Marketing Strategy

What is SWOT?

SWOT is an acronym that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, & Threats.

SWOT evaluation is a methodological device designed to help people and corporations optimize overall performance, maximize potential, control competition, and minimize hazard. SWOT is set making higher selections, each huge and small. It permit you to decide the efficacy of something as small as introducing a brand new product or service or something as massive as a merger or acquisition. Again, SWOT is a way that, once mastered, can only decorate overall performance.

A Brief History of SWOT

SWOT Analysis turned into the product of a decade of studies at the Stanford Research Institute between 1960-1970. By the late-1950s, many American Corporations had grown annoyed that their enormous economic investments in strategic business planning had did not produce suitable consequences. So, in 1960 a number of these agencies initiated a assignment at Stanford to expand a better method for strategic making plans. The end result became SWOT.

Conducting a SWOT Analysis

When to Conduct a SWOT Analysis

When need to you behavior a SWOT evaluation? There are endless situations in which a SWOT evaluation will prove beneficial.

Do you want to explore the efficacy of a new project, product, acquisition, or merger?

Are you inquisitive about figuring out answers to deal with a particular trouble for your business?

Do you want to re-compare a selected approach mid-path?

Does your enterprise have a big amount of surplus coins and wishes to discern out how to invest the price range?

Alternatively, if you are a non-income, or governmental organization, have you ever acquired a big grant, donation, or growth in funding, and want to decide how to make investments the capital?

Have a variety of of recent competition entered your marketplace? Does your corporation need to re-investigate how to move forward inside your commercial enterprise nexus?

Does your corporation need to pick out its significant brand message or social assignment?

If any of these questions communicate to your agency’s wishes, a SWOT evaluation can extensively assist.

Ultimately, if it is useful to re-examine your function within your market area of interest (Weaknesses, Threats from competitors) and identify your core benefits (Strengths) and decide how the ones can open new regions of boom (Opportunities), a SWOT Analysis will prove an asset.

Why Conduct a SWOT Analysis?

Why SWOT it out? A SWOT analysis offers agencies with an possibility to as it should be determine their function of their specific market or discipline. As the Kansas University Work Group For Community Health And Development writes, “Developing a complete focus of your scenario can assist with each strategic making plans and decision-making.”

A SWOT analysis, which offers “simplicity and alertness to a whole lot of tiers of operation,” is an ideal manner to increase such cognizance, which can then be used to craft a sound strategy that capitalizes on an business enterprise’s internal strengths and external opportunities, whilst concurrently addressing (inner) weaknesses and (outside) threats. Moreover, although “firstly developed for enterprise and industry,” SWOT Analysis “is similarly useful in the paintings of community fitness and improvement, schooling, and even personal increase.”

S.W.O.T. – Breaking Down the Components of SWOT

Once you’ve got recognized the issue of your SWOT analysis, it’s time to begin. SWOT includes four components–Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. These 4 components are organized intocategories–inner and external. That is, appearance internally for Strengths and Weaknesses, and appearance externally for Opportunities and Threats.


Once you have diagnosed the situation of your evaluation (e.g. should we upload x product to our lineup?), it’s time to become aware of your strengths. Quality and reliability, for instance, need to continually be strengths for any enterprise. More especially, Charlie Ioannou defines strengths as “the assets and talents that may be used to increase a aggressive benefit” (Ioannue, SWOT Analysis – An Easy to Understand Guide, forty seven-49).

This brings us to possibly the most essential thing of the Strengths evaluation: it is imperative which you analyze your strengths(and weaknesses) on the subject of your competition. In other phrases, what are the specific functions of your agency–a nicely-hooked up company with mounted brand trust, decrease production costs, superior customer service, stronger web presence, etc.–with the intention to offer a aggressive advantage? Identify those and you have diagnosed your strengths.


Now identify your weaknesses. The more sincere you are right here the higher. One manner to think of weak spot is the absence of electricity. Therefore, the objects of your enterprise model you probably did now not identify as strengths above are the primary location to search for weaknesses. Cash glide, logo reputation, advertising budgets, distribution networks, age of your enterprise, and so on. are all locations to don’t forget whilst assessing weaknesses. The idea right here is that you may turn those weaknesses into strengths. Doing so, but, calls for an sincere assessment of wherein your enterprise needs to enhance.

