How to Carry Out a SWOT Analysis

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A SWOT analysis requires close teamwork.
A SWOT analysis requires close teamwork. (Image: Team work image by huaxiadragon from Fotolia.com)

"SWOT" stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. A SWOT analysis allows you to assess whether an objective is worth pursuing and if you have the resources available to work towards it effectively. Performing a SWOT analysis can save a business time, effort and money by avoiding the pursuit of an unreachable goal.

Divide a piece of paper or blank computer document into four quarters with one horizontal line and one vertical line. Label each quarter "Strengths," "Weaknesses," "Opportunities" and "Threats."

Write down all the strengths of your plan in the corresponding section, such as brand recognition, product quality and the resources you have available within your workforce. These strengths relate only to the internal workings of the organization; do not take into account any external influences.

Honestly analyze in the "Weaknesses" quadrant any weaknesses that your plan has, such as a shortage of labor or a lack of quality management. Identifying shortcomings allows you to take steps to overcome them.

List any external opportunities in the corresponding quadrant that could assist you in the success of your objective. For example, you might be targeting a niche in the market that is still untapped. List all opportunistic factors that could make your product work.

Write down any external threats that could jeopardize the success of your product. For example, the market might already be saturated with similar products, or there could be a large competitor within the same industry who already has a strong market share. Listing these threats can help you work out how to manage them.

Study your SWOT analysis to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of your objective. Determine whether the threats and weaknesses can be overcome. Then decide to pursue, alter or abandon the goal.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always be honest when carrying out a SWOT analysis.

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