SWOT Analysis: How To Do One [With Template & Examples]
Published: October 05, 2023
As your business grows, you need a roadmap to help navigate the obstacles, challenges, opportunities, and projects that come your way. Enter: the SWOT analysis.
This framework can help you develop a plan to determine your priorities, maximize opportunities, and minimize roadblocks as you scale your organization. Below, let’s go over exactly what a SWOT analysis is, a few SWOT analysis examples, and how to conduct one for your business.
When you’re done reading, you’ll have all the inspiration and tactical advice you need to tackle a SWOT analysis for your business.
What is a SWOT analysis? Importance of a SWOT Analysis How to Write a Good SWOT Analysis SWOT Analysis Examples How to Act on a SWOT Analysis
What is a SWOT analysis?
A SWOT analysis is a strategic planning technique that puts your business in perspective using the following lenses: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Using a SWOT analysis helps you identify ways your business can improve and maximize opportunities, while simultaneously determining negative factors that might hinder your chances of success.
While it may seem simple on the surface, a SWOT analysis allows you to make unbiased evaluations on:
- Your business or brand.
- Market positioning.
- A new project or initiative.
- A specific campaign or channel.
Practically anything that requires strategic planning, internal or external, can have the SWOT framework applied to it, helping you avoid unnecessary errors down the road from lack of insight.
Free SWOT Analysis Template
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Importance of a SWOT Analysis
You’ve noticed by now that SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. The framework seems simple enough that you’d be tempted to forgo using it at all, relying instead on your intuition to take these things into account.
But you shouldn’t. Doing a SWOT analysis is important. Here’s why.
SWOT gives you the chance to worry and to dream.
A SWOT analysis is an important step in your strategic process because it gives you the opportunity to explore both the potential risks and the exciting possibilities that lie ahead. You’re giving yourself the space to dream, evaluate, and worry before taking action. Your insights then turn into assets as you create the roadmap for your initiative.
For instance, when you consider the weaknesses and threats that your business may face, you can address any concerns or challenges and strategize on how to mitigate those risks. At the same time, you can identify strengths and opportunities, which can inspire innovative ideas and help you dream big. Both are equally important.
SWOT forces you to define your variables.
Instead of diving head first into planning and execution, you’re taking inventory of all your assets and roadblocks. This process will help you develop strategies that leverage your strengths and opportunities while addressing and mitigating the impact of weaknesses and threats.
As a result, you'll gain a comprehensive understanding of your current situation and create a more specific and effective roadmap. Plus, a SWOT analysis is inherently proactive. That means you'll be better equipped to make informed decisions, allocate resources effectively, and set realistic goals.
SWOT allows you to account for mitigating factors.
As you identify weaknesses and threats, you’re better able to account for them in your roadmap, improving your chances of success.
Moreover, accounting for mitigating factors allows you to allocate your resources wisely and make informed decisions that lead to sustainable growth. With a SWOT analysis as a guide, you can confidently face challenges and seize opportunities.
SWOT helps you keep a written record.
As your organization grows and changes, you’ll be able to strike things off your old SWOTs and make additions. You can look back at where you came from and look ahead at what’s to come.
In other words, SWOT analyses serve as a tangible history of your progress and provide a reference point for future decision-making. With each update, your SWOT analysis becomes a living document that guides your strategic thinking and helps you stay agile and adaptable in an ever-changing business landscape.
By maintaining this written record, you foster a culture of continuous improvement and empower your team to make data-driven decisions and stay aligned with your long-term vision.
Parts of a SWOT Analysis
Conducting a SWOT analysis will help you strategize effectively, unlock valuable insights, and make informed decisions. But what exactly does a SWOT analysis include?
Let’s explore each component: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
Your strengths are the unique advantages and internal capabilities that give your company a competitive edge in the market. A strong brand reputation, innovative products or services, or exceptional customer service are just a few examples. By identifying and capitalizing on your strengths, you can foster customer loyalty and build a solid foundation for growth.
No business is flawless. Weaknesses are areas where you may face challenges or fall short of your potential. It could be outdated processes, skill gaps within the team, or inadequate resources. By acknowledging these weaknesses, you can establish targeted initiatives for improvement, upskill your team, adopt new technologies, and enhance your overall operational efficiency.
Opportunities are external factors that can contribute to your company's progress. These may include emerging markets, technological advancements, changes in consumer behavior, or gaps in the market that your company can fill. By seizing these opportunities, you can expand your market reach, diversify your product offerings, forge strategic partnerships, or even venture into untapped territories.
Threats are external factors that are beyond your control and pose challenges to your business. Increased competition, economic volatility, evolving regulatory landscapes, or even changing market trends are examples of threats. By proactively assessing and addressing them, you can develop contingency plans, adjust your strategies, and minimize their impact on your operations.
In a SWOT analysis, you’ll have to take both internal and external factors into account. We’ll cover those next.
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SWOT Analysis Internal and External Factors
A SWOT analysis typically has internal (i.e., within your organization) and external (i.e., outside your organization) factors at play. Here's a breakdown of each.
Internal factors refer to the characteristics and resources within your organization that directly influence its operations and performance. These factors are completely within your organization's control, so they can be modified, improved, or capitalized upon.
In a SWOT analysis, strengths and weaknesses are categorized as internal factors. Let’s look at a few examples.
- Brand reputation
- Unique expertise
- Loyal customer base
- Talented workforce
- Efficient processes
- Proprietary technology
- Outdated technology
- Inadequate resources
- Poor financial health
- Inefficient processes
- Skill gaps within the team
External factors are elements outside the organization's control that have an impact on its operations, market position, and success. These factors arise from the industry climate and the broader business environment. You typically have no control over external factors, but you can respond to them.
In a SWOT analysis, opportunities and threats are categorized as external factors. Let’s look at a few examples.
- Emerging markets
- Changing consumer trends
- Technological advancements
- Positive shifts in regulations
- New gaps in the market you could fill
- Intense competition
- Economic downturns
- Disruptive technologies
- Changing regulations
- Negative shifts in consumer behavior
Remember, a well-rounded SWOT analysis empowers you to capitalize on strengths, address weaknesses, seize opportunities, and navigate threats — all while making informed decisions for the future.
Now, let’s take a look at how you can write a good SWOT analysis for yourself or for stakeholders.
How do you write a good SWOT analysis?
There are several steps you’ll want to take when evaluating your business and conducting a strategic SWOT analysis.
1. Download HubSpot's SWOT Analysis Template.
There’s no need to start from scratch for your analysis. Instead, start by downloading a free, editable template from HubSpot. Feel free to use the model yourself, or create your own as it suits your needs.
3. Identify your objective.
Before you start writing things down, you’ll need to figure out what you’re evaluating with your SWOT analysis.
Be specific about what you want to analyze. Otherwise, your SWOT analysis may end up being too broad, and you’ll get analysis paralysis as you are making your evaluations.
If you’re creating a new social media program, you’ll want to conduct an analysis to inform your content creation strategy. If you’re launching a new product, you’ll want to understand its potential positioning in the space. If you’re considering a brand redesign, you’ll want to consider existing and future brand conceptions.
All of these are examples of good reasons to conduct a SWOT analysis. By identifying your objective, you’ll be able to tailor your evaluation to get more actionable insights.
4. Identify your strengths.
“Strengths” refers to what you are currently doing well. Think about the factors that are going in your favor as well as the things you offer that your competitors just can’t beat.
For example, let’s say you want to use a SWOT analysis to evaluate your new social media strategy.
If you’re looking at a new social media program, perhaps you want to evaluate how your brand is perceived by the public. Is it easily recognizable and well-known? Even if it’s not popular with a widespread group, is it well-received by a specific audience?
Next, think about your process: Is it effective or innovative? Is there good communication between marketing and sales?
Finally, evaluate your social media message, and in particular, how it differs from the rest of the industry. I’m willing to bet you can make a lengthy list of some major strengths of your social media strategy over your competitors, so try to dive into your strengths from there.
5. Identify your weaknesses.
In contrast to your strengths, what are the roadblocks hindering you from reaching your goals? What do your competitors offer that continues to be a thorn in your side?
This section isn’t about dwelling on negative aspects. Rather, it’s critical to foresee any potential obstacles that could mitigate your success.
When identifying weaknesses, consider what areas of your business are the least profitable, where you lack certain resources, or what costs you the most time and money. Take input from employees in different departments, as they’ll likely see weaknesses you hadn’t considered.
If you’re examining a new social media strategy, you might start by asking yourself these questions: First, if I were a consumer, what would prevent me from buying this product, or engaging with this business? What would make me click away from the screen?
Second, what do I foresee as the biggest hindrance to my employees’ productivity, or their ability to get the job done efficiently? What derails their social media efforts?
6. Consider your opportunities.
This is your chance to dream big. What are some opportunities for your social media strategy you hope, but don’t necessarily expect, to reach?
For instance, maybe you’re hoping your Facebook ads will attract a new, larger demographic. Maybe you’re hoping your YouTube video gets 10,000 views and increases sales by 10%.
Whatever the case, it’s important to include potential opportunities in your SWOT analysis. Ask yourself these questions:
- What technologies do I want my business to use to make it more effective?
- What new target audience do I want to reach?
- How can the business stand out more in the current industry?
- Is there something our customers complain about that we could fix?
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.
7. Contemplate your threats.
It’s likely, especially if you’re prone to worry, you already have a good list of threats in your head.
If not, gather your employees and brainstorm. Start with these questions:
- What obstacles might prevent us from reaching our goals?
- What’s going on in the industry, or with our competitors, that might mitigate our success?
- Is there new technology out there that could conflict with our product?
Writing down your threats helps you evaluate them objectively.
For instance, maybe you list your threats in terms of least and most likely to occur and divide and conquer each. If one of your biggest threats is your competitor’s popular Instagram account, you could work with your marketing department to create content that showcases your product’s unique features.
SWOT Analysis Chart
Download a free SWOT analysis chart included in HubSpot’s free market research kit .
A SWOT analysis doesn’t have to be fancy. Our SWOT analysis chart provides a clear and structured framework for capturing and organizing your internal strengths and weaknesses, and external opportunities and threats. It's the perfect visual aid to make sense of the wealth of information gathered during your analysis.
(Plus, you can always customize and paste it into a document you plan to share with stakeholders.)
But remember: Filling out the SWOT chart is just one step in the process. Combine it with our entire market research kit , and you'll have all the tools necessary to help your organization navigate new opportunities and threats.
SWOT Analysis Examples
The template above helps get you started on your own SWOT analysis.
But, if you’re anything like me, it’s not enough to see a template. To fully understand a concept, you need to see how it plays out in the real world.
These SWOT examples are not exhaustive. However, they are a great starting point to inspire you as you do your own SWOT analysis.
Apple’s SWOT analysis
Here’s how we’d conduct a SWOT analysis on Apple.
First off, strengths. While Apple has many strengths, let’s identify the top three:
- Brand recognition.
- Innovative products.
- Ease of use.
Apple’s brand is undeniably strong, and its business is considered the most valuable in the world . Since it’s easily recognized, Apple can produce new products and almost ensure a certain degree of success by virtue of the brand name itself.
Apple’s highly innovative products are often at the forefront of the industry. One thing that sets Apple apart from the competition is its product inter-connectivity.
For instance, an Apple user can easily sync their iPhone and iPad together. They can access all of their photos, contacts, apps, and more no matter which device they are using.
Lastly, customers enjoy how easy it is to use Apple’s products. With a sleek and simple design, each product is developed so that most people can quickly learn how to use them.
Next, let’s look at three of Apple’s weaknesses.
- High prices
- Closed ecosystem
- Lack of experimentation
While the high prices don’t deter Apple’s middle- and upper-class customer base, they do hinder Apple’s ability to reach a lower-class demographic.
Apple also suffers from its own exclusivity. Apple controls all its services and products in-house, and while many customers become loyal brand advocates for this reason, it means all burdens fall on Apple employees.
Ultimately, Apple’s tight control over who distributes its products limits its market reach.
Lastly, Apple is held to a high standard when it comes to creating and distributing products. Apple’s brand carries a high level of prestige. That level of recognition inhibits Apple from taking risks and experimenting freely with new products that could fail.
Now, let’s take a look at opportunities for Apple.
It’s easy to recognize opportunities for improvement, once you consider Apple’s weaknesses. Here’s a list of three we came up with:
- Expand distribution options.
- Create new product lines.
- Technological advancement.
One of Apple’s biggest weaknesses is its distribution network, which, in the name of exclusivity, remains relatively small. If Apple expanded its network and enabled third-party businesses to sell its products, it could reach more people globally, while alleviating some of the stress currently put on in-house employees.
There are also plenty of opportunities for Apple to create new products. Apple could consider creating more affordable products to reach a larger demographic, or spreading out into new industries — Apple self-driving cars, perhaps?
Finally, Apple could continue advancing its products’ technology. Apple can take existing products and refine them, ensuring each product offers as many unique features as possible.
Finally, let’s look at threats to Apple.
Believe it or not, they do exist.
Here are three of Apple’s biggest threats:
- Tough competition.
- International issues.
Apple isn’t the only innovative tech company out there, and it continues to face tough competition from Samsung, Google, and other major forces. In fact, Samsung sold more smartphones than Apple did in Q1 of 2022 , shipping 17 million more units than Apple and holding 24% of the market share.
Many of Apple’s weaknesses hinder Apple’s ability to compete with the tech corporations that have more freedom to experiment, or that don’t operate in a closed ecosystem.
A second threat to Apple is lawsuits. Apple has faced plenty of lawsuits, particularly between Apple and Samsung . These lawsuits interfere with Apple’s reputable image and could steer some customers to purchase elsewhere.
Finally, Apple needs to improve its reach internationally. The company isn’t number one in China and doesn’t have a very positive relationship with the Chinese government. In India, which has one of the largest consumer markets in the world, Apple’s market share is low , and the company has trouble bringing stores to India’s market.
If Apple can’t compete globally the way Samsung or Google can, it risks falling behind in the industry.
Starbucks SWOT Analysis
Now that we’ve explored the nuances involved with a SWOT analysis, let’s fill out a SWOT template using Starbucks as an example.
Here’s how we’d fill out a SWOT template if we were Starbucks:
Download this Template for Free
Restaurant Small Business SWOT Analysis
Some small business marketers may have difficulty relating to the SWOTs of big brands like Apple and Starbucks. Here’s an example of how a dine-in Thai restaurant might visualize each element.
Small restaurants can lean into their culinary expertise and service skills to find opportunities for growth and brand awareness. A SWOT analysis can also help identify weaknesses that can be improved, such as menu variation and pricing.
While a restaurant might not be as worried about high-level lawsuits, a small business might be more concerned about competitors or disruptors that might enter the playing field.
Local Boutique SWOT Analysis
In another small business example, let’s take a look at a SWOT analysis for a local boutique.
This shop might be well known in its neighborhood, but it also might take time to build an online presence or get its products in an online store.
Because of this, some of its strengths and opportunities might relate to physical factors while weaknesses and threats might relate to online situations.
How to Act on a SWOT Analysis
After conducting a SWOT analysis, you may be asking yourself: What’s next?
Putting together a SWOT analysis is only one step. Executing the findings identified by the analysis is just as important — if not more.
Put your insights into action using the following steps.
Take advantage of your strengths.
Use your strengths to pursue opportunities from your analysis.
For example, if we look at the local boutique example above, the strength of having affordable prices can be a value proposition. You can emphasize your affordable prices on social media or launch an online store.
Address your weaknesses.
Back to the boutique example, one of its weaknesses is having a poor social media presence. To mitigate this, the boutique could hire a social media consultant to improve its strategy. They may even tap into the expertise of a social-savvy employee.
Make note of the threats.
Threats are often external factors that can’t be controlled, so it’s best to monitor the threats outlined in your SWOT analysis to be aware of their impacts on your business.
When to Use a SWOT Analysis
While the examples above focus on business strategy in general, you can also use a SWOT analysis to evaluate and predict how a singular product will play out in the market.
Ultimately, a SWOT analysis can measure and tackle both big and small challenges, from deciding whether or not to launch a new product to refining your social media strategy.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in May 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
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Written by Scribendi
Planning for the Future
Where do you see yourself in five years? How about your career? Your business?
These questions keep a staggering amount of people awake at night. All too often, the future can seem like a dark, ominous cloud that looms just out of view. As the old proverb goes, we fear the unknown—and little can possibly be more unknowable than the future.
While there is no crystal ball that can accurately predict future market trends or the steps you should take to optimize your productivity and sharpen your competitive edge, we can offer some advice: Reframe the question. Rather than trying to pinpoint where you think you might be in five years, think about where you want to be at that point in time. Once you have a destination in mind, you can start planning a route to get there. After all, maps are great tools, but they can't help you if you don't know where you're going.
