What is a SWOT analysis?
SWOT refers to a framework used in evaluating the competitive position of a business and developing strategic planning. In particular, when you conduct a SWOT analysis, you assess external and internal factors, future and current potentials of an organization. Therefore, a SWOT analysis is designed to facilitate a data-driven, fact-based and realistic look at the weaknesses and strengths of an organization.
What does SWOT stand for?
Refers to activities that a business performs better, the advantages an organization might have over competitors, and the unique resources that a team possesses. These are internal factors.
Refers to areas where a business can improve, areas the competitors might be performing better, and where an organization can use resources to boost productivity. These are internal factors.
Areas an organization can take advantage of. The areas can include any trends, new resources available, and the strengths that an organization has not adopted. However, opportunities are external factors since a firm cannot control them internally.
Threats refer to any issues that can negatively affect your business. You can easily get a sense of the threats to your business when you subject your business to market analysis.
Steps to Perform A Swot Analysis
Not sure how to do a SWOT analysis? Follow these steps:
Perform a thorough analysis
To conduct a comprehensive analysis, you will need to identify and list down the different factors which affect your business. After that, you can categorize the factors as threats, opportunities, weaknesses, and strengths.
Create a SWOT Matrix
After conducting a thorough analysis, you can print a blank SWOT analysis template below. If you don’t want to print a SWOT template, then can create a SWOT matrix by dividing a whiteboard or piece of paper into four quadrants. You can label the quadrants into strengths, weaknesses, opportunities you have found, and threats to the business.
SWOT Analysis Strengths
- What are we more efficient at?
- What can we do better than others?
- What makes us unique?
- Which of our products do customers like?
- What advantages do we have?
- Which unique talents do our workers have?
- What can we produce for less than our competitors?
- Which resources are available to us?
- What are our best revenue sources?
- What are our overall advantages?
- What are our core competencies?
SWOT Analysis Weaknesses
- What are we less efficient at?
- What do we do not as well as others?
- Which of our products do customers not like?
- What are the complaints we receive?
- Which of our products are faulty or don’t work as well as they should?
- What is more expensive for us to produce than our competitors?
- Where are we wasting time or money?
- What do our competitors do better than we do?
- What is preventing our growth?
- What is preventing us from improving?
SWOT Analysis Opportunities
- What are our customers’ needs?
- Which products in the market are not as good as they can be?
- Which needs are not being answered?
- Which products or services do not exist?
- What are new trends that have started or are expected to start?
SWOT Analysis Threats
- What are our customers’ changing needs?
- Which technologies do we use that might become obsolete?
- Which of our products might not be relevant or useful when changes occur in the market occur?
- Are there any laws, policies, or regulations that could change and threaten us in any way?
- Is there something in our organizational culture that prevents growth or improvement?
Design a final strategy
Finally, you can use the matrix established to design the final strategy based on the relationships of the factors that you have listed. For instance, you can focus on strengths by taking advantage of available opportunities. You can also plan so that you can avoid any potential weaknesses contributed by a specific threat. In the end, you can write down your policies and concentrate on the method that you can employ in implementing them. Here are some examples:
- Which products should we develop?
- Which products should we improve?
- Which new markets should we enter?
- How can we utilize our strengths?
- Which steps should we take to protect ourselves from threats?
Personal SWOT analysis example
Take a SWOT analysis example for a marketing manager in a leading firm. You might feel that you are doing great in your current role but at the same time feel that your performance might be better. In this case, your SWOT could look as follows.
- A client-centric attitude has to lead to success in past assignments, making it to earn the faith and trust of clients.
- The ability to contemplate objectively and ask questions assists you in identifying the best marketing strategy.
- You can communicate effectively with your clients and team members.
- Creativity is one of the aspects that you can boast about. In particular, your habit of looking at a broader picture assists you in devising different perspectives on the betterment of the client’s brand.
- Prioritizing your tasks involves one of the aspects that you should improve. Whenever you face the same level of urgency, you find it challenging to prioritize the task you can do first and last.
