Develop a Winning Business Strategy With SWOT Analysis

Last Updated on March 28, 2024 by Owen McGab Enaohwo

Develop a Winning Business Strategy With SWOT Analysis

Featured Bonus Content: Get our FREE Personal and Organizational SWOT Analysis Template! Click Here To Download It.

Do you have a plan to beat the competition in your industry? SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis is an indispensable tool for analyzing and planning the growth of an individual’s career or an organization’s success. 

Looking into the past and present, you can identify the strengths that have favored your personal growth. By using internal and external data, you can determine the weaknesses that have hindered your development. Looking into the future, you should be able to predict the strengths and opportunities that will help you realize your dreams faster as well as the threats that can hinder the journey.

In a world where everyone and his brother wants to be an entrepreneur, it’s important you develop your own winning strategy to stand out from the crowd. Whether you’re a novice or a veteran entrepreneur, creating a SWOT analysis can help you evaluate your business, implement changes, and improve operations and methodologies.

Conducting a SWOT analysis for yourself or your business is a lot more interesting than it sounds. By following the guide, it forces you to think about your business in a whole new way.

Chapter 1: What is SWOT Analysis?

Chapter 2: History and Types of SWOT Analysis

Chapter 3: When to Conduct a SWOT Analysis

Chapter 4: How to Perform a SWOT Analysis

Chapter 5: Advantages of SWOT analysis

Chapter 6: SWOT Analysis Templates and Examples

Chapter 7: Uses and Applications of SWOT Analysis

Chapter 8: SWOT Analysis Alternatives

Chapter 9: SWOT Analysis Software Tools

Chapter 10: Perfect Your SWOT Analysis with Effective Process Management in SweetProcess

Chapter 1: What is SWOT Analysis?

What is SWOT Analysis?

SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. SWOT analysis is a framework used to assess a company’s competitive position in an attempt to aid its strategic planning. A SWOT analysis evaluates internal and external factors, as well as the current and future potential growth of an individual or organization.

SWOT analysis is a tool that helps you analyze what your company does best right now, guiding you to design a successful strategy for the future. A productive SWOT analysis can uncover the areas of your business that are holding you back. It can also show you the loopholes your competitors could exploit if you don’t protect yourself.

A SWOT analysis is a simple process that can be very revealing if done carefully and collaboratively. Even though you may already be aware of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to your business individually, you may not be able to draw connections and strategize your plans if you don’t bring them side by side. 

In this article, you’ll understand how to carry out a SWOT analysis and how to put your findings into action. 

SWOT analysis will help you understand your company’s current position, which will encourage stakeholders to generate ideas and make decisions on how to build on these strengths, exploit opportunities, minimize weaknesses and protect against threats. 

Internal Factors in SWOT

A SWOT analysis is divided into two categories: internal factors and external factors. It is important to point out that strengths and weaknesses can be determined by looking into an organization’s present and past performance and struggles. Opportunities and threats, on the other hand, constitute the external factors that are meant to design and impact the future you dream of. 

By performing a SWOT analysis, you will be able to build a bridge between what the company has accomplished from existence to date and the strategic alternatives that you will focus on in the future.


Strengths are intrinsic qualities and resources that support successful outcomes in an organization. They are those attributes that enable you to achieve the company’s mission. Strengths are the basis on which continued success can be achieved and maintained. It entails things your organization is good at and things you do to promote your products that result in a high yield for the organization. Strengths can be measurable and immeasurable. 

Measurable strengths are the qualities that can be valued. Some attributes are difficult to quantify because they are intangible. Examples of unquantifiable strengths include areas you are well-versed in or have expertise in, the traits and attributes your employees possess both as individuals and as a team, and the distinguishing features that give your organization its consistency.

Strengths are the advantageous aspects of a company. Examples include human resourcefulness, process capabilities, financial resources, good products and services, and good customer service. Among the factors that an organization may record as its strengths are access to funding, no debt acquired, devoted employees, and modern technology. These factors will contribute greatly to the organization’s success.

Strengths in SWOT analysis are the organization’s favorable internal activities and processes (what an organization is good at). Strengths, such as good and efficient customer service and successful supply chain management, help companies maintain and improve their competitive advantage. Strengths are the results of an internal assessment made on the product’s qualities that give it power over other products. These can be something important or interesting about the product or something peculiar to the business. 

Strengths are those attributes internal to the organization which you have control over and therefore are easier to manipulate or change for better output. For example, the strength of one product may be its wide range of uses either alone or when combined with other products, while for another it is veteran product leadership. Strengths are internal, positive attributes of the organization that are within your control.

Strengths are things your organization does particularly well, or in a way that makes it stand out from competitors. This includes the advantages your organization has over competitors. These advantages could include employee motivation, access to certain materials, or a strong set of manufacturing processes.

Your organization’s strengths can only be viewed as strengths when they provide a clear advantage. High-quality products and processes are no longer an advantage if all your competitors are also producing high-quality products; they become a necessity. 

Your strengths are an integral part of your organization, so think about what makes it “tick.” You have to identify and analyze your organization’s unique selling point. These strengths give you an edge over your competitors. You can also ask yourself what your competitors see in your products and services to make them think you will get the sale ahead of them. 

