SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis: What It Is and When to Use It

SWOT analysis is a tool that’s often used to identify strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It’s a quick, effective way to understand a business’s situation.

Strengths and weaknesses are things that a company has control over, such as team members, patents, cash, location, and more. Opportunities and threats are external factors that affect the business, such as competitors, prices for raw materials, and customer shopping trends.


A SWOT analysis is a way of evaluating internal strengths and weaknesses and external opportunities and threats that can influence current or future business operations. This technique can be used by businesses, non-profits, and individuals alike to develop strategies that will help them meet their goals.

Whether your goal is to create new products, improve your service, or grow your business, a SWOT analysis can be a useful tool in determining what to focus on and where to prioritize. It can also provide valuable insight into what your competitors are doing to stay competitive and how to leverage your unique strengths to gain an advantage over them.

The best way to conduct a SWOT analysis is to invite all stakeholders to participate in an open discussion about the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats your organization faces. This can be done in a brainstorming session, with all groups recording their findings on a flip chart or board.

Once all groups are finished, it is time to compare their lists and discuss the most significant strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This discussion is important because it can help you to determine where change may be possible or if there are any issues that require further investigation and resolution.

Strengths can come from a variety of sources, including a company’s own internal resources or processes. They can also include market trends and regulations that are outside of the company’s control.

For example, a construction law firm with staff members who have both legal and engineering/general contracting experience can be considered a strong strength. This is because they are able to take advantage of different types of contracts and construction projects to make their company more competitive.

Another strength can be a company’s ability to adapt quickly. A smaller business with a limited number of employees is often more-nimble than larger companies. It can react quickly to changing market conditions and adjust its strategies accordingly.

A company’s strengths can be difficult to pinpoint, but they are essential for success. They can help a business to minimize risks, minimize costs, and maximize revenue. This is because they can guide a company away from weak areas and toward more successful strategies.


A SWOT analysis identifies the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of an organization or project. Identifying this information helps companies make smarter decisions to protect what they do well, capitalize on their strengths, mitigate risk related to weaknesses, and plan for events that may negatively impact them.

There are many different ways to conduct a SWOT analysis, but one common way is to organize a meeting with groups of leaders from different departments. These meetings are useful in exploring all of the factors that affect your efforts and in developing a shared vision of the future.

During these meetings, it is important for participants to honestly assess the situation and discuss how they can best contribute to the effort. Several groups can contribute their opinions and perceptions, and you may also want to include members from outside your organization or program to give the discussion an even wider scope.

Once all of the groups have provided input, you can summarize each strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat for the entire group. This will help everyone to think of things they might not have thought of before and will support valuable discussion within the group.

For example, a smoothie company might analyze its strengths as high-quality customer service, strong brand recognition, and positive relationships with suppliers. It might also consider its weaknesses as a constricted supply chain, interdependence on the U.S. market, and a lack of a replicable business model.

In these cases, the company may need to develop more product diversification or work with suppliers to improve the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns. This might help to improve their overall sales and increase profits.

A company might also use a SWOT analysis to determine whether its marketing initiatives are achieving the expected results or if it needs to take additional steps to meet goals. Creating this type of analysis can be challenging, but it can also be an essential tool for helping companies understand their current position and their opportunities to grow.

While SWOT analyses can be a valuable tool, they should not be used indiscriminately. Instead, they should be a part of your overall strategic planning process and help you to make informed decisions.


A SWOT analysis is a simple, but effective way to help your organization or team gain insight into their current and future position. It can also be used to develop new goals and strategies that capitalize on your company’s strengths and mitigate its weaknesses.

The first step is to decide what your business or team will be evaluating when it does the analysis. Some examples of objectives include determining how well your organization does at delivering customer service, understanding your product’s potential positioning in the marketplace, or analyzing a future marketing campaign or social media strategy.

You can then conduct a SWOT analysis in a group, with members assigned to evaluate data in each category. Ideally, the results will be compared after the meeting, to get more insight into the situation and to identify areas of improvement.

To create a successful analysis, select a group with a strong leader who can facilitate the process. This person should be able to listen, guide, and encourage the group in a constructive, non-judgmental setting. If the group is large, designate someone to be the recorder and keep the discussion flowing.

Once you have your team’s input, the next step is to review all of the information to determine whether each factor represents a strength, weakness, opportunity, or threat. The result of this analysis is a matrix that shows the four categories in a grid-like format.

Strengths represent positive attributes, either tangible or intangible, that are internal to the organization. They can include employees, knowledge, capital, technology, or other resources. They can also include assets such as patents, existing customers, or distribution channels.

Weaknesses are factors that pose a competitive disadvantage in relation to your competition. They can be both qualitative and quantitative, and can be anything from inexperienced management to high employee turnover or low margins.

Opportunities are things your business can do to improve or increase its success or growth, such as increasing total addressable market (TAM), developing innovative products, implementing new technological advances, or changing social norms. This element of the analysis can be a little more difficult to assess, as it involves external factors that your organization can’t control.


A SWOT analysis can help you assess your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It can also be used as a tool to help you develop strategies that will maximize your company’s strengths and minimize your weak points.

Strengths refer to internal factors that can be improved, such as your company’s reputation, patents, location, and more. It’s important to note that while you can change some of these things, there are other factors outside your control that may impact your success. For example, if your business depends on the quality of its products, a drought could reduce its supply and decrease your production costs.

Opportunities are factors that can benefit your business, such as a new product line, increased demand for your services, or a change in the perception of your business. For example, if you have a local restaurant that uses locally-sourced ingredients, a growing trend in favor of organic food can be an opportunity for your company.

Weaknesses are factors that may hurt your business, such as a lack of experience or skills in a specific area. This may be a problem if you need to hire new employees or upgrade your equipment.

Threats are external factors that can harm your business, such as a sudden rise in cost of materials or competition from an emerging competitor. It’s critical to have a plan in place to address these risks, regardless of how much control you have over them.

A SWOT analysis should be performed at least once a year. The results can be used to develop short-term and long-term strategies that will maximize your organization’s strengths, strengthen your weak spots, and prevent or mitigate the negative effects of threats.

The SWOT framework can be used to evaluate virtually any aspect of your business or program, and it can help you make informed decisions when you’re ready to launch a project, create a marketing strategy, improve customer service, or conduct any other type of strategic planning. However, it’s important to use the framework correctly and in a way that is useful for your organization.

Bottom line

When planning a new business strategy, the most effective way to ensure you’re not missing any opportunities is to perform a SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis focuses on your organization’s strengths and weaknesses as well as external events that may affect your business.

Strengths include what your company does best, such as its brand and loyal customer base, a strong balance sheet, or unique technology. Weaknesses are the areas in which your business is lacking and must be improved if you want to be successful.

Using a SWOT analysis can also help you identify potential threats that could prevent your business from growing and becoming successful. These threats are outside your control, but they still need to be addressed as you map out your business plan.

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