So, what's the metaphorical map in this scenario? We present to you the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis.
How to Write a SWOT Analysis
SWOT analyses are great strategic tools that are useful in project planning, business development , financial strategizing, and personal advancement . Simple, honest, and to-the-point, they facilitate a profound understanding of your or your business's current standing. Essentially, a SWOT analysis is a comparative list of all your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
There's more power in this process than you might think. You may be only hazily aware of your own strengths and weaknesses. However, thoughtfully recording and reflecting on them creates a thorough, conscious familiarity with both the resources available to you and the obstacles standing in your way. This awareness allows you to map out a path toward your goals with great precision and purpose. Writing a SWOT analysis will help you clearly evaluate whether your goals are feasible according to your resources and needs.
In this guide, we'll break down exactly how to write a SWOT analysis and provide a few examples along the way. Feel free to use our SWOT analysis template, given below, to write your own!
Our SWOT Analysis Template
Your list of strengths should focus on your current resources and abilities. It should relate to things that you do or that your company does well. These might be your or your company's accomplishments—both great and small—and the assets that you or your company have. Your strengths give you your greatest edge; they are the resources that propel you forward and that you can continue to develop as you progress.
When you draw up your first SWOT analysis, you may find yourself at a loss. Don't worry—it's difficult for most people to come up with an objective list of strengths and weaknesses on the spot. For your convenience, we've included a list of questions you can ask yourself to get started.
These questions should help you identify a few of your strengths. Remember, while our example questions mostly relate to business strengths, they can also apply to personal strengths. Go ahead and boast as much as you can.
- What sets your company apart from others?
- What do you have that other companies don't?
- What are you most proud of about your company?
- What makes clients come back to you?
- What does your company do well?
- What assets do you have access to?
- What qualities does your company have that other companies try to emulate?
- What has always been easy for your company?
Listing your weaknesses might be a little more uncomfortable than detailing your strengths, but trust us—doing so will help you in the long run. Understanding the obstacles in your path and the elements of your business or skills you may need to improve is just as important as appreciating your strengths. Once you're aware of your weaknesses, you can start working on them and building your next steps around them.
Your list of weaknesses should pertain to any current problems and challenges. Check out the list of questions below—it should give you an idea of where to start. Again, if you'd rather focus on your personal or career growth, feel free to alter these questions to suit your needs.
- What makes your company blend in with its competition?
- What do other companies have that you don't?
- What are the most common criticisms that you receive from clients?
- Why have certain clients not returned to you?
- What does your company need to improve upon?
- What kind of feedback do you receive from your employees?
- What might your competition consider to be a weakness?
- What has always been difficult for your company?
- What are you unwilling to do or change?
Think about the opportunities available to you as potential future strengths. Your opportunities are the assets, resources, and events that could be beneficial to you in some way in the future. You may need to change some of your current approaches or adapt in other ways to capitalize on these opportunities, and that is not necessarily a bad thing.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to identify your potential opportunities:
- What is happening in the current market that you could capitalize upon?
- What changes have you been making that have returned positive results?
- What is working for other companies?
- How could you introduce new technology to make your processes more efficient?
- What costs can you cut?
- Could you access new sectors or demographic groups?
- How can you improve or modernize your marketing techniques?
- How can you remove existing obstacles?
Just as your opportunities are based on potential, so are your threats; these are the possible obstacles or issues that are not yet directly affecting your progress. But this doesn't mean that you shouldn't start thinking about them! Being aware of the challenges that you may encounter will help you either plan around them or confront them with solutions. Try to come up with several future events that may realistically hinder the momentum you build from engaging with your strengths and opportunities.
To get started, take a peek at our list of questions:
- What obstacles might your weaknesses create?
- Do changing market trends negatively affect your competitive edge?
- What might stand in the way of the changes you make to accommodate your strengths and opportunities?
- Do you have a lot of debt?
- Could your competition exploit your weaknesses?
How did you do? Do you feel like you've listed everything? Or do you think you're missing something? Below, we've drafted examples of a business and a personal SWOT analysis to provide you with some perspective on what a completed one might look like.
An Example of a Personal SWOT Analysis
An Example of a Business SWOT Analysis
The humble but effective SWOT analysis will produce a detailed map of your current environment—its hills and valleys alike. Knowing how to write a SWOT analysis will provide you with the vantage point you need to choose a direction and blaze a trail toward your goals. SWOT analyses may not be crystal balls, but they are something like compasses. Use them wisely, and you will never be lost.
Image source: cookelma/unspla sh.com
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20+ SWOT Analysis Templates, Examples & Best Practices
By Midori Nediger , Oct 12, 2023
You know what you need if you’re contemplating producing a new product line, jumping into a new industry, or even just working on a company analysis for a school assignment?
A SWOT analysis chart.
SWOT analysis is a great way to effectively evaluate a person, campaign, strategy or product — and if you want to create a SWOT table that impresses (your stakeholders or your college professor), you need a SWOT analysis template.
Read on to see different types of SWOT analysis templates you can create with Venngage, plus top tips and plenty of SWOT analysis examples.
Click to skip ahead:
What is a SWOT analysis?
What does swot stand for explaining each element of swot.
- Personal SWOT analysis examples
Company SWOT analysis templates
Marketing swot analysis templates.
- Nonprofit SWOT analysis examples
Exec SWOT analysis templates
- Consultant SWOT analysis examples
SWOT analysis templates for Word
Swot analysis templates for powerpoint, how to write a swot analysis, how to do a swot analysis, how to visualize a swot analysis.
- FAQs about SWOT analysis templates
A SWOT analysis is a strategic planning technique used to assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of a business, project or any other specific situation.
It provides a comprehensive overview of the internal and external factors that can impact the current and future state of the entity, enabling informed decision-making and the formulation of effective strategies.
A SWOT analysis is a simple and practical evaluation model. A SWOT diagram looks at a combination of internal and external factors, as well as assessing strengths and weaknesses. This combination of evaluation metrics means a SWOT analysis is particularly useful for gaining a thorough overview of a business, product, brand or a new project early on in the project life cycle .
The SWOT diagram has been around since at least the 1960s, although its origins are unclear, and are still used today in businesses across the world. Here’s a grid SWOT analysis example that companies can easily put together.
While a SWOT matrix is a good starting point for evaluation, the disadvantage of a SWOT is that it doesn’t produce actionable outcomes — rather it helps you understand where you currently stand, and how you can begin to move your business forward.
A good SWOT analysis template, like this example, should always be followed by further planning and development so you have an idea of what internal factors need to be considered. It also helps to prepare for external factors beyond your company’s control.
For more information on what a SWOT analysis is and the importance of SWOT analyses, check out these posts:
- What Is a SWOT Analysis and Its Importance to Businesses
- Why Is a SWOT Analysis Important [+ Examples]
- Why You Need a Sales SWOT Analysis [+Tips on Writing One]
- What is a SWOT Analysis in Healthcare and Why You Need It
The simplest way to build a SWOT analysis is to use a free SWOT analysis template. In this post, we’ll share examples of SWOT analysis templates that you can customize for your business growth strategy.
SWOT is an acronym that stands for: Strengths — Weaknesses — Opportunities — Threats.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these elements:
Strengths are the areas you excel at. What do you do better than anybody else? What do people praise you for?
To identify your Strengths, spend some time thinking about what you’ve done well, what tasks were well within your comfort zone, and any times that you’ve exceeded expectations, or achieved fantastic results.
A SWOT matrix could be conducted during recruitment to help identify the strengths of candidates, and directly compare them effectively. Or use a SWOT analysis template to understand how internal and external factors impact your brand.
This SWOT analysis template, for example, examines the strengths of a training program offered to employees of a call center :
Pro tip : With a paid Venngage subscription , you can download this SWOT template as a PNG and add it to your Word document or PowerPoint presentation. You can also download it as a PPTX file and add it directly to your presentation as a slide.
Next you identify the areas that need improvement. Think about things you find difficult to achieve, times you’ve struggled to meet expectations, and areas that you don’t feel confident in. Look back at your Strengths list and think about the inverse when filling out your SWOT template.
Weaknesses should always be things you have control over, and things that you can put steps in place to improve upon. You could use a SWOT to help analyze your brand, and understand why your customers chose your competitors over you, or if there are any services you are not currently providing. Use this SWOT analysis example for inspiration.
Moving onto the “O” in our SWOT – Opportunities are areas that your business could take advantage of. When conducting a SWOT for internal company analysis, is there an unserved or underserved market that you could grow into? Are you maximizing your media coverage? Could you change or develop a product to better serve a wider audience? What external factors work to your benefit in filling market gaps?
If you look at SWOT Opportunities examples, you will find the importance of also looking back at your Strengths and Weaknesses lists. You should include any weaknesses that could be turned into a strength as an opportunity in your SWOT analysis template.
Finally, threats are potential or upcoming obstacles that you should be wary of. In this case, by threat, we mean emerging competitors, changes in the market, things that would negatively affect your business. Most commonly, you will not have any control over your threats but it’s still important to be aware of them so that you can develop contingency plans. Remember to keep this section of the SWOT matrix objective so you don’t miss out on opportunities.
SWOT analysis examples [with templates]
Personal swot analysis examples.
In some circumstances, you might want to conduct a personal SWOT analysis to help evaluate your personal growth. If, for example, you were looking to move up the career ladder in your existing profession, or to change careers completely. If creating a personal SWOT analysis, you should slightly reposition your thinking regarding “threats”.
Comparing strengths and weaknesses directly can help give you clarity over areas that you can improve, like in this personal SWOT analysis example.
Rather than thinking about competitors or change in the market, think more about things that may hold you back personally – i.e. a lack of business finances , or an upcoming relocation, as you can see in this SWOT analysis example.
SWOT analysis helps companies identify their strengths to capitalize on, weaknesses to address, opportunities to pursue and threats to mitigate.
It aids in understanding the competitive landscape, customer preferences and market trends, allowing companies to make informed decisions about product development, marketing strategies and market expansion.
When composing a SWOT analysis for a company, begin by objectively evaluating the organization’s internal strengths, including areas where it outperforms competitors, possesses unique resources or excels in customer satisfaction.
Simultaneously, honestly identify internal weaknesses such as inadequate resources, operational inefficiencies or gaps in skills.
To thoroughly assess the external environment, remain attentive to emerging market trends and potential growth areas as opportunities, while also considering potential threats such as evolving consumer preferences, regulatory changes or intensified market competition.
It is crucial to maintain objectivity, involve key stakeholders and consider the analysis in the context of both short-term and long-term business objectives. That way, you can ensure the strategic insights gleaned from the SWOT analysis are effectively translated into actionable plans and initiatives.
When developing a marketing plan you should use a business planning SWOT template for your product or service. By looking at what you do better than your competitors you can start to understand the best way to market your product. This free SWOT analysis template for Word showcases the opportunities for the business.
Take a look at page 4 of this template to see how you can integrate a SWOT analysis into a marketing plan:
Equally, by looking at opportunities you can begin to understand potential new markets, as well as under-served areas that you already market within. Marketers, consultants and freelancers often include SWOT analyses in competitor analysis reports .
Here’s an example of a competitor analysis report that uses a SWOT template on page 5:
Looking for more marketing resources?
- How to conduct a SWOT analysis in marketing (+examples)
- The complete guide to marketing infographics
- How to use SEO in your visual marketing
- How to make a marketing plan
Nonprofit SWOT analysis examples
Nonprofit organizations can use SWOT analyses to help inform their strategic planning.
A SWOT is a great way to understand how your nonprofit fits into the market, and how you can maximize your impact by running effective targeted campaigns and fundraising initiatives. This SWOT analysis example showcases areas where a nonprofit can improve.
Especially in nonprofits, you often don’t have the luxury of testing out multiple ideas or strategies due to time and budget constraints. Conducting a SWOT analysis early on in your strategy development can help you make the most informed decisions. This SWOT analysis example highlights the threats that a nonprofit should be looking to overcome soon.
Looking for more nonprofit guides?
- The complete nonprofit marketing guide
- Nonprofit communication resources
- Nonprofit storytelling examples
Execs have to wear many different hats within their roles and organizations. Business development is a crucial part of company success, and being fully aware of your organizational strengths and weaknesses is invaluable. For example, there are numerous opportunities in this SWOT analysis example.
When going through a period of rapid growth within your business, you should take some time to conduct a SWOT analysis. This will help to ensure that you are able to reach your growth goals. Doing a SWOT also helps you identify any possible weaknesses that may become issues for your growth further down the line.
The weaknesses in this free SWOT analysis template for Word should be addressed quickly before they become a threat to the company.
A SWOT diagram can also be used to help evaluate employees’ work. You can assess your employees’ performances and provide detailed feedback, like in this SWOT analysis example.
Interested in more resources?
- Business letterhead templates
- Mind map templates
- Business pitch deck templates
- How to write a project plan
Consultant SWOT analysis templates
Consultants are in a unique position because they are looking to market themselves. Starting out as a consultant can be difficult, but conducting a SWOT analysis of yourself as a consultant can help you discover any unique selling points for your services.
You might also want to conduct a SWOT analysis when delivering work for clients. A SWOT can help inform any project or growth plans that you are recommending. The SWOT analysis example below makes a strong case for the business.
Take a look at page 4 of this consulting proposal template for an example of how to use SWOT analyses in a consulting proposal :
Looking for more consulting templates?
- Consulting proposal templates
- Business proposal templates
- Job proposal templates
You can actually edit any of our SWOT analysis templates above and add them to your Word document as an image file. We offer PNG or PNG HD download options.
Here’s another example of a SWOT analysis template you can create for your Word or Google Docs file:
Note: download capability is only available in a paid Venngage plan .
Similar to Word, you can edit any of our SWOT analysis examples above and download them as a PNG to add to your PowerPoint or Google Slides presentation. A Venngage Business user can also download the template as a PPTX file and upload it directly to your presentation as a slide.
Besides simple SWOT analysis templates, we also offer presentation templates containing SWOT charts:
To create a SWOT analysis, start by identifying your business’s strengths and weaknesses, followed by opportunities and threats in the market. Organize these factors into a concise table format, ensuring that each element is clear and specific. This analysis will provide a comprehensive overview of your business’s internal and external environment, aiding in strategic planning and decision-making.
The first two letters of our SWOT, Strengths and Weaknesses, are internal factors that you have control over, and you should look within your company or business to complete these sections. Opportunities and Threats are external factors that you do not have control over, and you should look outside of your organization to complete them, like in the simple SWOT analysis example below:
When developing any marketing campaign you can use a SWOT analysis, like the one above, to outline any potential threats as well as opportunities for your business. You can include a SWOT diagram as part of your marketing plan or business plan, like in this SWOT analysis template.
A version of this SWOT analysis template is used in this business proposal (page 4).
You can see how the designer has adapted the brand colors of this business into the SWOT analysis, which you can easily do by using My Brand Kit :
Tips for creating a SWOT analysis
When doing a SWOT analysis, it can be difficult to find jumping-off points for your evaluation. Often, you either go too big and list “impossible to fix” problems, or think small and spend your time and energy focusing on things that are overall insignificant.
You also need to consider internal factors like team size that may be changing. Deciding on your SWOT analysis questions can take as much time as conducting the SWOT analysis itself!
That’s why it’s important to decide on an overall goal or objective that you want your SWOT template to help you achieve. This could be more sales, bigger growth, better brand recognition, a prestigious award, or more.
If you’re creating a personal SWOT analysis template, you can pick a goal you’re working towards such as a promotion, or an award, and identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in relation to that goal. In personal SWOT analysis examples like this, you can give yourself a time period, such as the last year, to review.
Once you have decided on a goal, you can start to think about SWOT analysis questions that are related to:
- Your customers
- Your competitors
- Your market share
- Business growth
- Price point
- Online following
- Customer retention
- Budget restrictions
- Company culture
This is by no means a complete list of topics to evaluate, and you should add your own ideas, but it’s a good starting point for effective evaluation. Here’s a simple SWOT analysis template that shows you the result of asking the right questions.
A SWOT analysis helps you understand your business’s current position in the market and aids in developing strategies to leverage strengths, mitigate weaknesses, capitalize on opportunities and counter threats.
Follow these simple steps to create a comprehensive SWOT analysis:
- Identify strengths: Recognize internal positive attributes that are within your control, such as unique selling points, skilled workforce or strong brand recognition.
- Pinpoint weaknesses: Assess internal areas that need improvement, such as lack of resources, inefficient processes or poor brand reputation.
