Get to know each element in a SWOT analysis
SWOT analysis is a technique used to define and determine the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats your business has.
SWOT analysis can be applied to all types of companies or organizations, individual projects, or projects within a department. Generally, a SWOT analysis is used to find out how far along a business is when compared to growth projections and success benchmarks.
Dissecting the SWOT Analysis Process
We know that SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats – but what do each of these elements mean? Here is the full explanation.
As you may have guessed, this element discusses the things that are the advantages of your business. This can be something intangible, such as your brand identity, or something more easily defined like the unique selling point of your product (unique selling proposition). This can also be your team, strong leadership, or a great technical team.
The following points can guide you in determining the strength of your business:
• Something your business does well.
• The qualities that set you aside from the competition.
• Internal resources such as the skills and competencies of your staff.
• Tangible assets such as intellectual property, capital, technology, and so on.
After knowing your strengths, it’s time to find out what weaknesses your business has. What things are holding back your business? This element can include issues such as shortages of competent staff, and budget constraints.
Some points that can help you determine business weaknesses are as follows:
• Things your company lacks/doesn’t have.
• Your competitors do better than your business.
• Limited resources.
• Unclear unique selling points.
Next up are opportunities. Can’t reach the number of leads targeted by your marketing team? This is an opportunity. Does your business develop new innovative ideas and opportunities to open new markets? This is also an opportunity.
In short, this element encompasses anything in your business that could be improved. Here are a few points that can help you determine your odds:
• Little competition for business in your niche.
• Certain products that are not well served.
• Increased demand for your product or service.
• Press or media coverage of your business.
The final element of a SWOT analysis is threats. Anything that poses a risk to the business, its likelihood of success or growth.
This can include things like emerging competitors, changes in laws, financial risks, and almost anything else that could potentially jeopardize the future of your business.
Here are some important points to consider:
• An emerging competitor.
• Changes to laws that affect your business.
• Negative news or coverage.
• Changes in consumer behavior in your business.
• Anything else that can threaten your business.
Internal and External Factors
The four elements above are the most common means of a SWOT analysis. However, many companies divide these elements into two distinct subgroups: internal and external.
Usually, Strengths (S) and Weaknesses (W) are considered internal factors, as all of the factors are under the control of your company or team.
While Opportunity (O) is highly influenced by external factors such as changing trends and new market niches that have not been touched by other businesses – because you cannot control the trend or create a new market niche, (O) is categorized as an external factor.
Likewise, emerging competitors, for example, would be categorized as Threat (T) in a SWOT analysis, but since there is not much you can do about this, these factors are categorized as external factors.
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