Strengths are the things that your company excels at or does better than your competitors. Make a list of the advantages your company has over the competition. 


Weaknesses are the qualities that prevent you from achieving your mission and your full potential. These weaknesses are also intrinsic as they are factors from within the company that have a negative impact on your organizational growth and success. Weaknesses are the factors that do not meet the stated goals or standards you feel you should meet for success. The weaknesses component of the SWOT analysis is an internal assessment of the company’s attributes that put it at a disadvantage when compared to others in the industry. 

Weaknesses in an organization may be in the form of obsolete machinery with no value, or insufficient research and development facilities. Weaknesses could also include a narrow product range, poor decision-making, poor marketing strategy by product managers, long and difficult decision-making processes, raw material wastage, and so on. 

Weaknesses can be controlled as they are factors within the organization that have a negative effect. They must be reduced or completely eliminated. For instance, new modern machinery can be purchased to overcome the issue of obsolete machinery. Also, a flexible and straightforward decision-making strategy can be implemented for effective decision-making. Weaknesses are negative factors that make your strengths less valuable. These are things that you might need to improve on to be able to withstand the market competition.

Every organization will inevitably have its strengths and weaknesses. It’s important to pay attention to your people, resources, systems, and processes. Reflect on the things you could do better and the things you should avoid. Always consider (or ask) how your target audience perceives you. Take the time to analyze why your competitors are outperforming you in the marketplace. Figure out what’s missing. 

External Factors in SWOT


Opportunities are external factors or attributes presented by the environment within which your organization is situated. They arise when an organization takes advantage of conditions in its environment to plan and execute strategies that enable it to become more profitable. Organizations can gain a competitive advantage by making use of such opportunities. This occurs when the environment has a useful and helpful effect on decision-making and strategic planning, thereby enhancing organizational growth. Leaders are careful to recognize these potential opportunities and never let them slip away whenever they arise. 

Opportunities may arise from the market, competition, government, and technology. Such opportunities may be from competitors, prices of raw materials, and the rate at which customers demand goods.

Opportunities are external factors in your business environment that are likely to contribute to your success. They give openings or chances for something positive to happen, but to ensure that your organization benefits you must put effort into identifying and acting on the opportunity. 

Opportunities might arise as changes in the market around you or in the technology you use. Being able to identify and exploit opportunities can make a big difference in your organization’s ability to compete and take the lead in the market. Positive things can happen if you take advantage of opportunities or chances that present themselves. 

Consider good opportunities you can take advantage of right away. Even the tiniest advantages can have a big impact on your company’s competitiveness. Can you think of any interesting market trends—big or small—that you’ve noticed recently? 

You should also keep an eye out for any shifts in government policy that might affect your area of expertise. Moreover, social, demographic, and lifestyle shifts can open doors to new possibilities. 

You can take advantage of opportunities and guard against threats, but you can’t change them because they are not within your control.


A threat is any unfavorable situation in your organization’s environment that is potentially damaging to your organization’s success. The threat may be a barrier, a constraint, or anything external that might cause problems, damage, or injury. Threats arise when conditions in an external environment jeopardize the reliability and profitability of the organization’s business. The threat is increased when it relates to the organization’s weaknesses. Threats are uncontrollable. When a threat comes, stability and survival can be at stake. 

Threats can range from economic factors to emerging technologies. Examples of threats include a lack of cooperation among employees, continuously changing technology, increasing competition that is beyond the organization’s capacity to survive, price wars leading to reduced profit, inability to meet up with demand, shifts in market requirements, and so on. 

It is very important to expect threats and to take action against them before they deter your organizational growth. In the end, these threats are the obstacles that could adversely affect your output and financial success in the future. You have no control over threats but successful businesses strategize plans for dealing with them if they occur.

It’s important to think about the difficulties you will face in bringing your product to market and the final consumers. You may notice that quality standards or specifications for your products are changing and that you’ll need to change your products if you’re to stay in the lead. Evolving technology is both a constant threat and an opportunity. Always consider what your competitors are doing and whether you should be changing your organization’s area of focus to meet the challenge.  

See if your company is particularly vulnerable to external threats. Is your business vulnerable to even minor market shifts because of bad debt or cash flow issues? Be on the lookout for this type of threat because it has the potential to severely harm your company.

Chapter 2: History and Types of SWOT Analysis

History and Types of SWOT Analysis

History of SWOT Analysis

The past century has seen tremendous expectations put on enterprises to enhance their performance. Today, analyzing and evaluating performance is increasingly important. It is common for performance evaluations to focus on identifying, generating, and justifying actions that lead to organizational transformation. In the end, the findings of these investigations are used to construct future strategic plans. Therefore, finding an effective evaluation and analytical method to assist in the decision-making procedure is vital to all organizations seeking to enhance their performance. 

Albert Humphrey, a management consultant at Stanford Research Institute, developed the SWOT analysis in the 1960s. Corporate planning had previously been unsuccessful. It was imperative that Fortune 500 corporations have a method for creating long-term plans that could be fairly implemented. As a result of Humphrey and his research team’s work, the SWOT model has gained widespread acceptance as a tool for assessing strategic planning initiatives. 

