SWOT Analysis

What is SWOT Analysis?

SWOT analysis is a tool for analyzing an organization and its environment. A sort of scan of the organization.

SWOT is an acronym that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

Strengths What an organization can do well 
WeaknessesWhat an organization cannot do or does poorly
OpportunitiesPotential favorable conditions for an organization
ThreatsPotential unfavorable conditions for an organization

Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors. Opportunities and threats are external factors.

How to Do It

SWOT analysis is a very popular technique because it is quick and easy to learn. To do it:

Divide a white board into four quarters.


Brainstorm to find out the strengths and weaknesses of your organization and the opportunities and threats you face.

Write down the results in the relevant quarters.

Some Basic Questions

Here are some typical questions to help you bring out the answers you need to fill a SWOT analysis worksheet. Of course, you can also ask other questions related to your type of work.

What do you do well?
What do you do better than anyone else?
What advantages do you have?
What makes you different from the competition?
What unique resources can you draw on?
What do others see as your strengths?
What do you do badly?
What could you improve?
What should you avoid?
In what areas are your competitors doing better?
Where do you have fewer resources than others?
What are others likely to see as weaknesses?
Where are the good opportunities that are open to you?
What are the interesting trends that you could take advantage of?
How can you turn your strengths into opportunities?
What obstacles do you face? 
What trends could harm you? 
What are the competitors doing? 
What threats do your weaknesses expose you to?
Could any of your weaknesses seriously threaten you?

Keys to Effective SWOT Analysis

Look at the situation as it is, not as you want it be be. Consider what is, not what ought to be.  

Be candid and honest about the strengths and weaknesses of your organization. It is better to face unpleasant truths today than to allow problems to grow worse. There is no room for complacency in this kind of exercise.

Communicate your ideas in a few words. Avoid verbosity.

Write down the results on the SWOT analysis worksheet in a clear and concise manner.

The Place of SWOT Analysis in the Planning Process

SWOT analysis is commonly used in the first step of the planning process.

SWOT analysis will help you understand your organization better. When you come to set your objectives later, you will need to find ways to:

  • Build on your strengths.
  • Strengthen your weak areas.
  • Take action to minimize threats.
  • And ensure that you seize opportunities.
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