Research-Methodology

SWOT Analysis

All business students are assigned to conduct SWOT analysis, usually at the earlier stages of their studies. This page focuses on the application of SWOT analysis in a business context as a part of academic assignments . This is a comprehensive SWOT resource and it contains an explanation of SWOT theory, an illustration of how to do a SWOT analysis and links to examples of SWOT analysis of major multinational brands. Moreover, SWOT analysis template further below can be used to generate SWOT tables of top multinational companies along a range of industries.

SWOT Analysis: Theory

SWOT is a strategic analytical tool for assessing strengths and weaknesses of a business, analyzing opportunities available to the business, as well as, threats faced by the business. SWOT analysis can be used at organizational and personal levels.

SWOT-Analysis

As it is illustrated below, strengths and weaknesses are internal, i.e. businesses are able to influence and to manipulate with their strengths and weaknesses. Opportunities and threats, on the other hand, are external. It means businesses can only react to opportunities and threats and they do not have any means to influence opportunities and threats.

SWOT analysis has important practical implications. Specifically, with findings of SWOT analysis in their hands, the senior level management identify and built upon their strengths, discover new opportunities and work upon eliminating or minimising threats to the business. Accordingly, SWOT can be a powerful aid for senior level management to develop appropriate strategy for the business.

As a strategic analytical tool, SWOT analysis has some weaknesses as well. Specifically, the application of this tool may encourage users to focus on quantity of factors, instead of focusing on a few, but the most powerful factors having the biggest impact on the business. In other words, SWOT analysis lacks guidance and provision in terms of differences in importance between factors. As a result weak strengths may appear to balance strong weaknesses.

How to do SWOT analysis

The majority of sources explaining SWOT analysis assume that their audience is businesses aiming to improve their operational efficiency. This SWOT analysis resource is different. It explains SWOT analysis assuming that you a business student and you have been assigned to conduct SWOT analysis as a part of your assignment.

How to do SWOT Analysis

You can conduct a SWOT analysis with the following four steps:

Step 1: Selecting a company

If your assignment requires conducting a SWOT analysis, you are either given a case study company by your educational institution or you are free to analyze a company of your own choice. In the first scenario, you have no option but to conduct a SWOT analysis of the company named in your assignment instructions. However, the majority of educational institutions provide students the flexibility to conduct SWOT analysis of a company of their own choice.

Students are often tempted to conduct SWOT analysis of their employer. Choosing your employer as a case study can be a good strategy if you have an access to detailed relevant information. Please note that only descriptive information would not suffice and you will have to justify your arguments by referring to relevant quantitative data. Therefore, if you are not able to find relevant quantitative data about your employer, your best choice could be to conduct SWOT analysis of a multinational enterprise. This is due to the availability of data about the majority multinational enterprises. This portal offers up-to-date sample SWOT analyses of the most famous multinational enterprises as part of company reports .

Step 2: Finding information

If you are conducting a SWOT analysis of a small or medium sized organization such as your employer, family business or a company you are related to in some ways, approaching the company directly may prove to be an efficient strategy to obtain required information. You may try to secure a meeting with a senior level manager and explain practical implications of your SWOT analysis for the business. In other words, you may be able to convince a senior manager that results of your SWOT analysis may provide an important insight into the business and managers can act upon this knowledge to increase the efficiency of the business at various fronts.

Alternatively, if you are conducting SWOT analysis of a multinational enterprise, company annual report is usually the most comprehensive source of the relevant information. Note that annual reports highlight information about strengths of the business within the first few pages and you cannot find information about weaknesses of a company in its annual report for obvious reasons.

Information about Strengths in SWOT Analysis

Information about strengths of the company is easiest to find in your SWOT analysis. Strengths are competitive advantages of the business that made it successful in the first place. In case of small or medium sized organizations, the manager you are interviewing will be happy to discuss the strengths of the business.

In case of multinational companies, on the other hand, the first few pages of annual reports boast about competitive advantages of the business by referring to specific figures and charts. Using some of these charts in your assignment and properly referencing the source is going to increase the quality of your work.

You can determine strengths of businesses in answers to the following questions:

  • What advantages does the company have?
  • What does the company better than its competitors?
  • What unique or low-cost resources are available to the company that are not available to its rivals?
  • What Unique Selling Propositions (UPS) are associated with the company?

The following table illustrates the major strengths possessed by businesses and tips about how to discuss these strengths in your swot analysis:

Information about Weaknesses in SWOT Analysis

It may not be easy to find information about weaknesses of small and medium sized businesses. The manager you are interviewing may not want to discuss weaknesses of their business either intentionally, or they may not be aware of weaknesses. It is important for you to motivate your interviewee to discuss weaknesses of their company by asking relevant questions in a polite way.

It is easier with multinational organizations. An extensive online research can reveal relevant information about weaknesses associated with the company you are analyzing.The majority of big corporations have been involved in some kind of scandals during the past two years and you can discuss the damage of these scandals to the brand image as noteworthy weakness of the company.

For example, suppose you have chosen Coca Cola Company for your SWOT analysis assignment. If you google the term ‘Coca Cola scandal’, search results on the top relate to a scandal where the company funded obesity research that downplayed the negative health implications of Coca Cola products. Negative implications of this incident on Coca Cola brand image is brand’s weakness you can discuss in you SWOT analysis.

All arguments and numbers need to be referenced using referencing style required by your educational institution in an appropriate manner. Preference has to be given to online journals and magazines over online discussion forums and personal blogs.

Answers to the following questions can help to identify weaknesses of your case study company:

  • What aspects of the business could the company improve?
  • What should the company avoid?
  • What factors are causing the company to lose sales?
  • What aspects of products/services are customers are likely to see as weaknesses?

Major weaknesses of businesses and brief tips about discussing them in your assignment are illustrated in the following table:

Information about Opportunities in SWOT Analysis

Information about opportunities available to the business can be derived from its weaknesses in a way that businesses often have an opportunity to turn their weaknesses into strengths. At the same time, it is important that your SWOT analysis also identifies a set of opportunities that are not related to weaknesses. If you can’t think of any company-specific opportunities, you can discuss business opportunities that can be explored by any business in general, such as new product development, international market expansion and increasing the level of effectiveness of social media marketing. Interesting trends in the industry can also be opportunities for the business.

Opportunities can be identified through answering the following questions:

  • What are interesting trends in the market that can be profitably explored by the company?
  • What are the demographic and social changes that present new opportunities in the industry?
  • Are there any government policies and regulations that can help the industry?
  • Are there any opportunities for the company related to technological developments?

The following table illustrates the major opportunities available for businesses and tips about how to discuss these opportunities in your SWOT analysis:

Information about Threats in SWOT Analysis

Threats faced by the business can be classified into two categories. Firstly, there are company-specific threats that stem from company-specific factors such as the threat of losing market share due to ineffective cost structure or the threat of negative media coverage and damage to the brand image due to neglecting the importance of corporate social responsibility. Secondly, there are threats to the industry or to the economy on the whole, such as a threat of introducing tariffs to a certain range of products or the threat of a global economic and financial crisis. You will need to find information about threats belonging to both categories with more emphasis on the threats from the first category, i.e. company-specific threats.

You can identify the main threats to the business through answering the following questions:

  • What are the main obstacles faced by the company?
  • What are the latest developments in competitor Unique Selling Propositions?
  • Does the company have substantial amount of bad debts or cash-flow problems?
  • Was the company involved in any scandal recently?

Main threat facing the majority of businesses and brief tips about discussing them in your SWOT analysis are illustrated in the following table:

Step 3: Writing

You can structure your writing of SWOT analysis in the following way:

Firstly, you will need to discuss the company profile, its strategy and the most recent changes that have taken place in the company prior to presenting your SWOT analysis. The length of such a discussion depends on your assignment instructions and the total word count for your assignment.

Secondly, develop a SWOT Analysis Matrix for your chosen company. You can develop a table containing four sections headed strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Major strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your chosen company can be presented in bullet points under respective boxes. These should be precise and verifiable statements.

Using steps 1 and 2 above, you should have long list of factors related to strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for the business. Now it is time to prioritize factors to be included in your SWOT analysis by focusing on the most significant factors. The numbers of factors that should be discussed under each category depends on the total word-count for your assignment.

Thirdly, you have to discuss bullet points in your SWOT table. Your analysis needs to contain statistical data and ideally graphs and tables as well. Do not forget to reference sources, using referencing system  required by your university. Moreover, you can discuss how to address weaknesses and threats identified as a result of your SWOT analysis and get additional marks for your work.

SWOT Analysis Example

This portal contains example SWOT analysis of the following companies:

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SWOT is an acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats related to organizations. The following table illustrates SWOT analysis:

SWOT Analysis Template

Please choose an industry and a company below to generate a SWOT table containing bullet points of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your chosen company. In order to complete the SWOT analysis you will need to expand the bullet points into a couple of paragraphs with discussions and references from reliable sources to support your arguments.

swot analysis of research project

How to Do a SWOT Analysis in Project Management: Template & Examples

swot analysis of research project

As project managers, we’re lucky to have a full set of tools available to help us approach any project challenge. We have tools that bring our teams together, uncover issues, guide a project to an end, and everything in between. (I’m still waiting on that “easy” button, though!)

Determining what tool should be used in each situation can feel daunting. There are definitely some I pull out for every project, while others collect a bit more dust. 

The SWOT analysis is one I’ve left in the toolbox a bit too often. It’s probably not fair though. It’s a great tool that can bring the team together, create transparency around tough issues, and identify key risks and opportunities that will help with project planning . 

Let’s take a deeper look to see when and why you should give a SWOT analysis a bigger spotlight in your projects. 

What is a SWOT analysis?

A SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool that allows you and your team to determine organizational strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It’s typically represented as a table or matrix with each element in its own section or quadrant. 

A SWOT analysis assesses both internal and external factors:

  • Internal factors are aspects within your control. They include skills, assets, resources, and competitive advantages. They are typically the strengths and weaknesses categories in the SWOT matrix.
  • External factors are outside of your control. They might be major events, economic changes, marketplace shifts, pandemics, and more. These are the opportunities and threats. 

You can use a SWOT analysis to evaluate a project, business plan, content strategy, and even yourself. It’s very adaptable to many situations.

This type of analysis can be useful in project management because it allows you to identify areas of risk and growth within a project or team. From there, you and your team can use those findings to create a strategic plan that improves your chance of project success. 

Elements of the SWOT framework with examples

A SWOT analysis is made up of 4 core elements:

  • S = Strengths
  • W = Weaknesses
  • O = Opportunities
  • T = Threats

Let’s dive into what each SWOT component means and explore simple examples of each one.

Strengths are factors within your control that will help the project succeed. They might include a person, existing skill set, how the organization is positioned, or a specific aspect about the scoped project. I recommend listing out your strengths first to create a clear understanding of what success looks like and start your SWOT analysis on a positive note. 

Examples of project strengths

  • Your team has experience delivering a similar custom application.
  • The client team has full authority to make decisions.
  • Leadership is on board and already started a company-wide digital strategy conversion.
  • The budget has contingency built in.
  • Your content team is fully staffed for the project.
  • Your team has done 4 sites in that vertical in the last year.
  • You already have detailed specifications of the product scope.
  • A full brand redesign is already complete.

Weaknesses are internal factors that could negatively impact the project and make it difficult to succeed. Some strengths on your list might lead to a clear weakness, while weaknesses can help you identify opportunities in the next step.

Talking about weaknesses can be uncomfortable because no one likes dwelling on the gaps. If you do a SWOT analysis with an external client, let your team know what’s okay to call out in front of the client vs what’s best discussed internally. For example, it's good to alert your client to the fact your team is working on 2 projects at once because it sets clear expectations around your availability and response time.

Examples of project weaknesses

  • Your team has never worked together.
  • The client has all new leadership.
  • Your team is allocated to 2 projects at the same time.
  • Your client lacks resources in content, media production, or other areas.
  • Your client has multiple levels of stakeholders.
  • Project funding is limited and must be spent by a certain date.
  • All content needs to pass through the legal department.
  • Your team and clients use different project tools.

Opportunities

Opportunities are factors that can help your project succeed—or save it from failure—if correctly executed. The tricky thing is, they’re a bit outside of your control. They might be opportunities that already exist but haven’t been acted on, or they might be future wins that will come with the completion of the project. 

Reviewing the strengths and weaknesses you’ve already captured in your SWOT analysis will help you get ideas for this list. Just be sure any opportunities you include are concrete and realistic.

Examples of project opportunities

  • Moving a more experienced team member to your project team
  • Creating new channels for the company to capture revenue
  • Obtaining a discount from a vendor
  • Receiving another grant to fund the project
  • Hiring someone new on the client side to support the work
  • Attending an upcoming conference with access to real users
  • Capturing new leads because of the project

Threats are external factors that could hurt the success of your project and are often out of your control. Identifying these factors before the project begins can help you set expectations with your team and stakeholders around potential points of failure. 

Examples of project threats

  • A competitor is releasing a similar product on a faster timeline.
  • The software code base for a section was recently released and could be buggy.
  • A project vendor hasn’t been responsive.
  • A team member is on maternity leave for 3 months.
  • The client won’t give you access to other stakeholders.
  • You don’t have access to users (or don’t think it’s important).

What are the benefits of using a SWOT analysis in project management?

A SWOT analysis is a simple yet powerful exercise that can easily flow into a project manager’s strategic planning process. It gives you and your team space to worry and dream and can also bring the project and its variables into more focus.

But how you complete the analysis—and what you do with its findings—determines the true value of the tool. Let’s look at several advantages a SWOT analysis can provide when it’s done right.

Identify (and address) project risks and gaps

Conducting a SWOT analysis enables you to identify areas of weakness and potential project gaps from the start. That way, you can address any concerns with a proactive project plan. Of course, not all risks are factors you can control, but at least knowing them allows you to create a better strategy. 

Set a positive tone

Performing a SWOT analysis also gives you the chance to discuss strengths and opportunities. Focusing on the good aspects of your project and team sets a positive tone right from the start. It also shines a light on skills and aspects you might not have realized you have available to you. 

Uncover client expectations

As a project manager, I’m always thinking, “But what do they really want?” I know a lot of time goes into the project scope, but the client always forgets to mention something. 

Think of your SWOT analysis as a free-form brainstorming session that gives you another chance to listen and learn. It’s always easier to work new insights or hidden scope into the plan at the beginning of a project instead of the middle or end.

Identify new revenue

Doing a SWOT analysis before a project begins can also uncover new project opportunities. While some of these items might be addressed in the current scope, many will not. This opens the door to discuss phase 2 work that could generate additional revenue for both you and the client.

Establish a framework for red flags

When reviewing a project’s contract scope, I always find red flags—those pesky items that keep every project manager up at night. 

A SWOT analysis makes it easy to sneak those concerns in with the positives so you don’t have to be a downer in your first meetings. It also gives others a chance to raise red flags so the bad news isn’t always coming from you. Discussing these upfront makes everyone aware of the risks, not just select stakeholders. 

Build a foundation for team communication

Completing this activity as a team with different levels of stakeholders from both sides can set the stage for effective communication . Establishing an open, transparent, direct, and welcoming environment early on can help everyone navigate future conversations—no matter how tricky. 

It also builds a culture of collaborative problem-solving. As a project manager, you might feel like you have to solve all the hard issues yourself. But creating a team approach can lift some of that weight right off your shoulders.

When should you skip a SWOT analysis?

While a SWOT analysis can be a useful planning tool in project management, other tools are too. So when does it make sense to leave this tool in the toolbox?

Here are a few reasons a SWOT analysis might not be a productive use of your time.

You lack stakeholder access

Sometimes a client limits your access to their team, leaving you with only 1-2 people to talk to on the client side. If you can’t pull a diverse group of stakeholders together from both sides, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to build a comprehensive and effective SWOT matrix. 

You and/or your client can’t be honest

The reality is, you won’t have an open and transparent relationship with every client. It might be because they’re new or have a different culture of communication in their organization. Or maybe your sales team committed to a project they shouldn’t have. 

Whatever the reason, if you or your client can’t be transparent about weaknesses and threats, your SWOT analysis won’t be very useful.

You have limited resources

If your budget is small, you likely have limited resources to complete the project—and that includes your own time as a project manager. 

While conducting a SWOT analysis workshop is a relatively quick task, it’s not going to be effective unless you spend time creating and executing an action plan afterwards. If you can’t reasonably take action on what you may uncover, go ahead and skip the SWOT analysis. 

You’re working with a repeat client

If you’ve worked with a client several times before and don’t appear to be solving a new, hard problem—or approaching a new product or revenue stream—there’s no need to go through the motions of a SWOT exercise.

Your project has an unclear scope

Are you managing a project with muddy goals and a scope that’s constantly changing (even though somehow a contract got signed)? If so, it’s best to put all your energy into workshops and tools that focus on clearly defining what you’re doing. In my experience, projects like these just lead to vague SWOTs anyway.

How to do a SWOT analysis for a project

There’s no wrong way to complete a SWOT analysis. It just depends on the project and the preferences of your team and stakeholders. Just be sure whatever process you use effectively brings everyone together. 

Here are the key steps I recommend taking to execute a good SWOT analysis. 

1. Identify your SWOT analysis goal

Every good process starts with a clear goal. If you know why you’re doing a SWOT analysis and what you hope to achieve, you can tailor your approach and conversations accordingly. This clarity might even lead you to other tools in your project manager toolbox that will help you reach your goals.

2. Determine your stakeholders

Next, figure out who needs to participate in the SWOT analysis for you to achieve your goal. While there might be times you need to do this exercise quickly on your own, working as a team that includes both internal and external stakeholders will give you a more comprehensive analysis.

