities can make a huge difference to your organization's ability to compete and take the lead in your market.

Think about good opportunities that you can exploit immediately. These don't need to be game-changers: even small advantages can increase your organization's competitiveness. What interesting market trends are you aware of, large or small, which could have an impact?

You should also watch out for changes in government policy related to your field. And changes in social patterns, population profiles, and lifestyles can all throw up interesting opportunities.

Threats include anything that can negatively affect your business from the outside, such as supply-chain problems, shifts in market requirements, or a shortage of recruits. It's vital to anticipate threats and to take action against them before you become a victim of them and your growth stalls.

Think about the obstacles you face in getting your product to market and selling. You may notice that quality standards or specifications for your products are changing, and that you'll need to change those products if you're to stay in the lead. Evolving technology is an ever-present threat, as well as an opportunity!

Always consider what your competitors are doing, and whether you should be changing your organization's emphasis to meet the challenge. But remember that what they're doing might not be the right thing for you to do. So, avoid copying them without knowing how it will improve your position.

Be sure to explore whether your organization is especially exposed to external challenges. Do you have bad debt or cash-flow problems, for example, that could make you vulnerable to even small changes in your market? This is the kind of threat that can seriously damage your business, so be alert.

Use PEST Analysis to ensure that you don't overlook threatening external factors. And PMESII-PT is an especially helpful check in very unfamiliar or uncertain environments.

Frequently Asked Questions About SWOT Analysis

1. who invented swot analysis.

Many people attribute SWOT Analysis to Albert S. Humphrey. However, there has been some debate on the originator of the tool, as discussed in the International Journal of Business Research .

2. What Does SWOT Analysis Stand For?

SWOT Analysis stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

3. What Can a SWOT Analysis Be Used For?

SWOT analysis is a useful tool to help you determine your organization's position in the market. You can then use this information to create an informed strategy suited to your needs and capabilities.

4. How Do I Write a SWOT Analysis?

To conduct a SWOT analysis, you first need to create a 2x2 matrix grid. Each square is then assigned to one of the four aspects of SWOT. You can either draw this grid yourself or use our downloadable template to get started.

5. How Do SWOT Analysis and the TOWS Matrix compare?

While SWOT analysis puts the emphasis on the internal environment (your strengths and weaknesses), TOWS forces you to look at your external environment first (your threats and opportunities). In most cases, you'll do a SWOT Analysis first, and follow up with a TOWS Matrix to offer a broader context.

6. What Are the Biggest SWOT Analysis Mistakes?

  • Making your lists too long. Ask yourself if your ideas are feasible as you go along.
  • Being vague. Be specific to provide more focus for later discussions.
  • Not seeing weaknesses. Be sure to ask customers and colleagues what they experience in real life.
  • Not thinking ahead. It's easy to come up with nice ideas without taking them through to their logical conclusion. Always consider their practical impact.
  • Being unrealistic. Don't plan in detail for opportunities that don't exist yet. For example, that export market you've been eyeing may be available at some point, but the trade negotiations to open it up could take years.
  • Relying on SWOT Analysis alone. SWOT Analysis is valuable. But when you use it alongside other planning tools (SOAR, TOWS or PEST), the results will be more vigorous.

How to Use a SWOT Analysis

Use a SWOT Analysis to assess your organization's current position before you decide on any new strategy. Find out what's working well, and what's not so good. Ask yourself where you want to go, how you might get there – and what might get in your way.

Once you've examined all four aspects of SWOT, you'll want to build on your strengths, boost your weaker areas, head off any threats, and exploit every opportunity. In fact, you'll likely be faced with a long list of potential actions.

But before you go ahead, be sure to develop your ideas further. Look for potential connections between the quadrants of your matrix. For example, could you use some of your strengths to open up further opportunities? And, would even more opportunities become available by eliminating some of your weaknesses?

Finally, it's time to ruthlessly prune and prioritize your ideas, so that you can focus time and money on the most significant and impactful ones. Refine each point to make your comparisons clearer. For example, only accept precise, verifiable statements such as, "Cost advantage of $30/ton in sourcing raw material x," rather than, "Better value for money."

Remember to apply your learnings at the right level in your organization. For example, at a product or product-line level, rather than at the much vaguer whole-company level. And use your SWOT analysis alongside other strategy tools (for example, Core Competencies Analysis ), so that you get a comprehensive picture of the situation you're dealing with.

A SWOT Analysis Example

Imagine this scenario: a small start-up consultancy wants a clear picture of its current situation, to decide on a future strategy for growth. The team gathers, and draws up the SWOT Analysis shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. A Completed SWOT Analysis.

As a result of the team's analysis, it's clear that the consultancy's main strengths lie in its agility, technical expertise, and low overheads. These allow it to offer excellent customer service to a relatively small client base.

The company's weaknesses are also to do with its size. It will need to invest in training, to improve the skills base of the small staff. It'll also need to focus on retention, so it doesn't lose key team members.

There are opportunities in offering rapid-response, good-value services to local businesses and to local government organizations. The company can likely be first to market with new products and services, given that its competitors are slow adopters.

The threats require the consultancy to keep up-to-date with changes in technology. It also needs to keep a close eye on its largest competitors, given its vulnerability to large-scale changes in its market. To counteract this, the business needs to focus its marketing on selected industry websites, to get the greatest possible market presence on a small advertising budget.

It's also possible to carry out a Personal SWOT Analysis . This can be useful for developing your career in ways that take best advantage of your talents, abilities and opportunities.

SWOT Analysis Infographic

See SWOT Analysis represented in our infographic :

SWOT Analysis helps you to identify your organization's Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

It guides you to build on what you do well, address what you're lacking, seize new openings, and minimize risks.

Apply a SWOT Analysis to assess your organization's position before you decide on any new strategy.

Use a SWOT matrix to prompt your research and to record your ideas. Avoid making huge lists of suggestions. Be as specific as you can, and be honest about your weaknesses.

Be realistic and rigorous. Prune and prioritize your ideas, to focus time and money on the most significant and impactful actions and solutions. Complement your use of SWOT with other tools.

Collaborate with a team of people from across the business. This will help to uncover a more accurate and honest picture.

Find out what's working well, and what's not so good. Ask yourself where you want to go, how you might get there – and what might get in your way.

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Comments (2)

SWOT is useless. When you try it and you find Weaknesses box bulging, but Strengths & Opportunities completely empty, what can that possibly achieve?

Leslie Bartnicki

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SWOT Analysis: How To Do One [With Template & Examples]

Caroline Forsey

Published: October 05, 2023

As your business grows, you need a roadmap to help navigate the obstacles, challenges, opportunities, and projects that come your way. Enter: the SWOT analysis.

man conducting swot analysis for his business

This framework can help you develop a plan to determine your priorities, maximize opportunities, and minimize roadblocks as you scale your organization. Below, let’s go over exactly what a SWOT analysis is, a few SWOT analysis examples, and how to conduct one for your business.

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When you’re done reading, you’ll have all the inspiration and tactical advice you need to tackle a SWOT analysis for your business.

What is a SWOT analysis? Importance of a SWOT Analysis How to Write a Good SWOT Analysis SWOT Analysis Examples How to Act on a SWOT Analysis

What is a SWOT analysis?

A SWOT analysis is a strategic planning technique that puts your business in perspective using the following lenses: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Using a SWOT analysis helps you identify ways your business can improve and maximize opportunities, while simultaneously determining negative factors that might hinder your chances of success.

While it may seem simple on the surface, a SWOT analysis allows you to make unbiased evaluations on:

  • Your business or brand.
  • Market positioning.
  • A new project or initiative.
  • A specific campaign or channel.

Practically anything that requires strategic planning, internal or external, can have the SWOT framework applied to it, helping you avoid unnecessary errors down the road from lack of insight.

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Importance of a SWOT Analysis

You’ve noticed by now that SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. The framework seems simple enough that you’d be tempted to forgo using it at all, relying instead on your intuition to take these things into account.

But you shouldn’t. Doing a SWOT analysis is important. Here’s why.

SWOT gives you the chance to worry and to dream.

A SWOT analysis is an important step in your strategic process because it gives you the opportunity to explore both the potential risks and the exciting possibilities that lie ahead.  You’re giving yourself the space to dream, evaluate, and worry before taking action. Your insights then turn into assets as you create the roadmap for your initiative.

For instance, when you consider the weaknesses and threats that your business may face, you can address any concerns or challenges and strategize on how to mitigate those risks. At the same time, you can identify strengths and opportunities, which can inspire innovative ideas and help you dream big. Both are equally important. 

SWOT forces you to define your variables.

Instead of diving head first into planning and execution, you’re taking inventory of all your assets and roadblocks. This process will help you  develop strategies that leverage your strengths and opportunities while addressing and mitigating the impact of weaknesses and threats.

As a result, you'll gain a comprehensive understanding of your current situation and create a more specific and effective roadmap. Plus, a SWOT analysis is inherently proactive. That means you'll be better equipped to make informed decisions, allocate resources effectively, and set realistic goals. 

SWOT allows you to account for mitigating factors.

As you identify weaknesses and threats, you’re better able to account for them in your roadmap, improving your chances of success.

Moreover, accounting for mitigating factors allows you to allocate your resources wisely and make informed decisions that lead to sustainable growth. With a SWOT analysis as a guide, you can confidently face challenges and seize opportunities.

SWOT helps you keep a written record.

As your organization grows and changes, you’ll be able to strike things off your old SWOTs and make additions. You can look back at where you came from and look ahead at what’s to come.

In other words, SWOT analyses serve as a tangible history of your progress and provide a reference point for future decision-making. With each update, your SWOT analysis becomes a living document that guides your strategic thinking and helps you stay agile and adaptable in an ever-changing business landscape.

By maintaining this written record, you foster a culture of continuous improvement and empower your team to make data-driven decisions and stay aligned with your long-term vision.

Parts of a SWOT Analysis

Conducting a SWOT analysis will help you strategize effectively, unlock valuable insights, and make informed decisions. But what exactly does a SWOT analysis include?

Let’s explore each component: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

swot analysis chart: strengths

Your strengths are the unique advantages and internal capabilities that give your company a competitive edge in the market. A strong brand reputation, innovative products or services, or exceptional customer service are just a few examples. By identifying and capitalizing on your strengths, you can foster customer loyalty and build a solid foundation for growth.

swot analysis chart: weaknesses

No business is flawless. Weaknesses are areas where you may face challenges or fall short of your potential. It could be outdated processes, skill gaps within the team, or inadequate resources. By acknowledging these weaknesses, you can establish targeted initiatives for improvement, upskill your team, adopt new technologies, and enhance your overall operational efficiency.

swot analysis chart: opportunities

Opportunities are external factors that can contribute to your company's progress. These may include emerging markets, technological advancements, changes in consumer behavior, or gaps in the market that your company can fill. By seizing these opportunities, you can expand your market reach, diversify your product offerings, forge strategic partnerships, or even venture into untapped territories.

swot analysis chart: threats

Threats are external factors that are beyond your control and pose challenges to your business. Increased competition, economic volatility, evolving regulatory landscapes, or even changing market trends are examples of threats. By proactively assessing and addressing them, you can develop contingency plans, adjust your strategies, and minimize their impact on your operations.

In a SWOT analysis, you’ll have to take both internal and external factors into account. We’ll cover those next.

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SWOT Analysis Internal and External Factors

A SWOT analysis typically has internal (i.e., within your organization) and external (i.e., outside your organization) factors at play. Here's a breakdown of each.

Internal Factors

Internal factors refer to the characteristics and resources within your organization that directly influence its operations and performance. These factors are completely within your organization's control, so they can be modified, improved, or capitalized upon.

In a SWOT analysis, strengths and weaknesses are categorized as internal factors. Let’s look at a few examples.

  • Brand reputation
  • Unique expertise
  • Loyal customer base
  • Talented workforce
  • Efficient processes
  • Proprietary technology
  • Outdated technology
  • Inadequate resources
  • Poor financial health
  • Inefficient processes
  • Skill gaps within the team

External Factors

External factors are elements outside the organization's control that have an impact on its operations, market position, and success. These factors arise from the industry climate and the broader business environment. You typically have no control over external factors, but you can respond to them.

In a SWOT analysis, opportunities and threats are categorized as external factors. Let’s look at a few examples.

  • Emerging markets
  • Changing consumer trends
  • Technological advancements
  • Positive shifts in regulations
  • New gaps in the market you could fill
  • Intense competition
  • Economic downturns
  • Disruptive technologies
  • Changing regulations
  • Negative shifts in consumer behavior

Remember, a well-rounded SWOT analysis empowers you to capitalize on strengths, address weaknesses, seize opportunities, and navigate threats — all while making informed decisions for the future.

Now, let’s take a look at how you can write a good SWOT analysis for yourself or for stakeholders.

How do you write a good SWOT analysis?

There are several steps you’ll want to take when evaluating your business and conducting a strategic SWOT analysis.

1. Download HubSpot's SWOT Analysis Template.

There’s no need to start from scratch for your analysis. Instead, start by downloading a free, editable template from HubSpot. Feel free to use the model yourself, or create your own as it suits your needs.

HubSpot’s free SWOT analysis template explains how to do a SWOT analysis.

3. Identify your objective.

Before you start writing things down, you’ll need to figure out what you’re evaluating with your SWOT analysis.

Be specific about what you want to analyze. Otherwise, your SWOT analysis may end up being too broad, and you’ll get analysis paralysis as you are making your evaluations.

If you’re creating a new social media program, you’ll want to conduct an analysis to inform your content creation strategy. If you’re launching a new product, you’ll want to understand its potential positioning in the space. If you’re considering a brand redesign, you’ll want to consider existing and future brand conceptions.

All of these are examples of good reasons to conduct a SWOT analysis. By identifying your objective, you’ll be able to tailor your evaluation to get more actionable insights.

4. Identify your strengths.

“Strengths” refers to what you are currently doing well. Think about the factors that are going in your favor as well as the things you offer that your competitors just can’t beat.