- Recognize opportunities: Analyze external factors that could benefit your business, such as emerging markets, technological advancements or changes in consumer behavior.
- Acknowledge threats: Consider external factors that could potentially harm your business, such as new competitors, changing regulations or economic downturns.
There are many different ways you can visualize a SWOT analysis. Below we’ve outlined the main layouts you might want to use for your SWOT, and provided SWOT analysis examples for each.
Use a 2×2 grid system design
You could use a 2×2 grid system to evaluate your options . This is a good way to compare all data at once, as each box has a direct relationship with every other box. This makes it easier to think about a SWOT as a whole, in context – rather than as individual segments, like in this SWOT analysis example we shared earlier:
A 2×2 grid is easily stylized and a flexible design style, and you can use brand colors, shapes, or motifs. 2×2 grids are also useful in business reports that contain a lot of information, as they make it easy to digest all elements of the SWOT quickly.
Use a vertical list
You can also use a vertical list. Vertical list SWOT analysis templates work well for Word, within reports, on the internet, or if sending via email. If you’re doing this, make sure you make a visual distinction between each segment by using a box or leaving plenty of space.
This SWOT analysis example uses a vertical list with different colored boxes in its design:
Use a horizontal table
A SWOT template for Word needs to be vertical, but that type of SWOT diagram is less useful for PowerPoint, due to the orientation of presentation slides usually being in landscape.
In this case, you should use a horizontal table for your SWOT analysis template. This is good for presentations as it allows you to fill the entire screen with information. Again, just make sure to suitably differentiate the segments with color, graphics, or empty space between the columns, like in this free SWOT analysis template for PowerPoint:
SWOT analysis best practices & design tips
Whilst a SWOT diagram is a fairly straightforward evaluation model, there are a couple of SWOT best practice tips you should follow in order to maximize the effectiveness of your SWOT:
Use measurable and quantifiable statements in your SWOT
You should be able to evidence all of the points in your SWOT template, aka prove that you are good at the thing you said you are good at. Saying you increase your market share regularly is good, but saying you increase your market share 10% year over year is even better.
Make sure all areas of your business are represented when developing the SWOT
Get feedback from different departments on both what their strengths/weaknesses are, but ask what they think your strengths/weaknesses are. This SWOT analysis example has gathered feedback from multiple teams.
Try and keep the lists an even number
If you have 5 strengths, find 5 weaknesses. For every opportunity, try and write down a threat. This makes it easier to compare the categories in your SWOT template.
Have a goal in mind when doing your SWOT analysis
Whether this is developing a new project plan or business, or scaling your revenue – a SWOT diagram is particularly useful when there’s a definitive outcome you’re trying to achieve.
Don’t aim for the perfect SWOT list straight away
When you’re customizing your SWOT analysis template, start with much longer lists gathered in a brainstorming session and whittle the lists down. This brings us to…
Make sure your SWOT is thorough
Make sure you’ve thought about every possible strength, weakness, threat, and opportunity. A SWOT is only as valuable as the information you include, so make sure you do your due diligence during the analysis. Take inspiration from this SWOT analysis example.
Format your SWOT in a way that makes sense for multiple uses
If you plan to present your SWOT analysis to an executive at your company, make sure it is clear to understand, and presented in a way that makes it easy to take in all of the information at once – such as a 2×2 grid template. If it’s for a company presentation, use a horizontal SWOT analysis template for PowerPoint.
Think short, mid, and long term
Your product might be great now, but what could be happening in the next 6 months that might affect that? What about within the next year? Sure that competitor could be small fish now, but what about if they have an aggressive growth plan in place? You need to be prepared for that to stay ahead of the game, and that’s where a SWOT analysis template comes in.
Use clever design tricks
Use color in your SWOT matrix to help grab attention. Differentiate different areas of your SWOT, as this SWOT analysis template does.
FAQ about SWOT analysis templates
1. why is a swot analysis important.
It’s important to remember that your business doesn’t exist in a vacuum and that you should analyze both internal and external factors. A SWOT diagram will allow you to gain a good, thorough understanding of where your business sits within the wider market, as well as identify potential opportunities to explore.
The benefit of a SWOT analysis is that you can directly compare every individual letter to its three counterparts. You can explore the relationship between your strengths and your weaknesses, but also look at how your strengths could be used to help leverage opportunities, and assess the potential your strengths have to help improve your weaknesses.
2. What comes after a SWOT analysis?
Once your SWOT template is complete you can use the information you have gathered to inform your business’ strategic planning.
Spend some time thinking about:
- How you can continue to develop your strengths?
- How you can improve your weaknesses, what procedures can be put in place or training can you undertake to help with this?
- Also, think about how you can leverage your strengths to take advantage of the opportunities you’ve listed.
- Can your strengths be used to tackle any threats?
- What about your weaknesses, will they hold you back from pursuing the opportunities?
- Will your weaknesses further disadvantage you when it comes to your threat list?
Are you ready to create your SWOT analysis?
A SWOT analysis is an invaluable tool for evaluation and is particularly useful for small businesses or businesses in times of change. Make sure you follow these SWOT analysis best practice tips to maximize your evaluation opportunities and further your evaluation by conducting a thorough Competitor Analysis .
All of the SWOT analysis examples featured in this blog post are fully customizable SWOT analysis templates available for use on Venngage. You can also use our Smart Templates to create documents easily.
Once you’ve created your business or personal SWOT analysis, make sure to keep a copy safe for the next time you conduct an evaluation. With Venngage you can keep your work online or download a SWOT analysis PDF if you’re a Business user.
How to Do a SWOT Analysis for Better Strategic Planning
6 min. read
Updated October 27, 2023
Conducting a SWOT analysis of your business is a lot more fun than it sounds. It won’t take much time, and doing it forces you to think about your business in a whole new way.
The point of a SWOT analysis is to help you develop a strong business strategy by making sure you’ve considered all of your business’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as the opportunities and threats it faces in the marketplace.
- What is a SWOT analysis?
S.W.O.T. is an acronym that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. A SWOT analysis is an organized list of your business’s greatest strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Strengths and weaknesses are internal to the company (think: reputation, patents, location). You can change them over time but not without some work. Opportunities and threats are external (think: suppliers, competitors, prices)—they are out there in the market, happening whether you like it or not. You can’t change them.
Existing businesses can use a SWOT analysis, at any time, to assess a changing environment and respond proactively. In fact, I recommend conducting a strategy review meeting at least once a year that begins with a SWOT analysis.
New businesses should use a SWOT analysis as a part of their planning process. There is no “one size fits all” plan for your business, and thinking about your new business in terms of its unique “SWOTs” will put you on the right track right away, and save you from a lot of headaches later on.
Looking to get started right away? Download our free SWOT Analysis template.
In this article, I will cover the following:
- How to conduct a SWOT analysis
- Questions to ask during a SWOT analysis
- Example of a SWOT analysis
- TOWS analysis: Developing strategies for your SWOT analysis
To get the most complete, objective results, a SWOT analysis is best conducted by a group of people with different perspectives and stakes in your company. Management, sales, customer service, and even customers can all contribute valid insight. Moreover, the SWOT analysis process is an opportunity to bring your team together and encourage their participation in and adherence to your company’s resulting strategy.
A SWOT analysis is typically conducted using a four-square SWOT analysis template, but you could also just make lists for each category. Use the method that makes it easiest for you to organize and understand the results.
What’s your biggest business challenge right now?
I recommend holding a brainstorming session to identify the factors in each of the four categories. Alternatively, you could ask team members to individually complete our free SWOT analysis template, and then meet to discuss and compile the results. As you work through each category, don’t be too concerned about elaborating at first; bullet points may be the best way to begin. Just capture the factors you believe are relevant in each of the four areas.
Once you are finished brainstorming, create a final, prioritized version of your SWOT analysis, listing the factors in each category in order of highest priority at the top to lowest priority at the bottom.
I’ve compiled some questions below to help you develop each section of your SWOT analysis. There are certainly other questions you could ask; these are just meant to get you started.
Strengths (internal, positive factors)
Strengths describe the positive attributes, tangible and intangible, internal to your organization. They are within your control.
- What do you do well?
- Positive attributes of people , such as knowledge, background, education, credentials, network, reputation, or skills.
- Tangible assets of the company , such as capital, credit, existing customers or distribution channels, patents, or technology.
- What advantages do you have over your competition?
- Do you have strong research and development capabilities? Manufacturing facilities?
- What other positive aspects, internal to your business, add value or offer you a competitive advantage?
Weaknesses (internal, negative factors)
Weaknesses are aspects of your business that detract from the value you offer or place you at a competitive disadvantage. You need to enhance these areas in order to compete with your best competitor.
- What factors that are within your control detract from your ability to obtain or maintain a competitive edge?
- What areas need improvement to accomplish your objectives or compete with your strongest competitor?
- What does your business lack (for example, expertise or access to skills or technology)?
- Does your business have limited resources?
- Is your business in a poor location?
Opportunities (external, positive factors)
Opportunities are external attractive factors that represent reasons your business is likely to prosper.
- What opportunities exist in your market or the environment that you can benefit from?
- Is the perception of your business positive?
- Has there been recent market growth or have there been other changes in the market the create an opportunity?
- Is the opportunity ongoing, or is there just a window for it? In other words, how critical is your timing?
Threats (external, negative factors)
Threats include external factors beyond your control that could place your strategy, or the business itself, at risk. You have no control over these, but you may benefit by having contingency plans to address them if they should occur.
- Who are your existing or potential competitors?
- What factors beyond your control could place your business at risk?
- Are there challenges created by an unfavorable trend or development that may lead to deteriorating revenues or profits?
- What situations might threaten your marketing efforts?
- Has there been a significant change in supplier prices or the availability of raw materials?
- What about shifts in consumer behavior, the economy, or government regulations that could reduce your sales?
- Has a new product or technology been introduced that makes your products, equipment, or services obsolete?
- Examples of a SWOT analysis
For illustration, here’s a brief SWOT example from a hypothetical, medium-sized computer store in the United States:
See our SWOT analysis examples article for in-depth examples of SWOT analyses for several different industries and business types or download our free SWOT analysis template .
- TOWS analysis: Developing strategies from your SWOT analysis
Once you have identified and prioritized your SWOT results, you can use them to develop short-term and long-term strategies for your business. After all, the true value of this exercise is in using the results to maximize the positive influences on your business and minimize the negative ones.
But how do you turn your SWOT results into strategies? One way to do this is to consider how your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats overlap with each other. This is sometimes called a TOWS analysis.
For example, look at the strengths you identified, and then come up with ways to use those strengths to maximize the opportunities (these are strength-opportunity strategies). Then, look at how those same strengths can be used to minimize the threats you identified (these are strength-threats strategies).
Continuing this process, use the opportunities you identified to develop strategies that will minimize the weaknesses (weakness-opportunity strategies) or avoid the threats (weakness-threats strategies).
The following table might help you organize the strategies in each area:
Once you’ve developed strategies and included them in your strategic plan, be sure to schedule regular review meetings. Use these meetings to talk about why the results of your strategies are different from what you’d planned (because they always will be) and decide what your team will do going forward.
See why 1.2 million entrepreneurs have written their business plans with LivePlan
Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software , a co-founder of Borland International, and a recognized expert in business planning. He has an MBA from Stanford and degrees with honors from the University of Oregon and the University of Notre Dame. Today, Tim dedicates most of his time to blogging, teaching and evangelizing for business planning.
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What Is SWOT Analysis?
Understanding swot analysis, how to do a swot analysis, the bottom line.
- Fundamental Analysis
SWOT Analysis: How To With Table and Example
These frameworks are essential to fundamentally analyzing companies
Ariel Courage is an experienced editor, researcher, and former fact-checker. She has performed editing and fact-checking work for several leading finance publications, including The Motley Fool and Passport to Wall Street.
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.
A SWOT analysis 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 gray areas and instead focusing on real-life contexts. Companies should use it as a guide and not necessarily as a prescription.
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- SWOT analysis is a strategic planning technique that provides assessment tools.
- Identifying core strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats leads to fact-based analysis, fresh perspectives, and new ideas.
- A SWOT analysis pulls information internal sources (strengths of weaknesses of the specific company) as well as external forces that may have uncontrollable impacts to decisions (opportunities and threats).
- SWOT analysis works best when diverse groups or voices within an organization are free to provide realistic data points rather than prescribed messaging.
- Findings of a SWOT analysis are often synthesized to support a single objective or decision that a company is facing.
Investopedia / Xiaojie Liu
SWOT analysis is a technique for assessing the performance, competition, risk, and potential of a business, as well as part of a business such as a product line or division, an industry, or other entity.
Using internal and external data , the technique can guide businesses toward strategies more likely to be successful, and away from those in which they have been, or are likely to be, less successful. Independent SWOT analysts, investors, or competitors can also guide them on whether a company, product line, or industry might be strong or weak and why.
SWOT analysis was first used to analyze businesses. Now, it's often used by governments, nonprofits, and individuals, including investors and entrepreneurs. There is seemingly limitless applications to the SWOT analysis.
Components of SWOT Analysis
Every SWOT analysis will include the following four categories. Though the elements and discoveries within these categories will vary from company to company, a SWOT analysis is not complete without each of these elements:
Strengths describe what an organization excels at and what separates it from the competition : a strong brand, loyal customer base, a strong balance sheet, unique technology, and so on. For example, a hedge fund may have developed a proprietary trading strategy that returns market-beating results. It must then decide how to use those results to attract new investors.
Weaknesses stop an organization from performing at its optimum level. They are areas where the business needs to improve to remain competitive: a weak brand, higher-than-average turnover, high levels of debt, an inadequate supply chain, or lack of capital.
Opportunities refer to favorable external factors that could give an organization a competitive advantage. For example, if a country cuts tariffs, a car manufacturer can export its cars into a new market, increasing sales and market share .
Threats refer to factors that have the potential to harm an organization. For example, a drought is a threat to a wheat-producing company, as it may destroy or reduce the crop yield. Other common threats include things like rising costs for materials, increasing competition, tight labor supply. and so on.
Analysts present a SWOT analysis as a square segmented into four quadrants, each dedicated to an element of SWOT. This visual arrangement provides a quick overview of the company’s position. Although all the points under a particular heading may not be of equal importance, they all should represent key insights into the balance of opportunities and threats, advantages and disadvantages, and so forth.
The SWOT table is often laid out with the internal factors on the top row and the external factors on the bottom row. In addition, the items on the left side of the table are more positive/favorable aspects, while the items on the right are more concerning/negative elements.
A SWOT analysis can be broken into several steps with actionable items before and after analyzing the four components. In general, a SWOT analysis will involve the following steps.
Step 1: Determine Your Objective
A SWOT analysis can be broad, though more value will likely be generated if the analysis is pointed directly at an objective. For example, the objective of a SWOT analysis may focused only on whether or not to perform a new product rollout . With an objective in mind, a company will have guidance on what they hope to achieve at the end of the process. In this example, the SWOT analysis should help determine whether or not the product should be introduced.
Step 2: Gather Resources
Every SWOT analysis will vary, and a company may need different data sets to support pulling together different SWOT analysis tables. A company should begin by understanding what information it has access to, what data limitations it faces, and how reliable its external data sources are.
In addition to data, a company should understand the right combination of personnel to have involved in the analysis. Some staff may be more connected with external forces, while various staff within the manufacturing or sales departments may have a better grasp of what is going on internally. Having a broad set of perspectives is also more likely to yield diverse, value-adding contributions.
Step 3: Compile Ideas
For each of the four components of the SWOT analysis, the group of people assigned to performing the analysis should begin listing ideas within each category. Examples of questions to ask or consider for each group are in the table below.
What occurs within the company serves as a great source of information for the strengths and weaknesses categories of the SWOT analysis. Examples of internal factors include financial and human resources , tangible and intangible (brand name) assets, and operational efficiencies.
Potential questions to list internal factors are:
- (Strength) What are we doing well?
- (Strength) What is our strongest asset?
- (Weakness) What are our detractors?
- (Weakness) What are our lowest-performing product lines?
What happens outside of the company is equally as important to the success of a company as internal factors. External influences, such as monetary policies , market changes, and access to suppliers, are categories to pull from to create a list of opportunities and weaknesses.
Potential questions to list external factors are:
- (Opportunity) What trends are evident in the marketplace?
- (Opportunity) What demographics are we not targeting?
- (Threat) How many competitors exist, and what is their market share?
- (Threat) Are there new regulations that potentially could harm our operations or products?
Companies may consider performing this step as a "white-boarding" or "sticky note" session. The idea is there is no right or wrong answer; all participants should be encouraged to share whatever thoughts they have. These ideas can later be discarded; in the meantime, the goal should be to come up with as many items as possible to invoke creativity and inspiration in others.