Products, processes, customers, distribution, finance, and administration are some of the specific factors for which Albert Humphrey recommended the SWOT analysis.

The Greek root of the English word “analyze” means to separate, loosen, or disintegrate in many ways. Many firms have since adopted the SWOT analysis to peel back layers of the company to be able to realize their organizational goals.

SWOT analysis considers strengths and weaknesses as elements under a company’s control that may be changed (e.g., staff turnover, the organization’s image). External elements, such as opportunities and threats, cannot be controlled. Demographics, interest rates, legislative shifts, and other factors outside the company’s control make up the external environment. Many experts believe that evaluating a company’s strengths and flaws objectively should be a top priority for any business looking to expand. Identifying hazards and possibilities through environmental analysis is a primary goal for many managers. As a result, the essential principles of SWOT analysis appear to play an important role in organizational strategy. 

Other acronyms or mnemonics that have also been used to refer to SWOT analysis are WOTS-UP (weaknesses, opportunities, threats and strengths underlying planning) and TOWS (threats, opportunities, weaknesses, strengths) analysis. WOTS-UP analysis is a term used by Gray and Smeltzer in 1989. Its strategy is also based on analyzing opportunities and challenges from the outside and assessing one’s own strengths and weaknesses. It suggests strategies for the firm and gives information for evaluating alternative tactics. As a result, an ideal strategy plan should be selected. A TOWS analysis is a similar tool in which more focus is on external factors (threats and opportunities) rather than internal ones (strengths and weaknesses).

Types of SWOT Analysis

Two types of SWOT analyses are personal and organizational.

Personal SWOT Analysis

Personal SWOT analysis is a great tool to assess yourself in an attempt to plan your career. Finding a job that you love requires that you assess your skill set and know where your strengths and weaknesses lie. This is where personal SWOT analysis comes in handy.

A personal SWOT analysis will do for an individual in pursuit of career goals what an organizational SWOT analysis will do for a company. It provides insights based on your personality strengths and weaknesses, the challenges ahead of you, and opportunities that are present around you now and in the future.

A SWOT analysis can help you better understand how to optimize your strengths and manage your weaknesses. This will help to uncover opportunities for growth and eliminate threats that can hinder your career development.

If you’re a lover of personal development, SWOT analysis can help you become the best version of yourself. To conduct the analysis and generate meaningful results, it’s important you provide sincere answers to questions in each of the four examined areas. 

Organizational SWOT Analysis

Organizational SWOT analysis helps managers identify the most important facts that may impact their organization’s survival and success, thereby giving them an understanding of what needs to be addressed as well as an awareness of potential opportunities or threats. Effective company leaders are those who have access to the information they need to make the most of opportunities and avoid the most dangerous risks. As a result, several experts propose SWOT analysis as a crucial analytical tool.

SWOT analysis is designed to facilitate realistic, fact-based, data-driven checks on the past and future of an organization. It takes a deep look at the strengths and weaknesses of an organization and how to improve on them. With the assessment of the opportunities and threats posed by the environment, an organization will learn to maneuver its way to make the best possible progress in the industry. Every organization needs an accurate analysis, thus it is important to avoid preconceived beliefs and focus on real-life contexts.  

Chapter 3: When to Conduct a SWOT Analysis

When to Conduct a SWOT Analysis

The purpose of every SWOT analysis is to provide an objective, factual, and data-driven assessment of an individual, organization, project, or industry’s internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as external opportunities and threats. Preconceived notions and gray areas should be avoided, and instead real-world situations should be considered by the organization when conducting the analysis. 

When you take the time to do a SWOT analysis, you will be equipped with a solid strategy or method for selecting the most important work that you need to do to grow your business. You may want to assume that you already have knowledge of everything that you need to do to succeed, but a SWOT analysis will make you look at your business from other dimensions. You need to look at your strengths and weaknesses, and how you can manipulate them to take advantage of the opportunities and threats that exist in your market.

There are more than a hundred methods one can use to assess a business venture, but there are reasons SWOT analysis is frequently chosen over other methods. SWOT analysis is very easy to understand. Anyone can use it without prior knowledge of the methods, which encourages participation. It can be used to make judgments on places, competitors, businesses, and even for self-assessments.

When to Conduct a Personal SWOT Analysis

Personal SWOT analysis is a self-assessment that can be done at any time. However, here are a few situations where it is absolutely necessary.

Before a career switch

This is the time to strategize and figure out whether your skills match the opportunities in your existing career or whether they are better suited for a different job.

When going to an interview 

This is the time to look within yourself to outline your strengths and magnify them. It will help in preparing your CV and when communicating your personality to your prospective employer. If you have a very good idea about the job requirements beforehand, you’ll be able to understand how your strengths and opportunities make you a fit for the job and communicate this to your prospective employer.

When applying for promotion

This is a time to assess yourself against other candidates. You’ll have a good understanding of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats when compared to your competitors. This will help you figure out the actual factors that are required for the position and focus on them as you convey your suitability for a promotion to your supervisor.