For example, let’s say you want to use a SWOT analysis to evaluate your new social media strategy.

If you’re looking at a new social media program, perhaps you want to evaluate how your brand is perceived by the public. Is it easily recognizable and well-known? Even if it’s not popular with a widespread group, is it well-received by a specific audience?

Next, think about your process: Is it effective or innovative? Is there good communication between marketing and sales?

Finally, evaluate your social media message, and in particular, how it differs from the rest of the industry. I’m willing to bet you can make a lengthy list of some major strengths of your social media strategy over your competitors, so try to dive into your strengths from there.

5. Identify your weaknesses.

In contrast to your strengths, what are the roadblocks hindering you from reaching your goals? What do your competitors offer that continues to be a thorn in your side?

This section isn’t about dwelling on negative aspects. Rather, it’s critical to foresee any potential obstacles that could mitigate your success.

When identifying weaknesses, consider what areas of your business are the least profitable, where you lack certain resources, or what costs you the most time and money. Take input from employees in different departments, as they’ll likely see weaknesses you hadn’t considered.

If you’re examining a new social media strategy, you might start by asking yourself these questions: First, if I were a consumer, what would prevent me from buying this product, or engaging with this business? What would make me click away from the screen?

Second, what do I foresee as the biggest hindrance to my employees’ productivity, or their ability to get the job done efficiently? What derails their social media efforts?

6. Consider your opportunities.

This is your chance to dream big. What are some opportunities for your social media strategy you hope, but don’t necessarily expect, to reach?

For instance, maybe you’re hoping your Facebook ads will attract a new, larger demographic. Maybe you’re hoping your YouTube video gets 10,000 views and increases sales by 10%.

Whatever the case, it’s important to include potential opportunities in your SWOT analysis. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What technologies do I want my business to use to make it more effective?
  • What new target audience do I want to reach?
  • How can the business stand out more in the current industry?
  • Is there something our customers complain about that we could fix?

The opportunities category goes hand-in-hand with the weaknesses category. Once you’ve made a list of weaknesses, it should be easy to create a list of potential opportunities that could arise if you eliminate your weaknesses.

7. Contemplate your threats.

It’s likely, especially if you’re prone to worry, you already have a good list of threats in your head.

If not, gather your employees and brainstorm. Start with these questions:

  • What obstacles might prevent us from reaching our goals?
  • What’s going on in the industry, or with our competitors, that might mitigate our success?
  • Is there new technology out there that could conflict with our product?

Writing down your threats helps you evaluate them objectively.

For instance, maybe you list your threats in terms of least and most likely to occur and divide and conquer each. If one of your biggest threats is your competitor’s popular Instagram account, you could work with your marketing department to create content that showcases your product’s unique features.

SWOT Analysis Chart

swot analysis chart: hubspot swot analysis template

Download a free SWOT analysis chart included in HubSpot’s free market research kit .

A SWOT analysis doesn’t have to be fancy. Our SWOT analysis chart provides a clear and structured framework for capturing and organizing your internal strengths and weaknesses, and external opportunities and threats. It's the perfect visual aid to make sense of the wealth of information gathered during your analysis.

(Plus, you can always customize and paste it into a document you plan to share with stakeholders.)

But remember: Filling out the SWOT chart is just one step in the process. Combine it with our entire market research kit , and you'll have all the tools necessary to help your organization navigate new opportunities and threats.

SWOT Analysis Examples

The template above helps get you started on your own SWOT analysis.

But, if you’re anything like me, it’s not enough to see a template. To fully understand a concept, you need to see how it plays out in the real world.

These SWOT examples are not exhaustive. However, they are a great starting point to inspire you as you do your own SWOT analysis.

Apple’s SWOT analysis

Here’s how we’d conduct a SWOT analysis on Apple.

An example SWOT analysis of Apple.

First off, strengths. While Apple has many strengths, let’s identify the top three:

  • Brand recognition.
  • Innovative products.
  • Ease of use.

Apple’s brand is undeniably strong, and its business is considered the most valuable in the world . Since it’s easily recognized, Apple can produce new products and almost ensure a certain degree of success by virtue of the brand name itself.

Apple’s highly innovative products are often at the forefront of the industry. One thing that sets Apple apart from the competition is its product inter-connectivity.

For instance, an Apple user can easily sync their iPhone and iPad together. They can access all of their photos, contacts, apps, and more no matter which device they are using.

Lastly, customers enjoy how easy it is to use Apple’s products. With a sleek and simple design, each product is developed so that most people can quickly learn how to use them.

Next, let’s look at three of Apple’s weaknesses.

  • High prices
  • Closed ecosystem
  • Lack of experimentation

While the high prices don’t deter Apple’s middle- and upper-class customer base, they do hinder Apple’s ability to reach a lower-class demographic.

Apple also suffers from its own exclusivity. Apple controls all its services and products in-house, and while many customers become loyal brand advocates for this reason, it means all burdens fall on Apple employees.

Ultimately, Apple’s tight control over who distributes its products limits its market reach.

Lastly, Apple is held to a high standard when it comes to creating and distributing products. Apple’s brand carries a high level of prestige. That level of recognition inhibits Apple from taking risks and experimenting freely with new products that could fail.

Now, let’s take a look at opportunities for Apple.

It’s easy to recognize opportunities for improvement, once you consider Apple’s weaknesses. Here’s a list of three we came up with:

  • Expand distribution options.
  • Create new product lines.
  • Technological advancement.

One of Apple’s biggest weaknesses is its distribution network, which, in the name of exclusivity, remains relatively small. If Apple expanded its network and enabled third-party businesses to sell its products, it could reach more people globally, while alleviating some of the stress currently put on in-house employees.

There are also plenty of opportunities for Apple to create new products. Apple could consider creating more affordable products to reach a larger demographic, or spreading out into new industries — Apple self-driving cars, perhaps?

Finally, Apple could continue advancing its products’ technology. Apple can take existing products and refine them, ensuring each product offers as many unique features as possible.

Finally, let’s look at threats to Apple.

Believe it or not, they do exist.

Here are three of Apple’s biggest threats:

  • Tough competition.
  • International issues.

Apple isn’t the only innovative tech company out there, and it continues to face tough competition from Samsung, Google, and other major forces. In fact, Samsung sold more smartphones than Apple did in Q1 of 2022 , shipping 17 million more units than Apple and holding 24% of the market share.

Many of Apple’s weaknesses hinder Apple’s ability to compete with the tech corporations that have more freedom to experiment, or that don’t operate in a closed ecosystem.

A second threat to Apple is lawsuits. Apple has faced plenty of lawsuits, particularly between Apple and Samsung . These lawsuits interfere with Apple’s reputable image and could steer some customers to purchase elsewhere.

Finally, Apple needs to improve its reach internationally. The company isn’t number one in China and doesn’t have a very positive relationship with the Chinese government. In India, which has one of the largest consumer markets in the world, Apple’s market share is low , and the company has trouble bringing stores to India’s market.

If Apple can’t compete globally the way Samsung or Google can, it risks falling behind in the industry.

Starbucks SWOT Analysis

Now that we’ve explored the nuances involved with a SWOT analysis, let’s fill out a SWOT template using Starbucks as an example.

Here’s how we’d fill out a SWOT template if we were Starbucks:

An example SWOT analysis for Starbucks.

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Restaurant Small Business SWOT Analysis

Some small business marketers may have difficulty relating to the SWOTs of big brands like Apple and Starbucks. Here’s an example of how a dine-in Thai restaurant might visualize each element.

A SWOT analysis example for a restaurant small business.

Small restaurants can lean into their culinary expertise and service skills to find opportunities for growth and brand awareness. A SWOT analysis can also help identify weaknesses that can be improved, such as menu variation and pricing.

While a restaurant might not be as worried about high-level lawsuits, a small business might be more concerned about competitors or disruptors that might enter the playing field.

Local Boutique SWOT Analysis

In another small business example, let’s take a look at a SWOT analysis for a local boutique.

A SWOT analysis example for a local boutique.

This shop might be well known in its neighborhood, but it also might take time to build an online presence or get its products in an online store.

Because of this, some of its strengths and opportunities might relate to physical factors while weaknesses and threats might relate to online situations.

How to Act on a SWOT Analysis

After conducting a SWOT analysis, you may be asking yourself: What’s next?

Putting together a SWOT analysis is only one step. Executing the findings identified by the analysis is just as important — if not more.

Put your insights into action using the following steps.

Take advantage of your strengths.

Use your strengths to pursue opportunities from your analysis.

For example, if we look at the local boutique example above, the strength of having affordable prices can be a value proposition. You can emphasize your affordable prices on social media or launch an online store.

Address your weaknesses.

Back to the boutique example, one of its weaknesses is having a poor social media presence. To mitigate this, the boutique could hire a social media consultant to improve its strategy. They may even tap into the expertise of a social-savvy employee.

Make note of the threats.

Threats are often external factors that can’t be controlled, so it’s best to monitor the threats outlined in your SWOT analysis to be aware of their impacts on your business.

When to Use a SWOT Analysis

While the examples above focus on business strategy in general, you can also use a SWOT analysis to evaluate and predict how a singular product will play out in the market.

Ultimately, a SWOT analysis can measure and tackle both big and small challenges, from deciding whether or not to launch a new product to refining your social media strategy.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in May 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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What is SWOT analysis?

The benefits of a swot analysis, swot analysis example, how to do a swot analysis, how to use a swot analysis.

A SWOT analysis is a useful technique for thinking about strategy and making decisions.

Teams and organizations use this strategic planning tool to decide on a course of action. It is a way to assess current and future potential.

SWOT is a classic tool for any strategist. On its own, however, it may not meet the needs of a complex organization in a rapidly changing world . That doesn't mean it isn't useful, though. 

A SWOT analysis is a useful way to look at your team. When combined with an outside-in look at broader trends and where markets are moving, it can help you define and prioritize initiatives.

But how do you use a SWOT analysis? And what are some SWOT analysis examples?

Here’s how to use this popular framework to make an informed decision . We’ve also included a SWOT analysis template for you to jumpstart your next collaboration session .

A SWOT analysis is a method used to assess a company’s internal and external environments. It involves identifying your company’s strengths , weaknesses , opportunities, and threats . Its effectiveness relies on an assumption that the company can adequately assess its external environment. This assumption doesn't hold when competitors emerge from unexpected and adjacent domains.

The SWOT assessment technique helps measure a business’ competitive advantage. Competitive advantage is essentially what makes your business special compared to other businesses in your field. It’s why your customers choose you.

By doing a SWOT analysis, you can gain insights into where your business is, where it could be, and what you can do to get there. This important information helps you with the decision-making process and strategic planning .

What are the 4 factors of a SWOT analysis?

To understand the SWOT framework, you need to know what SWOT stands for. Let's break down the acronym:

W eaknesses

O pportunities

T hreats 

collaborative-team-in-discussion-swot-analysis

Below are some examples of what could fall under each of the four fields:

Strengths are advantages your business holds, such as:

  • A positive work environment  
  • A well-balanced and capable team 
  • Beneficial relationships with certain suppliers 

Internal weaknesses are what might be holding your business back. They could include the following:

  • Poor management
  • Not handling complaints in the best way 
  • Unnecessary overhead costs

Opportunities

Look for opportunities to build on your internal strengths and eliminate or reduce your weaknesses. Opportunities may include:

  • Employees who are willing to take on training to expand their skill set
  • New technology to streamline your business processes
  • Any opportunity to collaborate with other businesses in parallel fields

A threat could be something that hinders you in the long run or ruins a good opportunity for expansion. Here are a few external threats that could harm your business:

  • Overspending without proper analysis 
  • A new, similar business with more start-up capital opening in your vicinity
  • Discrimination , workplace coercion , or other poor behavior from difficult employees

Here are some ways a SWOT analysis can benefit your business.

  • It gives direction. A SWOT analysis is like a GPS. It tells you where you are, where you could be, and how to get there. It also allows you to take stock of your inventory, your immediate and distant surroundings, and any shortcuts that you might not have spotted before.
  • It helps set objectives. Having concrete business objectives is important, but finding those objectives can be difficult. Using a SWOT analysis, you can set better team goals . It can help you clearly see the steps that need to be taken to build on strengths and shore up weaknesses. 
  • It is an effective decision-making tool. A SWOT analysis allows you to gather the information necessary to make a well-informed decision and set priorities. There’s no way of learning from past mistakes or successes if there’s no period of reflection before moving forward. A SWOT analysis forces you to pause and analyze past decisions to plan your next steps. 
  • It promotes collaboration. A SWOT analysis encourages collaborative teamwork . It makes your team feel heard and understood before moving forward together. Allowing your team to be present while making important decisions is important to building mutual trust . Use this as an opportunity to allow your team members to speak up and voice their opinions, ideas, and concerns.

collaborative-employees-working-together-swot-analysis

As you go through this process with your employees, note the qualities that make this team valuable. Showing appreciation for the people you work with builds a positive company culture . Recognizing your employees’ competencies is a brilliant way to raise morale .

  • It helps you identify areas of improvement. If you conduct a SWOT analysis on a semi-regular basis, you’ll begin to identify areas where you’ve improved, both externally and in your relationships as a team . Use this time to discuss whether previous threats or weaknesses have been properly addressed. 
  • It helps you capitalize on opportunities. A SWOT analysis is a great tool for finding opportunities and coming up with ways you can capitalize on them. If an opportunity has presented itself in the months or weeks leading up to the meeting, you’ll have a concrete set of objectives that’ll help you achieve your goals . Be sure to search for these opportunities both internally and externally. Opportunity doesn’t just have to be about profit. It can also relate to a better management structure , a valuable new employee , or even a way of handling a difficult interpersonal situation . 
  • It can be used to deter threats. A SWOT analysis can be used to identify any potential threats on the horizon. Is a new business trying to steal your clients or headhunt your employees? Identifying threats before they pose a serious risk to your business is vital. 
  • It gives the team better insight. With a SWOT analysis, your team gains better insight into the company’s current situation. Your team should walk away with a good understanding of the business, its objectives, and how they’re going to be achieved. If everyone knows what’s happening, miscommunication is less likely to occur. 
  • It promotes strategic alignment. When management and employees work together, better systems are built. Employees might have knowledge of a weakness that management isn’t aware of. Once management knows more, measures can be put into place to improve workflow and reduce any issues or unnecessary expenditure.
  • It helps you assess whether your team is on the right path. A SWOT analysis helps you see if you’re moving in the right direction. How have things progressed since your last analysis? Is everything that was discussed still on track? Using this tool will help you and your team gain a bird’s-eye view of the company’s trajectory. 

