A SWOT Analysis is a widely accepted tool used for strategic planning, which evaluates the internal and external factors in the environment (things you can and things you can’t control, respectively) that can be helpful or harmful to your organization, project, product, or idea. SWOT usually represented in a 2x2 grid, where each section represents one of the areas of the analysis.
What does SWOT mean?
SWOT stands for Strengths Weakness Opportunities Threats.
This section is where you should list everything that are you are particularly good at, either individually or as a team and organization. This can include strengths such as a motivated team, existing client relationships, or a unique feature of your product.
Questions that assist you in identifying your strengths include:
- what skills and capabilities do you and your team excel at?
- what resources do you have?
- what is unique about your project / product / service / idea?
What should you do about it? Build up!
This section lists the internal factors that are preventing your from being your very best, placing your business in a competitive disadvantage. These represent areas you need to improve such as knowledge transfer, unskilled resources, poor marketing capabilities, etc.
The following may guide you in identifying your weaknesses:
- what do you not do well?
- what is there that you need to improve?
- what are the gaps in your project / product / service / idea?
What should you do about it? Minimize!
This section identifies the external factors that can enhance the likelihood of your business’ prosperity. These can include a new piece of legislation, favorable exchange rates, or the potential of a partnership with another organization, etc.
The key question to be asked is:
- what opportunities are available to you (e.g. economy, location, trends, partnerships, etc.)?
What should you do about it? Exploit!
This section is composed of the external factors that can put your business at risk, such as the introduction of a new tax, the appearance of a substitute product in the market, or an unfavorable consumer trend.
One question should be in your mind:
- what are the threats to your business (e.g economy, location, trends, competition, etc.)?
What should you do about it? Counteract!