When to Conduct an Organizational SWOT Analysis

In an organization, SWOT analysis can be used before or during a business planning process. Whether you are trying new initiatives, considering opportunities, or trying to change a plan midway through its execution, it is wise to perform a general SWOT analysis. This will allow you to assess the current landscape of your business and make necessary improvements to business operations. The analysis can show you the key areas where your organization is performing optimally, as well as which operations need adjustment.

Putting together a formal SWOT analysis helps you develop a clear picture of your business which will enable you to discover ways to improve on your company’s strengths and reduce weaknesses. Here are some of the instances where a SWOT analysis becomes even more important for your organization.


SWOT analysis is heavily used in marketing. Marketing is all about advertising and selling the company’s products in the best possible way. A good marketing strategy helps in getting ahead of the competition. Knowing their strengths and weaknesses helps an organization focus on its message and highlight its strong points. 


SWOT analysis is used by decision-makers who are involved in the planning process of a venture. As a manager or senior executive, a SWOT analysis should be your first go-to tool whenever you need to make any decisions about your organization. When dealing with large projects, a detailed SWOT analysis should be done over multiple meetings. Full SWOT analysis may require input from many different team leaders, senior-level executives, and other important team members.

Business Improvement

You need to consider doing a SWOT analysis whenever you’re aiming to improve your business operations. This is an opportunity for the management team to assess the company’s weaknesses and threats. It will further help to identify the most crucial aspects that need improvement. If your SWOT analysis is properly done and implemented, your organization’s current weaknesses should be turned into future strengths.

Corporate Planning 

SWOT analysis is an indispensable part of the overall corporate planning process for every organization. It is an opportunity for you to set financial and operational goals for the upcoming year and develop procedures to accomplish these goals. SWOT analysis is an effective business tool that can help you strategize short-term and long-term plans. 

Chapter 4: How to Perform a SWOT Analysis

How to Perform a SWOT Analysis

In the earlier chapters of this article, we discussed the fundamentals of SWOT analysis, as well as its history, forms, and justifications for performing it. Next is how to do a SWOT analysis. 

As a business owner, you need to involve other team members in the SWOT analysis process to make it thorough. Ask each member to make contributions and openly discuss any contributions made. The collective knowledge of the team will help you analyze your business from all perspectives.

Your business’s internal strengths (S) and weaknesses (W) are documented in a SWOT analysis, together with the external opportunities (O) and threats (T). You will be able to maximize your company goals with the help of this information. 

Steps to Performing a SWOT

Here’s a simple eight-step guide to each component of the SWOT for a productive analysis.

Step 1: Determine the purpose of your SWOT analysis 

With your SWOT analysis, you should have an open-ended query or target in mind from the beginning. You can use a SWOT analysis, for example, to help you determine whether or not to offer a new product or service, improve your operations, employ more employees, and so on.

Step 2: Perform market and industry research for your business

For a successful SWOT analysis, you must first conduct background research into your company, industry, and market. Talk to your coworkers, vendors, and customers to get a variety of viewpoints. In addition, do some market research to learn about your potential competition.

Step 3: Identify your company’s strengths and weaknesses

To begin, make a list of the things that you consider to be the company’s greatest assets. Employees, financial resources, your company’s location, cost advantages, and competitiveness are all examples of strengths. You may not be able to create a detailed list at this point in the SWOT analysis, but any and all thoughts and suggestions during the process can be added. The list is prioritized in step seven.

Step 4: List the vulnerabilities of your business

Make a list of the aspects of your company that you believe are weak points (i.e., that put your business at a disadvantage compared to others). For example, lack of new products or clients, employee unavailability, a lack of intellectual property, and diminishing market share are all weaknesses that could affect the company’s ability to compete.

In your SWOT analysis, be sure to address any weaknesses. Your company’s shortcomings may be traced back through time. After one year, you can reexamine the SWOT analysis to see if the issues have been rectified. Resolving an old weakness is a good sign that you’ve made an improvement.

Step 5: Make a list of potential business prospects

Think about the external possibilities for your company. As a distinction from your internal strengths, these are not always certain. What might be an initiative to strengthen one part of your business could be a danger to another (e.g., you may consider introducing a new product to keep up with consumer trends, but your competitors may already have a similar product). Assess these opportunities carefully to be certain of the positivity this will bring. 

A wide range of possibilities exists, from new technology and training programs to partnerships and a more diverse marketplace.

Step 6: Consider dangers to your firm and build a threat list 

Make a list of external issues that could harm or threaten your company. High cost of labor and raw materials, expanding competitiveness, rising interest rates, and the instability of global markets are all instances of threats.

Step 7: Prioritize based on the SWOT analysis

After completing the preceding steps, you’ll have four distinct lists to work with. These lists should be placed side-by-by-side so that you can get a sense of how your company is doing and what problems need to be addressed. With this information, you’ll be able to choose which concerns are most critical and which ones can wait until later (i.e., develop four prioritized lists).

Step 8: Create a plan to solve the problems uncovered by the SWOT analysis

 Inquire about each of your four prioritized lists by answering the following questions: 

  1. How can you make the most of the possibilities (opportunities) that have been recognized by leveraging the strengths?
  2. How can you make the most of the assets in order to defeat the aforementioned threats?
  3. What are the things to do in order to overcome the weaknesses that have been identified?
  4. How can you minimize your weaknesses in order to defeat the potential threats that have been identified?