To see this method in action, let’s look at a SWOT analysis example of a small business.

After operating for five years, Suzanne wants to see if her online fitness coaching business is performing well as a business. She employs a team of five people, which includes three online trainers, a digital marketing specialist, and herself. Because of the small team, she is in charge of all admin duties and human resources management .

The market when she started the business was rather different from the market today. She decides it’s time to do a SWOT analysis.

By using a SWOT matrix, she breaks down the organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats into four quadrants:

You can use this example as a template for doing your own SWOT analysis.

Let’s walk through a step-by-step guide on how to do a SWOT analysis for the very first time:

1. Designate a leader or facilitator

Having one person lead the session will keep things on track. They should have good communication skills and be able to manage productive conflict . 

This doesn’t necessarily have to be a manager , but rather someone you know is good at group coordination and setting boundaries .

2. Introduce the SWOT method to the team

Once you’ve assembled the team, introduce the concept of a SWOT analysis. This way, everyone can know what to expect from the session and what is expected of them.

To help speed this process up, consider forwarding this article to your team so that everyone is somewhat familiar with the process.

3. Determine the objective

Once everyone knows what’s going on, tell them why you’re all there. 

Is this just an exercise to make sure the business is on track? Is there a potential threat or opportunity that needs to be discussed? 

Once you have a clear objective, the meeting will have a natural direction.

4. Brainstorm

Having a brainstorming session with your team will make everyone feel heard and valued. This way, you can get different perspectives and ideas you may not have thought of yourself. It might also be a good opportunity to see where everyone's strengths lie.

Take some time (but keep a limit on it) to get everyone’s creative juices flowing . Use a time blocking strategy , such as the Pomodoro technique, to ensure you don’t go over time. By the end of your timed session, you should have an extensive list of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

two-colleagues-brainstorming-ideas-swot-analysis

5. Analyze the internal and external environment

After the brainstorming session, take time to discuss internal and external affairs through the lens of the SWOT analysis. 

Why did certain ideas come up? Where do we think the next threat could come from? How are ‌employees feeling in their roles ? Conduct a thorough analysis of these ideas.

6. Record all ideas and thoughts

Having everything on record is the best way to get the most out of a SWOT session. Make sure someone is taking minutes that you can relay to everyone after the meeting so that no valuable information is lost.

7. Be selective

Once everything has been laid out on the table, discuss the validity of what’s there. Make sure this is a democratic process and that you have conclusive discussions before ignoring a suggestion or concern. The selection process should also be recorded for future sessions.

8. Create a safe environment so that everyone can contribute

It’s vital that all are made to feel safe , seen, heard, and supported during these sessions. If only a handful of people are contributing, the exercise bears limited fruit. 

If there are certain people who are staying silent, ask them why they don’t feel comfortable taking part. This should be a safe space for all.

You’ve conducted your SWOT analysis. Now what? Here are what actions to take to make the most out of your SWOT analysis.

1. Assess the possible strategic options

Using the data you’ve gathered, begin to assess what the best steps could be moving forward. 

For example, could one of your company’s strengths help you take advantage of a possible opportunity? Start to link the ideas discussed in the meeting to see what outcomes could be beneficial.

2. Prepare an action plan/strategy

Now that you have your bearings, examine these options and see if they’re feasible. Your strengths and weaknesses should provide a foundation as to how you can tackle possible threats and opportunities. 

Compile a list of short and long-term goals that’ll steer your business in the right direction. Be sure to understand the difference between tactics and strategy while going through this phase of the planning process.

3. Decide how to measure success

Not setting metrics is a crucial mistake in strategic management . Without metrics, it is easy to go off-track and lose sight of ‌long-term objectives.

Measuring success depends on what your goals are . If the goal is concrete (secure 50 new clients, for example), success will be easier to measure. If your goal is less tangible, such as building a sense of belonging at work , it might be wise to conduct research to see how far you’ve come.

team-members-prioritizing-tasks-swot-analysis

4. Prioritize next steps

Decide which goals need to be tackled when. An opportunity may be missed if you’re focusing on something less important, so it’s vital to put the steps into a sensible, workable order. Using the Pareto principle can help you prioritize the activities that really matter.

5. Be open to change

As your business grows and situations change, it’s important to be flexible with your goals . If an opportunity falls through, make sure that plans are still being made and work is still being done. This will help avoid delays and confusion.

6. Review progress, and refresh the plan

A SWOT analysis is something that you need to carry out regularly. Track how your business performs between these meetings so that you can keep tabs on your growth, goals, and accomplishments.

Drive growth with a SWOT analysis

If you want to plan, execute, and succeed in your business, using a SWOT analysis is going to be an important tool. The SWOT method lets you get the most out of your team and offers you the perspective on your business that you need.

A SWOT analysis isn’t just your roadmap to success. It’ll begin to form a clear record of your history as well. Analyzing past accomplishments and failures is the best way to grow, both as an individual and a business. 

With the SWOT method, you’ll create a close-knit team, a comprehensive list of goals, and a full picture of your company’s identity. 

If this sounds like something you need in your business, talk to BetterUp to see how we can help.

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Table of Contents

  • What is a SWOT Analysis?

Who should do a SWOT Analysis?

Benefits of swot analysis, characteristics of a swot analysis, how to do the swot analysis, how to use the final swot analysis results, other strategies like swot.

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Companies start a project to reach or obtain an objective that will address a need coming from different sources. It can come from an external source, such as customer demands or fierce competition, or an internal source, such as invention or innovation. At the initiation phase of the project, the team identifies and scopes the need or objective. At this phase, the team investigates and analyzes several things, such as its capabilities, priorities, and strategies.

What is SWOT Analysis?

SWOT analysis is a simple yet effective process for identifying positive and negative forces at work that can affect the successful completion of a project. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. It allows the project leader to assess areas that are working well and areas that need improvement. If project management is managing a movement from one state to another, then a SWOT analysis lets a team know where they are currently so they can go where they want to be.

For a SWOT analysis to be effective, it must have complete, accurate, and unbiased information. Depending on the scope of the project, the team conducting the analysis should have senior leadership with enough overview of the organization and business. A project with a greater scope should involve a leader with a higher position making the analysis. Additionally, a project with a greater impact to the whole business should involve more participants across the organization’s different departments. For a more accurate assessment, creating a team with diverse perspectives is essential. For instance, a team that includes personnel from customer service together with sales and marketing will provide better information than with sales and marketing teams only.

Companies do a SWOT analysis before they commit to any action or project plan. This way, they can answer questions such as ‘can we do the project?’ or ‘should we do the project?’ SWOT analysis provides teams and organizations the following benefits:

  • Creates honest assessments of their strengths and weaknesses
  • Provides new perspectives on the company and its business
  • Gives insight on how to maximize what is available, address limitations, make additional investments, and avoid risks.
  • Confirms the needed validation and justification for initiating the project
  • Builds supporting documents for the project plan
  • Provides an effective strategic planning tool when done regularly

In a SWOT analysis, teams focus on the four elements of the acronym as they identify the forces and conflicts that influence and affect the project. Some teams create a 2×2 grid while others create a document with 4 columns. Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors that a team or organization has, while opportunities and threats are external factors that they have lesser control of. The document places strengths and opportunities side-by-side, and weaknesses with threats. This makes it easily visible if teams can maximize strengths to create more opportunities or if eliminating a weakness can help avoid a threat.

SWOT Analysis template

Strengths are what you excel at more so than your competitors. Strengths are integral to your organization, so it can be a pool of talented people, a solid business process, a proprietary technology, or an excellent work culture. Any aspect of your company that brings an advantage is a strength.

Weaknesses are the things that create disadvantages to your team or organization. These are inherent features that can be present in personnel, procedures, systems, or culture. If there is a policy or practice that you want to remove or replace by something better, it would probably be a weakness.

Opportunities

Opportunities are favorable external factors that can help you gain an advantage. They are available openings or chances that your team can pursue with additional effort or investment. It can be a proper timing, special offer, an easing of restriction, or a recently released application.

Threats can be any external factor that affects the project, team, or business negatively. They are obstacles to your workflow, schedule, budget, or end product or service. A new technology, a recent regulation, or the success of a competitor can all be threats.

Questions to help inspire analysis

  • Does the organization have all the necessary talent in-house?
  • Is the budget sufficient to complete all the tasks involved?
  • What are the benefits of completing the project?
  • Has the project manager handled similar projects in the past?
  • How experienced are the team members?

Weaknesses:

  • Does the organization have the resources to provide contingency funding?
  • If the team doesn’t have all the necessary skills, is outsourcing an option?
  • Is the schedule realistic?
  • What are the potential drawbacks of the project?

Opportunities:

  • Will this project take advantage of competitor weaknesses?
  • What are the latest trends in the industry?
  • Are there new technologies that the organization should be aware of?
  • Can this project help in different areas of the business?
  • Are the team members difficult to replace?
  • Did the new technology passed testing or has successful adoption?
  • Could changing trends affect the project?
  • Can competitors copy the capability?

SWOT Analysis template 2

After the SWOT analysis activity, teams can now summarize the results. From these results, they can form a strategy that will maximize available strengths to take advantage of opportunities. They can reduce or eliminate existing weaknesses to avoid threats. The strategy can be a basis in how teams will build their project plans.

A SWOT Analysis example

In this example, a medical startup company plans to develop and market a non-invasive, optical-based blood glucose monitor. The company wishes to offer its patient population a better way to monitor and manage their blood sugar levels without painfully pricking fingers using traditional home electronic glucose meters.

  • The company has patents on the optical blood glucose monitor technology.
  • The technology and device are FDA-approved.
  • They have industry experts with extensive experience in the different aspects of the technology, including medicine, optics, electronics, and manufacturing.
  • The company lacks funding.
  • As a startup, they don’t have a distribution network or a relationship to one.
  • The device is expensive to build.
  • There is an untapped market for non-invasive blood glucose monitors.
  • Due to a diabetes endemic, the demand for monitors are increasing yearly.
  • Major scientific institutions and enterprises are expressing interest in conducting joint research.
  • Existing competitive and emerging products have strong market presence.
  • Prices of devices are going down.

Actions to take:

From the SWOT analysis, the company needs to consider obtaining capital from interested investors. This will include venture capitalists and angel investors. Also, the company needs to quickly build relationships with medical device distributors by attending conferences and developing incentives for distributors. They can also take advantage of joint researches and publications with institutions and enterprises that may have existing distributor networks.

It is important to have a clear objective during SWOT analysis sessions. Participants or stakeholders should understand the whole team’s expectations from everyone. The analysis at the initial phase helps identify the elements that will later support the project plan. But it’s also possible to have a SWOT analysis session in the middle of a project for a review or reassessment of identified elements.

A SWOT analysis is one among many tools for project or strategic planning. Teams can use an existing SWOT analysis template with a variety of formats placing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in grids or columns.

In addition, other tools are available to complement SWOT analysis. Brainstorming techniques can help putting forward ideas and opinions during the analysis session while a TOWS Matrix is a SWOT variation where the focus is in identifying the relationships between the elements. Other similar strategies that involve analyzing individual but related elements include:

PEST Analysis – A Political, Economic, Social, and Technological (PEST) Analysis can provide additional assessment of external factors in opportunities and threats. This type of analysis is useful for assessing factors that can affect the profitability of a company. It is used in conjunction with SWOT.

MOST Analysis – A Mission, Objectives, Strategy, and Tactics (MOST) Analysis is a technique used for strategy planning and development. It helps companies evaluate what they want to achieve through their mission statement and objectives. It also helps them clarify how they want to achieve this through strategies and tactics.

SCRS Analysis – A Strategy, Current state, Requirements, and Solutions (SCRS) Analysis is a business tool for coming up with a plan of action. For each identified problem, you create a strategy, review your current state, identify requirements, and find the best solution. It also allows the team to look at the underlying problem and find practical and feasible solutions that aligns with the company’s current strategy.

VRIO Analysis – A Value, Rarity, Imitability, and Organization (VRIO) Analysis is performed by organization leaders after creating their vision statement. It is an analysis tool that helps uncover elements that can provide competitive advantage to a company over others. Participants answer a question-framework regarding added value offered to customers, control of rare or scarce resources and capabilities, difficulty of duplicating or creating a substitute to an organization resource, and confirming the presence of organized systems and processes to capitalize on resources.

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A SWOT analysis can help a small business owner or business assess a company’s position to determine the most optimal strategy going forward. This business practice can help you identify what you’re doing well, what you want to do better, and what kinds of obstacles you might encounter along the way.

This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about a SWOT analysis: what it is, how it works, and how to do it. We’ll also include an example and a template to help guide you as you perform your own SWOT analysis.

What Is a SWOT Analysis?

A SWOT analysis is a strategic planning technique that outlines an organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Assessing business competition in this way can help an organization plan strategically and execute more effectively.

The 4 Parts of a SWOT Analysis

Your business’s strengths SWOT section should include anything that your business does differently or better than competitors. Think about your unique value proposition, trends you’ve noticed in positive customer feedback, operational strengths, and company culture. This section is the perfect place to name and celebrate anything you’re already doing well.

Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn (while also remaining objective). Clearly identifying your business’s strengths not only helps you keep your spirits balanced as you address your weaknesses, it will also give you a sense of where to concentrate your resources. It’s easier to build a successful business when you’re working towards something, rather than acting in opposition.