Step 4: Refine Findings
With the list of ideas within each category, it is now time to clean-up the ideas. By refining the thoughts that everyone had, a company can focus on only the best ideas or largest risks to the company. This stage may require substantial debate among analysis participants, including bringing in upper management to help rank priorities.
Step 5: Develop the Strategy
Armed with the ranked list of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, it is time to convert the SWOT analysis into a strategic plan. Members of the analysis team take the bulleted list of items within each category and create a synthesized plan that provides guidance on the original objective.
For example, the company debating whether to release a new product may have identified that it is the market leader for its existing product and there is the opportunity to expand to new markets. However, increased material costs, strained distribution lines, the need for additional staff, and unpredictable product demand may outweigh the strengths and opportunities. The analysis team develops the strategy to revisit the decision in six months in hopes of costs declining and market demand becoming more transparent.
Use a SWOT analysis to identify challenges affecting your business and opportunities that can enhance it. However, note that it is one of many techniques, not a prescription.
Benefits of SWOT Analysis
A SWOT analysis won't solve every major question a company has. However, there's a number of benefits to a SWOT analysis that make strategic decision-making easier.
- A SWOT analysis makes complex problems more manageable. There may be an overwhelming amount of data to analyze and relevant points to consider when making a complex decision. In general, a SWOT analysis that has been prepared by paring down all ideas and ranking bullets by importance will aggregate a large, potentially overwhelming problem into a more digestible report.
- A SWOT analysis requires external consider. Too often, a company may be tempted to only consider internal factors when making decisions. However, there are often items out of the company's control that may influence the outcome of a business decision. A SWOT analysis covers both the internal factors a company can manage and the external factors that may be more difficult to control.
- A SWOT analysis can be applied to almost every business question. The analysis can relate to an organization, team, or individual. It can also analyze a full product line , changes to brand, geographical expansion, or an acquisition. The SWOT analysis is a versatile tool that has many applications.
- A SWOT analysis leverages different data sources. A company will likely use internal information for strengths and weaknesses. The company will also need to gather external information relating to broad markets, competitors, or macroeconomic forces for opportunities and threats. Instead of relying on a single, potentially biased source, a good SWOT analysis compiles various angles.
- A SWOT analysis may not be overly costly to prepare. Some SWOT reports do not need to be overly technical; therefore, many different staff members can contribute to its preparation without training or external consulting.
SWOT Analysis Example
In 2015, a Value Line SWOT analysis of The Coca-Cola Company noted strengths such as its globally famous brand name, vast distribution network, and opportunities in emerging markets. However, it also noted weaknesses and threats such as foreign currency fluctuations, growing public interest in "healthy" beverages, and competition from healthy beverage providers.
Its SWOT analysis prompted Value Line to pose some tough questions about Coca-Cola's strategy, but also to note that the company "will probably remain a top-tier beverage provider" that offered conservative investors "a reliable source of income and a bit of capital gains exposure."
Five years later, the Value Line SWOT analysis proved effective as Coca-Cola remains the 6th strongest brand in the world (as it was then). Coca-Cola's shares (traded under ticker symbol KO) have increased in value by over 60% during the five years after the analysis was completed.
To get a better picture of a SWOT analysis, consider the example of a fictitious organic smoothie company. To better understand how it competes within the smoothie market and what it can do better, it conducted a SWOT analysis. Through this analysis, it identified that its strengths were good sourcing of ingredients, personalized customer service, and a strong relationship with suppliers. Peering within its operations, it identified a few areas of weakness: little product diversification, high turnover rates, and outdated equipment.
Examining how the external environment affects its business, it identified opportunities in emerging technology, untapped demographics, and a culture shift towards healthy living. It also found threats, such as a winter freeze damaging crops, a global pandemic, and kinks in the supply chain. In conjunction with other planning techniques, the company used the SWOT analysis to leverage its strengths and external opportunities to eliminate threats and strengthen areas where it is weak.
SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis is a method for identifying and analyzing internal strengths and weaknesses and external opportunities and threats that shape current and future operations and help develop strategic goals. SWOT analyses are not limited to companies. Individuals can also use SWOT analysis to engage in constructive introspection and form personal improvement goals.
What Is an Example of SWOT Analysis?
Home Depot conducted a SWOT analysis, creating a balanced list of its internal advantages and disadvantages and external factors threatening its market position and growth strategy. High-quality customer service, strong brand recognition, and positive relationships with suppliers were some of its notable strengths; whereas, a constricted supply chain, interdependence on the U.S. market, and a replicable business model were listed as its weaknesses.
Closely related to its weaknesses, Home Depot's threats were the presence of close rivals, available substitutes, and the condition of the U.S. market. It found from this study and other analysis that expanding its supply chain and global footprint would be key to its growth.
What Are the 4 Steps of SWOT Analysis?
The four steps of SWOT analysis comprise the acronym SWOT: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. These four aspects can be broken into two analytical steps. First, a company assesses its internal capabilities and determines its strengths and weaknesses. Then, a company looks outward and evaluates external factors that impact its business. These external factors may create opportunities or threaten existing operations.
How Do You Write a Good SWOT Analysis?
Creating a SWOT analysis involves identifying and analyzing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of a company. It is recommended to first create a list of questions to answer for each element. The questions serve as a guide for completing the SWOT analysis and creating a balanced list. The SWOT framework can be constructed in list format, as free text, or, most commonly, as a 4-cell table, with quadrants dedicated to each element. Strengths and weaknesses are listed first, followed by opportunities and threats.
Why Is SWOT Analysis Used?
A SWOT analysis is used to strategically identify areas of improvement or competitive advantages for a company. In addition to analyzing thing that a company does well, SWOT analysis takes a look at more detrimental, negative elements of a business. Using this information, a company can make smarter decisions to preserve what it does well, capitalize on its strengths, mitigate risk regarding weaknesses, and plan for events that may adversely affect the company in the future.
A SWOT analysis is a great way to guide business-strategy meetings. It's powerful to have everyone in the room discuss the company's core strengths and weaknesses, define the opportunities and threats, and brainstorm ideas. Oftentimes, the SWOT analysis you envision before the session changes throughout to reflect factors you were unaware of and would never have captured if not for the group’s input.
A company can use a SWOT for overall business strategy sessions or for a specific segment such as marketing, production, or sales. This way, you can see how the overall strategy developed from the SWOT analysis will filter down to the segments below before committing to it. You can also work in reverse with a segment-specific SWOT analysis that feeds into an overall SWOT analysis.
Although a useful planning tool, SWOT has limitations. It is one of several business planning techniques to consider and should not be used alone. Also, each point listed within the categories is not prioritized the same. SWOT does not account for the differences in weight. Therefore, a deeper analysis is needed, using another planning technique.
Business News Daily. " SWOT Analysis: What It Is and When to Use It ."
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Article • 17 min read
Understanding your business, informing your strategy.
By the Mind Tools Content Team
What Is a SWOT Analysis?
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, and so a SWOT analysis is a technique for assessing these four aspects of your business.
SWOT Analysis is a tool that can help you to analyze what your company does best now, and to devise a successful strategy for the future. SWOT can also uncover areas of the business that are holding you back, or that your competitors could exploit if you don't protect yourself.
A SWOT analysis examines both internal and external factors – that is, what's going on inside and outside your organization. So some of these factors will be within your control and some will not. In either case, the wisest action you can take in response will become clearer once you've discovered, recorded and analyzed as many factors as you can.
In this article, video and infographic, we explore how to carry out a SWOT analysis, and how to put your findings into action. We also include a worked example and a template to help you get started on a SWOT analysis in your own workplace.
Why Is SWOT Analysis Important?
SWOT Analysis can help you to challenge risky assumptions and to uncover dangerous blindspots about your organization's performance. If you use it carefully and collaboratively, it can deliver new insights on where your business currently is, and help you to develop exactly the right strategy for any situation.
For example, you may be well aware of some of your organization's strengths, but until you record them alongside weaknesses and threats you might not realize how unreliable those strengths actually are.
Equally, you likely have reasonable concerns about some of your business weaknesses but, by going through the analysis systematically, you could find an opportunity, previously overlooked, that could more than compensate.
How to Write a SWOT Analysis
SWOT analysis involves making lists – but so much more, too! When you begin to write one list (say, Strengths), the thought process and research that you'll go through will prompt ideas for the other lists (Weaknesses, Opportunities or Threats). And if you compare these lists side by side, you will likely notice connections and contradictions, which you'll want to highlight and explore.
You'll find yourself moving back and forth between your lists frequently. So, make the task easier and more effective by arranging your four lists together in one view.
A SWOT matrix is a 2x2 grid, with one square for each of the four aspects of SWOT. (Figure 1 shows what it should look like.) Each section is headed by some questions to get your thinking started.
Figure 1. A SWOT Analysis Matrix.
Swot analysis template.
When conducting your SWOT analysis, you can either draw your own matrix, or use our free downloadable template .
How to Do a SWOT Analysis
Avoid relying on your own, partial understanding of your organization. Your assumptions could be wrong. Instead, gather a team of people from a range of functions and levels to build a broad and insightful list of observations.
Then, every time you identify a Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, or Threat, write it down in the relevant part of the SWOT analysis grid for all to see.
Let's look at each area in more detail and consider what fits where, and what questions you could ask as part of your data gathering.
Strengths are things that your organization does particularly well, or in a way that distinguishes you from your competitors. Think about the advantages your organization has over other organizations. These might be the motivation of your staff, access to certain materials, or a strong set of manufacturing processes.
Your strengths are an integral part of your organization, so think about what makes it "tick." What do you do better than anyone else? What values drive your business? What unique or lowest-cost resources can you draw upon that others can't? Identify and analyze your organization's Unique Selling Proposition (USP), and add this to the Strengths section.
Then turn your perspective around and ask yourself what your competitors might see as your strengths. What factors mean that you get the sale ahead of them?
Remember, any aspect of your organization is only a strength if it brings you a clear advantage. For example, if all of your competitors provide high-quality products, then a high-quality production process is not a strength in your market: it's a necessity.
Weaknesses, like strengths, are inherent features of your organization, so focus on your people, resources, systems, and procedures. Think about what you could improve, and the sorts of practices you should avoid.
Once again, imagine (or find out) how other people in your market see you. Do they notice weaknesses that you tend to be blind to? Take time to examine how and why your competitors are doing better than you. What are you lacking?
Be honest! A SWOT analysis will only be valuable if you gather all the information you need. So, it's best to be realistic now, and face any unpleasant truths as soon as possible.
Opportunities are openings or chances for something positive to happen, but you'll need to claim them for yourself!
They usually arise from situations outside your organization, and require an eye to what might happen in the future. They might arise as developments in the market you serve, or in the technology you use. Being able to spot and exploit opportunities can make a huge difference to your organization's ability to compete and take the lead in your market.
Think about good opportunities that you can exploit immediately. These don't need to be game-changers: even small advantages can increase your organization's competitiveness. What interesting market trends are you aware of, large or small, which could have an impact?
You should also watch out for changes in government policy related to your field. And changes in social patterns, population profiles, and lifestyles can all throw up interesting opportunities.
Threats include anything that can negatively affect your business from the outside, such as supply-chain problems, shifts in market requirements, or a shortage of recruits. It's vital to anticipate threats and to take action against them before you become a victim of them and your growth stalls.
Think about the obstacles you face in getting your product to market and selling. You may notice that quality standards or specifications for your products are changing, and that you'll need to change those products if you're to stay in the lead. Evolving technology is an ever-present threat, as well as an opportunity!
Always consider what your competitors are doing, and whether you should be changing your organization's emphasis to meet the challenge. But remember that what they're doing might not be the right thing for you to do. So, avoid copying them without knowing how it will improve your position.
Be sure to explore whether your organization is especially exposed to external challenges. Do you have bad debt or cash-flow problems, for example, that could make you vulnerable to even small changes in your market? This is the kind of threat that can seriously damage your business, so be alert.
Use PEST Analysis to ensure that you don't overlook threatening external factors. And PMESII-PT is an especially helpful check in very unfamiliar or uncertain environments.
Frequently Asked Questions About SWOT Analysis
1. who invented swot analysis.
Many people attribute SWOT Analysis to Albert S. Humphrey. However, there has been some debate on the originator of the tool, as discussed in the International Journal of Business Research .
2. What Does SWOT Analysis Stand For?
SWOT Analysis stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
3. What Can a SWOT Analysis Be Used For?
SWOT analysis is a useful tool to help you determine your organization's position in the market. You can then use this information to create an informed strategy suited to your needs and capabilities.
4. How Do I Write a SWOT Analysis?
To conduct a SWOT analysis, you first need to create a 2x2 matrix grid. Each square is then assigned to one of the four aspects of SWOT. You can either draw this grid yourself or use our downloadable template to get started.
5. How Do SWOT Analysis and the TOWS Matrix compare?
While SWOT analysis puts the emphasis on the internal environment (your strengths and weaknesses), TOWS forces you to look at your external environment first (your threats and opportunities). In most cases, you'll do a SWOT Analysis first, and follow up with a TOWS Matrix to offer a broader context.
6. What Are the Biggest SWOT Analysis Mistakes?
- Making your lists too long. Ask yourself if your ideas are feasible as you go along.
- Being vague. Be specific to provide more focus for later discussions.
- Not seeing weaknesses. Be sure to ask customers and colleagues what they experience in real life.
- Not thinking ahead. It's easy to come up with nice ideas without taking them through to their logical conclusion. Always consider their practical impact.
- Being unrealistic. Don't plan in detail for opportunities that don't exist yet. For example, that export market you've been eyeing may be available at some point, but the trade negotiations to open it up could take years.
- Relying on SWOT Analysis alone. SWOT Analysis is valuable. But when you use it alongside other planning tools (SOAR, TOWS or PEST), the results will be more vigorous.
How to Use a SWOT Analysis
Use a SWOT Analysis to assess your organization's current position before you decide on any new strategy. Find out what's working well, and what's not so good. Ask yourself where you want to go, how you might get there – and what might get in your way.
Once you've examined all four aspects of SWOT, you'll want to build on your strengths, boost your weaker areas, head off any threats, and exploit every opportunity. In fact, you'll likely be faced with a long list of potential actions.
But before you go ahead, be sure to develop your ideas further. Look for potential connections between the quadrants of your matrix. For example, could you use some of your strengths to open up further opportunities? And, would even more opportunities become available by eliminating some of your weaknesses?
Finally, it's time to ruthlessly prune and prioritize your ideas, so that you can focus time and money on the most significant and impactful ones. Refine each point to make your comparisons clearer. For example, only accept precise, verifiable statements such as, "Cost advantage of $30/ton in sourcing raw material x," rather than, "Better value for money."
Remember to apply your learnings at the right level in your organization. For example, at a product or product-line level, rather than at the much vaguer whole-company level. And use your SWOT analysis alongside other strategy tools (for example, Core Competencies Analysis ), so that you get a comprehensive picture of the situation you're dealing with.
A SWOT Analysis Example
Imagine this scenario: a small start-up consultancy wants a clear picture of its current situation, to decide on a future strategy for growth. The team gathers, and draws up the SWOT Analysis shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2. A Completed SWOT Analysis.
As a result of the team's analysis, it's clear that the consultancy's main strengths lie in its agility, technical expertise, and low overheads. These allow it to offer excellent customer service to a relatively small client base.
The company's weaknesses are also to do with its size. It will need to invest in training, to improve the skills base of the small staff. It'll also need to focus on retention, so it doesn't lose key team members.
There are opportunities in offering rapid-response, good-value services to local businesses and to local government organizations. The company can likely be first to market with new products and services, given that its competitors are slow adopters.
The threats require the consultancy to keep up-to-date with changes in technology. It also needs to keep a close eye on its largest competitors, given its vulnerability to large-scale changes in its market. To counteract this, the business needs to focus its marketing on selected industry websites, to get the greatest possible market presence on a small advertising budget.
It's also possible to carry out a Personal SWOT Analysis . This can be useful for developing your career in ways that take best advantage of your talents, abilities and opportunities.
SWOT Analysis Infographic
See SWOT Analysis represented in our infographic :
SWOT Analysis helps you to identify your organization's Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
It guides you to build on what you do well, address what you're lacking, seize new openings, and minimize risks.
Apply a SWOT Analysis to assess your organization's position before you decide on any new strategy.
Use a SWOT matrix to prompt your research and to record your ideas. Avoid making huge lists of suggestions. Be as specific as you can, and be honest about your weaknesses.
Be realistic and rigorous. Prune and prioritize your ideas, to focus time and money on the most significant and impactful actions and solutions. Complement your use of SWOT with other tools.