Participants should represent different groups at all levels of the organization to bring a full and diverse perspective. They should also be willing to participate fully, honestly, and kindly in the conversation and be open to talking about some tough topics. For example, someone might have a role in a weakness or threat that ends up on the list. If people aren’t willing to dig in, you’ll end up with a surface-level analysis that’s less useful.

Including more people in the conversion will encourage teamwork and transparency—all things you want for the rest of your project. Of course, too many people could cause chaos and a lack of focus, so shoot for around 10 or fewer participants.

3. Identify which tool you’ll use for the SWOT analysis

Next, decide where you’ll create your SWOT analysis. Many folks love working within the classic SWOT matrix, and you can easily create one using Word or PowerPoint.

If you’re conducting your workshop remotely—or want folks to add ideas before, during, or after the meeting—consider using a collaborative tool instead. You could use an interactive whiteboard tool to create a shared matrix or set up a list or Kanban board in TeamGantt. What’s nice about a tool like TeamGantt is you can immediately transform items from your SWOT analysis into tasks with deadlines and responsibilities assigned.

Lay a clear path to success with a visual plan that’s easy to understand, and keep everyone in sync with flexible workflows and team collaboration.

swot analysis of research project

4. Prepare your team 

One of the most important steps you can take is effectively preparing your team for the workshop. I have to admit, I’ve been lazy about this step at times in the past, but it’s really critical if you want people to be successful in the meeting.

Send the team attending the SWOT analysis workshop the following items ahead of time:

  • The goal of the SWOT analysis
  • Why they’ve been chosen to participate in the workshop
  • An explanation of how the SWOT analysis will work
  • What they should do to prepare for the meeting and how much time they need to set aside to prep
  • Access to the tool you’ll use to conduct the SWOT analysis so they can get in and comfortable with it beforehand
  • Next steps they can expect after the meeting (even if it doesn’t involve them) 
  • Gratitude in advance for their thoughts, respect, and time

5. Conduct the SWOT analysis workshop

Use this workshop to brainstorm project strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats as a team. Guide the discussion to make sure the thoughts are clear and specific. If more information has to be gathered for a couple of items after the meeting, that’s okay, but the majority shouldn’t need follow-up.

Since I include both my team and the client in a project SWOT analysis, I like to keep the format simple. While I talk about the concept of internal vs external factors, I don’t build my matrix or workshop around it. In my experience, it’s just another layer for folks to process. Participants should be focused on brainstorming—not figuring out how to work within a complex framework. 

Try to fill in 2-3 items for each box of the SWOT matrix ahead of time to jump start the conversation. If the room gets quiet, give folks 10 minutes to gather thoughts and then share back. You could also use starter questions like the ones below to get ideas rolling.

Example questions to guide your SWOT analysis workshop

  • What do your customers love about what you do?
  • Does anyone have expertise in this subject or scope? 
  • What resources are available in-house?
  • What advantages do you have over your competitors?

Weaknesses:

  • What do your customers dislike about what you do?
  • Could any organizational factors negatively impact this project?
  • Are there any gaps in team or project knowledge?
  • Do you have any hard limits on the project (e.g., timeline, budget, scope)?

Opportunities:

  • What can you do to compete better in your market?
  • What resource changes or additions would help you?
  • What tools will help you be effective?
  • Can you help other areas of the business?
  • Do other business initiatives depend on project completion and success? If so, how?
  • Are your competitors doing anything related to your project?
  • Are you working with any new or untested tools or software?
  • Do you rely on any outside vendors?

Download an expanded list of example questions.

6. Prioritize and confirm

In this step, you’ll want to rank the factors from most to least important. Since time is usually limited, I focus on prioritizing the opportunities and threats lists. 

Questions like these can help you weigh the importance of each item on your list:

  • Will it impact the project the most? 
  • Is it something you can actually do something about? 
  • Are there things you can’t address unless the project has more budget? 

You can either jump into prioritization at the end of your brainstorming session or tackle it online as a team after your SWOT workshop.

Once you feel good about the priorities you’ve set, clean up your SWOT analysis document, and send it to all your stakeholders to confirm everyone’s on the same page. 

7. Create and execute an action plan

Now it’s time to create a clear plan of action to execute on. Your to-do list might only take a couple of weeks to knock out, or it might take longer to work through. Either way, you’ll want to jump on an action plan quickly to show participants you took their feedback seriously and are committed to making the project a success.

It’s probably easiest to start with the internal SWOT factors you have control over, so focus on maximizing strengths and mitigating weaknesses first. Your action plan might include rearranging your team, finding a new tool, adding more resources, talking to sales, or more. 

Once these internal factors are in motion, take a look at the threats and opportunities that are more outside of your control. Work closely with your primary stakeholder or client-side project manager to determine the best course of action, including how you’ll handle any new opportunities or threats that may arise.

After you have a game plan, schedule any necessary meetings. Then create a clear plan with deadlines, and assign tasks to team members. Using an online project planner like TeamGantt makes it easy to communicate priorities to your team and report back to stakeholders so they know what steps have been taken and what’s to come. 

Get your action plan off the ground faster with one of our free project templates!

8. Monitor and revisit your SWOT strategy

If time allows, go back to your SWOT analysis throughout the project, as well as at the end. See if you’re accomplishing what you set out to do or if you have room to tackle any additional items now.

Self-reflection and solid data can help you hone your skills as a project manager and improve projects over time.

SWOT analysis example

To help you get a better understanding of how this process might work, let’s take a look at a sample SWOT analysis for a new marketing website build. Our example project also features a large lead-capture component that connects to Salesforce.

  • Our development team has completed several Salesforce integrations.
  • This project is a top priority for the client. Leadership has given staff permission to set other initiatives aside to help with the project.
  • The core team has been through a website redesign in the past.
  • The strategists are available right now and can jump into discovery and research.
  • The new brand has already been created and approved, and all website assets are available.
  • We don’t have much user data or feedback collected yet.
  • The timeline is immovable.
  • This is the project’s first phase, so the full team has not worked together.
  • The company’s top 3 leadership positions changed in the last 6 months.
  • The best new feature of the project won’t be ready until launch, so no video or images will be available for the website.
  • The client has strict security procedures, and we need to work solely in Microsoft to share documents. However, our team is used to using Google.
  • The Salesforce implementation contractor has offered to scale up their team to help implement the tool quickly.
  • The client views this launch as phase 1 and has funding for 2 more phases.
  • If the dev team gets stuck on another project, we have other dev team members we can move over to start all builds, except the Salesforce integration. 
  • For another project, our team created a revenue-generating resource library. It could be another source of income.
  • We’ve identified that 75% of site visitors don’t go past the homepage.
  • The client doesn’t like their current workflow for lead capture, but they’re arguing internally about how it should change.
  • The client has not used Salesforce before.
  • The client’s main competitor just launched a new, sleek website. 
  • The launch date is set for 4 months. We think the project needs 6 months. 
  • Launch is expected to happen right after the December holidays.
  • Our dev team has another project to wrap up before starting this project, and it’s been known to miss all its deadlines.

SWOT analysis example in matrix format

While the matrix format provides a nice visual in the meeting, it doesn’t transition nicely into your next steps as a project manager. Here’s how you might adapt this example to a Kanban board that allows you to prioritize action items easily, assign deadlines and people to tasks, add notes, etc.

Example of a SWOT analysis using a Kanban board format

Free SWOT analysis templates

If you're looking for a SWOT analysis template, a free one is always a great place to start. We created a few different options to help you save time preparing for and creating a SWOT analysis of your own. 

  • SWOT analysis planner template [PDF] : Use these example questions to guide discussions around project strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
  • SWOT analysis template [Word] : Download this editable SWOT analysis template to create a simple one-page matrix for your project.
  • SWOT analysis template [PowerPoint] : Use this SWOT analysis template to present your final analysis to your project team and/or stakeholders.

Take easy action on your SWOT analysis with TeamGantt

Want to make a SWOT analysis everyone can collaborate on? Try TeamGantt for free , and use our board feature to create and prioritize your SWOT analysis as a team. 

Once your analysis is done, transform action items into a plan that’s easy to schedule, manage, and track. Check out our free project template hub for ideas you can use to get your plan off the ground faster.

About the author: Lynn Winter

Lynn is a freelance Digital Strategist who combines 20+ years of experience in content strategy, user experience, and project management to bring a holistic approach to her work. She has spoken at numerous local and national conferences and hosts an annual conference for Digital Project Managers called Manage Digital ( http://managedigital.io/ ). You can connect with her at lynnwintermn.com .

swot analysis of research project

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swot analysis of research project

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SWOT analysis: Examples and templates

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A SWOT analysis helps you identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for a specific project or your overall business plan. It’s used for strategic planning and to stay ahead of market trends. Below, we describe each part of the SWOT framework and show you how to conduct your own.

Whether you’re looking for external opportunities or internal strengths, we’ll walk you through how to perform your own SWOT analysis, with helpful examples along the way. 

What is a SWOT analysis?

A SWOT analysis is a technique used to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for your business or even a specific project. It’s most widely used by organizations—from small businesses and non-profits to large enterprises—but a SWOT analysis can be used for personal purposes as well. 

While simple, a SWOT analysis is a powerful tool for helping you identify competitive opportunities for improvement. It helps you improve your team and business while staying ahead of market trends.

What does SWOT stand for?

SWOT is an acronym that stands for: 

Opportunities

Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats

When analyzed together, the SWOT framework can paint a larger picture of where you are and how to get to the next step. Let’s dive a little deeper into each of these terms and how they can help identify areas of improvement. 

Strengths in SWOT refer to internal initiatives that are performing well. Examining these areas helps you understand what’s already working. You can then use the techniques that you know work—your strengths—in other areas that might need additional support, like improving your team’s efficiency . 

When looking into the strengths of your organization, ask yourself the following questions:

What do we do well? Or, even better: What do we do best?

What’s unique about our organization?

What does our target audience like about our organization?

Which categories or features beat out our competitors?

 Example SWOT strength:

Customer service: Our world-class customer service has an NPS score of 90 as compared to our competitors, who average an NPS score of 70.

Weaknesses in SWOT refer to internal initiatives that are underperforming. It’s a good idea to analyze your strengths before your weaknesses in order to create a baseline for success and failure. Identifying internal weaknesses provides a starting point for improving those projects.

Identify the company’s weaknesses by asking:

Which initiatives are underperforming and why?

What can be improved?

What resources could improve our performance?

How do we rank against our competitors?

Example SWOT weakness:

E-commerce visibility: Our website visibility is low because of a lack of marketing budget , leading to a decrease in mobile app transactions.

Opportunities in SWOT result from your existing strengths and weaknesses, along with any external initiatives that will put you in a stronger competitive position. These could be anything from weaknesses that you’d like to improve or areas that weren’t identified in the first two phases of your analysis. 

Since there are multiple ways to come up with opportunities, it’s helpful to consider these questions before getting started:

What resources can we use to improve weaknesses?

Are there market gaps in our services?

What are our business goals for the year?

What do your competitors offer?

Example SWOT opportunities:

Marketing campaign: To improve brand visibility, we’ll run ad campaigns on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.

Threats in SWOT are areas with the potential to cause problems. Different from weaknesses, threats are external and ‌out of your control. This can include anything from a global pandemic to a change in the competitive landscape. 

Here are a few questions to ask yourself to identify external threats:

What changes in the industry are cause for concern?

What new market trends are on the horizon?

Where are our competitors outperforming us?

Example SWOT threats:

New competitor: With a new e-commerce competitor set to launch within the next month, we could see a decline in customers.

SWOT analysis example

One of the most popular ways to create a SWOT analysis is through a SWOT matrix—a visual representation of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The matrix comprises four separate squares that create one larger square. 

A SWOT matrix is great for collecting information and documenting the questions and decision-making process . Not only will it be handy to reference later on, but it’s also great for visualizing any patterns that arise. 

Check out the SWOT matrix below for a simple example. As you can see, each of the quadrants lists out the company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

[Inline illustration] SWOT analysis (Example)

When used correctly and effectively, your matrix can be a great toolkit for evaluating your organization’s strengths and weaknesses. 

How to do a SWOT analysis, with examples 

A SWOT analysis can be conducted in a variety of ways. Some teams like to meet and throw ideas on a whiteboard, while others prefer the structure of a SWOT matrix. However you choose to make your SWOT analysis, getting creative with your planning process allows new ideas to flow and results in more unique solutions. 

There are a few ways to ensure that your SWOT analysis is thorough and done correctly. Let’s take a closer look at some tips to help you get started.

Tip 1: Consider internal factors 

Often, strengths and weaknesses stem from internal processes. These tend to be easier to solve since you have more control over the outcome. When you come across internal factors, you can start implementing improvements in a couple of different ways.

Meet with department stakeholders to form a business plan around how to improve your current situation.

Research and implement new tools, such as a project management tool , that can help streamline these processes for you. 

Take immediate action on anything that can be changed in 24 hours or less. If you don’t have the capacity, consider delegating these items to others with deadlines. 

The way you go about solving internal factors will depend on the type of problem. If it’s more complex, you might need to use a combination of the above or a more thorough problem management process.

Tip 2: Evaluate external factors

External factors stem from processes outside of your control. This includes competitors, market trends, and anything else that’s affecting your organization from the outside in. 

External factors are trickier to solve, as you can’t directly control the outcome. What you can do is pivot your own processes in a way that mitigates negative external factors. 

You can work to solve these issues by:

Competing with market trends

Forecasting market trends before they happen

Improving adaptability to improve your reaction time

Track competitors using reporting tools that automatically update you as soon as changes occur 

While you won’t be able to control an external environment, you can control how your organization reacts to it. 

Let’s say, for instance, that you’re looking to compete with a market trend. For example, a competitor introduced a new product to the market that’s outperforming your own. While you can’t take that product away, you can work to launch an even better product or marketing campaign to mitigate any decline in sales. 

Tip 3: Hold a brainstorming session

Brainstorming new and innovative ideas can help to spur creativity and inspire action. To host a high impact brainstorming session, you’ll want to: 

Invite team members from various departments. That way, ideas from each part of the company are represented. 

Be intentional about the number of team members you invite, since too many participants could lead to a lack of focus or participation. The sweet spot for a productive brainstorming session is around 10 teammates. 

Use different brainstorming techniques that appeal to different work types.

Set a clear intention for the session.

Tip 4: Get creative

In order to generate creative ideas, you have to first invite them. That means creating fun ways to come up with opportunities. Try randomly selecting anonymous ideas, talking through obviously bad examples, or playing team building games to psych up the team.

Tip 5: Prioritize opportunities

Now, rank the opportunities. This can be done as a team or with a smaller group of leaders. Talk through each idea and rank it on a scale of one through 10. Once you’ve agreed on your top ideas based on team capabilities, competencies, and overall impact, it’s easier to implement them.

Tip 6: Take action

It’s all too easy to feel finished at this stage —but the actual work is just beginning. After your SWOT analysis, you’ll have a list of prioritized opportunities. Now is the time to turn them into strengths. Use a structured system such as a business case , project plan, or implementation plan to outline what needs to get done—and how you plan to do it.

SWOT analysis template

A SWOT analysis template is often presented in a grid format, divided into four quadrants. Each quadrant represents one of the four elements. 

Use this free SWOT analysis template to jump-start your team’s strategic planning.

Identify the strengths that contribute to achieving your objectives. These are internal characteristics that give you an advantage. Some examples could be a strong brand reputation, an innovative culture, or an experienced management team.

Next, focus on weaknesses. These are internal factors that could serve as obstacles to achieving your objectives. Common examples might include a lack of financial resources, high operational costs, or outdated technology. 

Move on to the opportunities. These are external conditions that could be helpful in achieving your goals. For example, you might be looking at emerging markets, increased demand, or favorable shifts in regulations.

Lastly, let's address threats. These are external conditions that could negatively impact your objectives. Examples include increased competition or potential economic downturns.

Why is a SWOT analysis important?

A SWOT analysis can help you improve processes and plan for growth. While similar to a competitive analysis , it differs because it evaluates both internal and external factors. Analyzing key areas around these opportunities and threats will equip you with the insights needed to set your team up for success.

Why is a SWOT analysis important?

A SWOT analysis isn’t only useful for organizations. With a personal SWOT analysis, you can examine areas of your life that could benefit from improvement, from your leadership style to your communication skills. These are the benefits of using a SWOT analysis in any scenario. 

1. Identifies areas of opportunity

One of the biggest benefits of conducting an analysis is to determine opportunities for growth. It’s a great starting point for startups and teams that know they want to improve but aren’t exactly sure how to get started. 

Opportunities can come from many different avenues, like external factors such as diversifying your products for competitive advantage or internal factors like improving your team’s workflow . Either way, capitalizing on opportunities is an excellent way to grow as a team.

2. Identifies areas that could be improved

Identifying weaknesses and threats during a SWOT analysis can pave the way for a better business strategy.

Ultimately, learning from your mistakes is the best way to excel. Once you find areas to streamline, you can work with team members to brainstorm an action plan . This will let you use what you already know works and build on your company’s strengths.

3. Identifies areas that could be at risk

Whether you have a risk register in place or not, it’s always crucial to identify risks before they become a cause for concern. A SWOT analysis can help you stay on top of actionable items that may play a part in your risk decision-making process. 

It may be beneficial to pair your SWOT analysis with a PEST analysis, which examines external solutions such as political, economic, social, and technological factors—all of which can help you identify and plan for project risks .

When should you use a SWOT analysis?

You won’t always need an in-depth SWOT analysis. It’s most useful for large, general overviews of situations, scenarios, or your business.

