Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats

What is a SWOT Analysis?

A 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. It is designed to facilitate a realistic, fact-based, data-driven look at the strengths and weaknesses of an organization, initiatives, or within its industry. The organization needs to keep the analysis accurate by avoiding pre-conceived beliefs or grey areas and instead focusing on real-life contexts.

A SWOT Analysis allows organisations to make unbiased evaluations on:

  • Your organisation or brand
  • Your organisation’s market positioning
  • A new project, product or initiative
  • A specific campaign or route to market

Steps suggested to create a strong SWOT Analysis

  1. Arrange each section to a table with four individual quadrants dedicated to Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats.
  2. Identify your objective – what do you wish to analyse? Be specific and have a goal, otherwise your SWOT may be too broad. By identifying your objective you will be able to use the analysis create valuable actions for you and/or your staff to complete.
  3. List strengths – Your strengths can be defined as what your organisation is currently doing well and gives you a competitive edge on your competition or alternatives.
  4. List weaknesses – Your weaknesses are the roadblocks hindering you from reaching your goals and what competitors or alternatives may be doing better than your organisation. This section may be critical to see what obstacles could hinder your organisations success.
  5. List opportunities – Your opportunities can often be the potential channels or new lead generation that can help grow or improve your business. 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.
  6. List threats – Your threats may be real, immediate or in the future. Writing them down helps your organisation to evaluate them objectively.

When you have created your SWOT Analysis you should discuss it with your team and create action points that can be included in your upcoming strategy and business planes. Remember as well as using a SWOT Analysis to review your organisation in general, you can also use them to evaluate how particular products or services may perform in the marketplace.

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