Questions to help you determine your strengths:

  • What is your business’s unique value proposition?
  • What common compliments do you receive from your customers?
  • What does your business do particularly well?
  • How do you operate differently from your competitors?
  • What gives you an edge on the competition ? (This can include something product-related like “better access to raw materials” or “lower cost of goods,” or it can be an internal strength like “strong company culture” or “employee motivation.”)
  • What might your competitors name as your strengths?

Your weaknesses are the areas in which the business has room for improvement. You should include structural weaknesses in this section—those that relate to your systems, procedures, resources, and personnel. This is a great place to look at common feedback from employees (either from exit interviews, anonymous surveys, or other sources) and recurring customer complaints.

Questions to help you determine your weaknesses:

  • What areas of your business could stand to improve?
  • What are common hiccups in your customer experience ?
  • How do you use your resources? Is there room for improvement?
  • What improvements are needed in your employee experience?
  • What weaknesses might your customers see that you tend to overlook?
  • What weaknesses might your competitors think you have?

Opportunities

Your opportunities are the positive, external factors that your business might benefit from… but cannot directly control. That might include market opportunities, consumer purchasing trends, legal or regulatory changes, population changes, the cost of raw materials, and more. For example, businesses that provide accessibility for aging seniors might recognize the forthcoming “silver tsunami” of Baby Boomers entering the target demographic. This would be a clear opportunity to expand their customer base.

Questions to help you determine your opportunities:

  • What trends might affect your industry?
  • How might the right talent create new opportunities?
  • your customers ask for anything you don’t offer (but could)?
  • How might population changes affect your business opportunities? (think: generational shifts)
  • Is there a need in the industry that you’re not creating, but could?
  • Do your competitors have any weaknesses that could be opportunities for you?
  • Is there a way to repackage current products to demand a higher price?
  • Are there any new, or potential, regulatory or tax changes that might provide a new opportunity?

Your threats are the external factors that have the potential to negatively affect your business. A threat can be specific and competitor-based or more structural. buy clomid online buy clomid online no prescription Examples of structural threats could be supply chain challenges, shifts in market requirements, talent shortages, or changes to social media algorithms (especially if your business heavily relies on social media marketing). You might also face a threat (or threats) from your competitors. This can include the way they operate, how they’re marketing, or the products they offer.

Identifying every external threat your business faces is essential for your business to identify how it must adapt in order to meet and overcome these challenges.

Questions to help you determine threats:

  • What happens if a supplier or manufacturer runs out of materials you use?
  • What if a natural disaster (like a pandemic) strikes? buy amitriptyline online buy amitriptyline online no prescription
  • Is your market shrinking?
  • What are your competitors offering? Are they expanding or offering different products?
  • How are your competitors marketing?
  • What technological threats are you vulnerable to (website security, social media algorithm changes)?
  • Are there any businesses that aren’t competitors now but could become competitors in the future?

The Benefits of a SWOT Analysis

SWOT analyses offer a variety of benefits for businesses and personal brands. Here are some of the most common benefits of a SWOT analysis:

  • You can use it to determine a strategic plan.
  • You can use it to drive an innovative, informed marketing plan.
  • It can help you identify external opportunities.
  • It can help you identify external threats.
  • It can reveal environmental factors that might affect your business, either positively or negatively.
  • You can develop a plan for how to tackle internal weaknesses.

How to Do a SWOT Analysis

You can approach SWOT analyses in multiple ways. You can conduct a personal SWOT analysis for yourself as an individual, you can perform a marketing SWOT analysis to determine a competitive advantage in your marketing , or you can use a SWOT analysis as a part of broader strategic planning.

Whatever your end goal for a SWOT analysis, follow these steps.

1. Create a SWOT Matrix

Use a SWOT template or create your own. You can create your SWOT framework on the computer or on a whiteboard—if you choose to do the latter, be sure that someone is in charge of recording the responses so that you don’t lose key insights (you can also take a picture at the end of the SWOT session).

2. Assemble Key Stakeholders

A SWOT analysis is most effective when it collects a variety of perspectives. Gathering key stakeholders with various perspectives will help you see more than you would have seen alone. Marketing leaders might be able to give you a more specific sense of the opportunities and threats related to your content marketing efforts. Your people team is closest to all personnel changes and feedback, so they’ll have the clearest sense of an organization’s strengths and what is driving employee retention (or challenging it). Sales leaders can help translate opportunities into a cohesive business strategy.

It’s simple: when it comes to a SWOT analysis, more heads are better than one.

3. Brainstorm Around Your Companies’ Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats

Go through each field of the SWOT diagram, spending some time with each one. Ask the group the guiding questions to ensure you’re developing a comprehensive picture of the internal and external environment. There are no bad ideas in brainstorming. You’re just trying to get thoughts flowing. Something that feels like a “bad idea” might lead to discovering a potential threat you’d never thought of before or nuanced analysis of how you stack up to your nearest competitor. The key here is to keep the brainstorm going.

4. Record Relevant Thoughts in Their Respective Sections

As you brainstorm, record points and ideas when they are relevant. At the end of the session, your SWOT analysis should leave you with a clear sense of the organization’s strengths and company’s weaknesses that you can use to guide your strategy formulation.

5. Edit Your List

Revisit the SWOT diagram at a later time and edit it, culling out anything you don’t really need. You can also polish up some of the key insights gleaned in the brainstorming session. This is especially important if you plan to use your SWOT analysis as a more formal document that might be disseminated broadly.

6. Create a More Formal Version (Optional)

The final step, if you choose to do it, is to take your SWOT takeaways and put them together in a polished document that you can share.

A SWOT Analysis Example

It can be easier to understand how to approach a SWOT analysis if you’ve seen a SWOT analysis example. For the sake of this example, we will imagine a hypothetical company and what its SWOT analysis might look like.

The Business

An Instagram-friendly fitness business offering virtual workouts.

  • The business is not limited to a specific geographic area.
  • The company offers great benefits so employees tend to stay.
  • Workouts look really good, so they market well on social media (particularly Instagram).
  • The app experience can be glitchy.
  • High customer churn rate.
  • Competitors let you filter classes by the instructor. Ours doesn’t offer that.
  • There is growing interest in our type of workout.
  • As a result of the pandemic, consumers are more interested in at-home workouts.
  • We could start offering retail products and branded workout equipment like our competitors do.
  • Our app is vulnerable to hacking.
  • If Instagram changes its algorithm, we may become wholly dependent on paid ads instead of organic posts.

A SWOT Analysis Template

Use this template to create your own SWOT analysis.

Strengths Section: What Your Company Does Well

Weaknesses section: what your company could improve, opportunities section: external factors you could use to your advantage, threats section: external factors that could harm your business, owning the hard truths of a swot analysis.

A SWOT analysis can bring up a lot of hard truths. It’s difficult to confront your company’s weaknesses and sometimes looking at threats can make them feel like the existential kind. Overcome these obstacles and give yourself the fortitude to confront business challenges head on with the Mental Toughness mini-course. The best part? It’s free.

swot analysis is a strategic planning technique that provides assessment tools

About Mary Kate Miller

Mary Kate Miller writes about small business, real estate, and finance. In addition to writing for Foundr, her work has been published by The Washington Post, Teen Vogue, Bustle, and more. She lives in Chicago.

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SWOT Analysis explained

SWOT analysis - Toolshero

Imagine having a strategic planning tool that helps your business identify its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, enabling you to make informed decisions and develop effective strategies. That’s exactly what SWOT analysis does, and businesses worldwide have been benefiting from it for years. In this article, you’ll learn how to conduct a SWOT analysis, explore real-life examples, and even access a free template to kick-start your strategic planning journey.

Short Summary

  • SWOT Analysis provides comprehensive insight into an organization’s current state for crafting effective strategies.
  • It examines internal and external factors, such as strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
  • A step-by-step guide is provided to help create a tailored SWOT analysis with real examples and a free template.

Understanding the SWOT Framework

The first fundamentals of the SWOT Analysis was developed by Edmund P. Learned et al. (1969). This method was further developed by Albert Humphrey in the 1970s, and was based on the research of data from the Fortune 500 companies in the United States. In order to create a SWOT Analysis, users must ask and get answers, to generate meaningful information to fill in the main four elements.

SWOT Analysis Model example - Toolshero

The 4 Elements of a SWOT-Analysis.

Free Toolshero ebook

SWOT, an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, is a strategic planning tool that helps businesses assess their current state and pinpoint areas for development and expansion. It’s applicable to organizations of all sizes, from small businesses to large enterprises.

A SWOT analysis matrix, or SWOT matrix, provides a visual representation of these four perspectives, making it easier to identify and analyze the internal and external factors affecting the organization. In this context, SWOT stands for the assessment of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

The importance of swot analyses lies in its ability to assess assumptions, identify blind spots, and provide insight into the current state of the business, ultimately helping to craft the most suitable strategy for any given situation in practice or a business plan.

This is why swot analysis is important, as this comprehensive approach allows businesses to focus on leveraging their strengths, strengthening their weaker areas, warding off potential threats, and capitalizing on any potential opportunities. It is a great starting point for an organizational analysis.

Importance of SWOT Analysis

Conducting this type of analysis is crucial for businesses to gain insights into their current situation, identify areas for improvement, and capitalize on opportunities. By examining internal factors such as strengths and weaknesses, as well as external factors like opportunities and threats, businesses can develop a better understanding of their competitive advantages and areas requiring attention.

Real-life examples of SWOT analysis include Apple, which has leveraged its strong brand recognition to gain a competitive advantage, and Walmart, which has utilized its expansive distribution network to capitalize on potential opportunities. These examples demonstrate the value of SWOT analysis in helping businesses identify and exploit their unique strengths to stay ahead in the competitive landscape.

Benefits of SWOT Analysis

Undertaking a SWOT analysis offers numerous benefits, such as facilitating better decision-making, optimizing resource allocation, and improving risk management. By examining the organization’s strengths and weaknesses, this type of analysis can help businesses identify areas where they excel and areas needing improvement. For instance, a company with a weak brand can take steps to strengthen its market position, while a business with a high level of debt can work on reducing its financial risks.

In addition to identifying internal strengths and weaknesses, SWOT analysis also reveals external opportunities and threats in the business environment. This allows businesses to capitalize on favorable market trends, such as emerging technologies or growing consumer demands, while also preparing for potential challenges, such as new competitors or changes in regulatory laws.

Overall, SWOT analysis enables businesses to make more informed decisions and develop strategies that promote growth and success.

Key Elements of SWOT Analysis

  • It is an examination of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
  • This evaluation, also known as swot analyses, helps to uncover the internal and external factors that can impact a business. Swot analysis examines strengths and weaknesses as internal factors that are within the organization’s control and can be improved or leveraged to gain a competitive advantage . On the other hand, opportunities and threats are external factors that occur outside the business and can impact its performance positively or negatively.

By considering both internal and external factors, a SWOT analysis provides a well-rounded view of the business environment, enabling organizations to make informed decisions and develop effective strategies.

It’s important to note that there is no wrong time to perform a SWOT analysis, and you can find examples for various industries and situations. So, whether you’re a small business owner or a manager in a large corporation, a SWOT analysis can be an invaluable tool in driving your organization’s success.

Internal Factors: Strengths and Weaknesses

Internal factors in SWOT analysis include strengths and weaknesses, which are elements within the organization’s purview that can be utilized to gain a competitive edge. Strengths are aspects that the organization performs particularly well or in a way that sets it apart from its competitors.

For example, a hedge fund may possess a proprietary trading strategy that yields superior returns compared to the market. Identifying and leveraging these strengths can help businesses remain competitive and achieve their goals .

Weaknesses, on the other hand, are areas of potential improvement or aspects that are not performing as well as desired. These can include a weak brand, higher-than-average turnover, high levels of debt, an inadequate supply chain , or lack of capital. Recognizing and addressing these weaknesses is crucial for businesses to convert them into strengths, ultimately enhancing their overall performance and growth potential.

External Factors: Opportunities and Threats

When discussing internal versus external factors, it’s important to consider external factors in SWOT analysis, which consist of opportunities and threats. These are elements outside the organization that can influence its performance in either a positive or negative manner.

Opportunities are potential strategies that could enhance the company’s sales, growth, and mission. And identifying opportunities can include market trends, demographic shifts, or technological advancements that present new markets or avenues for growth. Identifying and capitalizing on these opportunities can help businesses stay ahead of the competition and achieve long-term success.

Threats, conversely, are external elements that may hinder a company’s success or impede its growth potential. These can include the emergence of new competitors, alterations to regulatory law, or financial risks. Anticipating and mitigating these threats can help businesses minimize their impact and maintain a strong market position.

By considering both opportunities and threats, a SWOT analysis enables organizations to adapt to their external environment and make well-informed strategic decisions.

Two useful management tools that we can recommend are the PEST Analysis and DESTEP Analysis . The PEST Analysis and the DESTEP Analysis are great to provide an inside on the external factors. The general results are often presented in a SWOT Matrix.

Conducting a SWOT Analysis: A Step-by-Step Guide

To conduct a SWOT analysis, follow these four steps: define your objective, gather information and data, analyze and prioritize findings, and develop actionable strategies. Each step is crucial in ensuring a comprehensive and effective analysis that addresses the unique needs of your business.

By following this step-by-step process, you’ll be better prepared to make informed decisions and develop a good strategy that drives your organization’s success.

Define Your Objective

Establishing a clear goal for your SWOT analysis is the first step in ensuring it is focused and relevant to your business needs. Your objective can range from assessing the feasibility of launching a new product to identifying areas for improvement in your organization’s operations. By defining your objective, you’ll be able to direct your analysis towards the most pertinent aspects of your business, ultimately yielding more valuable insights and actionable strategies.

For instance, a small restaurant might set an objective to identify areas for improvement in their menu, pricing, or customer service. By focusing on these specific aspects, the restaurant can conduct a more targeted SWOT analysis that addresses its unique challenges and opportunities. Regardless of your industry or business size, defining a clear objective is essential in ensuring the success of your SWOT analysis.