A SWOT analysis is most helpful:

Before you implement a large change—including as part of a larger change management plan

When you launch a new company initiative

If you’d like to identify opportunities for growth and improvement

Any time you want a full overview of your business performance

If you need to identify business performance from different perspectives

SWOT analyses are general for a reason—so they can be applied to almost any scenario, project, or business. 

SWOT analysis: Pros and cons

Although SWOT is a useful strategic planning tool for businesses and individuals alike, it does have limitations. Here’s what you can expect.

The simplicity of SWOT analysis makes it a go-to tool for many. Because it is simple, it takes the mystery out of strategic planning and lets people think critically about their situations without feeling overwhelmed. 

For instance, a small bakery looking to expand its operations can use SWOT analysis to easily understand its current standing. Identifying strengths like a loyal customer base, weaknesses such as limited seating space, opportunities like a rising trend in artisanal baked goods, and threats from larger chain bakeries nearby can all be accomplished without any specialized knowledge or technical expertise.

Versatility

Its versatile nature allows SWOT analysis to be used across various domains. Whether it’s a business strategizing for the future or an individual planning their career path, SWOT analysis lends itself well. 

For example, a tech start-up in the competitive Silicon Valley landscape could employ SWOT to navigate its pathway to profitability. Strengths might include a highly skilled development team; weaknesses could be a lack of brand recognition; opportunities might lie in emerging markets; and threats could include established tech giants. 

Meaningful analysis

SWOT excels in identifying external factors that could impact performance. It nudges organizations to look beyond the present and anticipate potential future scenarios. 

A retail company, for example, could use SWOT analysis to identify opportunities in e-commerce and threats from changing consumer behavior or new competitors entering the market. By doing so, the company can strategize on how to leverage online platforms to boost sales and counteract threats by enhancing the customer experience or adopting new technologies.

Subjectivity and bias

The subjective nature of SWOT analysis may lead to biases. It relies heavily on individual perceptions, which can sometimes overlook crucial data or misinterpret information, leading to skewed conclusions. 

For example, a manufacturing company might undervalue the threat of new entrants in the market due to an overconfidence bias among the management. This subjectivity might lead to a lack of preparation for competitive pricing strategies, ultimately affecting the company's market share.

Lack of prioritization

SWOT analysis lays out issues but falls short on prioritizing them. Organizations might struggle to identify which elements deserve immediate attention and resources. 

For instance, a healthcare provider identifying numerous opportunities for expansion into new services may become overwhelmed with the choices. Without a clear way to rank these opportunities, resources could be spread too thinly or given to projects that do not have as much of an impact, leading to less-than-ideal outcomes.

Static analysis

Since SWOT analysis captures a snapshot at a particular moment, it may miss the evolving nature of challenges and opportunities, possibly leading to outdated strategies. An example could be a traditional retail business that performs a SWOT analysis and decides to focus on expanding physical stores, overlooking the growing trend of e-commerce. As online shopping continues to evolve and gain popularity, the static analysis might lead to investment in areas with diminishing returns while missing out on the booming e-commerce market trend.

SWOT analysis FAQ

What are the five elements of swot analysis.

Traditionally, SWOT stands for its four main elements: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. However, a fifth essential element often overlooked is "actionable strategies." Originally developed by Albert Humphrey, SWOT is more than just a list—it's a planning tool designed to generate actionable strategies for making informed business decisions. This fifth element serves to tie the other four together, enabling departments like human resources and marketing to turn analysis into actionable plans.

What should a SWOT analysis include?

A comprehensive SWOT analysis should focus on the internal and external factors that affect your organization. Internally, consider your strong brand and product line as your strengths, and maybe your supply chain weaknesses. Externally, you'll want to look at market share, partnerships, and new technologies that could either pose opportunities or threats. You should also account for demographics, as it helps in market targeting and segmentation.

How do you write a good SWOT analysis?

Writing an effective SWOT analysis begins with research. Start by identifying your strengths, like a strong brand, and your weaknesses, like a small human resources department. Following that, look outward to find opportunities, possibly in technological advancement, and threats, like fluctuations in market share. Many businesses find it helpful to use a free SWOT analysis template to structure this information. A good SWOT analysis doesn't just list these elements; it integrates them to provide a clear roadmap for making business decisions.

What are four examples of threats in SWOT analysis?

New technologies: Rapid technological advancement can make your product or service obsolete.

Supply chain disruptions: Whether due to natural disasters or geopolitical tensions, an unstable supply chain can seriously jeopardize your operations.

Emerging competitors: New players entering the market can erode your market share and offer alternative solutions to your customer base.

Regulatory changes: New laws or regulations can add costs and complexity to your business, affecting your competitiveness.

How do you use a SWOT analysis?

Once you've completed a SWOT analysis, use the results as a decision-making aid. It can help prioritize actions, develop strategic plans that play to your strengths, improve weaknesses, seize opportunities, and counteract threats. It’s a useful tool for setting objectives and creating a roadmap for achieving them.

Plan for growth with a SWOT analysis

A SWOT analysis can be an effective technique for identifying key strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Understanding where you are now can be the most impactful way to determine where you want to go next. 

Don’t forget, a bit of creativity and collaboration can go a long way. Encourage your team to think outside of the box with 100+ team motivational quotes .

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Article • 17 min read

SWOT Analysis

Understanding your business, informing your strategy.

By the Mind Tools Content Team

Key Takeaways:

SWOT stands for S trengths, W eaknesses, O pportunities, and T hreats.

A "SWOT analysis" involves carefully assessing these four factors in order to make clear and effective plans.

A SWOT analysis can help you to challenge risky assumptions, uncover dangerous blindspots, and reveal important new insights.

The SWOT analysis process is most effective when done collaboratively.

What Is a SWOT Analysis?

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, and so a SWOT analysis is a technique for assessing these four aspects of your business.

SWOT Analysis is a tool that can help you to analyze what your company does best now, and to devise a successful strategy for the future. SWOT can also uncover areas of the business that are holding you back, or that your competitors could exploit if you don't protect yourself.

A SWOT analysis examines both internal and external factors – that is, what's going on inside and outside your organization. So some of these factors will be within your control and some will not. In either case, the wisest action you can take in response will become clearer once you've discovered, recorded and analyzed as many factors as you can.

In this article, video and infographic, we explore how to carry out a SWOT analysis, and how to put your findings into action. We also include a worked example and a template to help you get started on a SWOT analysis in your own workplace.

Why Is SWOT Analysis Important?

SWOT analysis can help you to challenge risky assumptions and to uncover dangerous blindspots about your organization's performance. If you use it carefully and collaboratively, it can deliver new insights on where your business currently is, and help you to develop exactly the right strategy for any situation.

For example, you may be well aware of some of your organization's strengths, but until you record them alongside weaknesses and threats you might not realize how unreliable those strengths actually are.

Equally, you likely have reasonable concerns about some of your business weaknesses but, by going through the analysis systematically, you could find an opportunity, previously overlooked, that could more than compensate.

How to Write a SWOT Analysis

SWOT analysis involves making lists – but so much more, too! When you begin to write one list (say, Strengths), the thought process and research that you'll go through will prompt ideas for the other lists (Weaknesses, Opportunities or Threats). And if you compare these lists side by side, you will likely notice connections and contradictions, which you'll want to highlight and explore.

You'll find yourself moving back and forth between your lists frequently. So, make the task easier and more effective by arranging your four lists together in one view.

A SWOT matrix is a 2x2 grid, with one square for each of the four aspects of SWOT. (Figure 1 shows what it should look like.) Each section is headed by some questions to get your thinking started.

Figure 1. A SWOT Analysis Matrix.

Swot analysis template.

When conducting your SWOT analysis, you can either draw your own matrix, or use our free downloadable template .

How to Do a SWOT Analysis

Avoid relying on your own, partial understanding of your organization. Your assumptions could be wrong. Instead, gather a team of people from a range of functions and levels to build a broad and insightful list of observations.

Then, every time you identify a Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, or Threat, write it down in the relevant part of the SWOT analysis grid for all to see.

Let's look at each area in more detail and consider what fits where, and what questions you could ask as part of your data gathering.

Strengths are things that your organization does particularly well, or in a way that distinguishes you from your competitors. Think about the advantages your organization has over other organizations. These might be the motivation of your staff, access to certain materials, or a strong set of manufacturing processes.

Your strengths are an integral part of your organization, so think about what makes it "tick." What do you do better than anyone else? What values drive your business? What unique or lowest-cost resources can you draw upon that others can't? Identify and analyze your organization's Unique Selling Proposition (USP), and add this to the Strengths section.

Then turn your perspective around and ask yourself what your competitors might see as your strengths. What factors mean that you get the sale ahead of them?

Remember, any aspect of your organization is only a strength if it brings you a clear advantage. For example, if all of your competitors provide high-quality products, then a high-quality production process is not a strength in your market: it's a necessity.

Weaknesses, like strengths, are inherent features of your organization, so focus on your people, resources, systems, and procedures. Think about what you could improve, and the sorts of practices you should avoid.

Once again, imagine (or find out) how other people in your market see you. Do they notice weaknesses that you tend to be blind to? Take time to examine how and why your competitors are doing better than you. What are you lacking?

Be honest! A SWOT analysis will only be valuable if you gather all the information you need. So, it's best to be realistic now, and face any unpleasant truths as soon as possible.

Opportunities

Opportunities are openings or chances for something positive to happen, but you'll need to claim them for yourself!

They usually arise from situations outside your organization, and require an eye to what might happen in the future. They might arise as developments in the market you serve, or in the technology you use. Being able to spot and exploit opportunities can make a huge difference to your organization's ability to compete and take the lead in your market.

Think about good opportunities that you can exploit immediately. These don't need to be game-changers: even small advantages can increase your organization's competitiveness. What interesting market trends are you aware of, large or small, which could have an impact?

You should also watch out for changes in government policy related to your field. And changes in social patterns, population profiles, and lifestyles can all throw up interesting opportunities.

Threats include anything that can negatively affect your business from the outside, such as supply-chain problems, shifts in market requirements, or a shortage of recruits. It's vital to anticipate threats and to take action against them before you become a victim of them and your growth stalls.

Think about the obstacles you face in getting your product to market and selling. You may notice that quality standards or specifications for your products are changing, and that you'll need to change those products if you're to stay in the lead. Evolving technology is an ever-present threat, as well as an opportunity!

Always consider what your competitors are doing, and whether you should be changing your organization's emphasis to meet the challenge. But remember that what they're doing might not be the right thing for you to do. So, avoid copying them without knowing how it will improve your position.

Be sure to explore whether your organization is especially exposed to external challenges. Do you have bad debt or cash-flow problems, for example, that could make you vulnerable to even small changes in your market? This is the kind of threat that can seriously damage your business, so be alert.

Use PEST Analysis to ensure that you don't overlook threatening external factors. And PMESII-PT is an especially helpful check in very unfamiliar or uncertain environments.

A SWOT Analysis Example

Imagine this scenario: a small start-up consultancy wants a clear picture of its current situation, to decide on a future strategy for growth. The team gathers, and draws up the SWOT Analysis shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. A Completed SWOT Analysis.

As a result of the team's analysis, it's clear that the consultancy's main strengths lie in its agility, technical expertise, and low overheads. These allow it to offer excellent customer service to a relatively small client base.

The company's weaknesses are also to do with its size. It will need to invest in training, to improve the skills base of the small staff. It'll also need to focus on retention, so it doesn't lose key team members.

There are opportunities in offering rapid-response, good-value services to local businesses and to local government organizations. The company can likely be first to market with new products and services, given that its competitors are slow adopters.

The threats require the consultancy to keep up-to-date with changes in technology. It also needs to keep a close eye on its largest competitors, given its vulnerability to large-scale changes in its market. To counteract this, the business needs to focus its marketing on selected industry websites, to get the greatest possible market presence on a small advertising budget.

Frequently Asked Questions About SWOT Analysis

1. who invented swot analysis.

Many people attribute SWOT Analysis to Albert S. Humphrey. However, there has been some debate on the originator of the tool, as discussed in the International Journal of Business Research .

2. What Does SWOT Analysis Stand For?

SWOT Analysis stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

3. What Can a SWOT Analysis Be Used For?

SWOT analysis is a useful tool to help you determine your organization's position in the market. You can then use this information to create an informed strategy suited to your needs and capabilities.

4. How Do I Write a SWOT Analysis?

To conduct a SWOT analysis, you first need to create a 2x2 matrix grid. Each square is then assigned to one of the four aspects of SWOT. You can either draw this grid yourself or use our downloadable template to get started.

5. How Do SWOT Analysis and the TOWS Matrix compare?

While SWOT analysis puts the emphasis on the internal environment (your strengths and weaknesses), TOWS forces you to look at your external environment first (your threats and opportunities). In most cases, you'll do a SWOT Analysis first, and follow up with a TOWS Matrix to offer a broader context.

6. What Are the Biggest SWOT Analysis Mistakes?

  • Making your lists too long. Ask yourself if your ideas are feasible as you go along.
  • Being vague. Be specific to provide more focus for later discussions.
  • Not seeing weaknesses. Be sure to ask customers and colleagues what they experience in real life.
  • Not thinking ahead. It's easy to come up with nice ideas without taking them through to their logical conclusion. Always consider their practical impact.
  • Being unrealistic. Don't plan in detail for opportunities that don't exist yet. For example, that export market you've been eyeing may be available at some point, but the trade negotiations to open it up could take years.
  • Relying on SWOT Analysis alone. SWOT Analysis is valuable. But when you use it alongside other planning tools (SOAR, TOWS or PEST), the results will be more vigorous.

How to Use a SWOT Analysis

Use a SWOT Analysis to assess your organization's current position before you decide on any new strategy. Find out what's working well, and what's not so good. Ask yourself where you want to go, how you might get there – and what might get in your way.

Once you've examined all four aspects of SWOT, you'll want to build on your strengths, boost your weaker areas, head off any threats, and exploit every opportunity. In fact, you'll likely be faced with a long list of potential actions.

But before you go ahead, be sure to develop your ideas further. Look for potential connections between the quadrants of your matrix. For example, could you use some of your strengths to open up further opportunities? And, would even more opportunities become available by eliminating some of your weaknesses?

Finally, it's time to ruthlessly prune and prioritize your ideas, so that you can focus time and money on the most significant and impactful ones. Refine each point to make your comparisons clearer. For example, only accept precise, verifiable statements such as, "Cost advantage of $30/ton in sourcing raw material x," rather than, "Better value for money."

Remember to apply your learnings at the right level in your organization. For example, at a product or product-line level, rather than at the much vaguer whole-company level. And use your SWOT analysis alongside other strategy tools (for example, Core Competencies Analysis ), so that you get a comprehensive picture of the situation you're dealing with.

SWOT Analysis Tips

Here are four tips for getting more out of a SWOT analysis:

  • Be specific. The more focused and accurate you are about the points you write down, the more useful your SWOT analysis will be.
  • Work backwards. Experiment with filling in the four sections of your SWOT analysis in a different order, to stimulate new ways of thinking. Working backwards, in particular, from threats to strengths, may cast new light on the situation.
  • Get together. Highlight the most useful people to contribute to your SWOT analysis, then gather information and ideas from them all.
  • SWOT your competition ! To stay ahead of your competitors, carry out a regular SWOT analysis on them . Use everything you know about them to evaluate their situation, and use SWOT analysis to plan your competitive strategies accordingly.

It's also possible to carry out a Personal SWOT Analysis . This can be useful for developing your career in ways that take best advantage of your talents, abilities and opportunities.

SWOT Analysis Infographic

See SWOT Analysis represented in our infographic :

SWOT Analysis helps you to identify your organization's Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

It guides you to build on what you do well, address what you're lacking, seize new openings, and minimize risks.

Apply a SWOT Analysis to assess your organization's position before you decide on any new strategy.

Use a SWOT matrix to prompt your research and to record your ideas. Avoid making huge lists of suggestions. Be as specific as you can, and be honest about your weaknesses.

Be realistic and rigorous. Prune and prioritize your ideas, to focus time and money on the most significant and impactful actions and solutions. Complement your use of SWOT with other tools.

Collaborate with a team of people from across the business. This will help to uncover a more accurate and honest picture.

Find out what's working well, and what's not so good. Ask yourself where you want to go, how you might get there – and what might get in your way.

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Seeing Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats

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SWOT is useless. When you try it and you find Weaknesses box bulging, but Strengths & Opportunities completely empty, what can that possibly achieve?

swot analysis of research project

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What is SWOT analysis?

The benefits of a swot analysis, swot analysis example, how to do a swot analysis, how to use a swot analysis.

A SWOT analysis is a useful technique for thinking about strategy and making decisions.

Teams and organizations use this strategic planning tool to decide on a course of action. It is a way to assess current and future potential.

SWOT is a classic tool for any strategist. On its own, however, it may not meet the needs of a complex organization in a rapidly changing world . That doesn't mean it isn't useful, though. 

A SWOT analysis is a useful way to look at your team. When combined with an outside-in look at broader trends and where markets are moving, it can help you define and prioritize initiatives.

But how do you use a SWOT analysis? And what are some SWOT analysis examples?

Here’s how to use this popular framework to make an informed decision . We’ve also included a SWOT analysis template for you to jumpstart your next collaboration session .

A SWOT analysis is a method used to assess a company’s internal and external environments. It involves identifying your company’s strengths , weaknesses , opportunities, and threats . Its effectiveness relies on an assumption that the company can adequately assess its external environment. This assumption doesn't hold when competitors emerge from unexpected and adjacent domains.

The SWOT assessment technique helps measure a business’ competitive advantage. Competitive advantage is essentially what makes your business special compared to other businesses in your field. It’s why your customers choose you.

By doing a SWOT analysis, you can gain insights into where your business is, where it could be, and what you can do to get there. This important information helps you with the decision-making process and strategic planning .