Now which you’ve regarded internally for Strengths and Weaknesses, its time to look externally for Opportunities and Threats. Opportunities and Threats have interaction similarly to Strengths and Weaknesses. That is, they draw on similar dynamics (outside ones, in this case) to evaluate whether the ones create opportunities or threats for your enterprise.


Here is in which you identify the opportunities for increase, extra earnings, and larger market percentage. Again, assessing opportunity when it comes to competition is imperative. What possibilities are there a good way to distinguish your business enterprise out of your competition? What opportunities are you able to become aware of to offer a similar service or product at a better first-rate or at a decrease rate than your competition? What are the needs of your customers that your area does not presently cope with?

Technology is an outside element that continually offers new possibilities and, as we will see, new threats. What technological improvements open up new possibilities on your business to lower prices, accelerate production, marketplace extra correctly, or improve customer service?

The key with Opportunities is that they should be acted on. Remember, if you do not act your competition will.


Lastly, in which regions is your enterprise at chance? Is your competitor growing a product to compete with certainly one of yours? Is there a new or larger organization poaching your exceptional personnel? These are all threats in your commercial enterprise.

The Harvard Business Reviews defines “Threats” as “feasible activities or forces outside of your manage that your business enterprise or unit wishes to plan for or determine how to mitigate.”

What about new law? Does a new regulation or proposed regulation threaten your production expenses? What approximately new tax legal guidelines? A sure to any of those equals a threat.

Lastly, simply as technological innovation may also offer an possibility, it may also issue a hazard.

Threats to the commercial enterprise now encompass lawsuits over coverage liability, regulation offering banning the service, and better earnings-margins at competing companies.

Putting Your SWOT into Action

Choosing an motion plan after a SWOT evaluation is a complex procedure that is unique to each decision in each organization. However, there’s a trendy philosophy concerning how to method action with the effects of a SWOT. Here it’s miles:

Another important issue to take into account is that the cause of a SWOT analysis is to evaluate your agency’s contemporary position. Therefore, as the University of Kansas encourages, use your SWOT to look for a “stretch,” now not just a “match.” SWOT’s are regularly improperly used to justify complacency and confirm current practices. If you’re carrying out a SWOT to identify regions of need and/or growth, it is imperative you operate the evaluation to diagnose where you can “stretch.”

SWOT Examples From Various Industries

Below are descriptions of and hyperlinks to a series of SWOT analyses in a variety of industries to assist get you started out:

Tech Start-Up

Here are two Uber SWOTs.

SWOT Analysis for Uber 1

SWOT Analysis for Uber 2

We drew from the first in our example above. The 2d, is driven by the subsequent questions: “Is Uber organized to rule the delivery international in 2015?.” What does Uber’s destiny appear like? “Should they enlarge similarly without decreasing the effect of weaknesses that they’re already aware of or will Uber’s enlargement be held up via surrounding threats?”

Uber’s low value, limitless fleet of vehicles, convenience of use and versatility of motive force schedule are a number of its key strengths. Its unpredictable patron extent and the ease of imitation make up vital weaknesses. That Uber’s offerings are only supplied in a handful of metropolitan regions affords full-size possibilities in suburbs and untapped towns. Lawsuits and proposed rules to prohibit the provider in positive towns, moreover, comprise Uber’s maximum severe threats.


Here are two SWOTs from essential film businesses. In the primary, Warner Brothers Entertainment performed this SWOT in 2004 after their President decided to re-examine the organisation’s technique to movie production in light of the popularity of massive-budget “blockbusters.”

Warner Brother’s brand popularity, size, and cash reserves had been apparent strengths, even as the fluid and subjective procedure of purchasing scripts and green-lighting films, in addition to unpredictable film budgets and production timelines made up key weaknesses. Growing audiences abroad supplied the maximum substantial possibility, whilst upstart movie businesses and piracy posed good sized threats.

In the second one example, DreamWorks Animation explores distribution alternatives in mild of the recognition of the organization’s 3-D films. Written towards the backdrop of the Great Recession, the SWOT Analysis targeted on whether the possibilities provided via producing all movies in 3D from inception may want to counteract the threats of a popular monetary downturn, which was miserable normal field workplace receipts. DreamWorks had the capability to take gain of the opportunity in 3D movie production due to its two crucial strengths: a massive lively movie stock, inclusive of the Shrek franchise, and an appealing paintings surroundings for creatives. Capitalizing at the increasing opportunity of the 3-d film marketplace in a a success manner might permit DreamWorks to overcome at the least one among its predominant weaknesses: a sinking inventory price, brought on by way of the downturn at the box office.