Gather Information and Data

The second step in conducting this type of analysis is to collect data from various sources, such as market research, customer feedback, and competitor analysis. This information will provide a comprehensive understanding of your business environment, enabling you to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats more accurately. By gathering data from diverse sources via new technology, you’ll be able to paint a more complete picture of your organization’s current situation and the factors influencing its performance.

It’s essential to involve personnel from different departments and levels within your organization when collecting data. This diverse input ensures a more well-rounded view of your business, capturing insights that might otherwise be missed. Additionally, it can help generate innovative ideas and creative solutions to address the findings of your SWOT analysis. The more information you gather, the more accurate and effective your analysis will be.

Analyze and Prioritize Findings

Once you’ve collected the necessary data, the next step is to analyze and prioritize your findings. This involves evaluating the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats identified in your data collection and determining which are the most critical for your business. By prioritizing the most important factors, you can focus your resources and efforts on addressing the areas with the greatest potential impact on your organization’s success.

When analyzing and prioritizing your findings, consider the potential consequences of each factor on your business, as well as the feasibility of addressing them. For example, a critical weakness might require immediate attention, while a less urgent opportunity could be addressed in the future. By ranking your findings in order of importance, you can ensure your SWOT analysis is well-structured and focused on the most pressing issues.

Develop Actionable Strategies

The final step in conducting a SWOT analysis is to develop actionable strategies based on your findings. These strategies should leverage your organization’s strengths, address its weaknesses, capitalize on opportunities, and mitigate threats. By creating targeted strategies that address the specific needs of your business, you’ll be better prepared to achieve your management objectives and drive long-term success.

When developing your strategies, consider how they align with your overall business goals and objectives. This alignment ensures that your SWOT analysis supports your broader strategic planning process and contributes to your organization’s growth and success. Additionally, be sure to involve your team in the development and implementation of these strategies, as their input and buy-in are essential for effective execution.

Real-Life SWOT Analysis Examples

To better understand the potential benefits of SWOT analysis, let’s look at some real-life examples. Apple, for instance, has used SWOT analysis to identify its competitive advantages, such as its strong brand recognition and innovative product lineup. By understanding and leveraging these strengths, Apple has been able to maintain its position as a market leader and continue to grow its business.

Similarly, Amazon has utilized SWOT analysis to identify areas of improvement, such as its supply chain and customer service. By addressing these weaknesses and capitalizing on its strengths, such as its vast product selection and efficient delivery network, Amazon has been able to expand its market share and become one of the world’s most valuable companies.

These example SWOT analysis demonstrations showcase the power of a good SWOT analysis in helping businesses improve their performance and achieve their goals , while also considering the importance of pest analysis. By examining a SWOT analysis example, businesses can gain valuable insights and develop strategies accordingly.

SWOT Analysis example

This SWOT Analysis example is about a couple of business analysts of a Telecom provider draw up the following SWOT Analysis:

  • We deliver high-quality products and we provide a fast service
  • Customer satisfaction score: 8 out of ten
  • Customer service score: 9/10
  • One of the three largest suppliers in the Netherlands
  • Complaints: 10% of the weekly correspondence
  • Many old hands with a lot of knowledge
  • Unstable cash flow

Opportunities

  • There is a need for an expansion of our services and especially in the area of mobile telephony and the Internet
  • We are faster when it comes to adopting new technologies than our competitors
  • Foreign provider show interest in takeover (merger with their organization)
  • Government regularly tightens the rules with respect to information regarding customer details and service provision.

As a consequence of this swot analysis example, this Telecom provider will have to focus more keenly on knowledge management and complaints with the aid of the Marketing Department.

Additional investors will be attracted to have the organization grow more broadly in products and services in the field of mobile telephony and the Internet as a result of which foreign providers can be kept at bay a little longer.

Note: the SWOT Framework is also effective for identifying a competitive advantage for small businesses.

Tips for Creating a Comprehensive SWOT Analysis

To ensure your SWOT analysis is thorough and effective, consider the following tips. First, take into account both internal and external factors when identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This comprehensive approach will provide a more accurate and well-rounded view of your business environment.

Second, involve diverse perspectives from different departments and levels within your organization when collecting data and developing strategies. This will help ensure a more insightful and inclusive analysis that captures the nuances of your business.

Lastly, use a structured approach when conducting your analysis, such as the step-by-step guide outlined earlier in this article. This will help you stay focused on your objective and ensure your analysis is well-organized and easy to understand. By following these tips, you’ll be better equipped to create a comprehensive SWOT analysis that addresses the unique needs of your business and drives its success.

SWOT Analysis template

Start describing the different aspects of the Analysis with this ready to use SWOT Analysis template.

Download the SWOT Analysis template

In conclusion, SWOT analysis is a powerful strategic tool that can help businesses identify their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, enabling them to make informed decisions and develop effective strategies.

By following the step-by-step guide outlined in this article, involving diverse perspectives, and using a structured approach, you can create a comprehensive SWOT analysis that drives your organization’s success. So don’t wait any longer – start conducting your own analysis today and unlock your business’s full potential.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 5 elements of swot analysis.

SWOT analysis consists of assessing Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to gain a full awareness of an organization’s strategic position. By identifying both current and potential problems and opportunities, SWOT provides valuable insight for successful strategic planning and decision-making.

What is an example of a SWOT opportunity?

Market shifts increasing demand for a product, ideal customers flocking to a new social media platform, or a competitor ceasing operations in a region are all opportunities that can be included in a SWOT analysis.

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It’s Your Turn

What do you think? How do you conduct a SWOT Analysis? What is your experience? What are success factors to conduct a SWOT Analysis?

Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below.

More information

  • Cerney, B. (2014). SWOT Analysis for Interpreters: Identifying your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (The Interpreting Handbook Workbooks 7) . Kindle Edition. Hand and Mind Publishing; 2 edition (March 27, 2014).
  • Dosher, M., Benepe, O., Humphrey, A. , Stewart, R., & Lie, B. (1960). The SWOT analysis method . Mento Park, CA, Stanford Research Institute.
  • Humphrey, A. (2005). SWOT analysis for management consulting . SRI Alumni Newsletter (SRI International), 1.
  • Learned, E. P. (1969). Business policy: Text and cases . RD Irwin.
  • Pahl, N., & Richter, A. (2009). SWOT Analysis-idea , methodology and a practical approach. BoD–Books on Demand .

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Hi, thank you for interesting article! Have some additions about this topic.

To use all the possible advantages of SWOT analysis in practice after drawing up a list of Strengths (S) and Weaknesses (W), Opportunities (O) and Threats (T) you should compose a confrontational matrix which contains 4 quadrants for all intersections: O:S; O:W; T:S; T:W.

Next step is to write down all decisions for each quadrant, for example, if we earlier identified 2 O’s and 2 S’s then O:S quadrant will include pairs O1:S1; O1:S2; O2:S1; O2:S2. Another 3 quadrants you fill similarly. Decisions in O:S quadrant are called Strategic priority, decisions in T:W quadrant – Central problem. This Priority and Problem then go to your strategy.

Hi Alexander, thank you for your reaction and great additions. We have the confrontational matrix, also called TOWS Matrix, listed as a new article to write and publish.

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This post is a fantastic insight into SWOT Analysis! Whilst it is a simple and effective analysis technique, it must be conducted in the right way to be fully effective. I am sure many people will benefit from your guide and the tips that you have provided.

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  • Guide: SWOT Analysis

Daniel Croft

  • August 19, 2023
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SWOT Analysis is a strategic planning diagnostic tool that evaluates a business’s internal Strengths and Weaknesses as well as external Opportunities and Threats. Strengths and weaknesses are intrinsic characteristics that highlight where an entity excels and where it falls short. Threats and opportunities, on the other hand, emerge from the external environment, presenting potential areas for growth or challenges to be aware of. These elements, when combined, provide a comprehensive view of the current state and potential future paths, assisting decision-making and ensuring informed success strategies.

Table of Contents

What is a swot analysis.

A SWOT Analysis is a strategic planning tool used to identify and evaluate the S trengths, W eaknesses, O pportunities and T hreats to an individual, department, business, or other entity.  Conducting a SWOT analysis involves identifying internal and external factors that are beneficial or a challenge to achieving an objective.

The SWOT analysis tool is a type of matrix with 4 quadrants:

  • Strengths : Internal attributes and resources that support a successful outcome.
  • Weaknesses : Internal attributes that work against a successful outcome.
  • Opportunities : External conditions that could enable success.
  • Threats : External conditions that could jeopardize success.

SWOT-Analysis-Learnleansigma

Strengths : Positive attributes that are under control and upon which you can benefit. These are resources and capabilities allow the business to be competitive in the market. For example, a strong brand reputation, a loyal customer base, proprietary technology, patents, strong financial reserves, or an efficient supply chain can all be listed as strengths. Apple Inc would be an obvious example of having this type of strength in the marker.

Weaknesses : Factors that detract from an business’s ability to attain the core goal and which are within its control. These might include lack of expertise, limited resources, poor location, inadequate infrastructure, or inefficient processes. It’s important to be honest and realistic about what the weaknesses are so they can be addressed.

Opportunities : External chances to make greater sales or profits in the environment. These could be perceived from market trends, economic shifts, policy changes, social patterns, or technological advances. Opportunities might arise from expanding markets, changes in government policy related to your field, or societal shifts that could potentially increase demand for your products or services. An example of this might be government grants towards solar and renewable businesses that can grow their business on this opportunity.

Threats : External elements in the environment that could cause trouble for the business or project. These could include changing market conditions, a new competitor entering the market, negative press, shifts in consumer behaviour, new regulations, or supply chain disruptions. Recognizing threats is crucial as it allows for the development of contingency plans. A good example of this would be car manufacturers that are not investing in battery technology and sticking with combustion engines.

Why do a SWOT Analysis in Continuous Improvement?

A SWOT analysis is useful to apply in a variety of situations, from business strategy to personal development. However, it is also useful in Lean Six Sigma and used as part of strategy development for operational excellence. Within my role, this is done at the end of each year to focus on the goals of the next year with a SWOT being a vital input for the strategy.

SWOT Analysis can complement Lean Six Sigma in several ways:

Identifying Bottlenecks: Within business processes, it is common to find bottlenecks in processes that limit the business’s outputs. These bottlenecks are clear weaknesses that you should seek to address. You might find the sales teams saying, “We can sell more and have a long lead time but we can’t get the product to the customer fast enough.” Actions should be taken to address this.

Resource Allocation: A business’s strength can provide insight into where its competitive advantages are and where resources can be allocated to make the greatest impact.

Risk Mitigation: By conducting a SWOT analysis, a business can identify external threats that allow it to anticipate potential problems and take preventative measures. This should be identifying weaknesses in the supply chain, for example.

Capitalizing on Opportunities: Opportunities identified in the SWOT Analysis can be used to guide the direction of Lean Six Sigma projects. These opportunities can align with the principles of Kaizen , or continuous improvement, to ensure that the organization is always moving forward and capitalizing on new trends and changes in the industry.

How to conduct a SWOT Analysis

Step 1: define the objective.

Before beginning a SWOT analysis, it is important to state the objective of the analysis to set the right direction for the following steps. The objectives can range from improving a specific business process to broader goals like business expansion or new product development. The objective should be a SMART target : specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

Step 2: Gather a Team

A SWOT analysis can be done alone. However, it is likely to be limited to one point of view. It is recommended when doing a SWOT analysis, even if it is based on an individual, to consider the multiple points of view that a diverse and cross-functional team can offer. This team might include people from different departments, leadership levels, and areas of expertise. The diversity within the team can provide a more comprehensive view of the situation. Each member can contribute unique insights into the business’s operations, market position, and competitive environment.

Team - Learnleansigma

Step 3: Conduct Research

This step involves collecting the data that will inform the SWOT analysis. Research should be thorough and cover internal and external factors.

Internal Research : Look into your business’s reports, performance metrics, employee feedback, and any past surveys or assessments. This will help identify the strengths and weaknesses within the business.

External Research : This includes market analysis, industry trends, competitor analysis, customer feedback, and other environmental factors. Such research helps in identifying the opportunities and threats that exist outside the business.

Step 4: Fill in the SWOT Matrix

Organize your findings into the four quadrants of the SWOT matrix:

  • Strengths : What does your business do well? What resources do you have that others don’t? What do others see as your strengths?
  • Weaknesses : What could you improve? Where do you have fewer resources than others? What are others likely to see as weaknesses?
  • Opportunities : What good opportunities are open to you? What trends could you take advantage of? How can you turn your strengths into opportunities?
  • Threats : What trends could harm you? What is your competition doing? Could any of your weaknesses lead to threats?

Prioritize the items within each quadrant based on their potential impact on the organization.

this can be done with the support of the SWOT analysis template below, found in the template section

SWOT Diagram Analysis - Feature Image - Learnleansigma

Step 5: Develop Strategies

The next step is to develop strategies that:

  • Utilize your strengths to take advantage of opportunities.
  • Utilize your strengths to minimize threats.
  • Improve your weaknesses by taking advantage of opportunities.
  • Minimize your weaknesses and avoid threats.

Each strategy should be actionable and linked back to the overall objective you defined in Step 1.

Step 6: Implement and Review

Finally, you must put these strategies into action. This involves planning, assigning responsibilities, and setting timelines. A method of doing this could be by using a Hoshin X Matrix for yearly strategic planning to set annual goals and activities.

Once the strategies are implemented, it’s crucial to review their effectiveness over time. We recommend running a monthly review of KPIs from the output of a SWOT to see how the business is progressing in relation to them and taking action where necessary. These reviews should be an ongoing process where you periodically reassess your SWOT analysis to ensure that the factors are still relevant and that the strategies are working.

SWOT Analysis Template

If you are looking to conduct a SWOT analysis in your business consider using our free SWOT analysis template to support you in your analysis.