What are the 4 factors of a SWOT analysis?

To understand the SWOT framework, you need to know what SWOT stands for. Let's break down the acronym:

W eaknesses

O pportunities

T hreats 

collaborative-team-in-discussion-swot-analysis

Below are some examples of what could fall under each of the four fields:

Strengths are advantages your business holds, such as:

  • A positive work environment  
  • A well-balanced and capable team 
  • Beneficial relationships with certain suppliers 

Internal weaknesses are what might be holding your business back. They could include the following:

  • Poor management
  • Not handling complaints in the best way 
  • Unnecessary overhead costs

Opportunities

Look for opportunities to build on your internal strengths and eliminate or reduce your weaknesses. Opportunities may include:

  • Employees who are willing to take on training to expand their skill set
  • New technology to streamline your business processes
  • Any opportunity to collaborate with other businesses in parallel fields

A threat could be something that hinders you in the long run or ruins a good opportunity for expansion. Here are a few external threats that could harm your business:

  • Overspending without proper analysis 
  • A new, similar business with more start-up capital opening in your vicinity
  • Discrimination , workplace coercion , or other poor behavior from difficult employees

Here are some ways a SWOT analysis can benefit your business.

  • It gives direction. A SWOT analysis is like a GPS. It tells you where you are, where you could be, and how to get there. It also allows you to take stock of your inventory, your immediate and distant surroundings, and any shortcuts that you might not have spotted before.
  • It helps set objectives. Having concrete business objectives is important, but finding those objectives can be difficult. Using a SWOT analysis, you can set better team goals . It can help you clearly see the steps that need to be taken to build on strengths and shore up weaknesses. 
  • It is an effective decision-making tool. A SWOT analysis allows you to gather the information necessary to make a well-informed decision and set priorities. There’s no way of learning from past mistakes or successes if there’s no period of reflection before moving forward. A SWOT analysis forces you to pause and analyze past decisions to plan your next steps. 
  • It promotes collaboration. A SWOT analysis encourages collaborative teamwork . It makes your team feel heard and understood before moving forward together. Allowing your team to be present while making important decisions is important to building mutual trust . Use this as an opportunity to allow your team members to speak up and voice their opinions, ideas, and concerns.

collaborative-employees-working-together-swot-analysis

As you go through this process with your employees, note the qualities that make this team valuable. Showing appreciation for the people you work with builds a positive company culture . Recognizing your employees’ competencies is a brilliant way to raise morale .

  • It helps you identify areas of improvement. If you conduct a SWOT analysis on a semi-regular basis, you’ll begin to identify areas where you’ve improved, both externally and in your relationships as a team . Use this time to discuss whether previous threats or weaknesses have been properly addressed. 
  • It helps you capitalize on opportunities. A SWOT analysis is a great tool for finding opportunities and coming up with ways you can capitalize on them. If an opportunity has presented itself in the months or weeks leading up to the meeting, you’ll have a concrete set of objectives that’ll help you achieve your goals . Be sure to search for these opportunities both internally and externally. Opportunity doesn’t just have to be about profit. It can also relate to a better management structure , a valuable new employee , or even a way of handling a difficult interpersonal situation . 
  • It can be used to deter threats. A SWOT analysis can be used to identify any potential threats on the horizon. Is a new business trying to steal your clients or headhunt your employees? Identifying threats before they pose a serious risk to your business is vital. 
  • It gives the team better insight. With a SWOT analysis, your team gains better insight into the company’s current situation. Your team should walk away with a good understanding of the business, its objectives, and how they’re going to be achieved. If everyone knows what’s happening, miscommunication is less likely to occur. 
  • It promotes strategic alignment. When management and employees work together, better systems are built. Employees might have knowledge of a weakness that management isn’t aware of. Once management knows more, measures can be put into place to improve workflow and reduce any issues or unnecessary expenditure.
  • It helps you assess whether your team is on the right path. A SWOT analysis helps you see if you’re moving in the right direction. How have things progressed since your last analysis? Is everything that was discussed still on track? Using this tool will help you and your team gain a bird’s-eye view of the company’s trajectory. 

To see this method in action, let’s look at a SWOT analysis example of a small business.

After operating for five years, Suzanne wants to see if her online fitness coaching business is performing well as a business. She employs a team of five people, which includes three online trainers, a digital marketing specialist, and herself. Because of the small team, she is in charge of all admin duties and human resources management .

The market when she started the business was rather different from the market today. She decides it’s time to do a SWOT analysis.

By using a SWOT matrix, she breaks down the organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats into four quadrants:

You can use this example as a template for doing your own SWOT analysis.

Let’s walk through a step-by-step guide on how to do a SWOT analysis for the very first time:

1. Designate a leader or facilitator

Having one person lead the session will keep things on track. They should have good communication skills and be able to manage productive conflict . 

This doesn’t necessarily have to be a manager , but rather someone you know is good at group coordination and setting boundaries .

2. Introduce the SWOT method to the team

Once you’ve assembled the team, introduce the concept of a SWOT analysis. This way, everyone can know what to expect from the session and what is expected of them.

To help speed this process up, consider forwarding this article to your team so that everyone is somewhat familiar with the process.

3. Determine the objective

Once everyone knows what’s going on, tell them why you’re all there. 

Is this just an exercise to make sure the business is on track? Is there a potential threat or opportunity that needs to be discussed? 

Once you have a clear objective, the meeting will have a natural direction.

4. Brainstorm

Having a brainstorming session with your team will make everyone feel heard and valued. This way, you can get different perspectives and ideas you may not have thought of yourself. It might also be a good opportunity to see where everyone's strengths lie.

Take some time (but keep a limit on it) to get everyone’s creative juices flowing . Use a time blocking strategy , such as the Pomodoro technique, to ensure you don’t go over time. By the end of your timed session, you should have an extensive list of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

two-colleagues-brainstorming-ideas-swot-analysis

5. Analyze the internal and external environment

After the brainstorming session, take time to discuss internal and external affairs through the lens of the SWOT analysis. 

Why did certain ideas come up? Where do we think the next threat could come from? How are ‌employees feeling in their roles ? Conduct a thorough analysis of these ideas.

6. Record all ideas and thoughts

Having everything on record is the best way to get the most out of a SWOT session. Make sure someone is taking minutes that you can relay to everyone after the meeting so that no valuable information is lost.

7. Be selective

Once everything has been laid out on the table, discuss the validity of what’s there. Make sure this is a democratic process and that you have conclusive discussions before ignoring a suggestion or concern. The selection process should also be recorded for future sessions.

8. Create a safe environment so that everyone can contribute

It’s vital that all are made to feel safe , seen, heard, and supported during these sessions. If only a handful of people are contributing, the exercise bears limited fruit. 

If there are certain people who are staying silent, ask them why they don’t feel comfortable taking part. This should be a safe space for all.

You’ve conducted your SWOT analysis. Now what? Here are what actions to take to make the most out of your SWOT analysis.

1. Assess the possible strategic options

Using the data you’ve gathered, begin to assess what the best steps could be moving forward. 

For example, could one of your company’s strengths help you take advantage of a possible opportunity? Start to link the ideas discussed in the meeting to see what outcomes could be beneficial.

2. Prepare an action plan/strategy

Now that you have your bearings, examine these options and see if they’re feasible. Your strengths and weaknesses should provide a foundation as to how you can tackle possible threats and opportunities. 

Compile a list of short and long-term goals that’ll steer your business in the right direction. Be sure to understand the difference between tactics and strategy while going through this phase of the planning process.

3. Decide how to measure success

Not setting metrics is a crucial mistake in strategic management . Without metrics, it is easy to go off-track and lose sight of ‌long-term objectives.

Measuring success depends on what your goals are . If the goal is concrete (secure 50 new clients, for example), success will be easier to measure. If your goal is less tangible, such as building a sense of belonging at work , it might be wise to conduct research to see how far you’ve come.

team-members-prioritizing-tasks-swot-analysis

4. Prioritize next steps

Decide which goals need to be tackled when. An opportunity may be missed if you’re focusing on something less important, so it’s vital to put the steps into a sensible, workable order. Using the Pareto principle can help you prioritize the activities that really matter.

5. Be open to change

As your business grows and situations change, it’s important to be flexible with your goals . If an opportunity falls through, make sure that plans are still being made and work is still being done. This will help avoid delays and confusion.

6. Review progress, and refresh the plan

A SWOT analysis is something that you need to carry out regularly. Track how your business performs between these meetings so that you can keep tabs on your growth, goals, and accomplishments.

Drive growth with a SWOT analysis

If you want to plan, execute, and succeed in your business, using a SWOT analysis is going to be an important tool. The SWOT method lets you get the most out of your team and offers you the perspective on your business that you need.

A SWOT analysis isn’t just your roadmap to success. It’ll begin to form a clear record of your history as well. Analyzing past accomplishments and failures is the best way to grow, both as an individual and a business. 

With the SWOT method, you’ll create a close-knit team, a comprehensive list of goals, and a full picture of your company’s identity. 

If this sounds like something you need in your business, talk to BetterUp to see how we can help.

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Develop your leadership and strategic management skills with the help of an expert Coach.

Maggie Wooll, MBA

Maggie Wooll is a researcher, author, and speaker focused on the evolving future of work. Formerly the lead researcher at the Deloitte Center for the Edge, she holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from Princeton University and an MBA from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. Maggie is passionate about creating better work and greater opportunities for all.

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SWOT Analysis: How To Do One [With Template & Examples]

Caroline Forsey

Published: October 05, 2023

As your business grows, you need a roadmap to help navigate the obstacles, challenges, opportunities, and projects that come your way. Enter: the SWOT analysis.

man conducting swot analysis for his business

This framework can help you develop a plan to determine your priorities, maximize opportunities, and minimize roadblocks as you scale your organization. Below, let’s go over exactly what a SWOT analysis is, a few SWOT analysis examples, and how to conduct one for your business.

→ Download Now: Market Research Templates [Free Kit]

When you’re done reading, you’ll have all the inspiration and tactical advice you need to tackle a SWOT analysis for your business.

What is a SWOT analysis? Importance of a SWOT Analysis How to Write a Good SWOT Analysis SWOT Analysis Examples How to Act on a SWOT Analysis

What is a SWOT analysis?

A SWOT analysis is a strategic planning technique that puts your business in perspective using the following lenses: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Using a SWOT analysis helps you identify ways your business can improve and maximize opportunities, while simultaneously determining negative factors that might hinder your chances of success.

While it may seem simple on the surface, a SWOT analysis allows you to make unbiased evaluations on:

  • Your business or brand.
  • Market positioning.
  • A new project or initiative.
  • A specific campaign or channel.

Practically anything that requires strategic planning, internal or external, can have the SWOT framework applied to it, helping you avoid unnecessary errors down the road from lack of insight.

swot analysis of research project

Free SWOT Analysis Template

A free SWOT analysis template, plus other helpful market research resources.

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Importance of a SWOT Analysis

You’ve noticed by now that SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. The framework seems simple enough that you’d be tempted to forgo using it at all, relying instead on your intuition to take these things into account.

But you shouldn’t. Doing a SWOT analysis is important. Here’s why.

SWOT gives you the chance to worry and to dream.

A SWOT analysis is an important step in your strategic process because it gives you the opportunity to explore both the potential risks and the exciting possibilities that lie ahead.  You’re giving yourself the space to dream, evaluate, and worry before taking action. Your insights then turn into assets as you create the roadmap for your initiative.

For instance, when you consider the weaknesses and threats that your business may face, you can address any concerns or challenges and strategize on how to mitigate those risks. At the same time, you can identify strengths and opportunities, which can inspire innovative ideas and help you dream big. Both are equally important. 

SWOT forces you to define your variables.

Instead of diving head first into planning and execution, you’re taking inventory of all your assets and roadblocks. This process will help you  develop strategies that leverage your strengths and opportunities while addressing and mitigating the impact of weaknesses and threats.

As a result, you'll gain a comprehensive understanding of your current situation and create a more specific and effective roadmap. Plus, a SWOT analysis is inherently proactive. That means you'll be better equipped to make informed decisions, allocate resources effectively, and set realistic goals. 

SWOT allows you to account for mitigating factors.

As you identify weaknesses and threats, you’re better able to account for them in your roadmap, improving your chances of success.

Moreover, accounting for mitigating factors allows you to allocate your resources wisely and make informed decisions that lead to sustainable growth. With a SWOT analysis as a guide, you can confidently face challenges and seize opportunities.

SWOT helps you keep a written record.

As your organization grows and changes, you’ll be able to strike things off your old SWOTs and make additions. You can look back at where you came from and look ahead at what’s to come.

In other words, SWOT analyses serve as a tangible history of your progress and provide a reference point for future decision-making. With each update, your SWOT analysis becomes a living document that guides your strategic thinking and helps you stay agile and adaptable in an ever-changing business landscape.

By maintaining this written record, you foster a culture of continuous improvement and empower your team to make data-driven decisions and stay aligned with your long-term vision.

Parts of a SWOT Analysis

Conducting a SWOT analysis will help you strategize effectively, unlock valuable insights, and make informed decisions. But what exactly does a SWOT analysis include?

Let’s explore each component: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

swot analysis chart: strengths

Your strengths are the unique advantages and internal capabilities that give your company a competitive edge in the market. A strong brand reputation, innovative products or services, or exceptional customer service are just a few examples. By identifying and capitalizing on your strengths, you can foster customer loyalty and build a solid foundation for growth.

swot analysis chart: weaknesses

No business is flawless. Weaknesses are areas where you may face challenges or fall short of your potential. It could be outdated processes, skill gaps within the team, or inadequate resources. By acknowledging these weaknesses, you can establish targeted initiatives for improvement, upskill your team, adopt new technologies, and enhance your overall operational efficiency.

swot analysis chart: opportunities

Opportunities are external factors that can contribute to your company's progress. These may include emerging markets, technological advancements, changes in consumer behavior, or gaps in the market that your company can fill. By seizing these opportunities, you can expand your market reach, diversify your product offerings, forge strategic partnerships, or even venture into untapped territories.

swot analysis chart: threats

Threats are external factors that are beyond your control and pose challenges to your business. Increased competition, economic volatility, evolving regulatory landscapes, or even changing market trends are examples of threats. By proactively assessing and addressing them, you can develop contingency plans, adjust your strategies, and minimize their impact on your operations.

In a SWOT analysis, you’ll have to take both internal and external factors into account. We’ll cover those next.

swot analysis of research project

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SWOT Analysis Internal and External Factors

A SWOT analysis typically has internal (i.e., within your organization) and external (i.e., outside your organization) factors at play. Here's a breakdown of each.

Internal Factors

Internal factors refer to the characteristics and resources within your organization that directly influence its operations and performance. These factors are completely within your organization's control, so they can be modified, improved, or capitalized upon.

In a SWOT analysis, strengths and weaknesses are categorized as internal factors. Let’s look at a few examples.

  • Brand reputation
  • Unique expertise
  • Loyal customer base
  • Talented workforce
  • Efficient processes
  • Proprietary technology
  • Outdated technology
  • Inadequate resources
  • Poor financial health
  • Inefficient processes
  • Skill gaps within the team

External Factors

External factors are elements outside the organization's control that have an impact on its operations, market position, and success. These factors arise from the industry climate and the broader business environment. You typically have no control over external factors, but you can respond to them.

In a SWOT analysis, opportunities and threats are categorized as external factors. Let’s look at a few examples.

  • Emerging markets
  • Changing consumer trends
  • Technological advancements
  • Positive shifts in regulations
  • New gaps in the market you could fill
  • Intense competition
  • Economic downturns
  • Disruptive technologies
  • Changing regulations
  • Negative shifts in consumer behavior

Remember, a well-rounded SWOT analysis empowers you to capitalize on strengths, address weaknesses, seize opportunities, and navigate threats — all while making informed decisions for the future.

Now, let’s take a look at how you can write a good SWOT analysis for yourself or for stakeholders.

How do you write a good SWOT analysis?

There are several steps you’ll want to take when evaluating your business and conducting a strategic SWOT analysis.

1. Download HubSpot's SWOT Analysis Template.

There’s no need to start from scratch for your analysis. Instead, start by downloading a free, editable template from HubSpot. Feel free to use the model yourself, or create your own as it suits your needs.

HubSpot’s free SWOT analysis template explains how to do a SWOT analysis.

3. Identify your objective.

Before you start writing things down, you’ll need to figure out what you’re evaluating with your SWOT analysis.

Be specific about what you want to analyze. Otherwise, your SWOT analysis may end up being too broad, and you’ll get analysis paralysis as you are making your evaluations.

If you’re creating a new social media program, you’ll want to conduct an analysis to inform your content creation strategy. If you’re launching a new product, you’ll want to understand its potential positioning in the space. If you’re considering a brand redesign, you’ll want to consider existing and future brand conceptions.

All of these are examples of good reasons to conduct a SWOT analysis. By identifying your objective, you’ll be able to tailor your evaluation to get more actionable insights.

4. Identify your strengths.

“Strengths” refers to what you are currently doing well. Think about the factors that are going in your favor as well as the things you offer that your competitors just can’t beat.

For example, let’s say you want to use a SWOT analysis to evaluate your new social media strategy.

If you’re looking at a new social media program, perhaps you want to evaluate how your brand is perceived by the public. Is it easily recognizable and well-known? Even if it’s not popular with a widespread group, is it well-received by a specific audience?

Next, think about your process: Is it effective or innovative? Is there good communication between marketing and sales?

Finally, evaluate your social media message, and in particular, how it differs from the rest of the industry. I’m willing to bet you can make a lengthy list of some major strengths of your social media strategy over your competitors, so try to dive into your strengths from there.