- Since you have the habit of delivering on time, you become stressed out because of the limited time and work volumes.
- The departmental marketing manager might be expected to go on maternity leave in a few weeks. Therefore, you will have an opportunity to learn and understand her work and handle her tasks for the period she will leave.
- You will be attending a marketing conference in the marketing industry. Therefore, you have a chance to meet several new people and increase your networking.
- One of the main competitors in the industry has suffered reputational damage due to poor services.
- Since the business has laid off some workers, you have an increased workload that has negatively affected your creativity.
- The performance of the business throughout the industry has become unfavorable for a decline in the global economic situations. Therefore, it has lead to slow business growth and laying off of the staff. Currently, your firm and most of the businesses are planning for layoffs.
- One of your colleagues has a better communication delivery style, and he competes with you regarding the next business strategy.
The analysis assists you in understanding the current situation and encourages you to approach your colleague regarding an opportunity that will arise when the marketing head proceeds on leave. In this case, you can suggest that you work collaboratively to cover your boss’s duties. The act of working as a team can help you to impressively and effectively serve clients. It will turn, offer you a competitive advantage over the customer service flaws of your competitor.
Business SWOT example
Here is a SWOT analysis example for a telecommunicate business.
- Innovation and the launch of new devices by the business make most people seek the products.
- Offering premium devices across different product lines is associated with a price that enables a business to generate a considerable profit margin for every device sold.
- Every customer takes pride in the telecommunication business due to its excellent performance, popularity, and solid brand image for an extended period.
- The telecommunication devices provided by the company are significantly costly than their competitors. Although the company sells most of its devices such as laptops and telephones to high- and middle-income brackets, most clients from lower-middle-income brackets are left out because of the high prices.
- The firm does not have an extensive distribution network as it selects it only chooses authorized sellers for its products. Therefore, the firm has a limited market reach.
- Most people seek the laptop and mobile phone devices provided by the company. Therefore, the continued rise in the demand for mobile phones will assist in increasing sales volumes.
- The business can increase its distribution network by laying strategies of increasing its authorized sellers globally.
- The current market is filled with the cut-throat competition when it comes to after-sales services and technology. The low-income bracket encompasses one of the main parts of the market, and they usually go for businesses with less costly products.
- An increase in the global cost of labor has lead to reduced products and triggered a rise in product selling prices.
SWOT is a powerful tool that can help you identify strengths, effectively handle the weaknesses, capitalize on opportunities and prevent threats. Most importantly, the SWOT analysis in this guide offers a clear view of personal and business situations.
SWOT Analysis Template
Free SWOT analysis template in different formats (image, Powerpoint, editable PDF and Excel spreadsheet).
Which SWOT template format is best for me?
SWOT analysis template Word doc
This format can be edited. You can also open this SWOT template with Google docs. If you want to write in the SWOT table with Word then click in the column and type. There is a text box in each column. If you don’t find it easily then simply add a new one. Go to Insert -> Text Box.
SWOT analysis template Powerpoint
This SWOT matric template is available in many different designs. It is very useful when you are going to present your SWOT analysis chart or SWOT diagram in a presentation or when you are just looking for a pretty chart.
SWOT analysis template Excel
Only two of the versions are available in Excel format. Some people feel most comfortable working with spreadsheets. If you are one of them then the Excel spreadsheet might work for you. You can also open it in Google Sheets. If you are not looking to specifically use a spreadsheet then the other versions will probably be better.
PDF Editable SWOT analysis template
This SWOT chart template can be edited with PDF reader. You can fill in the text inside the swot analysis table but you cannot make changes to the table. To make changes to the table, you would need to use any of the other formats.
Strategic Analysis Templates
If you need to do a SWOT analysis of a company and you don’t know where to start then these two templates will help you. The template explains what are strengths and weaknesses, what does opportunity mean and gives SWOT threats examples. Each section has a list of questions and examples to give you ideas to include in your analysis. The editable SWOT analysis template is in Word format so you can edit it freely.