SWOT Diagram Analysis - Feature Image - Learnleansigma

Completing a SWOT analysis sparks a strategic conversation that translates insights into actions. The real value lies in the strategies developed from this analysis: leveraging strengths, bolstering weaknesses, seizing opportunities, and countering threats. With our free SWOT analysis template, we offer a structured tool to map out your competitive landscape. Remember, the efficacy of a SWOT Analysis is not just in its execution but in the continuous cycle of review and improvement, ensuring strategies remain relevant and responsive to a continually evolving business environment.

  • Leigh, D., 2009.  SWOT analysis.  Handbook of Improving Performance in the Workplace:  Volumes 1‐3 , pp.115-140.
  • Pickton, D.W. and Wright, S., 1998.  What’s swot in strategic analysis? .  Strategic change ,  7 (2), pp.101-109.
  • David, F.R., Creek, S.A. and David, F.R., 2019.  What is the key to effective SWOT analysis, including AQCD factors.  SAM Advanced Management Journal, 84(1), pp.25-32.

Additional Useful Information on SWOT Analysis

Tows matrix: the reverse perspective.

Just like SIPOC has COPIS, SWOT has a variant called the TOWS Matrix . TOWS stands for Threats, Opportunities, Weaknesses, and Strengths. While the SWOT analysis starts by focusing on the internal factors (strengths and weaknesses), TOWS begins with external factors (threats and opportunities).

Why TOWS Matters

External Focus : TOWS shifts the focus to the external environment first, helping organizations to concentrate on adapting to market conditions or external threats.

Strategic Options : By looking at Threats and Opportunities first, TOWS helps in generating different strategic options that might be overlooked in a conventional SWOT analysis.

Comprehensive View : TOWS can be used in conjunction with SWOT to provide a more comprehensive view of both the internal and external factors affecting an organization.

Variations and Extensions

SWOT-C : This variant adds a fifth dimension—Challenges. These are the hurdles or obstacles that neither fall under weaknesses nor threats but still need to be addressed.

Weighted SWOT : This involves adding a weight to each factor based on its significance, followed by a scoring mechanism to prioritize actions.

Integration with Other Tools

SWOT Analysis can be integrated with other business and continuous improvement frameworks such as:

PESTLE Analysis : A macro-environmental analysis tool that can help in identifying Opportunities and Threats.

Balanced Scorecard : SWOT can feed into the Balanced Scorecard to help align various business functions with the organization’s strategy.

Q: What is a SWOT analysis?

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Q: Why is SWOT analysis important?

SWOT analysis provides a clear and structured overview of an organization’s internal capabilities and external environment, enabling informed decision-making and strategic planning.

Q: How often should a SWOT analysis be conducted?

While there’s no fixed rule, it’s a good practice to conduct a SWOT analysis annually or when significant changes occur in the business environment or organizational structure.

Q: Who should participate in a SWOT analysis session?

Of course! Here’s a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to SWOT analysis:

1. What is a SWOT analysis?

A SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool that helps businesses identify their Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

2. Why is SWOT analysis important?

3. How often should a SWOT analysis be conducted?

4. Who should participate in a SWOT analysis session?

Diverse participation, including members from various departments and levels within the company, ensures a comprehensive view. Including external stakeholders like partners or customers can provide additional insights.

Q: How is the SWOT matrix used in strategy development?

The SWOT matrix helps businesses devise strategies that leverage strengths, address weaknesses, capitalize on opportunities, and counteract threats, ensuring growth and resilience.

Daniel Croft

Daniel Croft

Daniel Croft is a seasoned continuous improvement manager with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma. With over 10 years of real-world application experience across diverse sectors, Daniel has a passion for optimizing processes and fostering a culture of efficiency. He's not just a practitioner but also an avid learner, constantly seeking to expand his knowledge. Outside of his professional life, Daniel has a keen Investing, statistics and knowledge-sharing, which led him to create the website learnleansigma.com, a platform dedicated to Lean Six Sigma and process improvement insights.

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SWOT analysis

SWOT2_5.png

The SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool that encourages group or individual reflection on and assessment of the S trengths, W eaknesses, O pportunities and T hreats of a particular strategy and how to best implement it.

SWOT analysis originated in business and marketing analysis.

IFAD ( International Fund for Agricultural Development ) describes this option as ‘useful when qualitatively assessing, for example, the services provided by the project, relationships between project stakeholders and the organisations of the implementing partners, local groups and the project team itself’  ( IFAD Options for Monitoring and Evaluation, Annex D, page D 21 ) .

It is useful in various evaluation tasks, both as a data collection option to gather and retrieve monitoring information and in the scoping phase as an initial analysis ‘describing’ a program, to assess a problem in-depth and focus evaluation questions.

The SWOT framework - a two-by-two matrix - is best completed in a group with key team members or organisations present. First, it is important to be clear about the objective and what team or organisation the analysis will focus on. Once these are clarified and agreed, begin with a brainstorm of ideas, and then hone them down and clarify them afterwards in the discussion.

Strengths and Weaknesses describe ‘where the project or organisation is now: the existing resources that can be used immediately and current problems that won't go away. It can help identify where new resources, skills or allies will be needed’ ( Start and Hovland 2004 ). Both refer to ‘technical, financial, promotional, networking, knowledge’ ( BDS  Business Development Services Forum ) or competency-based factors internal to the programme. ‘When thinking of strengths, it is useful to think of real examples of success to ground and clarify the conversation’ ( Start and Hovland 2004 ). Strengths are ‘those things that are working well in a project or situation. The aspects people are proud to talk about’ ( IFAD ) and which differentiate the program from others.  Weaknesses are ‘those things that have not worked well’ or that the program is less efficient in than others.

Opportunities and Threats describe ‘what is going on outside the organisation, or areas which are not yet affecting the strategy but could do’ ( Start and Hovland 2004 ). Opportunities include ‘ideas on how to overcome weaknesses and build on strengths’ ( IFAD ) within the environment the program operates in. Threats are ‘things that constrain or threaten the range of opportunities for change’ in the programme environment. These external aspects are often related to ‘sociological, political, demographic, economic, trade-specific’ and environmental factors ( BDS ).

Example of SWOT analysis for small NGO

The following example is an excerpt from  Start, D. and Hovland, I. (2004) p.2:

  • We are able to follow-up on this research as the current small amount of work means we have plenty of time
  • Our lead researcher has strong reputation within the policy community
  • Our organisation's director has good links to the Ministry

Weaknesses:

  • Our organisation has little reputation in other parts of government
  • We have a small staff with a shallow skills base in many areas
  • We are vulnerable to vital staff being sick, leaving, etc

Opportunities:

  • We are working on a topical issue
  • The government claims to want to listen to the voice of local NGOs
  • Other NGOs from our region will support us
  • Will the report be too politically sensitive and threaten funding from sponsors?
  • There is a pool of counter-evidence that could be used to discredit our research and therefore our organisation.

The NGO might therefore decide, amongst other things, to target the report to specific patrons in the one ministry, use their lead researcher to bring credibility to the findings and work on building up a regional coalition on the issue.

Advice for choosing this method

  • "A SWOT analysis can reveal hidden obstacles to a planned project, especially when participants come from different departments or geographical areas in the same organization. In the same way, SWOT can identify positive elements that may not be readily evident. Used properly, SWOT can generate valuable data quickly and be an example of 'strength in numbers'" (Impact Alliance).
  • They are independent of baseline data or indicators.
  • They are a simple tool that is easy-to-grasp and quick to implement.
  • SWOT is usually a ‘snap shot’ tool that is used in a one-off scenario to reflect on a subject from all angles; it is rarely repeated over time, even though this might be a possible variation. If this variation is used, consider how you will make change visible across two or more SWOTs.

Advice for using this method

  • The single most important rule to remember when completing a SWOT analysis is that strengths and weaknesses are internal aspects, which can be controlled by the program under evaluation. In contrast, opportunities and threats are external aspects, which are outside of the control of the program and are determined by its environment.
  • When interpreting a SWOT analysis, it is important to look for instances where internal strengths are paralleled by external market opportunities. Equally, it is important to spot instances where internal program weaknesses are matched by corresponding external threats. For instance, a lack of evaluation expertise within a program (internal) which is paralleled by an increase in M&E demands by donors (external) must be addressed through risk management.

This annex to the International Fund for Agricultural Development's (IFAD) A Guide for Project M&E(PDF), summarises 34 methods that are useful for specific M&E tasks.

Section 9 of this toolkit from the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) provides guidance on the use of SWOT analysis to find the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of a project or plan.

This webpage from Business Development Systems (BDS) (archived link) analyses the some of the problems associated with indicators and impact evaluation and argues that more attention needs to be paid activity monitoring.

This guide from Impact Alliance provides a description of the SWOT tool, outlines examples for different uses and applications, offers two different ways to conduct a SWOT analysis, and concludes with a description of how to interpret and apply SWOT. 

Business Development Services (BDS) Forum, ‘Complete manual for SWOT analysis’, https://web.archive.org/web/20100317123000/http://www.bds-forum.net/m+e.htm (archive link - accessed 16 December 2010)

IFAD, ‘Options for Monitoring and Evaluation, Annex D’, page D 21, http://www.ifad.org/evaluation/guide/annexd/Annex_D-3DEF.pdf (PDF, 412KB) (accessed 16 December 2010)

Impact Alliance, User’s Guide for SWOT Analysis, http://www.impactalliance.org/file_download.php?location=S_U&filename=10227014460SWOT_Guide.pdf (accessed 16 December 2010)

Start, D. and Hovland, I. (2004): SWOT Analysis, Tools for Policy Impact: A Handbook for Researchers, Overseas Development Institute, https://odi.org/en/publications/tools-for-policy-impact-a-handbook-for-researchers/  (accessed 21 December 2010)

Expand to view all resources related to 'SWOT analysis'

  • Evaluation tools
  • Methods for monitoring and evaluation

'SWOT analysis' is referenced in:

  • Using logic models and theories of change better in evaluation
  • What are some methods and processes to help stakeholders articulate how they think a program works? (AES17 co-creation challenge #1)

Framework/Guide

  • Rainbow Framework :  Collect and/ or retrieve data
  • Rainbow Framework :  Develop theory of change / programme theory

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Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat (SWOT) Analysis

What is swot analysis.

SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis is a framework used to evaluate a company's competitive position and to develop strategic planning. SWOT analysis assesses internal and external factors, as well as current and future potential.

A SWOT analysis is designed to facilitate a realistic, fact-based, data-driven look at the strengths and weaknesses of an organization, its initiatives, or an industry. The organization needs to keep the analysis accurate by avoiding pre-conceived beliefs or gray areas and instead focusing on real-life contexts. Companies should use it as a guide and not necessarily as a prescription.

SWOT Analysis

Understanding swot analysis.

SWOT analysis is a technique for assessing the performance, competition, risk, and potential of a business, as well as part of a business such as a product line or division, an industry, or other entity.

[Important: Using internal and external data, a SWOT analysis can tell a company where it needs to improve internally, as well as help develop strategic plans.]

Using internal and external data , the technique can guide businesses toward strategies more likely to be successful, and away from those in which they have been, or are likely to be, less successful. An independent SWOT analysis analysts, investors or competitors can also guide them on whether a company, product line or industry might be strong or weak and why.

A Visual Overview

Analysts present a SWOT analysis as a square with each of the four areas making up one quadrant. This visual arrangement provides a quick overview of the company’s position. Although all the points under a particular heading may not be of equal importance, they all should represent key insights into the balance of opportunities and threats, advantages and disadvantages, and so forth.

[Fast Fact: SWOT Analysis was first used to analyze businesses. Now it's often used by governments, nonprofits, and individuals, including investors and entrepreneurs.]

Example of SWOT Analysis

In 2015, a Value Line SWOT analysis of The Coca-Cola Company noted strengths such as its globally famous brand name, vast distribution network and opportunities in emerging markets. However, it also noted weaknesses and threats such as foreign currency fluctuations, growing public interest in "healthy" beverages and competition from healthy beverage providers.

Its SWOT analysis prompted Value Line to pose some tough questions about Coca-Cola's strategy, but also to note that the company "will probably remain a top-tier beverage provider" that offered conservative investors "a reliable source of income and a bit of capital gains exposure."

  • Strengths describe what an organization excels at and what separates it from the competition : a strong brand, loyal customer base, a strong balance sheet, unique technology, and so on. For example, a hedge fund may have developed a proprietary trading strategy that returns market-beating results. It must then decide how to use those results to attract new investors.
  • Weaknesses stop an organization from performing at its optimum level. They are areas where the business needs to improve to remain competitive: a weak brand, higher-than-average turnover, high levels of debt, an inadequate supply chain, or lack of capital.
  • Opportunities refer to favorable external factors that could give an organization a competitive advantage. For example, if a country cuts tariffs, a car manufacturer can export its cars into a new market, increasing sales and market share .
  • Threats refer to factors that have the potential to harm an organization. For example, a drought is a threat to a wheat-producing company, as it may destroy or reduce the crop yield. Other common threats include things like rising costs for materials, increasing competition, tight labor supply and so on.

Advantages of SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis is a great way to guide business-strategy meetings. It's powerful to have everyone in the room to discuss the company's core strengths and weaknesses and then move from there to define the opportunities and threats, and finally to brainstorming ideas. Oftentimes, the SWOT analysis you envision before the session changes throughout to reflect factors you were unaware of and would never have captured if not for the group’s input.

A company can use a SWOT for overall business strategy sessions or for a specific segment such as marketing, production or sales. This way, you can see how the overall strategy developed from the SWOT analysis will filter down to the segments below before committing to it. You can also work in reverse with a segment-specific SWOT analysis that feeds into an overall SWOT analysis.

Key Takeaways

  • SWOT analysis is a strategic planning technique that provides assessment tools.
  • Identifying core strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats lead to fact-based analysis, fresh perspectives and new ideas.
  • SWOT analysis works best when diverse groups or voices within an organization are free to provide realistic data points rather than prescribed messaging.