SWOT Analysis for Warner Brothers Entertainment PDF

SWOT Analysis for DreamWorks


Yahoo! Sports columnist Glenn Logan finished this SWOT evaluation of the University of Kentucky’s Men’s Basketball Team at the conclusion of the 2014-2015 pre-season so that it will check the group’s probabilities to win the NCAA National Title.

As Logan assessed, Kentucky’s size, depth, and unselfish play were its largest strengths whilst unfastened-throw and 3-factor taking pictures a number of its greatest weaknesses. Surveying the rest of the NCAA panorama, Logan concluded UK’s tough out-of-convention schedule along side its international pre-season tournament experience afforded particular opportunities to gain beneficial enjoy for a deep run in March, while young people and harm posed their biggest threats.

Kentucky Basketball: A SWOT Analysis Post-Bahamas


The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission posted a SWOT worksheet in advance of a Webinar on their Open Government software. In this situation, SWOT provided an opportunity for employees to brainstorm and prepare their exams of the program in advance of the extra thorough evaluation of the Open Government on the Webinar.

For the NRC’s Open Government software, the live feeds of meetings and weblog casts create transparency and accessibility for visitors and personnel. In terms of weaknesses, the incredibly convoluted website made it difficult to discover positive facts. Employees recognized social media–Twitter, Facebook, and so forth.–as regions of possibility and the issue of balancing transparency at the same time as preserving full public self belief as a extensive danger.

SWOT Analysis Worksheet Preliminary Input for the Open Governement Stakeholder Feedback Meeting PDF

Small Business

Lastly, right here areexamples of SWOTs for small businesses. The first instance discusses the restaurant enterprise and the second one the development enterprise, While these examples do not check with unique organizations, they although offer insightful statistics at the specifics of SWOTs in their respective industries.

For a restaurant, top notch food, fee, taste, and customer support are all areas to search for strengths. These regions also can display weaknesses. Could your customer support enhance? Are your charges aggressive? Is your meals scrumptious? Adding on line ordering or transport carrier may offer an possibility to generate new enterprise, at the same time as new competing eating places and changes to the fee of meals (e.g. a rise within the fee of fish) pose areas of threat.

In production, a depended on and reliable brand call as well as a steady capacity to complete paintings on agenda are fundamental strengths. Conversely, delays or the incapacity to perform positive work are weaknesses. In phrases of recent possibilities, do not forget examining your town’s plans to amplify public transportation and the way such an expansion provides new possibility for business and home production. As the housing bubble tested, fluctuations within the housing market pose the largest threat (or possibility in instances of financial growth).

Sample of a SWOT Analysis for a Restaurant

SWOT Analysis Tools for Construction Companies

From SWOT to TOWS? Flipping The Script To Maximize Results

Are we SWOTing all incorrect? There is a faculty of concept, discovered regularly within the Harvard Business Review, as an instance,that insists this method produces more effective results when finished backwards–TOWS as opposed to SWOT. Here’s Michael Watkins, cofounder of Genesis Advisors, in HBR:

I could introduce the [SWOT] tool, then ask the crew to cognizance on figuring out organizational strengths and weaknesses, and end up in summary, navel-watching discussions approximately “what are we right at” and “what are we horrific at.”

I decided to test with strolling the method inside the reverse order and become amazed on the distinction. Teams had been able to have centered, efficient discussions about what become taking place within the external surroundings, and to hastily identify rising threats and opportunities. This supplied a solid foundation for speaking about weaknesses and strengths. Do we have weaknesses that depart us at risk of rising threats? Do we have (or can we acquire) strengths that enable us to pursue emerging opportunities?

We advise you experiment with both. Try it frontwards and backwards and figure out which ends paintings excellent to your crew.

SWOT Templates

We can help you get began. Select a template underneath and start reading your enterprise.

Further Reading

Fine, Lawrence.The SWOT Analysis. (2011)

Ioannou, Charlie. SWOT Analysis: An Easy to Understand Guide. (2012)

SWOT Analysis I: Looking Outside for Threats and Opportunities. Harvard Business School Press.(2005)

SWOT Analysis II: Looking Inside for Strengths and Weaknesses. Harvard Business School Press.(2005)

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