Once you’ve answered these questions and compiled your lists, you can utilize the SWOT analysis to devise a plan for accomplishing your company’s objectives.

Tips for Creating a Successful SWOT Analysis

Using the SWOT analysis method is one of the most effective ways to accomplish your organizational goals. Make sure you’re constantly evaluating your threats to ensure that you’re operating as efficiently as possible in order to build a successful business. 

You’ve come to the right place if you’re wondering how to make your SWOT analysis a productive one. Here are some tips to keep in mind: 

Become familiar with the SWOT template

There’s a lot to do first. You’ve probably seen the SWOT template before because it is the most common format for visually conducting a SWOT analysis. It’s an all-time favorite!

Visual learners aren’t the only ones who benefit from outlining their thoughts in this way, and this table does the trick. Additionally, placing the four factors in a grid arrangement rather than a long list makes it simpler to contrast each element. For example, your strengths are positioned directly above your opportunities. This makes it easier to spot any strengths that might be favorably turned into opportunities. You can also determine if there is a correlation between your threats and your weaknesses and if there are any vulnerabilities in your business that you can correct so that they don’t turn into threats.

Decide what you want to achieve and why 

Getting to know your brand, your competitors, and your market as thoroughly as possible is absolutely essential. You must, however, have a broader perspective. Even if you perform a slew of SWOT analyses, the results are only useful if you know what you want to accomplish. You must ensure that your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely (S.M.A.R.T).

 A SWOT analysis can also be extremely useful if you’re trying to get a better grasp of your company. When it comes to understanding your place in the market and within the industry as a whole, this is especially important. If you’re interested in finding out if your goals and objectives are attainable, and the steps you can take to get there, the SWOT analysis is one of the best tools. 

Hold brainstorming meetings to get a wide perspective 

It’s possible you have brilliant ideas of your own, but it’s also possible that other people’s perspectives will add to the mix. A wide range of ideas can be focused on through brainstorming, allowing you to expand your knowledge and open your business to a wider range of possibilities. As a marketing department, for example, it’s reasonable to assume that a sales department or computer development team will not be familiar with the inner workings of marketing your products. However, it’s also possible that you wouldn’t have come up with as many new ideas, opinions, or insights if you were brainstorming on your own.

Your company’s SWOT analysis will benefit greatly from the additional knowledge gained through brainstorming. This provides a wider range of actionable insights, brings the team closer together, and strengthens the brand. 

Regularly analyze your competition

Competitors are a significant determinant of the success of your business. As a practical matter, they don’t have access to your confidential business plan, which reveals all of the details of your long- and short-term objectives. However, the competition can examine everything you do, from your products and services to your website and social media to making educated guesses about your plans.

Most companies do this on a regular basis to stay relevant in the market, and it is recommended that you do the same. Here are some of the most important questions you should ask yourself before looking into what the competition is doing: 

  • What are they selling or providing? 
  • Do people think it’s upscale, budget, or in the middle? 
  • What are some of its features?
  • What is their mission or key message?
  • Is this a physical company or an online one? 
  • Is there a difference between their online and offline lives?
  • What’s the breakdown of costs?
  • What are the ways in which they communicate with their audience?
  • Are there any special offers, promotions, or rewards programs? 
  • What are the primary methods they use to promote themselves?

Chapter 5: Advantages of a SWOT Analysis

Advantages of a SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis is easy to complete, is less expensive than some other analytic techniques, and can lead to positive changes. Therefore, it is a good technique to use in assessing your business. Here are some other benefits of SWOT analysis.

It helps to maximize your strengths

When you are able to point out your company’s strengths, it allows you to see what is and isn’t working. These strengths are internal factors that make a company stand out from its competitors, such as financial resources, human resources (employees and targeted customers), equipment, raw materials, etc.

It opens opportunities to eliminate your weaknesses

All organizations have areas where they can improve. Conducting a SWOT analysis enables the company to discover its weaknesses in order to turn them into strengths or to use them to solve recurring problems. Also, knowing the company’s weaknesses gives room for improvement and a better competitive advantage. Examples of weaknesses that a company may find are: dissatisfied employees, inadequate technology, poor branding, and insufficient fund or capital.

It helps to take advantage of opportunities

A company can look at external factors to identify opportunities that can positively impact their business. These are mostly things that are beyond the organization’s control. For instance, a company can benefit from reviewing the market and economic trends by thoroughly assessing these factors.

To identify potential threats

Threats that can negatively impact your business come from the outside of your company. When you identify and predict possible threats, you can minimize their impact or avoid them completely. Some threats that businesses may see when completing their SWOT analysis include changing technology requirements and economic trends. 

It allows you to evaluate employees and team members

A SWOT analysis can help determine if your team members are trustworthy, reliable, creative, disciplined, have technical issues, or are impatient. For such a SWOT analysis to be effective, you must be honest with yourself. Once all team members are involved in the process, it is easy to evaluate everyone through different lenses. Management can use this information to evaluate each employee’s progress and help them meet their potential. 