5. Identify your weaknesses.

In contrast to your strengths, what are the roadblocks hindering you from reaching your goals? What do your competitors offer that continues to be a thorn in your side?

This section isn’t about dwelling on negative aspects. Rather, it’s critical to foresee any potential obstacles that could mitigate your success.

When identifying weaknesses, consider what areas of your business are the least profitable, where you lack certain resources, or what costs you the most time and money. Take input from employees in different departments, as they’ll likely see weaknesses you hadn’t considered.

If you’re examining a new social media strategy, you might start by asking yourself these questions: First, if I were a consumer, what would prevent me from buying this product, or engaging with this business? What would make me click away from the screen?

Second, what do I foresee as the biggest hindrance to my employees’ productivity, or their ability to get the job done efficiently? What derails their social media efforts?

6. Consider your opportunities.

This is your chance to dream big. What are some opportunities for your social media strategy you hope, but don’t necessarily expect, to reach?

For instance, maybe you’re hoping your Facebook ads will attract a new, larger demographic. Maybe you’re hoping your YouTube video gets 10,000 views and increases sales by 10%.

Whatever the case, it’s important to include potential opportunities in your SWOT analysis. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What technologies do I want my business to use to make it more effective?
  • What new target audience do I want to reach?
  • How can the business stand out more in the current industry?
  • Is there something our customers complain about that we could fix?

The opportunities category goes hand-in-hand with the weaknesses category. Once you’ve made a list of weaknesses, it should be easy to create a list of potential opportunities that could arise if you eliminate your weaknesses.

7. Contemplate your threats.

It’s likely, especially if you’re prone to worry, you already have a good list of threats in your head.

If not, gather your employees and brainstorm. Start with these questions:

  • What obstacles might prevent us from reaching our goals?
  • What’s going on in the industry, or with our competitors, that might mitigate our success?
  • Is there new technology out there that could conflict with our product?

Writing down your threats helps you evaluate them objectively.

For instance, maybe you list your threats in terms of least and most likely to occur and divide and conquer each. If one of your biggest threats is your competitor’s popular Instagram account, you could work with your marketing department to create content that showcases your product’s unique features.

SWOT Analysis Chart

swot analysis chart: hubspot swot analysis template

Download a free SWOT analysis chart included in HubSpot’s free market research kit .

A SWOT analysis doesn’t have to be fancy. Our SWOT analysis chart provides a clear and structured framework for capturing and organizing your internal strengths and weaknesses, and external opportunities and threats. It's the perfect visual aid to make sense of the wealth of information gathered during your analysis.

(Plus, you can always customize and paste it into a document you plan to share with stakeholders.)

But remember: Filling out the SWOT chart is just one step in the process. Combine it with our entire market research kit , and you'll have all the tools necessary to help your organization navigate new opportunities and threats.

SWOT Analysis Examples

The template above helps get you started on your own SWOT analysis.

But, if you’re anything like me, it’s not enough to see a template. To fully understand a concept, you need to see how it plays out in the real world.

These SWOT examples are not exhaustive. However, they are a great starting point to inspire you as you do your own SWOT analysis.

Apple’s SWOT analysis

Here’s how we’d conduct a SWOT analysis on Apple.

An example SWOT analysis of Apple.

First off, strengths. While Apple has many strengths, let’s identify the top three:

  • Brand recognition.
  • Innovative products.
  • Ease of use.

Apple’s brand is undeniably strong, and its business is considered the most valuable in the world . Since it’s easily recognized, Apple can produce new products and almost ensure a certain degree of success by virtue of the brand name itself.

Apple’s highly innovative products are often at the forefront of the industry. One thing that sets Apple apart from the competition is its product inter-connectivity.

For instance, an Apple user can easily sync their iPhone and iPad together. They can access all of their photos, contacts, apps, and more no matter which device they are using.

Lastly, customers enjoy how easy it is to use Apple’s products. With a sleek and simple design, each product is developed so that most people can quickly learn how to use them.

Next, let’s look at three of Apple’s weaknesses.

  • High prices
  • Closed ecosystem
  • Lack of experimentation

While the high prices don’t deter Apple’s middle- and upper-class customer base, they do hinder Apple’s ability to reach a lower-class demographic.

Apple also suffers from its own exclusivity. Apple controls all its services and products in-house, and while many customers become loyal brand advocates for this reason, it means all burdens fall on Apple employees.

Ultimately, Apple’s tight control over who distributes its products limits its market reach.

Lastly, Apple is held to a high standard when it comes to creating and distributing products. Apple’s brand carries a high level of prestige. That level of recognition inhibits Apple from taking risks and experimenting freely with new products that could fail.

Now, let’s take a look at opportunities for Apple.

It’s easy to recognize opportunities for improvement, once you consider Apple’s weaknesses. Here’s a list of three we came up with:

  • Expand distribution options.
  • Create new product lines.
  • Technological advancement.

One of Apple’s biggest weaknesses is its distribution network, which, in the name of exclusivity, remains relatively small. If Apple expanded its network and enabled third-party businesses to sell its products, it could reach more people globally, while alleviating some of the stress currently put on in-house employees.

There are also plenty of opportunities for Apple to create new products. Apple could consider creating more affordable products to reach a larger demographic, or spreading out into new industries — Apple self-driving cars, perhaps?

Finally, Apple could continue advancing its products’ technology. Apple can take existing products and refine them, ensuring each product offers as many unique features as possible.

Finally, let’s look at threats to Apple.

Believe it or not, they do exist.

Here are three of Apple’s biggest threats:

  • Tough competition.
  • International issues.

Apple isn’t the only innovative tech company out there, and it continues to face tough competition from Samsung, Google, and other major forces. In fact, Samsung sold more smartphones than Apple did in Q1 of 2022 , shipping 17 million more units than Apple and holding 24% of the market share.

Many of Apple’s weaknesses hinder Apple’s ability to compete with the tech corporations that have more freedom to experiment, or that don’t operate in a closed ecosystem.

A second threat to Apple is lawsuits. Apple has faced plenty of lawsuits, particularly between Apple and Samsung . These lawsuits interfere with Apple’s reputable image and could steer some customers to purchase elsewhere.

Finally, Apple needs to improve its reach internationally. The company isn’t number one in China and doesn’t have a very positive relationship with the Chinese government. In India, which has one of the largest consumer markets in the world, Apple’s market share is low , and the company has trouble bringing stores to India’s market.

If Apple can’t compete globally the way Samsung or Google can, it risks falling behind in the industry.

Starbucks SWOT Analysis

Now that we’ve explored the nuances involved with a SWOT analysis, let’s fill out a SWOT template using Starbucks as an example.

Here’s how we’d fill out a SWOT template if we were Starbucks:

An example SWOT analysis for Starbucks.

Download this Template for Free

Restaurant Small Business SWOT Analysis

Some small business marketers may have difficulty relating to the SWOTs of big brands like Apple and Starbucks. Here’s an example of how a dine-in Thai restaurant might visualize each element.

A SWOT analysis example for a restaurant small business.

Small restaurants can lean into their culinary expertise and service skills to find opportunities for growth and brand awareness. A SWOT analysis can also help identify weaknesses that can be improved, such as menu variation and pricing.

While a restaurant might not be as worried about high-level lawsuits, a small business might be more concerned about competitors or disruptors that might enter the playing field.

Local Boutique SWOT Analysis

In another small business example, let’s take a look at a SWOT analysis for a local boutique.

A SWOT analysis example for a local boutique.

This shop might be well known in its neighborhood, but it also might take time to build an online presence or get its products in an online store.

Because of this, some of its strengths and opportunities might relate to physical factors while weaknesses and threats might relate to online situations.

How to Act on a SWOT Analysis

After conducting a SWOT analysis, you may be asking yourself: What’s next?

Putting together a SWOT analysis is only one step. Executing the findings identified by the analysis is just as important — if not more.

Put your insights into action using the following steps.

Take advantage of your strengths.

Use your strengths to pursue opportunities from your analysis.

For example, if we look at the local boutique example above, the strength of having affordable prices can be a value proposition. You can emphasize your affordable prices on social media or launch an online store.

Address your weaknesses.

Back to the boutique example, one of its weaknesses is having a poor social media presence. To mitigate this, the boutique could hire a social media consultant to improve its strategy. They may even tap into the expertise of a social-savvy employee.

Make note of the threats.

Threats are often external factors that can’t be controlled, so it’s best to monitor the threats outlined in your SWOT analysis to be aware of their impacts on your business.

When to Use a SWOT Analysis

While the examples above focus on business strategy in general, you can also use a SWOT analysis to evaluate and predict how a singular product will play out in the market.

Ultimately, a SWOT analysis can measure and tackle both big and small challenges, from deciding whether or not to launch a new product to refining your social media strategy.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in May 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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SWOT Analysis: Mastering the Step-by-Step Guide & Templates

SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool used by businesses to assess their internal and external factors . It provides a comprehensive perspective on the organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. By analyzing these factors, businesses can gain valuable insights that serve as a starting point for decision-making and strategy development.

In the ever-evolving business landscape, conducting a SWOT analysis is crucial for companies to identify areas of improvement and capitalize on potential opportunities in the industry or community they operate in. This free guide aims to present a step-by-step approach to performing a SWOT analysis, offering practical information and key questions to consider during each session. Whether you are an established company or just starting out, understanding your internal factors and their link to external circumstances can cause significant positive changes within your organization .

What is SWOT Analysis?

Definition of swot analysis.

SWOT analysis, which stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, is a framework used to evaluate the internal and external factors that impact a business. It provides businesses with a comprehensive understanding of their current position in the market.

Importance of SWOT Analysis

Conducting a SWOT analysis is crucial for businesses as it allows them to identify their strengths and weaknesses. By recognizing areas where they excel, businesses can capitalize on these strengths to gain a competitive edge. On the other hand, identifying weaknesses helps businesses understand areas that require improvement or strategic changes.

Analyzing opportunities is another significant aspect of SWOT analysis. It enables businesses to identify potential growth areas or new markets to explore. By recognizing opportunities early on, companies can develop strategies to tap into these prospects and expand their operations.

Furthermore, SWOT analysis helps in identifying threats that may pose challenges or risks to a business. By anticipating potential threats such as emerging competitors or changing market trends, companies can proactively devise strategies to mitigate risks and safeguard their market position.

One advantage of using the SWOT framework is its simplicity. The four categories – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats – provide a structured approach for evaluating various aspects of a business. This makes it easier for businesses to assess their internal capabilities as well as external factors affecting their industry.

Another benefit of conducting SWOT analyses is that they can be tailored to specific contexts or objectives. For instance, some companies may focus on conducting competitive analyses by comparing their strengths and weaknesses against those of their competitors. Others may use additional frameworks like PEST analysis (Political, Economic, Social, Technological) alongside SWOT analysis for a more comprehensive evaluation.

How to Conduct a SWOT Analysis

Step 1: identify strengths.

To conduct a SWOT analysis, start by identifying the strengths of your business. These are the internal factors that give you an advantage over your competitors. Some examples of strengths could include:

  • Strong brand reputation and recognition in the industry.
  • Highly skilled workforce with specialized expertise.
  • Advanced technology infrastructure providing a competitive edge.

Identifying these strengths will help you understand what sets your business apart and what areas you can leverage to achieve success.

Step 2: Identify Weaknesses

Next, it’s essential to identify the weaknesses of your business. These are the internal factors that may hinder your progress or put you at a disadvantage. Some examples of weaknesses could include:

  • Limited financial resources hindering expansion plans.
  • Lack of brand awareness among target customers.
  • Inefficient supply chain management leading to delays in product delivery.

By recognizing these weaknesses, you can develop strategies to overcome them and improve overall performance.

Step 3: Identify Opportunities

After analyzing internal factors, it’s time to focus on external opportunities that could benefit your business. These are favorable circumstances or trends in the market that you can capitalize on. Some examples of opportunities could include:

  • Emerging market trends favoring the company’s products or services.
  • Expansion into international markets with high demand for similar offerings.
  • Strategic partnerships or collaborations with complementary businesses.

Identifying these opportunities allows you to align your business strategies accordingly and seize potential avenues for growth.

Step 4: Identify Threats

In addition to opportunities, it’s crucial to identify potential threats that may impact your business negatively. These are external factors beyond your control that pose risks or challenges. Some examples of threats could include:

  • Intense competition from established players in the market.
  • Political or regulatory changes impacting business operations negatively
  • Economic downturn affecting consumer spending patterns.

Recognizing these threats helps you prepare contingency plans and minimize the risks associated with them.

Step 5: Analyze and Prioritize

Once you have identified your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, it’s time to analyze and prioritize them. Evaluate each element based on its impact on your business’s overall objectives. Consider interdependencies between different elements while analyzing them.

Prioritize elements that have a significant influence on achieving desired outcomes. By doing so, you can focus your resources and efforts on areas that will yield the greatest results.

Remember, a SWOT analysis is not a one-time process but an ongoing practice to stay updated with the changing business landscape. Regularly review and revise your SWOT analysis to adapt to new opportunities and challenges that may arise.

When and How to Use a SWOT Analysis

Business planning and strategy development.

A SWOT analysis is a valuable tool that businesses can use to inform their business plans and strategy development. By conducting a SWOT analysis, companies can gain insights into their internal capabilities and external opportunities, allowing them to align their goals accordingly. This analysis provides a solid foundation for strategic decision-making, helping businesses identify areas where they excel (strengths) and areas where improvement is needed (weaknesses).

Here are some key points about how SWOT analysis contributes to business planning and strategy development:

  • Alignment of Goals : A SWOT analysis helps businesses align their goals with the internal resources they possess and the external factors they face. It allows them to identify how their strengths can be leveraged to take advantage of opportunities in the market.
  • Strategic Decision-Making : By evaluating strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, businesses can make informed decisions about which strategies to pursue. They can capitalize on their strengths while addressing or minimizing potential weaknesses or threats.

Marketing and Branding

A SWOT analysis plays a crucial role in guiding businesses towards success. Here’s why:

  • Target Audience Preferences : Conducting a SWOT analysis helps businesses understand the preferences of their target audience better. By identifying strengths that resonate with customers’ needs and desires, companies can develop effective marketing campaigns that cater directly to those preferences.
  • Competitive Advantages : Through a SWOT analysis, businesses can identify what sets them apart from competitors. This understanding enables them to highlight their unique selling propositions in marketing materials effectively.
  • Building Brand Identity : A SWOT analysis assists in building a strong brand identity by capitalizing on strengths that differentiate the business from others in the market. By leveraging these unique qualities, companies create an authentic brand image that resonates with consumers.

Product Development and Innovation

In the realm of product development and innovation, a SWOT analysis is invaluable for businesses. Here’s how it contributes to this area:

  • Identifying Areas for Improvement : A SWOT analysis helps businesses identify areas where their products can be improved or where new innovations are needed. By evaluating weaknesses and threats, companies can uncover opportunities for growth and development.
  • Understanding Customer Needs : Through a SWOT analysis, businesses gain insights into customer needs and preferences. This understanding allows them to develop products that meet market demands effectively.
  • Market Trends and Technological Advancements : By analyzing opportunities in the market, businesses can stay informed about emerging trends and technological advancements. This knowledge enables them to adapt their products accordingly, ensuring they remain competitive.

SWOT analysis is a valuable tool for businesses and individuals alike to assess their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. By conducting a thorough analysis using this framework, organizations can gain insights into their internal capabilities and external environment, enabling them to make informed decisions and develop effective strategies.

To effectively conduct a SWOT analysis, it is important to follow a structured approach and involve key stakeholders. This includes identifying strengths and weaknesses by evaluating internal factors such as resources, expertise, and processes. Assessing external factors such as market trends, competition, and potential opportunities can help identify areas for growth. By combining these insights in a comprehensive manner, businesses can leverage their strengths while addressing weaknesses to capitalize on opportunities and mitigate threats.

To ensure the success of your SWOT analysis process , it is crucial to regularly review and update your findings as the business landscape evolves. Furthermore, consider seeking input from various perspectives within your organization or even engaging external consultants who specialize in strategic planning. By doing so, you can enhance the accuracy of your analysis and make more informed decisions that drive sustainable growth.

Incorporating SWOT analysis into your business strategy empowers you with valuable information that facilitates effective decision-making. So take the time to conduct regular assessments using this framework to stay ahead of the competition and seize new opportunities for success.

Note: The content provided here should be used purely for educational purposes only.

What is a SWOT analysis and why is it important for businesses?

A SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool that helps businesses evaluate their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It provides a comprehensive overview of the internal and external factors that can impact a company’s performance. Conducting a SWOT analysis allows businesses to identify areas for improvement, capitalize on their strengths, seize potential opportunities, and mitigate risks. It serves as a valuable framework for making informed decisions and developing effective strategies to achieve business goals.

How do I conduct a SWOT analysis for my business?

To conduct a SWOT analysis for your business, follow these steps:

  • Identify strengths: Determine what your business does well or what sets it apart from competitors.
  • Assess weaknesses: Identify areas where your business may be lacking or at a disadvantage.
  • Explore opportunities: Look for external factors or market trends that could benefit your business.
  • Evaluate threats: Identify potential challenges or risks that could negatively impact your business.
  • Analyze findings: Review all the information gathered and prioritize key elements of each category.
  • Develop strategies: Based on the analysis, create action plans to leverage strengths, address weaknesses, seize opportunities, and mitigate threats.

Remember to involve key stakeholders in the process and consider seeking external perspectives through customer feedback or industry research.

Can individuals use SWOT analysis in personal development?

Absolutely! While SWOT analyses are commonly used by businesses, they can also be applied to personal development. By conducting a personal SWOT analysis, individuals can gain insights into their own strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in various aspects of life such as careers, relationships, education, or personal goals.