Collaborate with a team of people from across the business. This will help to uncover a more accurate and honest picture.
Find out what's working well, and what's not so good. Ask yourself where you want to go, how you might get there – and what might get in your way.
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SWOT is useless. When you try it and you find Weaknesses box bulging, but Strengths & Opportunities completely empty, what can that possibly achieve?
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3 Great SWOT Analysis Examples with Real Companies
Whether you want to assess the current position of your business, expand to new markets, or simply develop a new strategy, a SWOT analysis is probably one of the first steps that you will probably make in that direction. And, if it wasn’t on your radar, it should be! Today, we will see some of the best SWOT analysis examples to get you inspired, and help you understand how to do use it effectively for optimum results.
If you are not familiar with the concept, a SWOT analysis is a key technique for assessing some of the most important aspects of your business. In fact, its name comes from the abbreviation of these aspects:
Strengths – internal
These are the strengths of your company compared to other industry competitors. For example, what is it that you do particularly well that others don’t? What is your unique selling proposition , or that service or aspect of your business that differentiates you from the rest?
Do you have a particular competitive advantage over your biggest competitors? This could be technology, an easy access to primary resources, more product personalization, and so on.
Assessing your strengths will help you identify your current position on the market. But also, give you insights on those aspects that represent a clear advantage for your business, so you can leverage them even more.
Weaknesses – internal
Weaknesses, as you might have guessed, are the exact opposite of your organization’s strength. In other words, what do your competitors do better than you ? In what aspect do they have a clear advantage over you?
Is it something that you offer but can improve, or is it a service or an aspect that you lack altogether? For example, your customer service might be unsatisfactory. Or maybe, a competitor has a particular technological feature that your product don’t offer at all.
We will see more of this with practical cases in our section of SWOT Analysis examples.
Opportunities – external
The next aspect of the SWOT analysis is evaluating the positive trends that can open a new opportunity for your business. They usually arise from the outside of your organization , such as industry changes, important movements on the competitors’ landscape, or even a change in the laws applicable to your industry.
Analyzing other factors, such as VUCA – the leadership theory on volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, can also reveal new opportunities for your business. To identify them, you will have to look around you from an external perspective.
Can you spot any current trends that could represent an opportunity for your business? For example, the COVID-19 pandemic made companies like Nike and Adidas sell protective masks on their website as a part of their product portfolio. And many new businesses opened to profit from the changes.
Threats – external
Threats are another aspect that is external to your business, but can impact you negatively if you aren’t paying attention. Some examples include supply chain problems, shift in market requirements, changes to current laws and regulations, and so on.
Of course, threats are not always easy to identify. You will have to be proactively looking for them – if they are obvious, it is probably too late. What is the competition doing? How is the current technology evolving?
Are you noticing a change in user behavior regarding the consumption of your particular product? All these questions can help you get a better understanding of the market , and what could potentially be harmful to you.
And now, let’s get right to our SWOT analysis examples!
Disclaimer: These examples are merely my own analysis and interpretation of the information that is publicly available online for these companies. I don´t work at any of these companies, and I do not pretend that I actually know what is going on behind the scenes for any of them. It is just a practical exercise with real companies with the purpose of giving you a clear idea of how to perform a SWOT analysis.
1. The Coca Cola Company
First on our list of SWOT analysis examples is this one from The Coca Cola Company.
SWOT Analysis examples #1: The Coca Cola Company
Let’s discuss it in detail.
- Variety of products – one of the biggest strengths that The Coca Cola Company has is their incredible variety of products across different categories. In fact, there are over 500 brands across 200 companies owned by Coca Cola. This not only gives them a higher control on the market, but also more diversified expertise, and less overall competition.
- Market share – with a market share of 43% in the soft drink industry, they have a very solid positioning compared to many other competitors. Which also means that it would be extremely difficult to compete with Coca Cola and its almost unlimited resources.
- Brand recognition – Coca Cola is one of the most recognized brands in the world, which gives them a huge advantage in front of their competitors. It also means that any new product or brand they invest in will gain visibility almost immediately.
- Secret recipes – and last but not least, the company prides itself in having a secret recipe for its flagship product – the Coca Cola. This means that this product will be difficult to replicate by competitors.
- Health trends – one of the biggest weaknesses that the company has is its unability to adapt to current health trends. As people are becoming more and more conscious about the unhealthy food and the amount of sugar they are consuming, soft and sugary drinks are slowly getting substituted by healthier options.
- Sugar substitute – another health-related weakness for the company involves the difficulty of improving their quality of their product without affecting its famous taste. Coca Cola has been actively looking for healthy sugar substitutes for years with no success.
- Current positioning – the current positioning of Coca Cola and its soft drinks is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing, because everyone knows the brand and the product it offers. This kind of brand recognition is something that every company dreams of.
However, this weakness comes with the fact that Coca Cola already has a certain reputation established for itself that is difficult to change. And, considering its sugary drinks with mysterious and secret ingredients, it is certainly not the most positive one.
- Health trends – if The Coca Cola Company closely monitors and responds adequately to current health trends, they have a huge opportunitiy to increase their market share. And get an even bigger chunk of the soft drink industry. Especially if they manage to find a healthy substitute for sugar.
- Few major competitors – considering the dominance of the brand and only a few major competitors for these particular types of products, Coca Cola can quickly introduce new products with the right Marketing strategy.
- Healthier alternatives – although the company is quite dominant when it comes to soft drinks, a lot of other healthier alternatives are arising on the market. Flavoured waters, smoothies, organic drinks, green juices, and so on, are just some of the alternatives that people are starting to prefer as they get more conscious with their health.
- Negative press and media coverage – although The Coca Cola Company is known for its brilliant Marketing strategies and its incredible brand recognition, it also gets a lot of negative coverage for being unhealthy. In-depth research, Youtube videos, and even articles from reputable sources such as The Telegraph might cause serious harm in the long run.
Now that we have seen the first one, let´s move on to the next on our list of SWOT Analysis examples!
Next on our collection of SWOT analysis examples is Airbus, the world’s largest airliner manufacturer, and the one who took the most orders in 2019. So, let’s see what are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for Airbus:
SWOT Analysis examples #2: Airbus
- Market share – with an estimated market share of almost 63% , Airbus is the largest aircraft manufacturer in the world, which gives the company a very strong and powerful position in the industry.
- Global network & international presence – with business operations located in Europe, the Americas, Africa & The Middle East, and Asia, Airbus has an incredible international network and presence.
- Innovation & technology – additionally, Airbus is putting a huge focus on investing in technology, innovation, and next generation manufacturing, more than any other competitor in the industry.
- Eco-efficiency – and last but not least, another strength that Airbus counts with is eco-efficiency. The company has been recognized is a leader in proposing and developing solutions for sustainable aviation.
- Delay in delivery – in 2019, Airbus took more orders for aircraft delivery than any other competitor, including its biggest rival Boeing. However, this caused a delay in the delivery of the orders, causing the company to accumulate a lot of backlogs.
- Operational inefficiencies – compared to rivals such as Boeing, Airbus has gained a reputation of being somewhat inconsistent when it comes to executing operations. The company is often delaying launches of its new models – for example, the launch of Airbus A380 was delayed by more than one year. This weaknesses is definitely something that Airbus could work on.
- High production costs – another key weakness of the company is the fact that it has higher production costs than its main rival Boeing, which leaves them with lower profit margins.
- Boom in Travelling – as the travelling industry is booming due to the growing percentage of the middle class, and the lower costs for airplane tickets compared to a decade ago, aircraft manufacturers are receiving more orders than ever. In fact, even in the next few years, the air traffic is anticipated to grow by 4.3% annually. According to Airbus , this alone will require “ 39,200 new passenger and dedicated freighter aircraft over the next 20 years.”
- Technological advances – over the last few years, the industry has gone through a lot of innovation processes and technological improvements. This has allowed Airbus to improve its weaknesses and offer better and faster performance. Also, the fact that aircrafts are becoming more and more secure with the new technologies make people want to travel even more.
- Competition – the competition in the aerospace industry is practically considered a duopoly. The reason why is because Boeing and Airbus have a combined share of 91% for the whole commercial aircraft market globally. This means that they will not have to fight off small competitors, but also that the competition between both companies is extremely fierce. Which can be a significant threat for Airbus.
- Global pandemic – in 2020, the whole world suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic. This alone had a severe impact on the growth of the commercial aircraft market, as people suddenly had to stop travelling. And although this was a temporary decrease that is slowly starting to recover, aircraft manufacturers like Airbus will be affected at least for the next one year.
- Potential competitors in key markets – of course, the fact that Airbus and Boeing are currently dominating the global market does not mean that this will last forever. Currently, important markets like China and Russia are also planning to develop their own commercial aircraft. If that happens, it will most probably shrink the market share for Airbus.
Next on our list of SWOT Analysis examples is Zara, one of the biggest clothing companies in the world. Zara is a brand owned by Inditex , among with several others such as Bershka, Stradivarius, and Oysho.
SWOT Analysis examples #3: Zara
- Efficient manufacturing & delivery – Zara is one of the most efficient clothing companies in the world when it comes to all operational processes – manufacturing, delivery, supply chain and logistics. Reportedly, the company needs just 1 week to develop a new product and get it to all 2,259 stores it has worldwide, compared to an industry average of 6 months. This gives Zara a huge advantage when it comes to delivering new designs in record time.
- Competitive pricing – additionally, the company also offers a very competitive pricing for the variety and amount of products it offers. Its clothing is targeted to a middle class audience, although it´s also true that the pricing is adapted to the characteristics of each market. For example, the prices for Zara in South Korea are 96% higher than the prices in Spain, taking into account the exchange rate of the study.
- Strong global presence – As we already mentioned, Zara has over 2,200 stores across 96 countries, positioning itself as a strong international brand with a solid support (Inditex, with over 7,000 stores ).
- Fast reaction to new trends – the company is known for imitating high-fashion trends, and it is extremely fast when it comes to spotting and replicating them for its own products.
The company´s strengths is what makes it one of my favourite SWOT analysis examples on this list. They are very well defined, and definitely makes Zara stand out from competitors. However, this does not mean that there are no weaknesses:
- Zero policy advertising – the company is famous for its zero policy advertising. This means that, instead of investing in Marketing and Communication actions, they use the money for opening new stores. Although this policy has some awesome benefits, I think that it´s also a very big weakness. The heavy digital advertising done by competitors can completely overshadow Zara in the long run.
- Limited product stock – because Zara delivers fashion pieces in record time, they don´t produce as much stock as other companies would. Which is not great news for customers who often love a piece, and it is already out of stock – or simply not in the size they need.
- Controversies – additionally, the company is also involved in multiple controversies revolving child labour and paying under minimum wage. As people are getting more and more conscious about these topics, these controversies is doing a lot of harm to the company´s reputation.
- High fashion imitation – as we already mentioned, Zara is known to imitate fashion trends. Which means that they are not a trend setter, and they do not offer a lot of unique and creative pieces designed exclusively by them.
- Growing demand for high fashion – currently, there is a growing demand for clothing that looks high fashion, but don´t cost thousands of dollars for a single piece. This is a great opportunity for Zara, which does precisely what people want – selling high fashion style for affordable prices.
- Fast fashion – as customer behavior is changing, people get bored with everything faster than ever. And this is true for fashion as well – clothes that people would wear for months and years now get substituted with new pieces much more often. Which is another excellent opportunity for Zara as the so-called “fast fashion is on the rise”.
- Market growth – according to Statista , the growth of the apparel market is steadily increasing by 5-6% every year, which is great news for clothing companies like Zara.
And now, let´s take a look at the external changes that are imposing a threat for this one of our SWOT analysis examples:
- Growing competition – the increasing demand for fashion and apparel also means that competition is growing as well. With huge online providers taking over the Internet such as ASOS, Fashion Nova, Shein and others, Zara´s popularity is becoming threatened by other companies. Especially considering the fact that these providers actually offer products from multiple brands at the same place.
- Increasing costs – another tendency that could impose a significant threat for Zara are the increasing costs for production and raw material. Which, as a consequence, will probably reduce its revenue and profit margins. Especially considering the fact the prices are already relatively low! For now, Zara has managed to develop a well integrated and efficient supply chain that keeps the cost of raw materials low. But this might not last forever, especially if the prices keep rising.
- Regulatory threats – the business industry is gradually getting more and more regulated. On a global scale, governments and legal agencies are regulating all kind of sectors and businesses, and the fashion market is not an exception. This includes labour, quality, customer services, and many other aspects of the industry. All of these regulations might eventually have a negative impact on Zara.
Do you want to learn more about SWOT analysis? You might want to check these articles:
- 9 Effective Ways to Identify Opportunities in SWOT Analysis
- 10 Common SWOT Analysis Mistakes in 2022 & How to Fix Them
Need more SWOT analysis examples? Check out our article on Coca Cola SWOT analysis.
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How do you write a good SWOT analysis?
The first step for writing a good SWOT analysis is to determine your objective - what company and strategy are you going to analyze? Next, take a piece of paper and draw a grid with 4 squares, labeling each one of them as it follows - Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. The key to a good SWOT analysis is getting as specific as possible with each section in order to get more tangible and clear points of action.
What is a SWOT analysis tool?
SWOT analysis is a technique for strategic planning that allows you to assess and identify the strengths and weaknesses of your company (internal factors), as well as the opportunities and threats that may come from the outside, including market trends and competition (external factors).
Why is SWOT analysis important?
SWOT analysis is important for businesses because it provides them with a simple, but powerful framework to assess their own ability to compete on the market, identifying strengths to highlight and weaknesses to work on improving. It also gives them a quick glance at the market from an outside perspective, allowing them to spot current opportunities and identify potential threats that should be addressed as early as possible.
What is the most difficult part of the SWOT analysis?
While the answer may vary between companies and industries, the most difficult part of the SWOT analysis tends to be Opportunities. The main reason why is because the answer may sometimes require a comprehensive and detailed market research to reveal certain opportunities.
And that was all from me, folks! I hope you liked my in-depth SWOT analysis examples. I think the best way to learn a concept is to see how it is applied in practice. For this reason, I wanted to focus this article from a practical rather than a theoretical perspective. However, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to send me an email at mkto[email protected], or just let me know in the comments below!
Thank you for taking the time to read my article 3 Great SWOT Analysis Examples with Real Companies, and I hope to see you in the next one!
Hello, and welcome to my blog! Let me present myself.
My name is Ani and I am a trilingual Digital Marketing & Analytics Specialist with 10 years of experience across multiple sectors including Cloud-based services, SaaS, Digital payments, Mobile apps, and Executive Education, among others.
My expertise covers areas such as Google Ads, Google Analytics, Search Engine Optimization, Content Marketing, and Social Media.
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How To Write a SWOT Analysis For a Business Plan
An acronym standing for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, a SWOT Analysis is designed to help you analyze your company’s capabilities against the realities of your business environment. Doing so allows you to direct your business toward areas where your abilities are the strongest and your opportunities are abundant. It also allows you to develop short and long-term strategies for your business. A well-developed SWOT analysis will:
- capture business opportunities by capitalizing on business strengths
- overcome weaknesses to take advantage of business opportunities
- monitor potentially threatening outside forces while maintaining or developing internal strength response capabilities
- eliminate weaknesses to protect your business from threats
Writing a SWOT Analysis
When writing your SWOT Analysis, we recommend involving employees with different perspectives and stakes in your company, for example, management, sales, customer service, and customers.
To write a SWOT Analysis for a business plan, we recommend following these four steps. You can use a four-square SWOT Analysis template, or if more manageable, you can make lists for each category.
Example of a four-square template:
After you’ve gathered the right group of employees together, brainstorm your company’s strengths and weaknesses and its opportunities and threats, first individually and then collectively.
Strengths and weaknesses are internal to your company and can change over time with work. Examples of internal factors include:
- Company culture
- Company image
- Operational efficiency
- Operational capacity
- Brand awareness
- Market share
- Financial resources
- Organizational structure
Opportunities and threats are external, happening whether you want them to or not, and can’t be changed. Examples of external factors include:
- Societal changes
- Economic environment
- Government regulations
- Market trends
Strengths refer to the positive, tangible and intangible attributes internal to your company that are within your control.
To help you determine what your company’s strengths are, ask yourself:
- What does the company do well?
- The positive attributes of your employees (knowledge, background, education, credentials, network, reputation, or skills)
- The tangible assets of the company (capital, credit, existing customers or distribution channels, patents, or technology)
- What advantages does the company have over our competitors?
- Do we have strong research and development capabilities? What about manufacturing facilities?
- What other positive aspects, internal to the business, add value or offer us a competitive advantage?
