Anyone that knows or has worked with me in the past understands that I am a HUGE fan of a SWOT Analysis. I believe it to be one of the most effective and under-used resources a business can access.

A SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool that helps organizations identify their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. By conducting a SWOT analysis, businesses can develop a better understanding of their internal and external environment, which can then inform their decision-making and strategic planning processes. In this post, I will provide a step-by-step guide to conducting a SWOT analysis.

Step 1: Define Your Objectives

Before you start your SWOT analysis, you need to define your objectives. What do you want to achieve with the analysis? What questions do you want to answer? Some examples of objectives might include:

  • Identifying opportunities for growth
  • Evaluating the competition
  • Assessing internal weaknesses that need to be addressed
  • Identifying potential threats to the organization

By defining your objectives upfront, you’ll be able to tailor your SWOT analysis to meet your specific needs.

The SWOT AnalysisStep 2: Identify Your Strengths

The first step in conducting a SWOT analysis is to identify your organization’s strengths. Strengths are the internal attributes that give your organization an advantage over others. Some examples of strengths might include:

  • Strong brand recognition
  • Experienced and talented employees
  • Proprietary technology or intellectual property
  • Strong financial position

To identify your strengths, ask yourself what your organization does better than anyone else. You can also solicit input from employees, customers, and other stakeholders to get a broader perspective.

Step 3: Identify Your Weaknesses

The next step is to identify your organization’s weaknesses. Weaknesses are the internal attributes that put your organization at a disadvantage compared to others. Some examples of weaknesses might include:

  • Lack of brand recognition
  • High employee turnover
  • Outdated technology or processes
  • Limited financial resources

To identify your weaknesses, ask yourself what your organization could improve upon. Again, you can also solicit input from others to get a more comprehensive view.

Step 4: Identify Your Opportunities

The third step is to identify your organization’s opportunities. Opportunities are external factors that your organization could take advantage of to achieve its objectives. Some examples of opportunities might include:

  • Emerging markets
  • Technological advancements
  • Changes in regulations or policies
  • Strategic partnerships

To identify your opportunities, consider trends in your industry, changes in the economy, and any other external factors that could create opportunities for your organization.

Step 5: Identify Your Threats

Finally you need to identify your organization’s threats. Threats are external factors that could prevent your organization from achieving its objectives. Some examples of threats might include:

  • Competition from established companies
  • Economic downturns
  • Changes in consumer preferences
  • Negative media attention

To identify your threats, consider factors that could negatively impact your organization’s performance or reputation.

Step 6: Analyze Your SWOT Matrix

Once you’ve identified your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, you can organize them in a SWOT matrix. This is a simple chart that allows you to see how your internal and external environment align with your objectives. To create a SWOT matrix, simply divide a piece of paper into four quadrants and label them as follows:

  • Strengths (top left quadrant)
  • Weaknesses (top right quadrant)
  • Opportunities (bottom left quadrant)
  • Threats (bottom right quadrant)

Next, populate each quadrant with the relevant information you’ve gathered. Finally, analyze your SWOT matrix to identify patterns and connections between the different factors. For example, you may identify opportunities that could help address weaknesses or threats that could impact your strengths.

Create a plan. Don’t just look at the chart. Develop a strategy and implement – take action. Do this again in 90 days. We urge companies to do this on a quarterly basis and take it very seriously.

Dennis Lynn
Inbound Solutions Group