30 ‘Condiments’ of Business Success
Condiment 7: Business SWOT Analysis
SWOT analysis (alternatively SWOT matrix ) is an
acronym for strengths , weaknesses , opportunities , and
threats and is a structured planning method that evaluates those four elements of an organization,
project or business venture. A SWOT analysis can be carried out for a company, product, place, industry, or person. It involves specifying the objective of the business venture or project and identifying the internal and external factors that are favorable and unfavorable to achieve that objective. *1
SWOT analysis aims to identify the key internal and external factors seen as important to achieving an objective. SWOT analysis groups key pieces of information into two main categories:
1. Internal factors – the strengths and
weaknesses internal to the organization
2. External factors – the opportunities and
threats presented by the environment external to the organization.
Strengths: characteristics of the business or project that give it an advantage over others.
What advantages does your organization have?
What do you do better than anyone else?
What unique or lowest-cost resources can you draw upon that others can’t?
What do people in your market see as your strengths?
What factors mean that you “get the sale”?
What is your organization’s Unique Selling Proposition
Weaknesses: characteristics of the business that place the business or project at a disadvantage relative to others.
What could you improve?
What should you avoid?
What are people in your market likely to see as weaknesses?
What factors lose you sales?
Opportunities: elements in the environment that the business or project could exploit to its advantage.
What good opportunities can you spot?
What interesting trends are you aware of?
Useful opportunities can come from such things as:
Changes in technology and markets on both a broad and narrow scale.
Changes in government policy related to your field.
Changes in social patterns, population profiles, lifestyle changes, and so on.
Threats: elements in the environment that could cause trouble for the business or project.
What obstacles do you face?
What are your competitors doing?
Are quality standards or specifications for your job, products or services changing?
Is changing technology threatening your position?
Do you have bad debt or cash-flow problems?
Could any of your weaknesses seriously threaten your business?