How to do a SWOT Analysis (With Template)
By knowing your strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities you can create more targeted strategies and be more efficient in growing your business
Conducting a SWOT analysis is a good way to have at hand vital information to evaluate your company, project, department, campaign, brand, etc… By using the SWOT analysis you can assess your business’s current situation and decide on any new strategies.
By reviewing the internal and external aspects that affect your brand you can prepare better for every situation. By exploiting your strengths, improving on your weaknesses, take advantage of opportunities and prepare for threats.
Let’s take a look at how to do a SWOT for your business and at the end, you can download a template to help you write your own.
What is a SWOT Analysis?
A SWOT Analysis consists of a 2×2 grid divided into two sections: internal, and external factors. On the internal factors, there are Strengths and Weaknesses, and these focus on aspects that you can control about your business. On the external factors goes the Opportunities and Threats, these are aspects outside of your business that can affect you or you can take advantage of.
SWOT is an acronym that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, a SWOT Analysis or SWOT Matrix is a 2×2 grid that helps you visualize important aspects of your business to better prepare your strategies and tactics.
A SWOT Analysis helps you make the most of what you’ve got. It also helps you reduce your chances of failure, by understanding what your business is lacking and preventing hazards that would otherwise catch you unaware.
It also helps you craft a strategy that would put you in front of your competitors and successfully compete in your market.
How to do a SWOT Analysis
You start by drawing the SWOT Analysis matrix, which is a 2×2 grid, with one square for each of the four SWOT aspects. Alternatively, you can download our free fillable template or you can follow this image:
Set up a team meeting with different functions and levels within your company. Tackle each section by brainstorming and writing down every aspect of your business within the correct section.
Let’s look at where do the aspects belong by analyzing each section and answering some questions that will help you come up with aspects of your business.
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Strengths are things that your business does well or does in a way that sets you apart from your competitors. These are the advantages your company has over other businesses in your market. These could be better prices, higher quality, better customer service, strategic location, strong processes.
The strengths are internal, so having your team help with these aspects is vital to finding everything that works as a strength in your company. But as you view your company from the inside also try to view your business from your competitor’s perspective. What would they write as a strength that you have over them? Another good perspective is viewing your strengths from your client’s perspective. What would make them buy from your business instead of your competitor’s?
Here are some questions to help you find your business’s strengths:
- What do we do best?
- What unique knowledge, talent, or resources we have?
- What advantages do we have?
- What do other people say we do well?
A SWOT Analysis has to be objective so thinking about what your company’s weaknesses are can be hard. So it’s better to take a deep look at your business and find the things that are not working on your business.
Weaknesses, like strengths, are internal aspects of your company so focus on your people, resources, systems, and processes. Think about things that you can improve on or things that are lacking in your business.
As with your strengths, you should review every perspective to really find what are your company’s weaknesses.
Here are some questions to help you find your business’s weaknesses:
- What could we improve?
- What knowledge, talent, skills and/or resources are we lacking?
- What disadvantages do we have?
- What do other people say we don’t do well?
Opportunities are external factors. They are openings or chances for something positive to happen, but you have to take good advantage of them.
Opportunities arise from situations outside of your business and require educated guesswork to things that might happen in the future. There may be improvements in the technology you use for your business, developments or changes in your market, new locations, etc. Being able to spot and exploit opportunities makes a huge difference in your business’s ability to compete and take the lead in your market.
Think about opportunities that you can spot immediately, they don’t have to be big opportunities, small advantages can increase your competitiveness.
A good source of opportunities can be changes in your environment, and reading and staying up to date with news, articles, and magazines can help you identify opportunities.
Here are some questions to help you find your business’s opportunities:
- How can we turn our strengths into opportunities?
- How can we turn our weaknesses into opportunities?
- Is there a need in our market that no one is meeting?
- What can we do today that isn’t being done?
Threats are external factors that negatively affect your business. Such as changes in the supply chain, changes in government policies, shifts in the market, shortage of staff. It is vital to anticipate threats and take action to prepare against them before they start affecting your business.
As with the opportunities you require a good eye for the future to analyze and predict negative things that might happen to your business or market. Having a team brainstorming different ideas and perspectives can help find these threats. List as many as you can but eliminate the ones that seem less possible. A good SWOT analysis is objective and realistic, if you have a large list for each section, your tactics and strategies may become too expensive.
Here are some questions to help you find your business’s threats:
- What obstacles do we face?
- Could any of our weaknesses prevent us from meeting our goals?
- Who and/or what might cause us problems in the future? How?
- Are there any standards, policies, and/or legislation changing that might impact us?
Download our free SWOT Analysis template
January 27, 2021