SWOT Analysis is for better understanding your Strengths and Weaknesses, and to identify the Opportunities and the Threats that you are facing. It is a structured planning method used in projects and businesses. It can be carried out for product, place, industry or person. It is primarily used in decision making situation when objective is fully defined.
What makes SWOT analysis a powerful tool is that with little reflection, you can uncover the opportunities waiting on your door step, identify threats and problems to eliminate, and discover weaknesses to eradicate
SWOT Stands for
The four factors aforementioned depend upon both external and internal factors of your organization. External factors are those which you cannot control like vendor prices, government taxation etc. Internal factors of organization can be controlled e.g. work hours, marketing methods, benefits to employees.
SWOT analysis is carried out using a usually 2x2 Matrix method. In the four boxes we enter our SWOT’s. The benefit for such a methodology is that all our strengths weaknesses, opportunities and threats are right in front of us and can easily be related to each other.
You’ll find a SWOT analysis will provide you with a good foundation for your strategy, business proposition, the position of your company, the direction of your company, and even discover which ideas are worth pursuing.
Step 1 Before a SWOT analysis, goal of SWOT analysis must be clearly defined. A poorly defined goal is like “Increasing Profits for our company.” While a clearly defined goal is like “Increasing sales of our Bi-cycle in New york City by 10%”.
Step 2 Take a template we have provided or make your own by taking a piece of chart and making four sections in it named Strengths, Weaknesses, Threats and Opportunities in clock wise fashion.
Step 3 Strengths:
Step 4 Weaknesses:
Weakness also must be sought by considering both external and internal factors. You must also consider whether the customer or rival data presented is statistically reliable or not?
Step 5 Opportunities:
Problems are opportunities in disguise. Most of the time business fail to grow because they are not aware of the opportunities presented to them. Opportunities arise due to innovations in technology, solutions of problems, favorable economic situation etc.
Using your common sense, you can find out a lot of new opportunities.
Step 6 Threats:
1. SWOT analysis should be done by group because several perspectives are readily put forward.
2. You must differentiate between strength and necessity. Strength is what your competitors don’t have. If all your competitors provide high quality products like yours, then selling high quality products is not your strength but necessity.
3. Strengths and opportunities are related. Look if your strengths avail you any opportunity.
4. When considering opportunities and threats, PEST Analysis assist in considering external factors, such as technological changes and government policies.
5. Only accept precise, verifiable statements ("Cost advantage of US$10/ton in sourcing raw material x", rather than "Good value for money").
6. Prioritize your factors so that you spend most time thinking about the most significant factors.
7. Apply it on the right level. You should apply it on a product line instead of whole company. The sharply defined the objective is, the better the results
8. Use it along with other strategy tools (for example, USP Analysis and Core Competence Analysis) so that you get a comprehensive picture of the situation you're dealing with.
9. The more deep and profound questions you ask in SWOT analysis, the better the results.