Any aspect of your business that detracts from the value you offer or places you at a competitive disadvantage is a weakness. To determine your company’s weaknesses, ask yourself these questions:
- What factors detract from a competitive edge?
- To accomplish my objectives or compete with my strongest competitor, what areas need to improve?
- What does the business lack? Is it expertise? Maybe it’s access to skills or technology?
- Does the company have limited resources?
- Is my business in a poor location?
Opportunities are attractive external factors that denote reasons your business is likely to thrive. To identify your business opportunities, ask yourself:
- What opportunities are there in my market or my environment that I can benefit from?
- Does my business have a positive perception?
- Has my market recently grown, or have there been other changes that have created an opportunity?
- Is this opportunity ongoing or time-limited? How critical is my timing?
Any external factor beyond your control that could place your strategy, or the business itself, at risk is a threat. Although you have no control over threats, you can benefit by having a contingency plan to address them if and when they occur. To identify threats, ask yourself:
- Who are my existing or potential competitors?
- What factors beyond my control could place my business at risk?
- Are there challenges created by an unfavourable trend or development that could lead to declining revenues or profits?
- What situations could threaten my marketing efforts?
- Have supplier prices or the availability of raw materials significantly changed?
- Are there any shifts in consumer behaviour, the economy, or government regulations that could reduce my sales?
- Are any of my products, equipment, or services obsolete due to the introduction of a new product or technology in the market?
Once you’ve brainstormed your lists of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, we recommend ranking them through a voting process. At the end of this process, you should have a prioritized list of ideas, with one person, usually the CEO, having the final call on priority.
Divide your strengths into two groups:
- Group 1: Strengths that can help you take advantage of opportunities facing your business.
- Group 2: Strengths that can help you head off potential threats.
Divide your weaknesses into two groups:
- Group 1: Weaknesses that require improvement before you can take advantage of opportunities.
- Group 2: Weaknesses that you need to completely and quickly overhaul and convert into strengths to avert potential threats to your business.
Continually refer to your lists as you make decisions that contribute to your business, including developing strategies and actions for capitalizing on opportunities. Questions that can guide your decision making include:
- Do strengths open any opportunities?
- How can we convert weaknesses to strengths?
- What do we have to do to take advantage of opportunities?
- How can we best neutralize threats?
SWOT Analysis For a Business Plan Conclusion
Once you have finalized your SWOT Analysis and added it to your business plan, don’t just leave it and forget it. A SWOT Analysis is a crucial element in any business plan and should be revisited regularly, at least annually.
Suppose your business is facing significant changes in the marketplace or competitive conditions, experiencing growth problems, or failing to meet goals. In that case, you may want to revisit your SWOT Analysis more frequently.
It should reflect the world around you as it is, not the way it was. It’s an invaluable tool for leveraging your company’s strengths, minimizing threats, taking advantage of available opportunities, strategic planning, and determining company objectives.
At Bsbcon, we are available to provide support and guidance with your company’s SWOT Analysis, ensuring that it reflects the current state of your business and considers all factors needed to ensure your business’s short and long-term goals and successes. Once your SWOT Analysis is complete, we will work with you to incorporate it seamlessly into your business plan.
Each of our business plans are tailor-made (no templates or plugins!) and designed to be easily implementable in practice. We have business plans for bank loans, investors, strategic purposes, immigration, and more.
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- How to create a competitive analysis (w ...
How to create a competitive analysis (with examples)
Competitive analysis involves identifying your direct and indirect competitors using research to reveal their strengths and weaknesses in relation to your own. In this guide, we’ll outline how to do a competitive analysis and explain how you can use this marketing strategy to improve your business.
Whether you’re running a business or playing in a football game, understanding your competition is crucial for success. While you may not be scoring touchdowns in the office, your goal is to score business deals with clients or win customers with your products. The method of preparation for athletes and business owners is similar—once you understand your strengths and weaknesses versus your competitors’, you can level up.
What is a competitive analysis?
Competitive analysis involves identifying your direct and indirect competitors using research to reveal their strengths and weaknesses in relation to your own.
Direct competitors market the same product to the same audience as you, while indirect competitors market the same product to a different audience. After identifying your competitors, you can use the information you gather to see where you stand in the market landscape.
What to include in a competitive analysis
The purpose of this type of analysis is to get a competitive advantage in the market and improve your business strategy. Without a competitive analysis, it’s difficult to know what others are doing to win clients or customers in your target market. A competitive analysis report may include:
A description of your company’s target market
Details about your product or service versus the competitors’
Current and projected market share, sales, and revenues
Marketing and social media strategy analysis
Differences in customer ratings
You’ll compare each detail of your product or service versus the competition to assess strategy efficacy. By comparing success metrics across companies, you can make data-driven decisions.
How to do a competitive analysis
Follow these five steps to create your competitive analysis report and get a broad view of where you fit in the market. This process can help you analyze a handful of competitors at one time and better approach your target customers.
1. Create a competitor overview
In step one, select between five and 10 competitors to compare against your company. The competitors you choose should have similar product or service offerings and a similar business model to you. You should also choose a mix of both direct and indirect competitors so you can see how new markets might affect your company. Choosing both startup and seasoned competitors will further diversify your analysis.
Tip: To find competitors in your industry, use Google or Amazon to search for your product or service. The top results that emerge are likely your competitors. If you’re a startup or you serve a niche market, you may need to dive deeper into the rankings to find your direct competitors.
2. Conduct market research
Once you know the competitors you want to analyze, you’ll begin in-depth market research. This will be a mixture of primary and secondary research. Primary research comes directly from customers or the product itself, while secondary research is information that’s already compiled. Then, keep track of the data you collect in a user research template .
Primary market research may include:
Purchasing competitors’ products or services
Conducting online surveys of customers
Holding in-person focus groups
Secondary market research may include:
Examining competitors’ websites
Assessing the current economic situation
Identifying technological developments
Reading company records
Tip: Search engine analysis tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush can help you examine competitors’ websites and obtain crucial SEO information such as the keywords they’re targeting, the number of backlinks they have, and the overall health of their website.
3. Compare product features
The next step in your analysis involves a comparison of your product to your competitors’ products. This comparison should break down the products feature by feature. While every product has its own unique features, most products will likely include:
Age of audience served
Number of features
Style and design
Ease of use
Type and number of warranties
Customer support offered
Tip: If your features table gets too long, abbreviate this step by listing the features you believe are of most importance to your analysis. Important features may include cost, product benefits, and ease of use.
4. Compare product marketing
The next step in your analysis will look similar to the one before, except you’ll compare the marketing efforts of your competitors instead of the product features. Unlike the product features matrix you created, you’ll need to go deeper to unveil each company’s marketing plan .
Areas you’ll want to analyze include:
As you analyze the above, ask questions to dig deeper into each company’s marketing strategies. The questions you should ask will vary by industry, but may include:
What story are they trying to tell?
What value do they bring to their customers?
What’s their company mission?
What’s their brand voice?
Tip: You can identify your competitors’ target demographic in this step by referencing their customer base, either from their website or from testimonials. This information can help you build customer personas. When you can picture who your competitor actively targets, you can better understand their marketing tactics.
5. Use a SWOT analysis
Competitive intelligence will make up a significant part of your competitor analysis framework, but once you’ve gathered your information, you can turn the focus back to your company. A SWOT analysis helps you identify your company’s strengths and weaknesses. It also helps turn weaknesses into opportunities and assess threats you face based on your competition.
During a SWOT analysis, ask yourself:
What do we do well?
What could we improve?
Are there market gaps in our services?
What new market trends are on the horizon?
Tip: Your research from the previous steps in the competitive analysis will help you answer these questions and fill in your SWOT analysis. You can visually present your findings in a SWOT matrix, which is a four-box chart divided by category.
6. Identify your place in the market landscape
The last step in your competitive analysis is to understand where you stand in the market landscape. To do this, you’ll create a graph with an X and Y axis. The two axes should represent the most important factors for being competitive in your market.
For example, the X-axis may represent customer satisfaction, while the Y-axis may represent presence in the market. You’ll then plot each competitor on the graph according to their (x,y) coordinates. You’ll also plot your company on this chart, which will give you an idea of where you stand in relation to your competitors.
This graph is included for informational purposes and does not represent Asana’s market landscape or any specific industry’s market landscape.
Tip: In this example, you’ll see three companies that have a greater market presence and greater customer satisfaction than yours, while two companies have a similar market presence but higher customer satisfaction. This data should jumpstart the problem-solving process because you now know which competitors are the biggest threats and you can see where you fall short.
Competitive analysis example
Imagine you work at a marketing startup that provides SEO for dentists, which is a niche industry and only has a few competitors. You decide to conduct a market analysis for your business. To do so, you would:
Step 1: Use Google to compile a list of your competitors.
Steps 2, 3, and 4: Use your competitors’ websites, as well as SEO analysis tools like Ahrefs, to deep-dive into the service offerings and marketing strategies of each company.
Step 5: Focusing back on your own company, you conduct a SWOT analysis to assess your own strategic goals and get a visual of your strengths and weaknesses.
Step 6: Finally, you create a graph of the market landscape and conclude that there are two companies beating your company in customer satisfaction and market presence.
After compiling this information into a table like the one below, you consider a unique strategy. To beat out your competitors, you can use localization. Instead of marketing to dentists nationwide like your competitors are doing, you decide to focus your marketing strategy on one region, state, or city. Once you’ve become the known SEO company for dentists in that city, you’ll branch out.
You won’t know what conclusions you can draw from your competitive analysis until you do the work and see the results. Whether you decide on a new pricing strategy, a way to level up your marketing, or a revamp of your product, understanding your competition can provide significant insight.
Drawbacks of competitive analysis
There are some drawbacks to competitive analysis you should consider before moving forward with your report. While these drawbacks are minor, understanding them can make you an even better manager or business owner.
Don’t forget to take action
You don’t just want to gather the information from your competitive analysis—you also want to take action on that information. The data itself will only show you where you fit into the market landscape. The key to competitive analysis is using it to problem solve and improve your company’s strategic plan .
Be wary of confirmation bias
Confirmation bias means interpreting information based on the beliefs you already hold. This is bad because it can cause you to hold on to false beliefs. To avoid bias, you should rely on all the data available to back up your decisions. In the example above, the business owner may believe they’re the best in the SEO dental market at social media. Because of this belief, when they do market research for social media, they may only collect enough information to confirm their own bias—even if their competitors are statistically better at social media. However, if they were to rely on all the data available, they could eliminate this bias.
Update your analysis regularly
A competitive analysis report represents a snapshot of the market landscape as it currently stands. This report can help you gain enough information to make changes to your company, but you shouldn’t refer to the document again unless you update the information regularly. Market trends are always changing, and although it’s tedious to update your report, doing so will ensure you get accurate insight into your competitors at all times.
Boost your marketing strategy with competitive analysis
Learning your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses will make you a better marketer. If you don’t know the competition you’re up against, you can’t beat them. Using competitive analysis can boost your marketing strategy and allow you to capture your target audience faster.
Competitive analysis must lead to action, which means following up on your findings with clear business goals and a strong business plan. Once you do your competitive analysis, you can use the templates below to put your plan into action.
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40 SWOT Analysis Examples of Real Businesses
- Tyler @ Demplates
Marketing managers need to segregate any business information into appropriate four quadrants of SWOT (Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities & threats). Even for those who already knew how and what information needs to be allocated where, it is imperative to analyze and understand already existing SWOT analysis example for real businesses. I personally recommend you to read at least a minimum of five examples from the below set of 40 SWOT analysis examples. You might witness some of the points which may represent a close resemblance of the business that you are currently evaluating.
The examples of SWOT analysis will give you a kick-start to analyze your business while our free SWOT analysis templates can help you get going without any hindrance.
See Also: 40 Free SWOT Analysis Templates In Word See Also: 20 SWOT Analysis Template PPT files
Select and click any of the links provided below to hop and see your favorite example of SWOT analysis:
Apple SWOT Analysis
Starbucks swot analysis (example of a swot analysis), mcdonalds swot analysis, disney swot analysis, costco swot analysis, netflix swot analysis, walmart swot analysis, amazon swot analysis, chipotle swot analysis, samsung swot analysis, coca cola swot analysis, best buy swot analysis, google swot analysis, under armour swot analysis, ford swot analysis, jcpenney swot analysis, home depot swot analysis, facebook swot analysis, adidas swot analysis, south west airlines swot analysis, ikea swot analysis, toyota swot analysis, whole foods swot analysis, at & t swot analysis, microsoft swot analysis, boeing swot analysis, pepsico swot analysis, johnson and johnson swot analysis, lego swot analysis, harley davidson swot analysis, chick-fil-a swot analysis, ibm swot analysis, nordstrom swot analysis, shenzhen city hotel industry swot.
Retail Chain Fashion Goods SWOT
Haier UK Market Entry SWOT
Ellens Stardust Diner SWOT
Crown plaza city center birmingham swot.
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How to Do a SWOT Analysis in Project Management: Template & Examples
As project managers, we’re lucky to have a full set of tools available to help us approach any project challenge. We have tools that bring our teams together, uncover issues, guide a project to an end, and everything in between. (I’m still waiting on that “easy” button, though!)
Determining what tool should be used in each situation can feel daunting. There are definitely some I pull out for every project, while others collect a bit more dust.
The SWOT analysis is one I’ve left in the toolbox a bit too often. It’s probably not fair though. It’s a great tool that can bring the team together, create transparency around tough issues, and identify key risks and opportunities that will help with project planning .
Let’s take a deeper look to see when and why you should give a SWOT analysis a bigger spotlight in your projects.
What is a SWOT analysis?
A SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool that allows you and your team to determine organizational strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It’s typically represented as a table or matrix with each element in its own section or quadrant.
A SWOT analysis assesses both internal and external factors:
- Internal factors are aspects within your control. They include skills, assets, resources, and competitive advantages. They are typically the strengths and weaknesses categories in the SWOT matrix.
- External factors are outside of your control. They might be major events, economic changes, marketplace shifts, pandemics, and more. These are the opportunities and threats.
You can use a SWOT analysis to evaluate a project, business plan, content strategy, and even yourself. It’s very adaptable to many situations.
This type of analysis can be useful in project management because it allows you to identify areas of risk and growth within a project or team. From there, you and your team can use those findings to create a strategic plan that improves your chance of project success.
Elements of the SWOT framework with examples
A SWOT analysis is made up of 4 core elements:
- S = Strengths
- W = Weaknesses
- O = Opportunities
- T = Threats
Let’s dive into what each SWOT component means and explore simple examples of each one.
Strengths are factors within your control that will help the project succeed. They might include a person, existing skill set, how the organization is positioned, or a specific aspect about the scoped project. I recommend listing out your strengths first to create a clear understanding of what success looks like and start your SWOT analysis on a positive note.
Examples of project strengths
- Your team has experience delivering a similar custom application.
- The client team has full authority to make decisions.
- Leadership is on board and already started a company-wide digital strategy conversion.
- The budget has contingency built in.
- Your content team is fully staffed for the project.
- Your team has done 4 sites in that vertical in the last year.
- You already have detailed specifications of the product scope.
- A full brand redesign is already complete.
Weaknesses are internal factors that could negatively impact the project and make it difficult to succeed. Some strengths on your list might lead to a clear weakness, while weaknesses can help you identify opportunities in the next step.
Talking about weaknesses can be uncomfortable because no one likes dwelling on the gaps. If you do a SWOT analysis with an external client, let your team know what’s okay to call out in front of the client vs what’s best discussed internally. For example, it's good to alert your client to the fact your team is working on 2 projects at once because it sets clear expectations around your availability and response time.
Examples of project weaknesses
- Your team has never worked together.
- The client has all new leadership.
- Your team is allocated to 2 projects at the same time.
- Your client lacks resources in content, media production, or other areas.
- Your client has multiple levels of stakeholders.
- Project funding is limited and must be spent by a certain date.
- All content needs to pass through the legal department.
- Your team and clients use different project tools.
Opportunities are factors that can help your project succeed—or save it from failure—if correctly executed. The tricky thing is, they’re a bit outside of your control. They might be opportunities that already exist but haven’t been acted on, or they might be future wins that will come with the completion of the project.
Reviewing the strengths and weaknesses you’ve already captured in your SWOT analysis will help you get ideas for this list. Just be sure any opportunities you include are concrete and realistic.
Examples of project opportunities
- Moving a more experienced team member to your project team
- Creating new channels for the company to capture revenue
- Obtaining a discount from a vendor
- Receiving another grant to fund the project
- Hiring someone new on the client side to support the work
- Attending an upcoming conference with access to real users
- Capturing new leads because of the project
Threats are external factors that could hurt the success of your project and are often out of your control. Identifying these factors before the project begins can help you set expectations with your team and stakeholders around potential points of failure.