Related Terms

Related articles.

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  • Section 14. SWOT Analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats

Chapter 3 Sections

  • Section 1. Developing a Plan for Assessing Local Needs and Resources
  • Section 2. Understanding and Describing the Community
  • Section 3. Conducting Public Forums and Listening Sessions
  • Section 4. Collecting Information About the Problem
  • Section 5. Analyzing Community Problems
  • Section 6. Conducting Focus Groups
  • Section 7. Conducting Needs Assessment Surveys
  • Section 8. Identifying Community Assets and Resources
  • Section 9. Developing Baseline Measures
  • Section 10. Conducting Concerns Surveys
  • Section 11. Determining Service Utilization
  • Section 12. Conducting Interviews
  • Section 13. Conducting Surveys
  • Section 15. Qualitative Methods to Assess Community Issues
  • Section 16. Geographic Information Systems: Tools for Community Mapping
  • Section 17. Leading a Community Dialogue on Building a Healthy Community
  • Section 18. Creating and Using Community Report Cards
  • Section 19. Using Public Records and Archival Data
  • Section 20. Implementing Photovoice in Your Community
  • Section 21. Windshield and Walking Surveys
  • Section 22. Using Small Area Analysis to Uncover Disparities
  • Section 23. Developing and Using Criteria and Processes to Set Priorities
  • Section 24. Arranging Assessments That Span Jurisdictions
  • Main Section

Change is an inevitable part of community organizing. If you know how to take stock of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, you are more likely to plan and act effectively.

SWOT provides a tool to explore both internal and external factors that may influence your work.

What is a SWOT analysis and why should you use one?

SWOT stands for:  S trength,  W eakness,  O pportunity,  T hreat. A SWOT analysis guides you to identify your organization’s strengths and weaknesses (S-W), as well as broader opportunities and threats (O-T). Developing a fuller awareness of the situation helps with both strategic planning and decision-making.

The SWOT method was originally developed for business and industry, but it is equally useful in the work of community health and development, education, and even for personal growth.

SWOT is not the only assessment technique you can use. Compare it with  other assessment tools in the Community Tool Box  to determine if this is the right approach for your situation. The strengths of this method are its simplicity and application to a variety of levels of operation.

When do you use SWOT?

A SWOT analysis can offer helpful perspectives at any stage of an effort. You might use it to:

  • Explore possibilities for new efforts or solutions to problems.
  • Make decisions about the best path for your initiative. Identifying your opportunities for success in context of threats to success can clarify directions and choices.
  • Determine where change is possible. If you are at a juncture or turning point, an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses can reveal priorities as well as possibilities.
  • Adjust and refine plans mid-course. A new opportunity might open wider avenues, while a new threat could close a path that once existed.

SWOT also offers a simple way of communicating about your initiative or program and an excellent way to organize information you've gathered from studies or surveys.

What are the elements of a SWOT analysis?

A SWOT analysis focuses on Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. 

Remember that the purpose of performing a SWOT is to reveal positive forces that work together and potential problems that need to be recognized and possibly addressed. 

We will discuss the process of creating the analysis below, but first here are a few sample layouts for your SWOT analysis.

Ask participants to answer these simple questions: what are the strengths and weaknesses of your group, community, or effort, and what are the opportunities and threats facing it?

If a looser structure helps you brainstorm, you can group positives and negatives to think broadly about your organization and its external environment.

Below is a third option for structuring your SWOT analysis, which may be appropriate for a larger initiative that requires detailed planning. This "TOWS Matrix" is adapted from Fred David's Strategic Management text. 

David gives an example for Campbell Soup Company that stresses financial goals, but it also illustrates how you can pair the items within a SWOT grid to develop strategies. (This version of the chart is abbreviated.)

This example also illustrates how threats can become opportunities (and vice versa). The limitation of tin cans (which aren't biodegradable) creates an opportunity for leadership in developing biodegradable containers. There are several formats you can use to do a SWOT analysis, including a basic SWOT form that you can use to prompt analysis, but whatever format you use, don't be surprised if your strengths and weaknesses don't precisely match up to your opportunities and threats. You might need to refine, or you might need to simply look at the facts longer, or from a different angle. Your chart, list or table will certainly reveal patterns.

Listing Your Internal Factors: Strengths and Weaknesses (S, W)

Internal factors include your resources and experiences. General areas to consider:

  • Human resources - staff, volunteers, board members, target population
  • Physical resources - your location, building, equipment 
  • Financial - grants, funding agencies, other sources of income
  • Activities and processes - programs you run, systems you employ
  • Past experiences - building blocks for learning and success, your reputation in the community

Don't be too modest when listing your strengths. If you're having difficulty naming them, start by simply listing your characteristics (e.g.., we're small, we're connected to the neighborhood). Some of these will probably be strengths.

Although the strengths and weakness of your organization are your internal qualities, don't overlook the perspective of people outside your group. Identify strengths and weaknesses from both your own point of view and that of others, including those you serve or deal with. Do others see problems--or assets--that you don't?

How do you get information about how outsiders perceive your strengths and weaknesses? You may know already if you've listened to those you serve. If not, this might be the time to gather that type of information. See related sections for ideas on conducting focus groups , user surveys , and listening sessions .

Listing External Factors: Opportunities and Threats (O, T)

Cast a wide net for the external part of the assessment. No organization, group, program, or neighborhood is immune to outside events and forces. Consider your connectedness, for better and worse, as you compile this part of your SWOT list.

Forces and facts that your group does not control include:

  • Future trends in your field or the culture
  • The economy - local, national, or international
  • Funding sources - foundations, donors, legislatures
  • Demographics - changes in the age, race, gender, culture of those you serve or in your area
  • The physical environment (Is your building in a growing part of town? Is the bus company cutting routes?)
  • Legislation (Do new federal requirements make your job harder...or easier?)
  • Local, national or international events

How do you create a SWOT analysis?

Who develops the swot.

The most common users of a SWOT analysis are team members and project managers who are responsible for decision-making and strategic planning.

But don't overlook anyone in the creation stage!

An individual or small group can develop a SWOT analysis, but it will be more effective if you take advantage of many stakeholders. Each person or group offers a different perspective on the strengths and weaknesses of your program and has different experiences of both.

Likewise, one staff member, or volunteer or stakeholder may have information about an opportunity or threat that is essential to understanding your position and determining your future.

When and where do you develop a SWOT analysis?

A SWOT analysis is often created during a retreat or planning session that allows several hours for brainstorming and analysis. The best results come when the process is collaborative and inclusive.

When creating the analysis, people are asked to pool their individual and shared knowledge and experience. The more relaxed, friendly and constructive the setting, the more truthful, comprehensive, insightful, and useful your analysis will be.

How do you develop a SWOT analysis?

Steps for conducting a SWOT analysis:

  • Designate a leader or group facilitator who has good listening and group process skills, and who can keep things moving and on track.
  • Designate a recorder to back up the leader if your group is large. Use newsprint on a flip chart or a large board to record the analysis and discussion points. You can record later in a more polished fashion to share with stakeholders and to update.
  • Introduce the SWOT method and its purpose in your organization. This can be as simple as asking, "Where are we, where can we go?" If you have time, you could run through a quick example based on a shared experience or well-known public issue.
  • The size of these depends on the size of your entire group – breakout groups can range from three to ten. If the size gets much larger, some members may not participate.
  • Give the groups 20-30 minutes to brainstorm and fill out their own strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats chart for your program, initiative or effort. Encourage them not to rule out any ideas at this stage, or the next.
  • Remind groups that the way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas. Refinement can come later. In this way, the SWOT analysis also supports valuable discussion within your group or organization as you honestly assess.
  • It helps to generate lots of comments about your organization and your program, and even to put them in multiple categories if that provokes thought.
  • Once a list has been generated, it helps to refine it to the best 10 or fewer points so that the analysis can be truly helpful.
  • Proceed in S-W-O-T order, recording strengths first, weaknesses second, etc.
  • Or you can begin by calling for the top priorities in each category -the strongest strength, most dangerous weakness, biggest opportunity, worst threat--and continue to work across each category.
  • Ask one group at a time to report ("Group A, what do you see as strengths?") You can vary which group begins the report so a certain group isn't always left "bringing up the end" and repeating points made by others. ("Group B, let's start with you for weaknesses.")
  • Or, you can open the floor to all groups ("What strengths have you noted?") for each category until all have contributed what they think is needed.
  • Come to some consensus about the most important items in each category
  • Relate the analysis to your vision, mission, and goals
  • Translate the analysis to action plans and strategies
  • If appropriate, prepare a written summary of the SWOT analysis to share with participants for continued use in planning and implementation.

More ideas on conducting successful meetings can be found in Community Tool Box resources on  conducting public forums and listening sessions , conducting focus groups , and  organizing a retreat .

How do you use your SWOT analysis?

Better understanding the factors affecting your initiative put you in a better position for action. This understanding helps as you:

  • Identify the issues or problems you intend to change
  • Set or reaffirm goals
  • Create an action plan

As you consider your analysis, be open to the possibilities that exist within a weakness or threat. Likewise, recognize that an opportunity can become a threat if everyone else sees the opportunity and plans to take advantage of it as well, thereby increasing your competition.

Finally, during your assessment and planning, you might keep an image in mind to help you make the most of a SWOT analysis: Look for a "stretch," not just a "fit." As Radha Balamuralikrishna and John C. Dugger of Iowa State University point out, SWOT usually reflects your current position or situation. Therefore one drawback is that it might not encourage openness to new possibilities. You can use SWOT to justify a course that has already been decided upon, but if your goal is to grow or improve, you will want to keep this in mind.

A realistic recognition of the weaknesses and threats that exist for your effort is the first step to countering them with a robust set of strategies that build upon strengths and opportunities. A SWOT analysis identifies your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to assist you in making strategic plans and decisions.

Online Resources

Coalition Vision, Mission, and Goals defines SWOT Analysis, coalition vision and mission statements, and goals and strategies.

The Essential Guide to SWOT Analysis from Jackson Hille, content associate for FormSwift, a SF-based startup that helps organizations, entrepreneurs, and businesses go paperless.

Mind Tools: SWOT Analysis  provides a quick overview of SWOT

Quality Guide: SWOT Analysis  is a helpful guide from Management Sciences for Health and United Nations Children's Fund.

Print Resources

David, F. (1993). Strategic Management , 4th Ed. New York, NY: Macmillan Publishing Company. 

Jones, B. (1990). Neighborhood Planning: A Guide for Citizens and Planners . Chicago and Washington, DC: Planners Press, American Planning Association.

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Utilizing the Various Strategic Analysis Tools

Strategic Analysis is a core step in the Strategic Learning Cycle. Every strategist should have a toolset of analytical models at his or her disposal. However, there are many techniques and tools available for strategy analysis. If you google around the web, you will find a long list of options available. The challenge is to acquire the right techniques and tools for a given business problem. This article give you a brief introduction for you to jumpstart the strategic analysis learning process.

What is Strategic Analysis?

First comes first, what is strategic analysis? Strategic analysis helps you explore your growth options, addresses challenges within your industry, and makes better corporate decisions. Strategy analysis is an approach to facilitating, researching, analyzing, and mapping an organization's abilities to achieve a future envisioned state based on present reality and often with consideration of the organization's processes, technologies, business development and people's capabilities.

Strategic Analysis

You need to look outside of our organization to identify the changes out there and to look forward and think about the opportunities in future. Strategic analysis is not just about understanding changes. It is about turning this into concrete actions through generating options and choices, making decisions and integrating this into your organization's planning process.

Selected Strategic Analysis Tools

Just as having the right tools won't necessarily make you a good mechanic, having the right strategy analysis tools won't automatically make you a good strategist - but they will help you get jobs done more effectively. Here is a list of essential tools for strategy analysis:

SWOT Analysis

SWOT analysis is a technique developed at Stanford in the 1970s, frequently used in strategic planning . SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats and is a structured planning method that evaluates those four elements of an organization, project or business venture. A SWOT analysis is a simple, but powerful, framework for leveraging the organization's strengths, improving weaknesses, minimizing threats, and taking the greatest possible advantage of opportunities.

SWOT Analysis

SWOT analysis is a process where the management team identifies the internal and external factors that will affect the company's future performance. It helps us to identify of what is happening internally and externally, so that you can plan and manage your business in the most effective and efficient manner.

PEST Analysis

The PEST analysis is a useful tool for understanding market growth or decline, and as such the position, potential and direction for a business. PEST is an acronym for Political, Economic, Social and Technological factors, which are used to assess the market for a business or organizational unit. Sometimes it's expanded to include legal and environmental factors and called a PESTLE analysis.

PEST Analysis example

A PEST analysis guides us to identify effective strategies for setting priority, allocating resources, planning for time and development roadmap and formulating control mechanisms. With this analysis, you can identify potential opportunities and threats associated with your strategy and figure out ways to take advantage of them and avoid them.

Value Chain Analysis

Value chain analysis is a way to visually analyze a company's business activities to see how the company can create a competitive advantage for itself. Value chain analysis helps a company understands how it adds value to something and subsequently how it can sell its product or service for more than the cost of adding the value, thereby generating a profit margin. In other words, if they are run efficiently the value obtained should exceed the costs of running them i.e. customers should return to the organization and transact freely and willingly.

Originated in the 1980s by Michael Porter , value chain analysis is the conceptual notion of value-added in the form of a value chain. He suggested that an organization is split into 'primary activities' and 'support activities'. The figure below divides activities into primary and support activities as suggested by Porter's Value Chain Analysis model.