This self-reflection exercise helps individuals identify areas where they excel or need improvement while exploring potential opportunities for growth and recognizing potential obstacles they may face along the way. Armed with this knowledge, individuals can develop action plans to capitalize on their strengths, address weaknesses, pursue opportunities, and overcome challenges to achieve personal success.

Are there any limitations to using SWOT analysis?

While SWOT analysis is a valuable tool, it does have some limitations:

  • Subjectivity: The analysis heavily relies on subjective assessments and opinions, which may vary among individuals or stakeholders involved.
  • Lack of prioritization: Without proper prioritization, the analysis can become overwhelming as it identifies numerous factors without clearly indicating their significance.
  • Limited scope: SWOT analysis primarily focuses on internal and external factors but may not consider broader economic or industry trends.
  • Static nature: The analysis provides a snapshot of the current situation but doesn’t account for dynamic changes that occur over time.
  • Lack of detailed solutions: While SWOT analysis helps identify areas for improvement or growth, it doesn’t provide specific solutions or action plans.

To mitigate these limitations, businesses should complement SWOT analyses with additional tools and strategies to ensure comprehensive decision-making.

Can a SWOT analysis be used for competitive research?

Yes! Conducting a SWOT analysis can be an effective method for competitive research. By analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of competitors in your industry, you gain insights into their strategies, positioning, and areas where they excel or fall short.

This information allows you to benchmark against competitors and identify potential opportunities to differentiate your business. By evaluating threats faced by competitors, you can anticipate market shifts or emerging challenges that might impact your own business strategy.

By regularly updating your competitive SWOT analysis, you stay informed about industry trends and develop strategies that give you a competitive edge in the market.

Ready to conduct your own SWOT analysis? Start now and unlock valuable insights to drive success in your business!

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A guide to SWOT analysis in project management

swot analysis of research project

Project management is an ever-evolving field that requires a thorough understanding of various methods and techniques to ensure the successful completion of projects. One of the key elements of project management is conducting a SWOT analysis.

A SWOT analysis in project management is a tool used to assess the various aspects of a project before its implementation. This analysis provides organizations with essential information about where projects are likely to succeed or fail so that teams are aware of their strong points and faults before starting on a project.

To help you better understand how to conduct a SWOT analysis for your own projects, we’ve broken down what goes into the process, some tips to get the most out of your analysis, and how monday.com can help you put it all together.

What is a SWOT analysis in project management?

SWOT analysis in project management is a method that’s used to assess a project’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It helps stakeholders identify which areas of a project to focus on as well as potential risks to address in advance.

Running a SWOT analysis helps project managers and stakeholders identify impacts on a project’s success while simultaneously developing strategies that can improve a project’s outcomes.

Benefits of a SWOT analysis

Conducting a SWOT analysis can help when you’re at the starting point of a project. It can also help project managers optimize planning and efficiency by staying aware of potential threats and weaknesses. Running a SWOT analysis can also benefit an organization in several ways:

  • Identify strengths and weaknesses associated with your project so that you can focus on areas needing improvement
  • Find potential threats that may arise in order to make well-informed decisions
  • Improve collaboration by bringing people together to discuss how to approach a project
  • Simplify the brainstorming process by establishing a shared understanding of a project’s current state
  • Inform the strategic planning process by creating a framework for analyzing a situation and making future plans

How to conduct a SWOT analysis

Before you begin your SWOT analysis, it’s important to know how to organize the information. There are several ways of doing it, but one of the most common is to break down the information into a grid that looks like this:

swot analysis format

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What’s most important in creating your SWOT analysis breakdown is that the information is presented in a clear visual way so that all stakeholders can easily understand it. If you don’t want to make your own grid, there are project management software tools like monday.com that offer SWOT analysis templates you can use for collaborative visualization of your data.

Let’s look at a more detailed breakdown of what data to look at in each section of a SWOT analysis. This will help you perform your own analysis without missing out on any important information.

Strengths refer to the internal factors within a company that gives it an advantage over competitors. These can include a strong brand, a loyal customer base, good employee relations, efficient operations, financial stability, and access to resources. In this part of a SWOT analysis, organizations are identifying their strongest assets.

On your SWOT analysis chart or software, weaknesses is where you list the internal factors that might negatively impact a project’s success. Possible weaknesses could be new or untrained team members, not having the right resources, a limited budget or timeline, or a lack of communication tools.

Opportunities

Opportunities are external factors that can be leveraged to help a business reach its goals. These factors are outside of an organization’s control but can lead to positive impacts on a project. Examples of opportunities may include a growing market, new technology, access to resources, and favorable economic conditions.

Threats are external factors that would have a negative impact on an organization’s performance if they were to take place. Examples of threats in a SWOT analysis include unforeseen changes to your supply chain, changes in technology, price increases from vendors, or even an economic downturn.

Tips for doing your own SWOT analysis

The results of your SWOT analysis will only be as good as how prepared you were to gather the information. Planning ahead and knowing what to look out for in this process will help you in gathering the right information on which to base your decisions so that you can take the best course of action for your business. Here are some tips to consider when running a SWOT analysis:

  • Start by gathering the right people: Invite a diverse group of stakeholders to the SWOT analysis meeting, including team members, customers, and industry experts.
  • Set an agenda: Have a clear agenda that outlines the purpose of the meeting, the timeline of the SWOT analysis, and an overview of the process.
  • Brainstorm solutions: Once you have identified the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, brainstorm potential solutions and strategies to address each item.
  • Prioritize factors: After the team finishes brainstorming , organize the factors in each category from most to least important so everyone is on the same page about priorities.
  • Assign tasks: Assign tasks and responsibilities to members of the group for implementing the solutions.
  • Follow Up: Follow up with the group after the meeting to ensure that tasks are being completed and strategies are being implemented.

Running your SWOT analysis on monday.com

A SWOT analysis should be a collaborative process between all stakeholders in a project. To ease the communication and brainstorming, turn to project management software like monday.com to contain all elements of your analysis in one place. Here’s how it can help.

Easily visualize your SWOT analysis

swot analysis board monday.com

With a dedicated SWOT analysis board, you can easily list different strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. You can prioritize each item and sort them by relevance, add comments, files, and task owners.

Seamless collaboration

swot analysis monday.com collaboration

monday.com project management makes it easy for teams to collaborate on the SWOT analysis process. If your team works remotely or isn’t able to meet physically, changes are instantaneous, allowing all stakeholders to brainstorm with ease and then align on tasks.

Data-driven insights

swot analysis data gathering monday.com

Once your SWOT analysis is complete, you can import data from external sources, such as an Excel sheet, in order to make business decisions based on concrete data. Having the analysis and resulting data all in one place helps keep your projects transparent and simplifies planning.

How do you do a SWOT analysis for better strategic planning?

The method for doing a SWOT analysis for strategic planning is the same as any other SWOT analysis. You need to first identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of an organization and then use the information gathered to develop strategic planning strategies.

How does a SWOT analysis help project management?

A SWOT analysis provides an overall view of the project and helps identify potential risks and opportunities, allowing project managers to develop strategies and actions to help ensure a project’s success.

What is the main purpose of a SWOT analysis?

The main purpose of SWOT analysis is to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of a business or project. It is a tool used to evaluate the overall viability of a venture and to gain an understanding of the internal and external factors that may influence its success.

Make your next SWOT analysis the most impactful yet

By conducting a SWOT analysis, businesses can gain a better understanding of their industry and develop strategies that maximize their strengths while minimizing their weaknesses. A SWOT analysis is a great starting point to help businesses achieve their goals, but it needs to be done in an organized way to remain effective. monday.com helps teams ensure the success of their SWOT analysis by providing a collaborative platform for all stakeholders to participate, view gathered data, and keep track of action plans.

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Table of Contents

  • What is a SWOT Analysis?

Who should do a SWOT Analysis?

Benefits of swot analysis, characteristics of a swot analysis, how to do the swot analysis, how to use the final swot analysis results, other strategies like swot.

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Companies start a project to reach or obtain an objective that will address a need coming from different sources. It can come from an external source, such as customer demands or fierce competition, or an internal source, such as invention or innovation. At the initiation phase of the project, the team identifies and scopes the need or objective. At this phase, the team investigates and analyzes several things, such as its capabilities, priorities, and strategies.

What is SWOT Analysis?

SWOT analysis is a simple yet effective process for identifying positive and negative forces at work that can affect the successful completion of a project. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. It allows the project leader to assess areas that are working well and areas that need improvement. If project management is managing a movement from one state to another, then a SWOT analysis lets a team know where they are currently so they can go where they want to be.

For a SWOT analysis to be effective, it must have complete, accurate, and unbiased information. Depending on the scope of the project, the team conducting the analysis should have senior leadership with enough overview of the organization and business. A project with a greater scope should involve a leader with a higher position making the analysis. Additionally, a project with a greater impact to the whole business should involve more participants across the organization’s different departments. For a more accurate assessment, creating a team with diverse perspectives is essential. For instance, a team that includes personnel from customer service together with sales and marketing will provide better information than with sales and marketing teams only.

Companies do a SWOT analysis before they commit to any action or project plan. This way, they can answer questions such as ‘can we do the project?’ or ‘should we do the project?’ SWOT analysis provides teams and organizations the following benefits:

  • Creates honest assessments of their strengths and weaknesses
  • Provides new perspectives on the company and its business
  • Gives insight on how to maximize what is available, address limitations, make additional investments, and avoid risks.
  • Confirms the needed validation and justification for initiating the project
  • Builds supporting documents for the project plan
  • Provides an effective strategic planning tool when done regularly

In a SWOT analysis, teams focus on the four elements of the acronym as they identify the forces and conflicts that influence and affect the project. Some teams create a 2×2 grid while others create a document with 4 columns. Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors that a team or organization has, while opportunities and threats are external factors that they have lesser control of. The document places strengths and opportunities side-by-side, and weaknesses with threats. This makes it easily visible if teams can maximize strengths to create more opportunities or if eliminating a weakness can help avoid a threat.

SWOT Analysis template

Strengths are what you excel at more so than your competitors. Strengths are integral to your organization, so it can be a pool of talented people, a solid business process, a proprietary technology, or an excellent work culture. Any aspect of your company that brings an advantage is a strength.

Weaknesses are the things that create disadvantages to your team or organization. These are inherent features that can be present in personnel, procedures, systems, or culture. If there is a policy or practice that you want to remove or replace by something better, it would probably be a weakness.

Opportunities

Opportunities are favorable external factors that can help you gain an advantage. They are available openings or chances that your team can pursue with additional effort or investment. It can be a proper timing, special offer, an easing of restriction, or a recently released application.

Threats can be any external factor that affects the project, team, or business negatively. They are obstacles to your workflow, schedule, budget, or end product or service. A new technology, a recent regulation, or the success of a competitor can all be threats.

Questions to help inspire analysis

  • Does the organization have all the necessary talent in-house?
  • Is the budget sufficient to complete all the tasks involved?
  • What are the benefits of completing the project?
  • Has the project manager handled similar projects in the past?
  • How experienced are the team members?

Weaknesses:

  • Does the organization have the resources to provide contingency funding?
  • If the team doesn’t have all the necessary skills, is outsourcing an option?
  • Is the schedule realistic?
  • What are the potential drawbacks of the project?

Opportunities:

  • Will this project take advantage of competitor weaknesses?
  • What are the latest trends in the industry?
  • Are there new technologies that the organization should be aware of?
  • Can this project help in different areas of the business?
  • Are the team members difficult to replace?
  • Did the new technology passed testing or has successful adoption?
  • Could changing trends affect the project?
  • Can competitors copy the capability?

SWOT Analysis template 2

After the SWOT analysis activity, teams can now summarize the results. From these results, they can form a strategy that will maximize available strengths to take advantage of opportunities. They can reduce or eliminate existing weaknesses to avoid threats. The strategy can be a basis in how teams will build their project plans.

A SWOT Analysis example

In this example, a medical startup company plans to develop and market a non-invasive, optical-based blood glucose monitor. The company wishes to offer its patient population a better way to monitor and manage their blood sugar levels without painfully pricking fingers using traditional home electronic glucose meters.

  • The company has patents on the optical blood glucose monitor technology.
  • The technology and device are FDA-approved.
  • They have industry experts with extensive experience in the different aspects of the technology, including medicine, optics, electronics, and manufacturing.
  • The company lacks funding.
  • As a startup, they don’t have a distribution network or a relationship to one.
  • The device is expensive to build.
  • There is an untapped market for non-invasive blood glucose monitors.
  • Due to a diabetes endemic, the demand for monitors are increasing yearly.
  • Major scientific institutions and enterprises are expressing interest in conducting joint research.
  • Existing competitive and emerging products have strong market presence.
  • Prices of devices are going down.

Actions to take:

From the SWOT analysis, the company needs to consider obtaining capital from interested investors. This will include venture capitalists and angel investors. Also, the company needs to quickly build relationships with medical device distributors by attending conferences and developing incentives for distributors. They can also take advantage of joint researches and publications with institutions and enterprises that may have existing distributor networks.

It is important to have a clear objective during SWOT analysis sessions. Participants or stakeholders should understand the whole team’s expectations from everyone. The analysis at the initial phase helps identify the elements that will later support the project plan. But it’s also possible to have a SWOT analysis session in the middle of a project for a review or reassessment of identified elements.

A SWOT analysis is one among many tools for project or strategic planning. Teams can use an existing SWOT analysis template with a variety of formats placing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in grids or columns.

In addition, other tools are available to complement SWOT analysis. Brainstorming techniques can help putting forward ideas and opinions during the analysis session while a TOWS Matrix is a SWOT variation where the focus is in identifying the relationships between the elements. Other similar strategies that involve analyzing individual but related elements include:

PEST Analysis – A Political, Economic, Social, and Technological (PEST) Analysis can provide additional assessment of external factors in opportunities and threats. This type of analysis is useful for assessing factors that can affect the profitability of a company. It is used in conjunction with SWOT.

MOST Analysis – A Mission, Objectives, Strategy, and Tactics (MOST) Analysis is a technique used for strategy planning and development. It helps companies evaluate what they want to achieve through their mission statement and objectives. It also helps them clarify how they want to achieve this through strategies and tactics.

SCRS Analysis – A Strategy, Current state, Requirements, and Solutions (SCRS) Analysis is a business tool for coming up with a plan of action. For each identified problem, you create a strategy, review your current state, identify requirements, and find the best solution. It also allows the team to look at the underlying problem and find practical and feasible solutions that aligns with the company’s current strategy.

VRIO Analysis – A Value, Rarity, Imitability, and Organization (VRIO) Analysis is performed by organization leaders after creating their vision statement. It is an analysis tool that helps uncover elements that can provide competitive advantage to a company over others. Participants answer a question-framework regarding added value offered to customers, control of rare or scarce resources and capabilities, difficulty of duplicating or creating a substitute to an organization resource, and confirming the presence of organized systems and processes to capitalize on resources.

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PESTLE Analysis

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How to Write A SWOT Analysis: 5+ Top Research Sources

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2024 by Kiesha Frue Filed Under: SWOT Analysis

If you’re looking to find out how to write a SWOT analysis, there are a few key things that you want to keep in mind. A SWOT analysis is a way to look at another company and this could be a competitor or someone who you want to do business with. What you want to do is use a SWOT analysis method that breaks down all the details on the company.

A SWOT analysis is a type of study . It focuses on four main components of a topic: strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Most SWOT analyses are written about companies, products, and industries (your topic). People use it to identify the benefits and disadvantages of their topic. And once the analysis is complete, they can immediately use their findings. I’ve written countless SWOT analyses from scratch. And in this article, I’ll explain my thought process while writing each one.

If you are going to write a SWOT analysis, there are a few key things that you have to focus on. For starters, you want to write out a detailed description of the company that you’re going to be:

  • researching
  • and analyzing

Find research online for your SWOT analysis

What that means is you want to get all the details you can on the company. You may want to start online and go to their website. When you go to the website try to get as much information you can about them and if you can’t find it there, you can go to sites like Wikipedia .

This can give you information on the company and it might let you know how they started. It will give you background information like the number of employees, their services, and focus. You may not always find this on their website, so researching online is a great way to get more details.

Start building your SWOT analysis

Your next step will be to start your actual SWOT analysis on your paper. You are going to put down a box with four equal boxes inside. In the first one, you can write ‘strengths’, next to that, ‘weaknesses’. Write ‘opportunities’ below the strengths and next to that write ‘threats’. That’s how to write a SWOT analysis in the beginning.

How to Write A SWOT Analysis: Strengths

As you do the research of a company, you want to look at areas where you know they’re strong. Maybe they were in the news recently because they made a lot of money or they bought another company. That’s big news that you want to list. They may have even started working on a really big deal.

For example, if you were looking at Facebook , you might say: “Wow, the Facebook stock has gone up a lot and they’ve been in the news a lot lately”. That’s a strength. It’ll be the first thing to write in your SWOT analysis.

What is a strength for your topic?

If you’re not sure what a strength means for your topic, it’ll be difficult to find them during your research phase.

It’s simple: a strength is a benefit (or advantage) for your topic. A strength may benefit the bottom line. It may increase brand recognition . It may be why customers are obsessed with your topic. Or it may be how the topic stands out above the sea of everyday products.

Examples of strengths

One of Netflix’s strengths is the ad-free content they offer customers. As a customer, you can stream Netflix’s catalog without seeing a single ad. This is also possible when using Hulu, a competitive streaming service but only if you pay a higher monthly fee. Compared to other streaming services, like TLC Go which forces you to watch upwards of 50 ads for a 40-minute television show, Netflix customers have it made.

