SWOT is a simple, yet powerful tool that can help you develop your business strategy, as well as uncover potential that’s waiting ahead.
The acronym stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. The primary objective of SWOT analysis is to help companies develop full awareness of the factors involved in decision making. In this context, SWOT is a way of seeing your business from different perspectives – both internal and external – to outline the future of the organization.
How to start?
SWOT analysis focuses on the four aspects of business analysis included in the acronym, allowing companies to identify what influences a strategy or initiative. Knowing both – positive and negative sides of your business can help you communicate necessary changes more effectively. Creating SWOT analysis usually means drawing a table, split up into four columns and listing each element side-by-side to compare and contrast them with ease. Strengths and weaknesses won’t typically match listed opportunities and threats, but they should somewhat correlate since they’re tied together in a way. From our experience, pairing external threats with internal weaknesses can highlight the most serious issues the company is facing
To help you to carry out your analysis – download and print out our free worksheet then read all the tips, think it all through and write down things below. Alternatively, you can answer the basic questions about your company that are on a worksheet.
To help you to carry out your analysis – download and print out our free worksheet then read all the tips, think it all through and write down things below.
Alternatively, you can answer the basic questions about your company that are on a worksheet.
- Things you are good at
- Your experience, knowledge
- Unique characteristics
- Good location
- Competences, capabilities
- Quality, reputation
- Flexibility on product, pricing or distribution
- Things you need to improve
- Gaps in skills, knowledge
- Financial issues
- Low market awareness and bad reputation
- Management issues
- Lack of involvement or motivation in stuff
- Strategic alliances
- Taking advantage of new trends
- New product development
- Reducing costs
- Being faster, better or looking better
- Changes in environment
- Losing customers
- Material, energy and transport costs
- Political, environmental and economic regulations
Back to the business
Last but not least, one of the most important parts of your SWOT analysis is using the information gathered in this process to build a strategy. Your goals should include taking actions based on your strengths and making the most of them. It should also mention ways you’re going to work on your weaknesses, for example optimizing outdated processes or develop each of identified opportunities into strengths. You can also try to use your strengths in minimizing the threats using your resources against your competition. There are many options for combining the information within the four fields. For example, weaknesses can be areas to avoid, but when paired with opportunities – they represent your improvement stage. We provide you with a powerful tool, but it’s up to you how you will use it.
Once you understand the potential of this method and try all the possible configurations of using the data, your decision-making process will improve and you’ll discover a whole new room for expansions.