Value Chain Diagram eaxample

Five Forces Analysis

Michael Porter developed the Five Forces Model in 1980. Michael Porter's Five Forces is a powerful competitive analysis tool to determine the principal competitive influence in a market. It is a broadly used model in business that refers to the five important factors that drive a firm's competitive position within an industry. By thinking through how each force affects you, and by identifying the strength and direction of each force, you can quickly assess the strength of the position and your ability to make a sustained profit in the industry. Thus Five Forces analysis helps you stay competitive by:

Five Forces Analysis example

Four Corners Analysis

The Four Corners Analysis, developed Michael Porter, is a model well designed to help company strategists assess a competitor's intent and objectives, and the strengths it is using to achieve them. It is a useful technique to evaluate competitors and generate insights concerning likely competitor strategy changes and determine competitor reaction to environmental changes and industry shifts. By examining a competitor's current strategy, future goals, assumptions about the market, and core capabilities, the Four Corners Model helps analysts address four core questions:

  • Motivation - What drives the competitor? Look for drivers at various levels and dimensions so you can gain insights into future goals.
  • Current Strategy - What is the competitor doing and what is the competitor capable of doing?
  • Capabilities - What are the strengths and weaknesses of the competitor?
  • Management Assumptions - What assumptions are made by the competitor's management team?

Four Corner Analysis example

Business Motivation Model (BMM)

If an enterprise prescribes a certain approach for its business activity, it ought to be able to say why and what result(s) is the approach meant to achieve. The Business Motivation Model (BMM) is an OMG modeling notation for support of business decisions about how to react to a changing world. An enterprise would use it by acquiring a BMM modeling tool and then creating its own BMM - populating the model with business information specific to the enterprise. There are two broad purposes:

  • To capture decisions about reaction to change and the rationale for making them, with the intent of making them shareable, increasing clarity and improving decision-making by learning from experience.
  • To reference the outcomes of the decisions to their effect on the operational business (e.g. changes made to business processes and organization responsibilities), providing traceability from influencer to operational change.

The BMM provides support in four areas, as illustrated in the diagram below:

Business Motivation Model (BMM)

The scope of an enterprise BMM may be the entire enterprise, or an organization unit within it. Higher-level organization units may appear to lower level units as influencing organizations, outside the 'enterprise' boundary, and their directives may have the status of regulations. An enterprise BMM does not have to represent the entire enterprise. A stakeholder can create a BMM of a partial view, referencing only those parts of the business that are relevant to his/her responsibilities and decision-making authority.

Ends define what an enterprise wants to be - the states it desires to be in. There are three levels:

BMM End

Means define what an enterprise has decided it needs to do to achieve its ends. There are three kinds:

BMM Means

Influencers

An influencer is something that an enterprise decides might affect it. There are two broad types:

BMM Influencer

Assessments

When an influencer causes a significant change, the enterprise makes an assessment of its impact, identifying risks and potential rewards. There may be multiple assessments, perhaps from different stakeholders.

BMM Assessment

Strategic Planning In-Action with BMM

The OMG Business Motivation Model (BMM) provides an excellent framework for developing, communicating and managing strategic plans. This framework reflects widely accepted strategic planning techniques, helping you identify strategic drivers and strategic goals in strategic planning.

A Guided Process for Strategic Planning with BMM

The learning curve of performing BMM could be somehow steep for beginner. The interconnection among elements are hard to maintain and visualize and that's why the Guide-Through Process for BMM come about.

BMM Guide-Through features a generic process that assists you in developing a Business Motivation Model. By following the process step-by-step, the core components of strategic planning will be identified. The resulting information will be archived in document form automatically.

BMM Guide-through

Benefits of the BMM Guide-through Process:

  • Structure into activities and steps, and embedded with instructions, and samples
  • Progress Indicator that shows you where you are and the status of completion for activities and steps
  • Query and visualize complex elements structure and information in ArchiMate diagrams
  • Perform work and generate deliverable and report automatically
  • Automatically transcribe data from one step to another for further actions or perform different forms of analysis to ensure the consistency among elements.

Related Links

  • What is SWOT?
  • What is PEST Analysis?
  • What is Value Chain Analysis?
  • What is Five Forces Analysis?
  • What is Four Corners Analysis?
  • Software tools for creating SWOT and other strategic analysis models

* SWOT, PEST, Value Chain, Five Forces Analysis are powered by Visual Paradigm's web technology. You can create it in both Visual Paradigm Desktop and Visual Paradigm Online .

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Strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat (swot) analysis,     , what is swot analysis.

A framework used to evaluate a  company’s competitive position  and to develop strategic planning. SWOT analysis assesses internal and external factors, as well as current and future potential.

A SWOT analysis is designed to facilitate a realistic, fact-based, data-driven look at the strengths and weaknesses of an organization, its initiatives, or an industry. The organization needs to keep the analysis accurate by avoiding pre-conceived beliefs or gray areas and instead focusing on real-life contexts. Companies should use it as a guide and not necessarily as a prescription.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • SWOT analysis is a strategic planning technique that provides assessment tools.
  • Identifying core strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats lead to fact-based analysis, fresh perspectives and new ideas.
  • SWOT analysis works best when diverse groups or voices within an organization are free to provide realistic data points rather than prescribed messaging.

Understanding SWOT Analysis

SWOT analysis is a technique for assessing the performance, competition, risk, and potential of a business, as well as part of a business such as a product line or division, an industry, or other entity.

Important: Using internal and external data, a SWOT analysis can tell a company where it needs to improve internally, as well as help develop strategic plans.

Using  internal and external data , the technique can guide businesses toward strategies more likely to be successful, and away from those in which they have been, or are likely to be, less successful. An independent SWOT analysis analysts, investors or competitors can also guide them on whether a company, product line or industry might be strong or weak and why.

A Visual Overview

Analysts present a SWOT analysis as a square with each of the four areas making up one quadrant. This visual arrangement provides a quick overview of the company’s position. Although all the points under a particular heading may not be of equal importance, they all should represent key insights into the balance of opportunities and threats, advantages and disadvantages, and so forth.

SWOT Analysis was first used to analyze businesses. Now it’s often used by governments, nonprofits, and individuals, including investors and entrepreneurs.

Example of SWOT Analysis

In 2015, a  Value Line SWOT analysis  of The Coca-Cola Company noted strengths such as its globally famous brand name, vast distribution network and opportunities in emerging markets. However, it also noted weaknesses and threats such as foreign currency fluctuations, growing public interest in “healthy” beverages and competition from healthy beverage providers.

Its SWOT analysis prompted Value Line to pose some tough questions about Coca-Cola’s strategy, but also to note that the company “will probably remain a top-tier beverage provider” that offered conservative investors “a reliable source of income and a bit of capital gains exposure.”

  • Strengths  describe what an organization excels at and what  separates it from the competition : a strong brand, loyal customer base, a strong balance sheet, unique technology, and so on. For example, a hedge fund may have developed a proprietary trading strategy that returns market-beating results. It must then decide how to use those results to attract new investors.
  • Weaknesses  stop an organization from performing at its optimum level. They are areas where the business needs to improve to remain competitive: a weak brand, higher-than-average turnover, high levels of debt, an inadequate supply chain, or lack of capital.
  • Opportunities  refer to favorable external factors that could give an organization a competitive advantage. For example, if a country cuts tariffs, a car manufacturer can export its cars into a new market, increasing sales and  market share .
  • Threats  refer to factors that have the potential to harm an organization. For example, a drought is a threat to a wheat-producing company, as it may destroy or reduce the crop yield. Other common threats include things like rising costs for materials, increasing competition, tight labor supply and so on.

Advantages of SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis is a great way to guide business-strategy meetings. It’s powerful to have everyone in the room to discuss the company’s core strengths and weaknesses and then move from there to define the opportunities and threats, and finally to brainstorming ideas. Oftentimes, the SWOT analysis you envision before the session changes throughout to reflect factors you were unaware of and would never have captured if not for the group’s input.

A company can use a SWOT for overall business strategy sessions or for a specific segment such as marketing, production or sales. This way, you can see how the overall strategy developed from the SWOT analysis will filter down to the segments below before committing to it. You can also work in reverse with a segment-specific SWOT analysis that feeds into an overall SWOT analysis.

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  3. What is Personal SWOT Analysis, and How Does it Evaluate Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities ?

  4. How to Complete a Business SWOT Analysis and Strategic Goal Setting

  5. SWOT ANALYSIS -Dr.Manoj Kurup -25-09-2023

  6. SWOT Analysis

COMMENTS

  1. SWOT Analysis: How To With Table and Example

    SWOT analysis is a strategic planning technique that provides assessment tools. Identifying core strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats leads to fact-based analysis, fresh...

  2. Getting Started

    SWOT analysis is a strategic planning technique that provides assessment in four key areas across an organization. Identifying core strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats leads to fact-based analysis, fresh perspectives, and new ideas.

  3. What Is A SWOT Analysis? An Explanation With Examples

    A SWOT analysis is a high-level strategic planning model that helps organizations identify where they're doing well and where they can improve, both from an internal and an external perspective. SWOT is an acronym for "Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats."

  4. SWOT Analysis Explained

    A SWOT analysis is a framework used in a business's strategic planning to evaluate its competitive positioning in the marketplace. The analysis looks at four key characteristics that are...

  5. SWOT Analysis: Examples and Templates [2023] • Asana

    A SWOT analysis is a technique used to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for your business or even a specific project. It's most widely used by organizations—from small businesses and non-profits to large enterprises—but a SWOT analysis can be used for personal purposes as well.

  6. SWOT analysis: An easy tool for strategic planning

    SWOT analysis is a framework for identifying and analyzing your organization's strengths and weaknesses, as well as the opportunities and threats you are facing.

  7. SWOT Analysis

    SWOT Analysis is a tool that can help you to analyze what your company does best now, and to devise a successful strategy for the future. SWOT can also uncover areas of the business that are holding you back, or that your competitors could exploit if you don't protect yourself.

  8. SWOT analysis

    SWOT analysis (or SWOT matrix) is a strategic planning and strategic management technique used to help a person or organization identify Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats related to business competition or project planning. It is sometimes called situational assessment or situational analysis. [1]

  9. SWOT Analysis: How To Do One [With Template & Examples]

    A SWOT analysis is a strategic planning technique that puts your business in perspective using the following lenses: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Using a SWOT analysis helps you identify ways your business can improve and maximize opportunities, while simultaneously determining negative factors that might hinder your ...

  10. SWOT analysis

    A SWOT analysis is a planning tool which seeks to identify the S trengths, W eaknesses, O pportunities and T hreats involved in a project or organisation. It's a framework for matching an organisation's goals, programmes and capacities to the environment in which it operates. This factsheet examines the four elements of SWOT and the process of ...

  11. What is a SWOT Analysis? Definition, Method, and Examples

    A SWOT analysis is a method used to assess a company's internal and external environments. It involves identifying your company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Its effectiveness relies on an assumption that the company can adequately assess its external environment.

  12. SWOT

    A SWOT analysis is a framework to help assess and understand the internal and external forces that may create opportunities or risks for an organization. Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors. They are characteristics of a business that give it a relative advantage (or disadvantage, respectively) over its competition.

  13. What is a SWOT Analysis?

    SWOT analysis provides teams and organizations the following benefits: Creates honest assessments of their strengths and weaknesses. Provides new perspectives on the company and its business. Gives insight on how to maximize what is available, address limitations, make additional investments, and avoid risks. Confirms the needed validation and ...

  14. SWOT Analysis: Definition, Examples, and Step-by-Step Guide

    A SWOT analysis is a strategic planning technique that outlines an organization's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Assessing business competition in this way can help an organization plan strategically and execute more effectively. The 4 Parts of a SWOT Analysis Strengths

  15. SWOT Analysis explained including a Template

    SWOT, an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, is a strategic planning tool that helps businesses assess their current state and pinpoint areas for development and expansion. It's applicable to organizations of all sizes, from small businesses to large enterprises.

  16. Guide: SWOT Analysis

    A SWOT Analysis is a strategic planning tool used to identify and evaluate the S trengths, W eaknesses, O pportunities and T hreats to an individual, department, business, or other entity. Conducting a SWOT analysis involves identifying internal and external factors that are beneficial or a challenge to achieving an objective. The SWOT analysis ...

  17. SWOT analysis

    The SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool that encourages group or individual reflection on and assessment of the S trengths, W eaknesses, O pportunities and T hreats of a particular strategy and how to best implement it. SWOT analysis originated in business and marketing analysis.

  18. Develop your SWOT analysis

    A SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool used to assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your business. Developing a SWOT analysis can help you look at your business in a new way and from different directions. It can also help you to: create or fine tune your business strategy. prioritise areas for business growth to ...

  19. What is SWOT Analysis?

    SWOT analysis is a technique developed at Stanford in the 1970s, frequently used in strategic planning. SWOT is an acronym for S trengths, W eaknesses, O pportunities, and T hreats and is a structured planning method that evaluates those four elements of an organization, project or business venture.

  20. Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat (SWOT) Analysis

    SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis is a framework used to evaluate a company's competitive position and to develop strategic planning. SWOT analysis assesses internal and external factors, as well as current and future potential. A SWOT analysis is designed to facilitate a realistic, fact-based, data-driven look ...

  21. Section 14. SWOT Analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and

    Developing a fuller awareness of the situation helps with both strategic planning and decision-making. The SWOT method was originally developed for business and industry, but it is equally useful in the work of community health and development, education, and even for personal growth. SWOT is not the only assessment technique you can use.

  22. Utilizing the Various Strategic Analysis Tools

    SWOT analysis is a technique developed at Stanford in the 1970s, frequently used in strategic planning. SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats and is a structured planning method that evaluates those four elements of an organization, project or business venture. A SWOT analysis is a simple, but powerful ...

  23. Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat (SWOT) Analysis

    SWOT analysis is a strategic planning technique that provides assessment tools. Identifying core strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats lead to fact-based analysis, fresh perspectives and new ideas. SWOT analysis works best when diverse groups or voices within an organization are free to provide realistic data points rather than ...

  24. Demystifying Strategic Planning: Process and Benefits

    For strategic planners, it's critical to understand what a SWOT analysis is and its role in strategic planning. A SWOT analysis dives into the company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It is a framework that identifies internal strengths and weaknesses. A SWOT analysis also assesses the current and future potential of a ...