 A thorough SWOT analysis reveals vital information which will guide the company in making the right decisions needed for the growth of the company. With this information, the company can discuss effective business strategies and make recommendations where necessary. They will be able to grasp opportunities and handle threats because of the information they obtain, which will make the business more productive.

Chapter 6: SWOT Analysis Templates and Examples

SWOT Analysis Templates and Examples

SWOT analysis is usually done by compiling the outcomes of the analysis on a SWOT matrix. This SWOT matrix is basically a 2 x 2 layout table with an easy-to-read view of your analysis. Each cell is meant to help in measuring the significance of each item in your SWOT categories. This is important for understanding how the different elements in your analysis measure up to each other and which areas require the most attention. 

It’s easier for people to remember more information when they see it in a visual representation rather than just text. Turning the outcome of a SWOT analysis into a graphic representation makes it easily digestible and makes a lasting impression.

Taking advantage of the SWOT matrix makes it easy to perform your SWOT analysis and execute the outcome. 

SWOT Template Formats

SWOT analysis template formats include:

  • SWOT analysis templates for Excel
  • SWOT analysis templates for Word
  • SWOT analysis templates for PowerPoint
  • SWOT analysis templates for Google docs
  • SWOT analysis templates for PDF

The SWOT analysis template can come in different formats and designs, all of which are aimed at simplifying the process of the analysis.

Examples of SWOT Analysis

Translating the knowledge of SWOT analysis to examine your own business might be challenging. One of the easiest ways to conduct a SWOT analysis is to review examples for help and inspiration.

Following examples of a previously completed SWOT analysis, especially one that is within your industry or based on a comparable business model, can help get you started with your own analysis.

Even though SWOT analyses are pretty short and straightforward, the more examples you look at, the more likely you are to spot ideas that are relevant to your own business needs.

Home Depot

Home Depot conducted a SWOT analysis, identifying its strengths and weaknesses, as well as external factors that could threaten its market position and growth strategy. 

The most significant outcomes of the analysis include:


  •  High-quality customer service
  • Strong brand recognition
  • Positive relationships with suppliers
  • Market leadership


  • Constrained supply chain
  • Interconnectedness on the United States market 
  • Reproducible business model


  • Global expansion
  • Supply chain expansion
  • Business diversification


  • Competition
  • Substitutes
  • Economic setbacks

According to the findings of this and other analyses, the company’s future growth will be dependent on expanding its global supply chain and footprint. 

Home Depot SWOT Analysis Example

StrengthsHigh-quality customer serviceStrong brand recognitionPositive relationships with suppliersMarket leadershipWeaknessesConstrained supply chainInterconnectedness on the United States market Reproducible business model
OpportunitiesGlobal expansionSupply chain expansionBusiness diversificationThreatsCompetitionSubstitutesEconomic setback


Toyota, as a leading automobile company, has been growing in strides due to its ability to successfully implement the outcomes of its SWOT analysis.

Toyota faces the threat of competition with low-cost automobiles which are mostly made by Korean, Chinese, and Indian manufacturers. As a result of their low cost, they have been able to increase their presence in foreign markets. Rapid innovation by competitors like GM, Honda, and Ford also contributes to the threat. 

In order to stay ahead of their competitors, timely execution and implementation of SWOT became necessary. The most significant outcomes of the analysis include:


  • Strong brand image
  • Global supply chain
  • Rapid innovation capabilities


  • Hierarchical organizational structure
  • Confidentiality within the organizational culture
  • Effects of product recalls in recent years


  • Growing markets in developing countries
  • Increasing demand for fuel-efficient automobiles
  • Rising interest in advanced electronics in vehicles
  • Weak Japanese yen vs. US dollar


  • Growing market presence of low-cost competitors
  • Rapid innovation of competitors

In order to address the threats which are mostly based on competition, Toyota needs to maximize its competitive advantage with as many innovations as it is capable of to outshine its competitors. Increased flexibility of decision-making and problem solving is another way to perform better.

Toyota SWOT Analysis Example

StrengthsStrong brand imageGlobal supply chainRapid innovation capabilitiesWeaknessesHierarchical organizational structureConfidentiality in organizational cultureEffects of product recalls in recent years
OpportunitiesGrowing markets in developing countriesIncreasing demand for fuel-efficient automobilesRising interest in advanced electronics in vehiclesWeak Japanese yen vs. US dollarThreatsGrowing market presence of low-cost competitorsRapid innovation of competitors

Chapter 7: Uses and Applications of SWOT Analysis 

Uses and Applications of SWOT Analysis

Career Building

To implement your own SWOT analysis for career planning, it’s important to examine your current situation. Identify your strengths and weaknesses. Determine how you can capitalize on your strengths and overcome your weaknesses. Also, take the time to figure out the external opportunities and threats in your chosen career field. 

Learning how to take advantage of your strengths and opportunities should be a critical component of managing your career. It is possible to figure out what kind of work will make you happy. Others seeking a new career tend to explore interests, skills, personality, learning style, and values to determine the kind of career that will give them fulfillment. 

In an attempt to work on your weaknesses, take your prospective employer’s feedback as those things you need to improve on. This will give you a huge head start in career planning. What makes SWOT especially powerful is that, with a little thought, it can help you uncover opportunities that you would not otherwise have spotted. And by understanding your weaknesses, you can manage and eliminate threats that might otherwise hurt your ability to move forward.