Examples of project threats
- A competitor is releasing a similar product on a faster timeline.
- The software code base for a section was recently released and could be buggy.
- A project vendor hasn’t been responsive.
- A team member is on maternity leave for 3 months.
- The client won’t give you access to other stakeholders.
- You don’t have access to users (or don’t think it’s important).
What are the benefits of using a SWOT analysis in project management?
A SWOT analysis is a simple yet powerful exercise that can easily flow into a project manager’s strategic planning process. It gives you and your team space to worry and dream and can also bring the project and its variables into more focus.
But how you complete the analysis—and what you do with its findings—determines the true value of the tool. Let’s look at several advantages a SWOT analysis can provide when it’s done right.
Identify (and address) project risks and gaps
Conducting a SWOT analysis enables you to identify areas of weakness and potential project gaps from the start. That way, you can address any concerns with a proactive project plan. Of course, not all risks are factors you can control, but at least knowing them allows you to create a better strategy.
Set a positive tone
Performing a SWOT analysis also gives you the chance to discuss strengths and opportunities. Focusing on the good aspects of your project and team sets a positive tone right from the start. It also shines a light on skills and aspects you might not have realized you have available to you.
Uncover client expectations
As a project manager, I’m always thinking, “But what do they really want?” I know a lot of time goes into the project scope, but the client always forgets to mention something.
Think of your SWOT analysis as a free-form brainstorming session that gives you another chance to listen and learn. It’s always easier to work new insights or hidden scope into the plan at the beginning of a project instead of the middle or end.
Identify new revenue
Doing a SWOT analysis before a project begins can also uncover new project opportunities. While some of these items might be addressed in the current scope, many will not. This opens the door to discuss phase 2 work that could generate additional revenue for both you and the client.
Establish a framework for red flags
When reviewing a project’s contract scope, I always find red flags—those pesky items that keep every project manager up at night.
A SWOT analysis makes it easy to sneak those concerns in with the positives so you don’t have to be a downer in your first meetings. It also gives others a chance to raise red flags so the bad news isn’t always coming from you. Discussing these upfront makes everyone aware of the risks, not just select stakeholders.
Build a foundation for team communication
Completing this activity as a team with different levels of stakeholders from both sides can set the stage for effective communication . Establishing an open, transparent, direct, and welcoming environment early on can help everyone navigate future conversations—no matter how tricky.
It also builds a culture of collaborative problem-solving. As a project manager, you might feel like you have to solve all the hard issues yourself. But creating a team approach can lift some of that weight right off your shoulders.
When should you skip a SWOT analysis?
While a SWOT analysis can be a useful planning tool in project management, other tools are too. So when does it make sense to leave this tool in the toolbox?
Here are a few reasons a SWOT analysis might not be a productive use of your time.
You lack stakeholder access
Sometimes a client limits your access to their team, leaving you with only 1-2 people to talk to on the client side. If you can’t pull a diverse group of stakeholders together from both sides, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to build a comprehensive and effective SWOT matrix.
You and/or your client can’t be honest
The reality is, you won’t have an open and transparent relationship with every client. It might be because they’re new or have a different culture of communication in their organization. Or maybe your sales team committed to a project they shouldn’t have.
Whatever the reason, if you or your client can’t be transparent about weaknesses and threats, your SWOT analysis won’t be very useful.
You have limited resources
If your budget is small, you likely have limited resources to complete the project—and that includes your own time as a project manager.
While conducting a SWOT analysis workshop is a relatively quick task, it’s not going to be effective unless you spend time creating and executing an action plan afterwards. If you can’t reasonably take action on what you may uncover, go ahead and skip the SWOT analysis.
You’re working with a repeat client
If you’ve worked with a client several times before and don’t appear to be solving a new, hard problem—or approaching a new product or revenue stream—there’s no need to go through the motions of a SWOT exercise.
Your project has an unclear scope
Are you managing a project with muddy goals and a scope that’s constantly changing (even though somehow a contract got signed)? If so, it’s best to put all your energy into workshops and tools that focus on clearly defining what you’re doing. In my experience, projects like these just lead to vague SWOTs anyway.
How to do a SWOT analysis for a project
There’s no wrong way to complete a SWOT analysis. It just depends on the project and the preferences of your team and stakeholders. Just be sure whatever process you use effectively brings everyone together.
Here are the key steps I recommend taking to execute a good SWOT analysis.
1. Identify your SWOT analysis goal
Every good process starts with a clear goal. If you know why you’re doing a SWOT analysis and what you hope to achieve, you can tailor your approach and conversations accordingly. This clarity might even lead you to other tools in your project manager toolbox that will help you reach your goals.
2. Determine your stakeholders
Next, figure out who needs to participate in the SWOT analysis for you to achieve your goal. While there might be times you need to do this exercise quickly on your own, working as a team that includes both internal and external stakeholders will give you a more comprehensive analysis.
Participants should represent different groups at all levels of the organization to bring a full and diverse perspective. They should also be willing to participate fully, honestly, and kindly in the conversation and be open to talking about some tough topics. For example, someone might have a role in a weakness or threat that ends up on the list. If people aren’t willing to dig in, you’ll end up with a surface-level analysis that’s less useful.
Including more people in the conversion will encourage teamwork and transparency—all things you want for the rest of your project. Of course, too many people could cause chaos and a lack of focus, so shoot for around 10 or fewer participants.
3. Identify which tool you’ll use for the SWOT analysis
Next, decide where you’ll create your SWOT analysis. Many folks love working within the classic SWOT matrix, and you can easily create one using Word or PowerPoint.
If you’re conducting your workshop remotely—or want folks to add ideas before, during, or after the meeting—consider using a collaborative tool instead. You could use an interactive whiteboard tool to create a shared matrix or set up a list or Kanban board in TeamGantt. What’s nice about a tool like TeamGantt is you can immediately transform items from your SWOT analysis into tasks with deadlines and responsibilities assigned.
4. Prepare your team
One of the most important steps you can take is effectively preparing your team for the workshop. I have to admit, I’ve been lazy about this step at times in the past, but it’s really critical if you want people to be successful in the meeting.
Send the team attending the SWOT analysis workshop the following items ahead of time:
- The goal of the SWOT analysis
- Why they’ve been chosen to participate in the workshop
- An explanation of how the SWOT analysis will work
- What they should do to prepare for the meeting and how much time they need to set aside to prep
- Access to the tool you’ll use to conduct the SWOT analysis so they can get in and comfortable with it beforehand
- Next steps they can expect after the meeting (even if it doesn’t involve them)
- Gratitude in advance for their thoughts, respect, and time
5. Conduct the SWOT analysis workshop
Use this workshop to brainstorm project strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats as a team. Guide the discussion to make sure the thoughts are clear and specific. If more information has to be gathered for a couple of items after the meeting, that’s okay, but the majority shouldn’t need follow-up.
Since I include both my team and the client in a project SWOT analysis, I like to keep the format simple. While I talk about the concept of internal vs external factors, I don’t build my matrix or workshop around it. In my experience, it’s just another layer for folks to process. Participants should be focused on brainstorming—not figuring out how to work within a complex framework.
Try to fill in 2-3 items for each box of the SWOT matrix ahead of time to jump start the conversation. If the room gets quiet, give folks 10 minutes to gather thoughts and then share back. You could also use starter questions like the ones below to get ideas rolling.
Example questions to guide your SWOT analysis workshop
- What do your customers love about what you do?
- Does anyone have expertise in this subject or scope?
- What resources are available in-house?
- What advantages do you have over your competitors?
- What do your customers dislike about what you do?
- Could any organizational factors negatively impact this project?
- Are there any gaps in team or project knowledge?
- Do you have any hard limits on the project (e.g., timeline, budget, scope)?
- What can you do to compete better in your market?
- What resource changes or additions would help you?
- What tools will help you be effective?
- Can you help other areas of the business?
- Do other business initiatives depend on project completion and success? If so, how?
- Are your competitors doing anything related to your project?
- Are you working with any new or untested tools or software?
- Do you rely on any outside vendors?
Download an expanded list of example questions.
6. Prioritize and confirm
In this step, you’ll want to rank the factors from most to least important. Since time is usually limited, I focus on prioritizing the opportunities and threats lists.
Questions like these can help you weigh the importance of each item on your list:
- Will it impact the project the most?
- Is it something you can actually do something about?
- Are there things you can’t address unless the project has more budget?
You can either jump into prioritization at the end of your brainstorming session or tackle it online as a team after your SWOT workshop.
Once you feel good about the priorities you’ve set, clean up your SWOT analysis document, and send it to all your stakeholders to confirm everyone’s on the same page.
7. Create and execute an action plan
Now it’s time to create a clear plan of action to execute on. Your to-do list might only take a couple of weeks to knock out, or it might take longer to work through. Either way, you’ll want to jump on an action plan quickly to show participants you took their feedback seriously and are committed to making the project a success.
It’s probably easiest to start with the internal SWOT factors you have control over, so focus on maximizing strengths and mitigating weaknesses first. Your action plan might include rearranging your team, finding a new tool, adding more resources, talking to sales, or more.
Once these internal factors are in motion, take a look at the threats and opportunities that are more outside of your control. Work closely with your primary stakeholder or client-side project manager to determine the best course of action, including how you’ll handle any new opportunities or threats that may arise.
After you have a game plan, schedule any necessary meetings. Then create a clear plan with deadlines, and assign tasks to team members. Using an online project planner like TeamGantt makes it easy to communicate priorities to your team and report back to stakeholders so they know what steps have been taken and what’s to come.
Get your action plan off the ground faster with one of our free project templates!
8. Monitor and revisit your SWOT strategy
If time allows, go back to your SWOT analysis throughout the project, as well as at the end. See if you’re accomplishing what you set out to do or if you have room to tackle any additional items now.
Self-reflection and solid data can help you hone your skills as a project manager and improve projects over time.
SWOT analysis example
To help you get a better understanding of how this process might work, let’s take a look at a sample SWOT analysis for a new marketing website build. Our example project also features a large lead-capture component that connects to Salesforce.
- Our development team has completed several Salesforce integrations.
- This project is a top priority for the client. Leadership has given staff permission to set other initiatives aside to help with the project.
- The core team has been through a website redesign in the past.
- The strategists are available right now and can jump into discovery and research.
- The new brand has already been created and approved, and all website assets are available.
- We don’t have much user data or feedback collected yet.
- The timeline is immovable.
- This is the project’s first phase, so the full team has not worked together.
- The company’s top 3 leadership positions changed in the last 6 months.
- The best new feature of the project won’t be ready until launch, so no video or images will be available for the website.
- The client has strict security procedures, and we need to work solely in Microsoft to share documents. However, our team is used to using Google.
- The Salesforce implementation contractor has offered to scale up their team to help implement the tool quickly.
- The client views this launch as phase 1 and has funding for 2 more phases.
- If the dev team gets stuck on another project, we have other dev team members we can move over to start all builds, except the Salesforce integration.
- For another project, our team created a revenue-generating resource library. It could be another source of income.
- We’ve identified that 75% of site visitors don’t go past the homepage.
- The client doesn’t like their current workflow for lead capture, but they’re arguing internally about how it should change.
- The client has not used Salesforce before.
- The client’s main competitor just launched a new, sleek website.
- The launch date is set for 4 months. We think the project needs 6 months.
- Launch is expected to happen right after the December holidays.
- Our dev team has another project to wrap up before starting this project, and it’s been known to miss all its deadlines.
While the matrix format provides a nice visual in the meeting, it doesn’t transition nicely into your next steps as a project manager. Here’s how you might adapt this example to a Kanban board that allows you to prioritize action items easily, assign deadlines and people to tasks, add notes, etc.
Free SWOT analysis templates
If you're looking for a SWOT analysis template, a free one is always a great place to start. We created a few different options to help you save time preparing for and creating a SWOT analysis of your own.
- SWOT analysis planner template [PDF] : Use these example questions to guide discussions around project strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
- SWOT analysis template [Word] : Download this editable SWOT analysis template to create a simple one-page matrix for your project.
- SWOT analysis template [PowerPoint] : Use this SWOT analysis template to present your final analysis to your project team and/or stakeholders.
Take easy action on your SWOT analysis with TeamGantt
Want to make a SWOT analysis everyone can collaborate on? Try TeamGantt for free , and use our board feature to create and prioritize your SWOT analysis as a team.
Once your analysis is done, transform action items into a plan that’s easy to schedule, manage, and track. Check out our free project template hub for ideas you can use to get your plan off the ground faster.
About the author: Lynn Winter
Lynn is a freelance Digital Strategist who combines 20+ years of experience in content strategy, user experience, and project management to bring a holistic approach to her work. She has spoken at numerous local and national conferences and hosts an annual conference for Digital Project Managers called Manage Digital ( http://managedigital.io/ ). You can connect with her at lynnwintermn.com .
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SWOT Analysis In Business (With Examples)
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Here is a simple strategic SWOT analysis that you can use as a highly effective method for creating an edge in the market and to insure long term success.
SWOT is an acronym for the Strengths and Weakness of a business and the Opportunities and Threats facing the business. It is used to understand Current and Future, Internal and External factors that may have an effect on a business results and success.
The Strengths and weaknesses are focused inward to analyze what your company does well and where it could be better. Opportunities and Threats are focused externally towards the industry, which analyze any potential negative effect on the business.
How To Carry Out A SWOT Analysis In Business
To carry out a SWOT analysis for your business, summarize the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your business relative to competitors. A SWOT analysis is a simple, yet highly effective method for conducting an analysis on a business, product or service. Before you try writing a business or marketing plan, it is highly recommended that you first complete a SWOT analysis.
A SWOT approach to planning requires owners to look very closely and analytically at every aspect of their operation, so that objectives can be evaluated as achievable, while also building up a clear picture of the strategies that need to be adopted under the constraints that have been recognized.
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
- Sun Tzu, The Art Of War -
When completing a SWOT analysis, the aim is to reflect on all aspects of your business’s operations. You may wish to do this exercise alone or include your staff, spouse or business advisor. Whether you choose to do it alone or with others, make sure you allow a solid chunk of time to complete the analysis without being interrupted.
A SWOT analysis is a brainstorming exercise and to get the best results I suggest you allow yourself at least thirty minutes, or preferably an hour. This allows your mind to free itself of the multitude of thoughts and minor details of day to- day living. It takes time to get a flow of ideas going, so be patient and allow yourself time. Once you have allotted sufficient time to focus on this exercise it is time to get started.
SWOT Analysis Template: Excel Download
Download SWOT Analysis Excel Template
This link will open as an Excel spreadsheet and is ready, and
easy to use but you can follow these video instructions for more information.
SWOT Analysis Template Video
The SWOT Analysis Goal
After you have successfully completed the SWOT analysis, take some time to explore ways to consolidate your strengths, minimize your weaknesses, take advantages of the opportunities and be prepared for the threats.
Your priorities should be to:
- Consolidate a strength
- Use a strength to address an opportunity or threat
- Use a strength to minimize a weakness or threat
- Convert a weakness to strength
- Convert a threat to an opportunity
SWOT Analysis Template: PDF Download
Download swot analysis pdf.
A SWOT analysis is a simple, yet highly effective method for conducting an analysis on a business, product or service. Before you try writing a business growth or marketing plan, it is highly recommended that you first complete a SWOT analysis.
S WOT Analysis - STRENGTH
The first step is to reflect on what you do really well. What is working for you at the moment? Can you consolidate on any of these strengths and make them an even bigger advantage for your business? Try asking yourself the following questions
What are your business’s strengths?
- Attractive shopfront
- Operating hours
- Industry experience
- Follow-up service
- What do you do well?
- What unique resources can you draw on?
- What do others see as your strengths?
- How are you superior to your competitors?
- Why are your products or services so good?
- What is it that makes your business unique?
Potential Internal Strengths Can Be:
- Adequate financial resources.
- Well thought of by buyers.
- An acknowledged market leader.
- Well-conceived functional area strategies.
- Insulated from strong competitive pressure.
- Proprietary technology.
- Cost advantages.
- Better advertising campaigns.
- Product innovation skills.
- Proven management.
- Better manufacturing capability.
- Superior technological skills.
“Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.”
- Sun Tzu, The Art Of War -
S W OT Analysis - WEAKNESS Examples
Weaknesses need to be understood so you can compensate or improve them. This is not the time to start beating yourself up for being less than perfect. Everyone has weaknesses. Your first task is to identify anything you think you need to improve. These could include:
- Time management
- Marketing strategy
- Certain products or services
- Cleaning up your work environment
- Follow-up procedures
- What could you improve?
