http://sbt-test.azurewebsites.net/articles/b/swot-analysis-templates

SWOT Analysis

By Nathanael Okhuysen

Look for other articles in the Business Resources section.

What is a SWOT Analysis?

When making strategic decisions, there are a lot of factors to consider. It is easy to become overwhelmed by related circumstances, options, and data. A SWOT analysis, or SWOT matrix, is a decision-making framework for focusing on strategically important elements in this jumble. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. These four categories describe whether an aspect of the decision is negative or positive, and whether it is external or internal to the organization. A thorough SWOT analysis can be the backbone of sound strategic planning.


DEFINITION EXAMPLE
S Strengths
Qualities or assets within the organization which are beneficial
  • ”Operations in more than 40 countries.”
  • ”Development costs under $50k.”
  • ”Dried fruits and nuts are varied and of high quality.”
W Weaknesses
Qualities or liabilities within the organization which are detrimental
  • ”Recent recalls have damaged sales and brand equity.”
  • ”Update required every six months.”
  • ”Total lack of certification systems.”
O Opportunities
Actual or potential conditions which are to the organization's advantage
  • ”Rationalizing global retail network would reduce expenses.”
  • ”No known competitors.”
  • ”Largest raisin market, which commands .05% above average commodity prices.”
T Threats
Actual or potential conditions that negatively impact the organization
  • ”Higher minimum wages affect operating margins.”
  • ”Could be completely shut out by social networks, with no redress.”
  • ”Prospective location is lowest rank dried fruit & nut supplier country.”

These four categories can be arranged in a 2x2 matrix for easy contrasts. Notice the internal/external and positive/negative relationships between each cell in the SWOT analysis example below.

Start My Free Business Trial

How to Make a SWOT Analysis

A good SWOT analysis starts with asking the right questions. Below is a template to get you started on your own SWOT analysis. As you complete it, try asking yourself the following questions, and visualize the most salient answer to each in the appropriate cell. Feel free to brainstorm as much as you can, but try to focus on four or five items for each quadrant. Also, stay specific and concrete, avoiding vague statements. For example:

  • Avoid: We have lots of experience.

  • Instead use: We have manufactured and shipped widgets domestically for 10 years.

  • Strengths

    (Positive, Internal)


    Weaknesses

    (Negative, Internal)


    Opportunities

    (Positive, External)


    Threats

    (Negative, External)

    Start My Free Business Trial

    Further Reading

    SWOT analysis was popularized by Albert Humphrey in the 1960s. Since the, many applications and variations have sprung up. Michael Porter’s “Five Forces” from Competitive Strategy and PEST analysis can help explore environmental factors that might compose Opportunities or Threats.

    Heinz Weihrich reversed the order of analysis into a TOWS matrix as a way to efficiently implement strategies analyzed by SWOT. In a TOWS analysis, the SWOT elements are paired to reveal ways that strengths can exploit opportunities and minimize threats, while weaknesses can be identified to avoid pitfalls and leverage opportunities to compensate for them.

    The roots of SWOT analysis can arguably be traced as far back as Sun Tzu’s Art of War, especially in his declaration: “If you know the enemy and know yourself, your victory will not stand in doubt; if you know Heaven and know Earth, you may make your victory complete.” Sun Tzu is exhorting leaders to know not only their own strengths and weaknesses, but also opportunities and threats presented by the enemy, the weather (the heavens), and terrain (the earth).




    Start My Free Business Trial

    Help Share Storyboard That!

    Looking for More?

    Check out the rest of our Business Articles and Resources!

    All Business Resources | Product Development | Negotiation | Business Frameworks | Film and Video Resources

    Start My Free Trial
    Want a Free Trial? Learn More about our Business Edition     Start My Free Trial
    http://sbt-test.azurewebsites.net/articles/b/swot-analysis-templates
    © 2017 - Clever Prototypes, LLC - All rights reserved.
    Explore Our Articles and Examples

    Try Our Other Websites!

    Photos for Class – Search for School-Safe, Creative Commons Photos! (It Even Cites for You!)
    Quick Rubric – Easily Make and Share Great Looking Rubrics!
    Prefer a different language?

    •   (English) SWOT Analysis   •   (Español) Análisis FODA   •   (Français) Analyse SWOT   •   (Deutsch) SWOT-Analyse   •   (Italiana) SWOT Analysis   •   (Nederlands) SWOT-analyse   •   (Português) Análise SWOT   •   (עברית) ניתוח SWOT   •   (العَرَبِيَّة) تحليل SWOT   •   (हिन्दी) स्वोट अनालिसिस   •   (ру́сский язы́к) Анализ SWOT   •   (Dansk) SWOT-analyse   •   (Svenska) SWOT-analys   •   (Suomi) SWOT-analyysi   •   (Norsk) SWOT-analyse   •   (Türkçe) SWOT Analizi   •   (Polski) Analiza SWOT   •   (Româna) Analiza SWOT   •   (Ceština) SWOT Analýza   •   (Slovenský) SWOT Analýza   •   (Magyar) SWOT Analízis   •   (Hrvatski) SWOT Analiza   •   (български) SWOT Анализ   •   (Lietuvos) SSGG Analizė   •   (Slovenščina) Analiza SWOT   •   (Latvijas) SVID Analīze   •   (eesti) SWOT Analüüs