BMW’s major strength is a luxurious brand image . People buy a BMW because it’s luxurious. Expensive. If you have one, it means you’re above the average person. You’re wealthy, desirable. Maybe even ambitious. You don’t feel the same way in a Toyota as you do in a BMW . And that’s because they have created this luxury feeling for their brand.

It may be best to think about strengths abstractly. Think about how the strength is beneficial for your topic.

Finding strengths online

To find new or relevant information, search the topic + press release.

See if your topic has created new products, mergers, or received awards. Search news sites for the topic and see what reporters are saying about it. Hopefully, it’s all good news, which you can use for this section of the SWOT analysis.

If it’s bad… well, we’ll save that for the “weaknesses” section.

Where to search online:

  • Publications (New York Times, TechCrunch, other news sites)
  • Forums (Reddit, Facebook)
  • Press releases (Newswire, PRNewswire)
  • Reviews (Amazon)

You can even search “strengths + your topic” and see what comes up. Be sure to read through and check for accuracy if it’s not from a reliable source (like say, the DailyMail).

Searching for strengths for a product

If you’re doing a SWOT analysis for a product , search for its reviews. You’ll likely find a few highly rated and lowly rated reviews.

Don’t blindly believe all the high or low reviews. In many cases, companies buy 5-star reviews. And the competition may pay someone to give poor reviews. Instead, see if you can spot a pattern among the reviews. Maybe a few people are boasting about a new feature for the product. Maybe they love how it feels.

Have you used the product?

If you have, you’ll likely have a few insights about it yourself. You’ll have looked at discussions about the product before buying it. And after using it, you’ll have some good things to say about it. Otherwise, check forums like Reddit. It’s typically real people openly discussing a product — the good, the bad, and the “meh”.

How to Write A SWOT Analysis: Weaknesses

In the next block of how to write a SWOT analysis, begin writing down the company’s weaknesses. Start looking up the weaknesses the company might have. When you look at weaknesses, you want to look at all the problems that the company has had in the news. A great example would be Walmart which has been in the news a lot because of labor issues. They’ve had problems with:

  • with paying employees
  • not giving high salaries

These are all weaknesses. You also want to make sure that you look at things like their stock and whether or not you are reading articles that say they’re doing well or if they’re doing poorly.

What is a weakness for your topic?

Again, as we did for strengths, realize what a weakness could be for the topic , as well as consumers (if applicable). That’s how to write a SWOT analysis correctly.

For instance, weaknesses for companies include:

  • Competition
  • Market saturation
  • Bad reviews
  • Profit decline
  • Lack of diversity
  • Poor economies

As for products, it may include:

  • Poor reputation of the company
  • Material quality

Examples of weaknesses

PepsiCo offers only a few healthy food and beverage options . With the health-conscious crowd rising up, PepsiCo should be developing more low-calorie, nutritional options for them. And yet… they’re not. This means, despite PepsiCo’s huge presence in the food and beverage industry, they’re neglecting a substantial market.

Bitcoin’s worth is declining . It’s actually at its lowest valuation in more than a year. That’s just how it works though; it’s unpredictable, like stocks.

Finding weaknesses online

If your topic is a product and you’ve used it before, you already know about issues first-hand. You’ve likely read reviews before buying or trying the product and have seen common complaints.

You can use forums to see if these complaints are still relevant. If they are, it can be included in the SWOT analysis you are writing. People are more honest about the things they don’t like about a product, so this is definitely when searching for reviews is a fantastic option for gathering info.

You can also see which publications have discussed your topic lately. Even if the topic is only briefly mentioned, consider adding it to the weakness section (when applicable).

Where to search for weaknesses

  • Publications (New York Times, TechCrunch, News sites)
  • Use your own experience (if applicable)

You can create a quick list of the faults of the topic. They might not all make it into the final draft of the analysis. But it’s good to have a list, particularly of the leading issues or complaints against your topic. Because this section can be highly informative for SWOT analysis’ next section called opportunities.

How to Write A SWOT Analysis: Opportunities

Your next step of how to write a SWOT analysis is going to be about the opportunities. What you want to do ideally is to look at what the company mentions in its latest press release. A press release can tell you basically a little bit of information about a company and what they’re getting ready to do next. You can also look at an annual report or an earnings report.

You don’t want to read the full report because that might take days to get through! A lot of the information in there is really a bunch of numbers, so you want to go to the summary of the report.

The easiest way to do this is to just do a search for that particular company and search for the summary in their annual report.

So if it was Facebook that you were looking up, you can go under Facebook and then type in ‘annual report summary’. This is a recap so you will find all the information there. Alternatively, you could just type in their annual report and then Facebook and look for the first few articles that come up from different companies or firms who are writing articles about them.

You may also find that there are finance companies who write about them and give articles with details on their weakness and opportunities. What they are giving you is a SWOT analysis in a different version . They’re going to give you a smaller detailed version of what you need to know. What you’re going to look for is an opportunity that they may be working on in the future.

For example, if you were doing opportunities for Netflix, you might see something like them mentioning that they now have a new season of Game of Thrones or the new season of their show Orange Is the New Black . That’s because they actually mention things they’re working on in their particular business because they do streaming videos. They are going to mention them, but they won’t tell you who is in which episode!

While these might be popular videos, they are also considered opportunities because these are areas where they are expanding. Keep in mind this is not always the case. A few years ago Netflix lost a big deal with the video channel Starz where they pulled their movies from the Netflix line-up because Starz and Netflix were fighting over money. Some news will be good and some news will be bad.

What does an opportunity mean for your topic?

An opportunity is the chance to achieve something for your topic. It should be positive. Such as a new merger or expanding a business into a new region.

It’s much easier to find opportunities after finishing the “weaknesses” section of the analysis. Opportunities are born from weaknesses . It allows a weakness to become a strength. Look again at the above example of PepsiCo’s weakness. It’s not as prevalent in the healthy eating niche as it should be. But if it were, that would change the weakness into a strength.

Examples of opportunities

Smart light bulbs. They allow you to control your lights with an app on your phone. Most companies sell these bulbs for home use . But they can also be used in organizations, businesses, and schools. The bulbs last longer than regular bulbs, making it a smart choice for establishments.

Airbnb can easily move into the travel industry . After selecting a room in the city you’re visiting, Airbnb can hook you up with a tour guide. An expert who will show you parts of the city you never knew existed. In some locations, Airbnb is already doing this. But not everywhere.

Finding opportunities online

First, examine your list of weaknesses. Which ones can be “fixed” and transformed into opportunities for your topic? If any on the list can’t ever be “fixed”, then don’t bother including them here. Because opportunities need to be possible . And not in a “million years later” kind of way. As in, possible to achieve in a few months or years.

Additionally, take a look at news and press release websites. Search your topic there. See if there have been any new achievements, such as new product developments, mergers, a change in business models… whatever catches your eye. If there are changes happening, it could mean opportunities are on the horizon.

Specifically, search:

  • Publications (New York Times, TechCrunch, Local/international news sites)
  • Use your own information from the strengths and weaknesses categories

You may only find a few opportunities . That’s OK. It’s best to highlight the most beneficial changes your topic can make. And really focus on what this opportunity means for the future of your topic. Will it bring more customers? Help with future expansions? Make their competition shake in fear?

Focus on what the end result will be. Then include it in your SWOT analysis.

How to Write A SWOT Analysis: Threats

As it relates to threats, that’s going to be the next line that you typing as you learn how to write a SWOT analysis. You’re going to write what the competition is for this particular company you’re looking at.

Netflix threats could be Blockbuster which is going through bankrupt filings. You could say Roku is another threat. You could mention other companies like Play On, Sling and these are all different streaming content sites. You can also mention Amazon Prime.

What is or could be threatening your topic?

Or rather, let’s start with: what’s the difference between a weakness and a threat?

A weakness is a problem. It can be small or large. It can last for a while or disappear quietly.

A threat is likely to cause damage. It can develop from a weakness that was left too long without a solution. It undermines the success of your topic. It’s not just a problem; it’s destruction.

Telling the difference between weaknesses and threats will make you write a SWOT analysis properly.

Examples of threats

E-cigs are popular because they’re healthier than smoking regular cigarettes. But are they? Not enough reports from reputable health studies prove this claim. People fear the health risks associated with using E-cigs for a long duration. Hysteria can easily kill this product if not taken care of swiftly.

Energy drinks lead to death . That is, people have drunk several cans in a row and suffered cardiac arrest. Women who are pregnant may harm their child by drinking a can of Red Bull or a Monster. Nothing can tank a reputation harder than reported deaths.

Finding threats online

As mentioned above, a weakness can be a threat. For instance, if a company ignores a large segment of their customers for too long, that’s a weakness. But what if someone else gives those customers what they’ve been craving?

The new guy steals those customers away. Then the original company loses profits. And maybe, a year from now, the company goes under because they refused to acknowledge their customers’ needs.

That is a weakness that turned into a catastrophic threat.

Threats are often:

  • Market changes
  • Economic decline
  • Profit loss.

Again, like with opportunities, you can use the weakness section of your SWOT analysis to brainstorm a few areas of concern (or threats). Then you may want to confirm these threats by searching online.

  • Bad reviews (Amazon)
  • The competition

Take a look at the competitors of your topic. Ask yourself what they’re doing differently, but most importantly why are they?

Why have they chosen to market a certain way? Or offer a specific shipping method? Or to have their website written the way it is? The reason why may be a threat to your topic.

Consider the future

In this section, you want to think about what the future will be for your topic because of certain threats. Look into stocks. Search your topic online and find any articles you can from the last six months. Maybe you can pinpoint when the threats were first introduced (reported on) and how it affects the company today.

This section is trickier than the others. It’ll require more digging. Perhaps even do a competitor analysis if you’ve got the time. But the reason it’s more difficult is because it’s about the future of the topic. Will your topic even have a future if these threats persist? That’s what you need to find out.

These steps show how to write SWOT analysis properly. Make sure that it is detailed and well-rounded. You are also going to update this information within another year or so if you’re looking at this company again because you need fresh details and a fresh report.

Images: marekuliasz/ Shutterstock.com and Green Chameleon  on  Unsplash

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SWOT Analysis Example: Definition and Template

swot_analysis_example

SWOT analysis provides a comprehensive framework with a SWOT analysis example for evaluating internal and external factors impacting a company’s performance and competitiveness. By identifying a company’s strengths and weaknesses within the organization and analyzing opportunities and threats of different perspectives in the external environment, a SWOT analysis enables businesses to develop strategies for a new project that leverage their strengths, mitigate weaknesses, capitalize on opportunities, and overcome threats and negative factors

A SWOT analysis example can be valuable for understanding how this analytical strategic planning technique can be applied in practical scenarios. Whether you are a business professional, an entrepreneur, or a student studying strategic management, this SWOT analysis example will provide valuable insights and a deeper appreciation of the power of this analytical tool. So let’s dive into SWOT analysis examples and unlock the potential for strategic success with intellectual property!

SWOT Analysis: Definition

SWOT analysis is defined as an acronym for Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats which is an effective market research analysis technique. Usually, SWOT analysis is used to evaluate an organization’s performance in the market and is used for developing effective business strategies.

LEARN ABOUT:  Market research industry

This SWOT analysis framework, which is now a trusted assessment source that organizations rely on to understand the scope of opportunities, value proposition, and threats by analyzing the strengths and weaknesses.

SWOT Analysis with Internal and External Factors

Strengths and weaknesses are primarily for internal analysis of an organization (in terms of market reputation, manufacturing line location, patents, etc.). To improve these good SWOT analysis factors, constant work needs to be put in over a course of time. But, opportunities and threats are external (in terms of competition, prices, associated partners, etc.) to an organization and they have no control over the changes that might occur to these external factors.

LEARN ABOUT:  Market Evaluation

SWOT analysis is also used in micro situations such as –

  • When an organization’s strength is the product quality and there are chances of conversion of a particular deal, it will be advisable for the organization to assign a capable workforce for the closure of this deal. It is a SWOT analysis example of internal factors.
  • Identifying weaknesses and their corresponding hindrances, the organization can strategize on how to overcome the weaknesses. For instance, if the sales results are a definite weakness for a company, they can try to minimize or eliminate it by regular training for the sales employees, providing access to multiple tools so that they can work off their skills, implementation of an efficient Customer Relationship Management software and other such corrective measures can be taken through this SWOT analysis. It is a good SWOT analysis example.
  • A competitor losing its customers and going bankrupt can be a huge business opportunity for an organization intending to expand operations. Proactive research on how to operate, demographic segmentation and taking advantages of the identified strengths to ensure the competitor’s market is explored.
  • Taking into consideration, organizational strengths and weaknesses, factors which may cause harm to the organization’s reputation can be identified. Considering swot analysis example, if the market forecast suggests a downfall in the economy, an organization can be prepared for it by reducing unwanted expenditures, appointing existing star-performers for sales conversions, etc.

Organizations conduct SWOT analysis extensively to make internal (strengths and weaknesses evaluation) and external (opportunities and threat evaluation) improvements as it can access an excessive pool of information with SWOT analysis examples. Already-existent companies should execute this strategic competitive analysis method at least once or twice a year to make sure they proactively analyze their market to keep making enhancements in various aspects of their organization.

Learn more: Market Research Survey

Importance of SWOT Analysis

The importance of SWOT analysis lies in its ability to provide organizations with a structured framework to assess their current situation and make informed decisions with a SWOT analysis example. Here are some key reasons why SWOT analysis is essential:

swot analysis of research project

Strategic Planning:

SWOT analysis is a fundamental tool in business strategy. It helps organizations identify their internal weaknesses and strengths, and also external opportunities and threats. This information is crucial for formulating effective strategies that leverage strengths, address weaknesses, capitalize on opportunities, and mitigate threats.

Competitive Advantage:

SWOT analysis helps organizations identify and leverage their unique strengths to gain a competitive advantage in the market. By understanding market gaps, trends, and consumer preferences, organizations can align their strategies to exploit opportunities and differentiate themselves from competitors.

Alignment of Resources:

SWOT analysis helps organizations align their resources, such as financial, human, and technological, with their strategic objectives. By identifying internal strengths, organizations can allocate resources to areas where they are most effective. It ensures optimal resource allocation and maximizes organizational efficiency.

Risk Assessment:

SWOT analysis enables organizations to evaluate external threats and opportunities that may impact their operations. Organizations can develop contingency plans and proactively respond to challenges by identifying potential risks. Additionally, recognizing opportunities allows organizations to capitalize on market trends and gain competitive advantages.

Decision Making:

SWOT analysis provides a systematic approach to decision-making. It offers a comprehensive overview of various factors influencing an organization’s success. By weighing the internal and external factors, decision-makers can make informed choices that align with the organization’s goals and objectives.

Enhanced Communication and Collaboration:

SWOT analysis encourages collaboration and communication among organizational stakeholders. It brings diverse perspectives and insights, fostering a shared understanding of the organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This collaborative approach promotes a more comprehensive and holistic decision-making process.

SWOT analysis is a necessary tool for organizations of all sizes and industries. It enables them to assess their current market position, identify key factors influencing their success, and make strategic decisions to achieve their goals.

Free SWOT Analysis Template in Market Research

A free SWOT analysis template can be a valuable resource in market research to assess an organization’s factors. The free SWOT Analysis template is a walk-through of how to conduct SWOT analysis using the 4 models: Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threat analysis. Here are the 4 SWOT Analysis templates in details:

What is the organization good at doing? What are the key differentiators they offer? What are the primary resources they have?

Strengths depict the positive factors of an organization which they can control. They can be analyzed by dividing the organization into sales, finance, marketing plan, market share, research and development, and other structural elements. Strengths involve the positive contribution of key stakeholders in terms of experience, knowledge, educational background and such skills that contribute towards the performance of an organization. This SWOT analysis factor also includes tangible assets such as distribution channel, existing customers, generated finance, accessories etc.

Factors that add value to an organization’s operation by internal factors of a SWOT analysis and in turn build a competitive advantage called Strengths.    

Learn more: Quantitative Market Research

Weaknesses:

Where do you think there is a scope for improvement?

Weaknesses are those elements of the business which still need a lot of enhancement and are bringing the organization down in more than one way. There are certain areas of business which might not be shaping up according to expectation and this is leading to friction in achieving the desired goals.

Segments such as subject matter expertise, lack of financial support, unavailability of appropriate technological tools for training, an inappropriate location of the organization, etc. can fall under the category of “weakness”. These segments are under a company’s control but are contributing to significant losses.

Weaknesses are negative aspects which are contributing to an organization’s competitive disadvantage in a marketing campaign. An accurate understanding of negative characteristics will help an organization to improve and compete with the best in the business.

Opportunities:

What are the opportunities in the market, the ones from which an organization can prosper?

Opportunities gauge attractive elements of a market which can contribute towards more profits for an organization. These are external factors to an organization’s environment. There are always new avenues that crop up after executing marketing strategies. So, opportunities are generally the outcome of revenue/market growth, changes in market perception, a solution to difficulties faced by the market currently, the ability of an organization to add value to the market that in turn increases brand value. Associate a timeline for the identified opportunity after understanding whether it fits the current marketing strategy and also, whether the opportunity can be seized in the pre-decided timeline.

Which aspects of the market are a threat to a business?

Threats indicate those factors which may cause harm to the organization’s existing marketing strategies and also eventually lead to business losses. An organization can profit from inculcating the possibility of these risks into their marketing plans. Threats are those uncontrollable factors which will create business losses. Competitors, change in government policies, bad press coverage for products/services/events, a shift in customer behavior, change in market dynamics which might make certain products outdated and other similar angles are considered to be threats.