By breaking your potential down into a SWOT framework, you can start to differentiate yourself from your peers. It will also be easy to develop the specialized talents and abilities you need to advance your career, helping you achieve your personal goals.

Strategy Building

The outcome of your SWOT analysis can be used as a stepping stone in building your personal or organizational brand strategy. Once the internal and external factors are identified (often using the popular 2 × 2 matrix), strategy-oriented analysis can take place. This involves the selection and evaluation of the most important factors as well as the identification of correlations existing between internal and external factors.

For instance, strong relations between strengths and opportunities can suggest good conditions in the company and allow the use of an advancing strategy. On the other hand, strong interactions between weaknesses and threats could be analyzed as a potential warning and call for the use of defensive strategies.

Matching and Converting

Another application of SWOT analysis is matching and converting.

Matching is used to find competitive advantages by matching the strengths together with the opportunities. Another way is to convert weaknesses or threats into strengths or opportunities. If your threat, for instance, is the adoption of newer technologies by the competitors, you can turn it into a strength by also adopting the technology, albeit in a more productive way than they have. 

Corporate Planning

As part of the process to develop strategies and plans that enable an organization to achieve its objectives, corporate planning should be adopted. Using the outcomes of SWOT analysis together with PESTEL analysis can be used as a basis for analyzing internal and environmental factors. 

PESTEL (political, economic, social, technological, environmental, legal) analysis is a tool used by companies to track the suitability of the environment they’re operating in or are planning to launch a new project in (see Chapter 8 for more detail). 

The following are some of the recommended steps of corporate planning.

  • Setting objectives 
  • Conducting environmental inspections
  • Assessment of the internal organization 
  • Analyzing existing strategies 
  • Defining strategic issues 
  • Developing new strategies 
  • Establishing critical success factors 
  • Preparing operational resources for strategy implementation
  • Monitoring all results 


If you want to use your SWOT analysis results to improve your marketing, it’s important to build detailed profiles of each competitor in the market. You need to especially focus on their relative competitive strengths and weaknesses using your own SWOT analysis. Your marketing team needs to examine each competitor’s cost structure, sources of profits, resources, and competencies. It is also important to know their competitive positioning, product uniqueness, degree of integration, historical responses to industry developments, and other factors.

To collect such data, your marketing team needs to perform accurate qualitative and quantitative market analysis using various techniques such as focus groups, statistical surveys, test markets, and observations.

Community Organizations

The SWOT analysis can be used in community work as a tool to identify positive and negative factors within organizations, communities, and the larger society. It can serve as a preliminary resource, assessing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Communal issues such as economic improvement, security, and social issues can be tackled using the result of the SWOT analysis. Using the SWOT analysis provides direction for the next stages of the change process.

Chapter 8: SWOT Analysis Alternatives 

SWOT Analysis Alternatives 

Now you know what SWOT analysis is and why your company needs to do the analysis. It’s important to note that increasing organizational productivity and effectiveness is the major driver behind the need for conducting the analysis. In this section, you can familiarize yourself with other alternatives you can use to substitute or complement the SWOT analysis. 

PESTEL Analysis 

The PESTEL analysis focuses on six factors: political, economic, social, technological, environmental, and legal. This methodology is used to evaluate whether macroeconomic issues are impacting an organization. 

Political factors

Just how much of your company’s market or economy is influenced by the federal or state governments? Exactly how much can a country’s policies affect your business? 

Economic factors

What percentage will your company’s profitability be impacted by macroeconomic variables such as interest rates, employment, foreign exchange, and unemployment? 

Social factors

Do new trends or demographic shifts (such as an aging population or a more gender-balanced workforce) have an impact on your business? 

Technological factors

Does your organization’s market or industry/sector benefit from technological innovation, development, and disruption? 

Environmental factors

How much of your organization’s policies are influenced by the surrounding environment and policies covering ecological impact? 

Legal factors

What impact will legislative changes have on the profitability, long-term viability, and expansion of your organization? 

What Are the Advantages of a PESTEL Analysis? 

The first step in assessing a company’s vulnerabilities and threats is to gain a thorough understanding of the six macroeconomic factors listed above. Rather than as a replacement for a SWOT analysis, it is frequently used in conjunction with it. Using the PESTEL analysis, marketers can avoid making decisions based on the assumption that they operate in a vacuum. PESTEL analysis will help your company plan and adapt to the ever-changing macroeconomic landscape. 

SOAR Analysis 

The strengths and opportunities sections of a SWOT analysis were retained in a SOAR analysis, but the weaknesses and threats sections were replaced with aspirations and results, respectively. Having a clear vision of where you want to go, what you want to accomplish, and who you want to serve is at the heart of an aspiration. The results section explains how the organization plans to measure and monitor its progress toward its goals. Keeping track of the organization’s progress and ensuring that it stays on track to meet its objectives is the focus of this section. 

What Are the Advantages of SOAR Analysis? 

