SWOT Analysis assists entities to identify specific Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats related to the organizational business model and strategies, business processes and supporting internal and external environments.
The SWOT Analysis is intended to:
Confirm the business objectives of the organization at the enterprise or specific hierarchy level or a project/initiative and,
Assess the internal and external factors, both favorable and unfavorable to successfully achieving the organizational objectives.
Internal attributes and resources that support a successful outcome.
What does your organization do better than the competition?
Internal attributes and resources that are obstacles to a successful outcome.
What does your organization need to change or improve?
External factors that the entity can capitalize on or use to its advantage.
What market trends could lead to meeting specific objectives?
External risks and other factors that could jeopardize the entity’s success.
What is the competitive advantage of your key competitors?
“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”
SWOT Analysis Origin
SWOT design is credited to Albert Humphrey, who tested the technique in the 1960-70s at the Stanford Research Institute. Developed for business and based on data from Fortune 500 companies, the SWOT Analysis has been adopted as an effective analysis component by private and public-sector organizations, of all types, as an aid to generating conclusions and decision-making.
SWOT Analysis Types
The SWOT Analysis enables an organization, of any size, to effectively:
- Identify and explore potential changes to the organizational strategies, structure, and processes to eliminate problems and threats and exploit and leverage strengths and opportunities.
- Determine change priorities.
- Adjust and refine current plans mid-course, as required.
- Develop new initiatives to support identified changes, as required.
Using SWOT Analysis
A SWOT Analysis is used to help an entity — whether it is an organization, team, or an individual obtain insight and appreciation into the current and future position in the marketplace or against a stated objective.
The SWOT Analysis concept is rooted in the belief that since the stakeholders can identify and assess competitive advantages and positive prospects, as well as existing and potential problems, they can improve decision-making and develop better go-forward plans.
SWOT Analysis Element Examples
Examples of the SWOT elements are presented below:
S – Strengths
- Committed and Passionate Employees.
- Competitive advantage: Products & Services.
- Excellent Customer Service.
- High-quality Brand.
- Intellectual Property / Patents.
- Loyal Customers.
- Professional Distribution Networks.
- Recognized Competency and Skills.
- Superb Market Reputation.
W – Weaknesses
- Absence of Patent Protection.
- Continual Profitability Erosion.
- High Employee Turnover.
- Lack of Capital / Cash Flow.
- Low Employee Morale.
- Low Productivity.
- Negative Reputation and Brand.
- Lack of Product & Service Profitability.
- One Off Customer Orders / Relationships.
O – Opportunities
- Adoption of New Technologies to Support Business Processing.
- Increased Demand for Product and/or Services.
- New Distribution and/or Channel Partnerships.
- Removal of Trade Barriers.
- Development of New Products and Services.
- Unfulfilled Target Market Needs.
T – Threats
- The downturn in the Economy.
- Increased Trade Barriers.
- New / Upgraded Competition.
- New or Changed Governmental Regulations.
- Negative Price Wars.
- Shifts in Customer Needs / Requirements.
“The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.”
Applications of SWOT
A SWOT Analysis can be used for conducting brainstorming workshops or sessions for:
- Business Plan Planning
- Competitor Assessment
- Investment Analysis
- Design New Products and Services
- Enter New Geographies and Markets
- Problem Solving for all Business Areas
- Risk Management Analysis
- Change Management Assessment