Learn more: Qualitative Market Research

Using this swot analysis template, you can conduct a comprehensive SWOT analysis by gathering relevant information and insights through market research methods, such as surveys, interviews, and data analysis. The swot template guides you to consider all factors that can impact your organization’s performance and competitiveness in the market.

Customize the free template based on your specific industry, market, and organization. The goal is to accurately assess your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, leading to actionable insights for strategic decision-making in your market research efforts

How to do a SWOT Analysis for a Business Plan?

There are two types of factors in a business model: internal factors and external factors. The factors which would exist irrespective of the existence of a specific organization are considered to be external and those that exist within an organization are of course, internal factors.

Implement the below mentioned 8 steps for SWOT analysis to develop a strategic plan:

1. Have a clear SWOT analysis objective:

The marketing team can discuss which topic needs immediate attention and this objective can be put to paper. This way, SWOT analysis can be conducted in an organized and effective manner. For example, if an organization intends to know whether or not to launch a new product line – this becomes the primary objective of SWOT analysis.

2. Conduct research to understand the target market:

For successful implementation of SWOT analysis, there should be a thorough understanding of what the market has to offer. Insights obtained from research about technology, customer service, competitors, etc, can be used to conduct an exhaustive SWOT analysis.

3. Identify business’s strengths:

An organization should understand what their strengths are, what are those features of their functioning which are better than the others in the market. Answers to these questions must be noted down. Workforce, location of the organization, product quality, etc. are some SWOT analysis examples of an organization’s strengths.

4. Identify the business’s weaknesses:

There are certain elements of the organization which need improvement. Marketers should create a list of these elements which they believe are harming their reputation in the market. Acknowledging these company’s weaknesses and working to eliminate them should be the intention of the SWOT analysis. This list can include aspects such as the reduction in product clients, constant downsizing of market share, lack of proper staff members et al.

5. Identify potential opportunities:

Evaluate external factors which can be lucrative for business growth. These are not internal processes and there are chances of the same factor being a threat to the business as well. While listing opportunities, one should keep in mind that opportunities should not be a threat to the business. As a swot analysis example, launching a new feature after opportunity SWOT analysis might cause damage to business in case there are competitors who offer the same feature at lower costs.

6. Identify threats to the organization:

Note down factors that are not a part of an organization’s ecosystem but are threats to business growth or personal growth. Unstable markets, the increasing competition in the market etc. are some threats to a small business.

7. Allot importance to various factors from SWOT analysis:

After completing step 3 to step 6, four different lists will be formed. The ideal way of amalgamating these lists is creating a side-by-side matrix . A matrix helps in generating a comprehensive picture for SWOT analysis.

Once the lists are put into a SWOT matrix, the degree of importance corresponding to each of the points so that marketing strategies for immediate implementation can be put into action.

Ask the following SWOT analysis questions to understand the priority:

  • Can the organization implement their strengths to benefit from existing opportunities?
  • Can the organization implement their strengths to get a grip on identified threats?
  • What are the steps to be taken in order to make sure the organization’s weaknesses do not hinder taking advantage of the opportunities?
  • What can be done to reduce weaknesses to get a grip on threats?

8. Create a strategy to solve identified problems:

After creating the SWOT matrix and answering all these questions, the marketing team can work to create marketing strategies to attain organizational aims.

Personal SWOT Analysis Examples

  • Strong communication skills
  • Analytical thinking and problem-solving abilities
  • Leadership and teamwork skills
  • Adaptability and flexibility
  • Excellent time management skills
  • Lack of experience in a specific area
  • Difficulty in delegating tasks
  • Limited technical skills in particular areas
  • Difficulty in managing stress and pressure
  • Lack of assertiveness in certain situations
  • Emerging markets and industries
  • Technological advancements in the field
  • Expansion or growth of existing industries
  • Changing demographics or consumer needs
  • Increasing demand for specific skills or expertise

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  • Intense competition in the industry
  • Economic downturns or recessions
  • Potential job automation or outsourcing
  • Lack of job security or instability in the market
  • Limited access to resources or funding

A personal SWOT analysis provides valuable insights into one’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Individuals can develop personal and professional growth strategies by leveraging strengths, addressing weaknesses, capitalizing on opportunities, and mitigating threats.

SWOT Analysis Example with Questions

In this SWOT analysis example, we will consider a fictional company, ABC Electronics, and explore the questions that can be asked in each category of the SWOT framework: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

Purpose: Launching a new mobile variant

  • What are your strongest assets?
  • How are your products/services better than competitors?
  • What is your unique selling point?
  • How efficient is your workforce?
  • What do your existing customers have to say about their experience with your organization?
  • Which sections of your organization need improvement?
  • Which aspects of your business can the competitors benefit from?
  • Do you lack subject matter technical expertise?
  • Do you think your business has made enough money?
  • How progressive are your competitors in terms of coping with market trends?
  • Which trends do you think can bring you new opportunities?
  • Will these trends benefit the market?
  • Where does the current market lack?
  • Are your competitors not successful in meeting customer demands?
  • If yes, can you target those customers?
  • Are there competitors in the market who can cut down your business?
  • What are the roadblocks you are currently facing?
  • Do your products/services comply with every existing law?
  • Do you foresee a change in government laws in the near future?
  • Do you believe your target audience might evolve in their product preferences?

By asking these questions and thoroughly analyzing each category of the SWOT analysis example, ABC Electronics can gain valuable insights for strategic decision-making. It is important to remember that the questions and factors considered will vary depending on the analyzed organization’s industry, market, and specific circumstances

SWOT analysis is a powerful tool that empowers organizations to assess their internal swot analysis strengths and weaknesses, as well as external opportunities and threats. SWOT analysis plays a vital role in the strategic planning process, enabling organizations to align their resources, identify areas for improvement, and capitalize on market opportunities.

However, it is essential to remember that each organization is unique, and customization of the SWOT analysis template to suit specific needs and contexts is vital. Utilizing the QuestionPro SWOT template for conducting a SWOT analysis offers organizations a powerful toolset to gather, analyze, and communicate data effectively. By leveraging these features, organizations can better understand their internal strengths and weaknesses, identify market opportunities, and mitigate potential threats. A comprehensive SWOT analysis using QuestionPro empowers organizations to make informed decisions, develop effective strategies, and drive overall success.

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Decoding cheniere energy inc (lng): a strategic swot insight.

Strengths: Robust infrastructure and strategic LNG market positioning.

Weaknesses: Volatility in derivative markets impacting financial results.

Opportunities: Expansion projects and growing global LNG demand.

Threats: Regulatory changes and competitive pressures.

Cheniere Energy Inc ( NYSE:LNG ), a leader in the liquefied natural gas ( NYSE:LNG ) industry, recently filed its 10-Q report on May 3, 2024. The company, known for operating the Sabine Pass and Corpus Christi LNG terminals, has shown a dynamic financial performance. According to the filing, LNG revenues have decreased from $7,091 million in the first quarter of 2023 to $4,037 million in the same period of 2024. Despite this, the company managed to maintain a positive net income attributable to Cheniere of $502 million, although significantly lower than the previous year's $5,434 million. This financial overview sets the stage for a deeper SWOT analysis, providing investors with a comprehensive understanding of Cheniere Energy Inc's strategic position.

Warning! GuruFocus has detected 6 Warning Sign with TXRH.

Infrastructure and Market Positioning: Cheniere Energy Inc ( NYSE:LNG ) boasts a robust infrastructure with its Sabine Pass and Corpus Christi LNG terminals. These facilities are strategically located to capitalize on the burgeoning LNG market, providing a strong competitive edge. The company's ability to maintain a positive net income, as evidenced by the $502 million reported in the recent 10-Q filing, despite a downturn in LNG revenues, showcases its operational efficiency and financial resilience.

Financial Discipline and Growth: The company's commitment to financial discipline is evident in its ability to manage debt and maintain liquidity. Cheniere Energy Inc ( NYSE:LNG ) has demonstrated a prudent approach to capital allocation, focusing on accretive growth and shareholder returns. This is reflected in the recent share repurchase program, highlighting confidence in the company's long-term prospects.

Revenue Volatility: The significant decrease in LNG revenues from $7,091 million to $4,037 million year-over-year indicates a vulnerability to market fluctuations. Cheniere Energy Inc ( NYSE:LNG ) must navigate the volatile energy market, where prices and demand can shift rapidly, impacting the bottom line.

Derivative Market Exposure: The company's exposure to the derivative market has resulted in financial volatility, as seen in the fair value and settlements of derivatives contributing to a substantial variance in net income. This underscores the need for robust risk management strategies to mitigate the impact of market volatility on financial results.

Opportunities

Global LNG Demand Growth: The increasing global demand for LNG presents a significant opportunity for Cheniere Energy Inc ( NYSE:LNG ). With its established infrastructure and strategic market positioning, the company is well-placed to capture a larger share of the growing market, particularly as nations seek to diversify their energy sources.

Expansion Projects: Cheniere Energy Inc ( NYSE:LNG ) is actively pursuing expansion projects, such as the CCL Midscale Trains 8 & 9 Project and the SPL Expansion Project. These initiatives are poised to increase production capacity and meet the rising global demand, potentially driving future revenue growth.

Regulatory and Environmental Challenges: The LNG industry faces stringent regulatory and environmental standards. Cheniere Energy Inc ( NYSE:LNG ) must navigate these challenges, which can impact project timelines and costs. Additionally, the company's operations are subject to the risks associated with climate change policies and shifting public sentiment towards fossil fuels.

Competitive Pressures: The LNG market is highly competitive, with numerous players vying for market share. Cheniere Energy Inc ( NYSE:LNG ) must continue to innovate and optimize its operations to maintain its competitive position, particularly as new entrants and alternative energy sources emerge.

In conclusion, Cheniere Energy Inc ( NYSE:LNG ) exhibits a strong market position and infrastructure, with opportunities for growth in the expanding global LNG market. However, the company must address the challenges posed by revenue volatility, derivative market exposure, regulatory hurdles, and competitive pressures. By leveraging its strengths and addressing its weaknesses, Cheniere Energy Inc ( NYSE:LNG ) can capitalize on opportunities and mitigate threats, positioning itself for sustained success in the dynamic energy landscape.

This article, generated by GuruFocus, is designed to provide general insights and is not tailored financial advice. Our commentary is rooted in historical data and analyst projections, utilizing an impartial methodology, and is not intended to serve as specific investment guidance. It does not formulate a recommendation to purchase or divest any stock and does not consider individual investment objectives or financial circumstances. Our objective is to deliver long-term, fundamental data-driven analysis. Be aware that our analysis might not incorporate the most recent, price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative information. GuruFocus holds no position in the stocks mentioned herein.

This article first appeared on GuruFocus .

IMAGES

  1. Swot Analysis For Research Project Transparent PNG

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  2. 40 Powerful SWOT Analysis Templates & Examples

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  3. 26 Powerful SWOT Analysis Templates & Examples

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  4. Infographic SWOT Analysis on Behance

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  5. Example strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT

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  6. How to Do a SWOT Analysis (Examples & Free Template!)

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VIDEO

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  2. Maximizing Potential: SWOT Analysis Strategies for Success

  3. استراتيجية تحليل SWOT ANALYSIS الرباعي

  4. What is a SWOT analysis?

  5. Change Management

  6. Analyzing SWOT: Uncovering Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats

COMMENTS

  1. SWOT Analysis

    How to do SWOT Analysis. You can conduct a SWOT analysis with the following four steps: Step 1: Selecting a company. If your assignment requires conducting a SWOT analysis, you are either given a case study company by your educational institution or you are free to analyze a company of your own choice.

  2. How to Conduct a SWOT Analysis for Your Research Report

    What are the steps to conduct a SWOT analysis for your research report? Powered by AI and the LinkedIn community. 1. Define your objective. Be the first to add your personal experience. 2 ...

  3. SWOT Analysis Template & Examples for Project Management

    Examples of project threats. A competitor is releasing a similar product on a faster timeline. The software code base for a section was recently released and could be buggy. A project vendor hasn't been responsive. A team member is on maternity leave for 3 months. The client won't give you access to other stakeholders.

  4. Research Project Evaluation—Learnings from the PATHWAYS Project

    According to the PATHWAYS project protocol, an evaluation tool for the internal project evaluation was required to collect information about: (1) structure and resources; (2) process, management and communication; (3) achievements and/or outcomes and (4) SWOT analysis. A mixed methods approach was chosen.

  5. SWOT Analysis: Examples and Templates [2024] • Asana

    SWOT analysis: Examples and templates. Alicia Raeburn. February 24th, 2024 11 min read. Summary. A SWOT analysis helps you identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for a specific project or your overall business plan. It's used for strategic planning and to stay ahead of market trends.

  6. SWOT Analysis With SWOT Templates and Examples

    Key Takeaways: SWOT stands for S trengths, W eaknesses, O pportunities, and T hreats. A "SWOT analysis" involves carefully assessing these four factors in order to make clear and effective plans. A SWOT analysis can help you to challenge risky assumptions, uncover dangerous blindspots, and reveal important new insights.

  7. What Is A SWOT Analysis? An Explanation With Examples

    A SWOT analysis is a high-level strategic planning model that helps organizations identify where they're doing well and where they can improve, both from an internal and an external perspective. SWOT is an acronym for "Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.". ‍. SWOT works because it helps you evaluate your business by ...

  8. What is a SWOT Analysis? Definition, Method, and Examples

    A SWOT analysis is a useful technique for thinking about strategy and making decisions. Teams and organizations use this strategic planning tool to decide on a course of action. It is a way to assess current and future potential. SWOT is a classic tool for any strategist. On its own, however, it may not meet the needs of a complex organization ...

  9. PDF SWOT Analysis: How To Do The Research

    find it? Where do you get started? This handout is a guide to conducting the research that will help you to get the answers to the questions. The Paul J. Gutman Library has the business information resources you need to get the information for a SWOT Analysis project. Here is a diagram of the SWOT Analysis

  10. PDF User's Guide for SWOT Analysis

    SWOT is very effective when applied to a specific objective or project. For example: We will recruit and train 200 first aid volunteers in the next 18 months, or We will double our income from commercial activities in two years. A SWOT analysis can reveal hidden obstacles to a planned project, especially when participants

  11. SWOT Analysis: How To Do One [With Template & Examples]

    SWOT Analysis: How To Do One [With Template & Examples] As your business grows, you need a roadmap to help navigate the obstacles, challenges, opportunities, and projects that come your way. Enter: the SWOT analysis. This framework can help you develop a plan to determine your priorities, maximize opportunities, and minimize roadblocks as you ...

  12. (PDF) SWOT ANALYSIS: A THEORETICAL REVIEW

    SWOT Analysis is an analysis method used to. evaluate the 'trengths', 'weaknesses, 'opportunities' and threats' involved in an organization, a plan, a project, a person or a business ...

  13. SWOT Analysis: Mastering the Step-by-Step Guide & Templates

    Step 1: Identify Strengths. To conduct a SWOT analysis, start by identifying the strengths of your business. These are the internal factors that give you an advantage over your competitors. Some examples of strengths could include: Strong brand reputation and recognition in the industry.

  14. Exploring SWOT analysis

    The SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool that can be used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats that are involved in a business organization, a project or an ...

  15. SWOT Analysis Explanation- Research Project

    This video was created to demonstrate the process of performing a SWOT analysis within the P1 component of the Stage 2 research component. This video was cre...

  16. A Guide To SWOT Analysis In Project Management

    Running a SWOT analysis can also benefit an organization in several ways: Identify strengths and weaknesses associated with your project so that you can focus on areas needing improvement. Find potential threats that may arise in order to make well-informed decisions. Improve collaboration by bringing people together to discuss how to approach ...

  17. The origins of SWOT analysis

    The SOFT approach is the progenitor of SWOT analysis in all its variations. ... Upon George A. Steiner's 4 suggestion, Dr. H. Igor Ansoff, then a project manager on technology and weapon systems acquisition for the U.S. Air Force ... and extended Humphrey's claim that 'SWOT analysis comes from research conducted at SRI from 1960 to 1970 ...

  18. What is a SWOT Analysis?

    In a SWOT analysis, teams focus on the four elements of the acronym as they identify the forces and conflicts that influence and affect the project. Some teams create a 2×2 grid while others create a document with 4 columns. Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors that a team or organization has, while opportunities and threats are ...

  19. How to Write A SWOT Analysis: 5+ Top Research Sources

    Start building your SWOT analysis. Your next step will be to start your actual SWOT analysis on your paper. You are going to put down a box with four equal boxes inside. In the first one, you can write 'strengths', next to that, 'weaknesses'. Write 'opportunities' below the strengths and next to that write 'threats'.

  20. How to Conduct a SWOT Analysis for Design Research

    A SWOT analysis is a strategic tool that helps you identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of your design research project.

  21. SWOT Analysis Example: Definition and Template

    SWOT Analysis is defined as an acronym for Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats which is an effective market research analysis technique. Usually, SWOT Analysis is used to evaluate an organization's performance in the market and is used for developing effective business strategies and also in situations such as initiation of a meeting. Learn about SWOT analysis, the SWOT analysis ...

  22. SWOT Analysis Explained

    A SWOT analysis is a framework used in a business's strategic planning to evaluate its competitive positioning in the marketplace. The analysis looks at four key characteristics that are ...

  23. (PDF) SWOT ANALYSIS

    Abstract. SWOT Analysis is an analysis method used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats involved in an organization, a plan, a project, a program, a person or any kind ...

  24. Decoding Cheniere Energy Inc (LNG): A Strategic SWOT Insight

    GuruFocus Research. Fri, May 3, 2024, 10:05 PM 3 min read. ... Expansion projects and growing global LNG demand. ... This financial overview sets the stage for a deeper SWOT analysis, providing ...