- Where do you have fewer resources than others?
- What are others likely to see as weaknesses?
Potential Internal Weaknesses Can Be:
- No clear strategic direction.
- Obsolete facilities.
- Low profitability because …
- Lack of managerial depth and talent.
- Poor track record in implementing strategy.
- Internal operating problems.
- Too marrow a product line.
- Weak market image.
- Weak distribution network.
- Below-average marketing skills.
- Unable to finance needed changes.
- Higher overall costs relative to key competitors.
Make a comprehensive list and start reviewing which ones you could start transferring into strengths. If you find it difficult to be objective, ask someone you trust for his or her feedback on your perceived weaknesses.
“So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak.”
SW O T Analysis - OPPORTUNITY
The third stage of the analysis process is to look at the opportunities that your business has available. Where could you start gaining an advantage over your competitors? The more you know about what your competitors are doing, the easier it will be for you to see opportunities to create something different and compelling. Another great way to discover possible opportunities is to ask your current customers. They will often have all the answers if you are brave enough to ask the question.
- What external factors can you take advantage of?
- Are there current resources that are underutilized?
- How can you turn your strengths into opportunities?
- What trends could you take advantage of?
- What good opportunities are open to you?
Potential External Opportunities Can Be:
- Serve additional customer groups.
- Enter new markets or segments.
- Expand product line to meet broader range of customer needs.
- Diversify into related products.
- Falling trade barriers in attractive foreign markets.
- Complacency among rival firms.
- Faster market growth.
There are always opportunities. Take the time to brainstorm a comprehensive list and don’t sensor your ideas. There will be time to eliminate the most impractical ideas later. For now, just get the ideas down on paper.
“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity”
SWO T Analysis - THREAT
Finally, you need to assess any current or future threats to your business. All potential threats should be brainstormed. It is better to be aware of problems that might arise than to be hit with them out of the blue. This list could include things like changes in legislation, a multinational competitor opening a store or a lack of products due to importing issues. Whatever the possible threats, list them and assess whether they are real or unlikely. Are there any threats to your current market share? When all areas have been plotted and identified, you will be in a much better position to plan your future.
Take the time to complete this exercise thoroughly as the benefits are very real.
- What threats do your weaknesses expose you to?
- What is your competition doing?
- What trends could harm you?
Potential External Threats Can Be:
- Entry of lower-cost foreign competitors.
- Rising sales of substitute products.
- Slower market growth.
- Adverse shifts in foreign exchange rates and trade policies of foreign governments.
- Costly regulatory requirements.
- Changing buyer needs.
- Adverse demographic changes.
SW OT Analysis Examples
- Sample SWOT Ideas for a Local Restaurant
- Example SWOT for a Small, Local Coffee Chop Chain
“Who wishes to fight must first count the cost”
About the Author Hans
Hans had 40 of his own businesses over the last 30 years and is famous for creating fast-growing businesses” He is an author, speaker, coach, and consultant and a specialist in business optimization and turnaround, helping smaller business owners eliminate business limitations, threats, and growth challenges in achieving their sales, profit, cash flow, and income goals with sniper precision.
20 big money mistakes business’s make in 2021, 6 ways to save & turnaround a failing business, 7 proven business turnaround strategy steps, ten keys to a successful business turnaround.
Free Marketing SWOT Analysis Templates
By Joe Weller | November 3, 2023
We’ve collected the top free, customizable marketing SWOT analysis templates for marketing managers, brand managers, product managers, business development managers, and market analysts. Use these templates for decision-making and strategizing.
On this page, you'll find four dynamic marketing SWOT report templates, including a colorful marketing SWOT analysis template , a marketing SWOT analysis presentation template , and a marketing plan SWOT analysis matrix template . These free marketing SWOT analysis templates offer pre-designed frameworks, so you can effortlessly organize and showcase your marketing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in a clear and professional manner.
Basic SWOT Analysis Marketing Template
Download a Sample Basic SWOT Analysis Marketing Template for Excel | Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF | PowerPoint | Google Slides
Download a Blank Basic SWOT Analysis Marketing Template for Excel | Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF | PowerPoint | Google Slides
To enable strategic decision-making, use this basic SWOT analysis marketing template, with or without sample data. This tool simplifies the process of evaluating your company's internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as its external opportunities and threats. Enter your specific strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in the designated sections. The template organizes this critical information, so you can identify key areas for improvement and potential growth opportunities, thereby positioning your company for strategic advancement.
Conducting a marketing SWOT analysis is essential to making smart marketing decisions. This guide to marketing SWOT analysis walks you through the intricacies of the process.
Marketing SWOT Analysis Template
Download a Sample Marketing SWOT Analysis Template for Excel | Microsoft Word | PowerPoint
Download a Blank Marketing SWOT Analysis Template for Excel | Microsoft Word | PowerPoint
With or without sample data, this visually dynamic, colorful marketing SWOT analysis template helps capture stakeholders’ attention and improve engagement among team members. Enter your company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats into the designated areas of the template, or use the provided sample text as a guide through the SWOT process. This vibrant format not only enhances comprehension but also facilitates clearer communication of key insights, leading to more informed decision-making.
Find more SWOT analysis templates in this roundup of free SWOT analysis templates .
Marketing SWOT Analysis Presentation Template
Download a Sample Marketing SWOT Analysis Presentation Template for PowerPoint | Google Slides
Download a Blank Marketing SWOT Analysis Presentation Template for PowerPoint | Google Slides
With this marketing SWOT analysis presentation template, you can succinctly convey critical information about your company's marketing position to key stakeholders. Whether with or without sample data, the template’s visually compelling presentation style allows your collaborators and project sponsors to remain engaged and to easily digest complex data. By implementing such an impactful tool, your team can successfully assess internal and external factors.
For more SWOT-related resources emphasizing industry analysis, check out these free industry analysis templates .
Marketing Plan SWOT Analysis Matrix Template
Download a Sample Marketing Plan SWOT Analysis Matrix Template for Excel | Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF | PowerPoint
Download a Blank Marketing Plan SWOT Analysis Matrix Template for Excel | Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF | PowerPoint
This marketing plan SWOT analysis matrix template comes with or without sample data, to help you plan for future initiatives and campaigns by offering a structured, systematic evaluation of your company's internal strengths and weaknesses and external opportunities and threats. This tool fosters alignment among team members, driving cohesive strategies that capitalize on strengths and address vulnerabilities.
Check out these free competitor analysis templates to help you systematically evaluate your competitors' strategies, strengths, and weaknesses, as well as identify market opportunities and threats.
Perform the Most Effective Marketing SWOT Analysis with Templates from Smartsheet
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The Smartsheet platform makes it easy to plan, capture, manage, and report on work from anywhere, helping your team be more effective and get more done. Report on key metrics and get real-time visibility into work as it happens with roll-up reports, dashboards, and automated workflows built to keep your team connected and informed.
When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time. Try Smartsheet for free, today.
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SWOT and Business Analysis Tools
How to Use SWOT in Business Plans
Jun 16, 2016 by Thomas Bush
Building a successful business requires extensive forethought and planning. The latter, business planning, assists you in picking goals, defining strategies, and actualizing your vision. It may sound complicated to do so, but with the help of some key business analyses , especially the SWOT analysis, you can make the process much easier for yourself.
SWOT: What and Why?
If you’re a regular PESTLEAnalysis.com reader, you should know by now that SWOT analysis identifies the S trengths, W eaknesses, O pportunities, and T hreats of a business or individual venture. A well-executed SWOT analysis reveals lots of information about the circumstances you (do or will) find yourself in, and how to make the most out of them, both of which are essential in business planning.
If you are still not sold on the importance of a SWOT analysis in business, it is critical that you review this article (“ How Your Business Could Fall Without Proper SWOT Analysis ”) before continuing on.
SWOT Analysis in Business Planning / Plans
Business plans often try to answer questions like “How will we grow?”, “What will we change?”, or “What might prevent us?” The two external factors in a SWOT matrix (Opportunities and Threats) begin the process of answering these questions, thanks to their inherent relation to the future. The other two factors (Strengths and Weaknesses) — both of which are internal — also contribute to an answer, but in a less explicit way. These two factors help you pick out, amongst other things, what to make the most of and what might need working on to reach your goals.
Business Planning, Analysis, and SWOT
You can’t plan for where you want your business to be in some amount of time if you don’t know where it is now. Thankfully, business analyses are designed to help you work that out. Before actually getting started with your business plan, be sure to conduct a concise business analysis (which might also use a SWOT analysis as discussed in a previous article ) to gain some more insight into this matter.
Actually Planning with SWOT
When formulating a business plan, go through each of the variables included in a SWOT analysis, and ask how they relate to your plan. Here are a few examples for each factor:
- Does our vision correspond with what we do well?
- Are we good at what we will need to be good at?
- How will our plan make the most of what we are good at?
- Will our business plan be hindered by certain weaknesses?
- Is it worth fixing them, or adjusting our plan to avoid them?
- What opportunities can we plan for?
- How will we make the most of unexpected, unplanned-for opportunities?
- What could prevent us from following our plan?
- How will we deal with any unexpected issues?
SWOT Models for Business Planning
Everything is better explained with lots of examples or outlines, and so we have an entire article dedicated to SWOT analysis templates for more effective, efficient business planning. Be sure to check it out for another approach to using SWOT in business.
That’s all there is to using SWOT analysis in business planning! It may seem simple, but its benefits are surprisingly apparent. Have you used a SWOT analysis for business planning or a previous venture? We’d love to hear about it down below, along with your questions and comments.
Image © Thodonal | Dreamstime.com – Business plan
SWOT Analysis Example for Small Business
Edraw content team.
SWOT analysis , short for Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats , stands for a comprehensive four-quadrant analytical tool that helps to start any business enterprise or to address any situation to improve the same.
What is SWOT Analysis?
The analysis procedure usually comprises of a matrix that is drawn as a square. It is divided into four different quadrants where each represents one of the four elements, Strengths, Opportunities, Weaknesses and Threats.
Once the matrix is drawn each quadrant needs questions to be written down as per the focus area. Here are some relevant questions that a user can ask in each quadrant, as per the situation. Here sample questions are posed as for startups:
This section should highlight why business is being considered in a particular domain:
- What are your specific skills or experience?
- What expertise do you have from a prior job or business?
- What can you offer that is unique in the given market?
- How can it prove to be profitable?
The quadrant focuses on the limitations that exist or could impede the development of your business:
- What resources are lacking?
- What areas of your business need to be developed?
- What level of uncertainty lies about the business's profitability?
- What further resources would you need to invest in?
In this quadrant, you need to address external conditions that would help your business achieve its objectives. Pertinent questions here would be:
- How does the surrounding economic environment support your business?
- How to choose retail or business space and proximity to the right clientele?
- How can local business laws help you reach your business potential?
- What are related businesses or services that can help grow your business?
In this quadrant, you need to think of external conditions that can damage the performance of a business. Questions to ask here are:
- What obstacles exist in local norms or laws?
- Are rental spaces for businesses high?
- How many competitor businesses are in the vicinity?
- How is the local or pertinent demand and would it go down?
Why SWOT Analysis is Important for Small Business?
When one is planning to start a business, especially a startup, it will help compile necessary data to decide on the strategies to use as well as goals that would be set for one’s business.
Benefits of using SWOT analysis are shown below:
- It helps to create a plan for building the strengths of a business.
- It will help list out what kind of weaknesses exist and how to overcome the same.
- Smart goals can be set for opportunities identified.
- Plans can be devised for using strengths to reduce the risks of threats.
Once the data is listed in the different quadrants one can then combine the same for more insights:
- One can combine opportunities and strengths to form new strategies for one's business.
- Threats can be countered by strengths and listed accordingly.
- Opportunities and weaknesses can be areas for improvement that one can focus upon.
- Common pitfalls become apparent from such an analysis and need to be avoided.
Once the SWOT data is compiled it can be used in the above ways to form useful business strategies, focus areas to work upon. It can be used in different stages of a business so that one can explore the different opportunities and improve the process of decision making.
Examples of Small Businesses Conducting a SWOT Analysis
When you are planning a startup, you need to consider SWOT analysis . There would be obvious reasons to start it that would entail expertise in having run a similar enterprise, availability of retail space, lucrative business options. Weaknesses will comprise of competitors in the segment, high rentals, lack of experience of the entrepreneur if you are doing it for the first time. Opportunities would determine the potential clientele and demand for the products to be sold, whereas threats would comprise of any obstacles that one might face in setting up the retail store.
If you are going to set up a tutorial center, you need to have the necessary credentials and a pool of students. To begin with, these would comprise the strength of the startup. Weaknesses would be an uncertain flow of students to the center, inadequate infrastructure to accommodate students or the right number of teachers not available. Opportunities would involve flexible work schedules and the opportunity to engage more teachers and students. Threats could be competitor tutorials in the region.
Here are 4 small business examples and how SWOT analysis method applies to each:
3.1 SWOT Analysis of a Brewery Setup
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Strengths are analyzed to be capital stock, management expertise and marketing strategies that have been formed. Weaknesses include needing to invest in the right technology for forming a microbrewery. Opportunities include a growing market for novel brews that brings in crowds to most microbreweries. The niche identified is lucrative in terms of government support as well.
3.2 SWOT Analysis of a Startup of Vintage Hats
Here the strengths include the expertise of creating unique and quality hats; the capital requirement is low and expertise of the founder. Weaknesses would be a competitive retail and mass production market. Opportunities for such a business would be a choice of the right retail location as well as innovative marketing approaches as well as partnerships. Threats would comprise of a narrow product range.
3.3 SWOT Analysis of a Medical Supplies Business Startup
Strength would include a niche with a patented technology that is FDA approved. At the same time, such a business requires potential funding and can be a high cost which is weaknesses. Opportunities include an untapped market with growth in demand. Threats could come in from competition and price reduction.
3.4 SWOT Analysis of American TV Show - "2 Broke Girls"
This is an American televised sitcom aired between 2011 to 2017. The series was the production of Warner Bros Television and creators were Whitney Cummings and Michael Patrick King. The storyline involved the lives of two girlfriends, Caroline, and Max who end up working in a diner. Caroline comes from a wealthy background while Max had a poor upbringing; that brings in differing perspective in both. However, they work together at a dinner in New York City and plan to start a business of selling cupcakes.
SWOT analysis of the show can be done in the following ways:
- Sitcom with two attractive girl waitresses guaranteed viewers.
- Smart dialogues and funny scenes kept up attention.
- The on-screen chemistry between the two lead girl characters was great.
- Characters had limited versatility.
- Show theme or plot could not progress beyond a point.
- Unique show theme separated it from other shows.
- Different circumstances in each season or the episode kept up novelty factor.
- The novelty of the theme wore off.
- Competing for new shows came up.
- Many criticized stereotype humor that was portrayed repeatedly.
- Some said that it was sexualized humor.
With the above analysis, it becomes evident that the show had limited potential for growth. It was taken through six seasons in total after which its production was stopped.
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Tips and Suggestions to Make a Better SWOT Analysis
Those who wish to use this analytical method for better decision making needs to do the following:
- Leverage on the strengths.
- Avoid pitfalls or set up barriers to threats.
- Workaround weaknesses.
- Prepare for trends to plan growth accordingly.
Besides, using a SWOT analysis maker like EdrawMax will help you save a lot of time and improve your work efficiency.
Discover More SWOT Analysis Templates
Select one of the following SWOT analysis templates and start doing your own analysis right away. All of them are editable and free.
Personal SWOT Analysis
Business Reframing Matrix
Impact and Effort Matrix
3D Personal SWOT
Marketing Ansoff Matrix
Disney SWOT Analysis
SWOT analysis is a useful tool, especially for a business startup entrepreneur. Even after the initial stage of strategies and planning one can use this tool to analyze different stages of a business.
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10+ Business Plan SWOT Analysis Template – PDF
All sample plans start with an analysis of the situation. If that plan involves a business, the planning process usually begins with the said business taking a stock of their situation. One method of analysis for any business is the SWOT analysis. Whether it be for strategic plans, operational plans , or business plan, the SWOT analysis will surely come through.
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Uses of SWOT Analysis
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4. Strategy Building
5. matching and converting, 6. corporate planning.
- Set objectives
- Scan the environment
- Analyze existing strategies
- Define strategic issues
- Develop new/revised strategies
- Establish critical success factors
- Prepare plans (strategy, operational, resource, project) for the implementation of the strategy
- Monitor results
- Qualitative marketing research (focus groups)
- Quantitative marketing research (statistical surveys)
- Experimental techniques (test markets)
- Observational techniques (on-site observations)
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