In comparison to a SWOT analysis, a SOAR analysis is more action-oriented. The approach taken by a SWOT analysis is more analytical. SOAR is better suited to younger organizations that are still establishing their identity or brand because of this difference. Organizations that haven’t yet discovered their weaknesses can take advantage of SOAR as an alternative. A forward-looking investigation rather than an analysis based on experience is the goal. The emphasis on strengths and opportunities in SOAR contrasts with the negative connotations of the weaknesses and threats of SWOT. 

NOISE Analysis 

Analysts can use the NOISE analysis to assess a company’s current state and develop a strategy for improving it. Needs, opportunities, improvements, strengths, and exceptions constitute the analysis.

Needs (N) 

Individual and organizational needs must be met in order for a strategy to succeed. 

Opportunities (O) 

What are the external factors that could help your company grow? Other departments, locations/chapters, and competitors are achieving growth in what ways? What are the potential growth areas that have yet to be discovered? 

Improvements (I) 

In order to meet the needs of customers and take advantage of new opportunities, how should the organization change its structure? 

Strengths (S)

What’s going well for the company right now? What metrics are you using to evaluate your progress? 

Exceptions (E) 

Which of the preceding four elements is already in place? Regardless of their current impact, list all factors. 

The central principle of NOISE analysis is that you focus on what you don’t have rather than what you must overcome. It is possible to develop a strategy that is solution-focused by using language that emphasizes identifying barriers exploring new possibilities. It’s more encouraging to see a lot of possibilities than a long list of strategies gone awry and hurdles to cross. 

Do NOISE Analyses Have Advantages? 

A NOISE analysis appears to be more positive because it focuses on identifying and meeting needs. Providing employees with a list of needs rather than a list of obstacles to overcome may make them feel more empowered and motivated to succeed. Providing for a person’s basic needs is much simpler than dealing with life’s more complex problems. 

Preparing for the decision-making phase of a strategic planning process necessitates using a strategic planning technique. In order to develop new strategies or refocus on incomplete ones, it is necessary to first gain an understanding of the organization and its surroundings, both internally and externally.

SCORE Analysis 

When it comes to assessing your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT), what’s a better tool than SWOT? In order to quickly assess strategy and tactics, SCORE analysis can be used.

Strengths (S) 

Potential for new synergies and affordances from existing capabilities and resources. 

Challenges (C) 

This indicates the resources and capabilities that are required to address them. 

Options (O)

Risk is also an opportunity, and opportunity is also a risk. This section looks at opportunities and the risks associated with them as a unit.

Responses (R) 

Results that are likely to occur as a result of a particular course of action or inaction. 

Effectiveness (E) 

Effectiveness is impacted by a number of different factors. It asks whether a solution is efficient, elegant, appropriate, integrated, and reliable. 

What Are the Advantages of SCORE?

Unlike SWOT, you don’t just categorize issues in SCORE analysis. Instead, you go back and forth between the various dimensions, with one item in one dimension leading to another issue in another dimension, and so on. This helps us build a more comprehensive picture of the overall context space. 

GAP Analysis 

A gap analysis tool can be used to ascertain whether or not business needs and objectives are being met, as well as what steps need to be taken to remedy any deficiencies.

A need-gap analysis is another name for a gap analysis, which can also be referred to as a needs analysis or an assessment of needs. 

The difference between where you are now (the current state) and where you want to be (the desired future state) is what is analyzed in the gap analysis method. 

A gap analysis begins by looking at a company’s mission statement, strategic business goals, and improvement objectives to identify precise target objectives for the investigation. 

Gathering relevant data on current process performance and how resources are currently allocated is the next step in the process. Depending on the analysis, this data can be gathered from a variety of sources. There are a variety of ways to do this, including looking at paperwork, conducting stakeholder interviews, brainstorming, and observing project operations. Customer happiness, revenue creation, productivity, and supply chain costs can all be used to evaluate performance gaps. 

Construction professionals and program management teams typically use gap analysis when developing an action plan to achieve operational improvement in information technology. Additionally, the gap analysis can be used as a benchmark to compare actual business performance to desired levels. 

In the process of allocating resources, small businesses in particular can benefit from conducting gap analyses. 

What Are the Advantages of a Gap Analysis?

Gap analysis tools can be used in software development to describe which services or features have been mistakenly left out, which have been deliberately deleted, and which still need to be implemented. It can be used in compliance initiatives to compare what is required with what is currently being done to comply with the regulations. 

If an organization wants to be more competitive or efficient, it can perform a gap analysis in HR to determine what skills already exist among employees in the organization and what new ones are required to achieve that goal. 

Using a gap analysis you can devise a comprehensive strategy to fill a gap identified after your company assesses its current position in relation to its desired outcomes. A strategy like this lays out a step-by-step process for bridging the current and future states and achieving the desired outcomes. Strategic planning is a common term used to describe this process.

Each of these five alternatives to a SWOT analysis has its advantages and disadvantages. If you don’t know where you are now, you won’t know where to go next. Understanding your current situation is critical to determining your future course of action. When developing a strategic plan, consider the benefits of using each tool and what your organization needs to achieve in order to choose the best analysis for your company. 

Chapter 9: SWOT Analysis Software Tools

SWOT Analysis Software Tools

Conducting a SWOT analysis can leave you feeling overwhelmed. This is why tools have been designed to make it a smoother ride, all thanks to modern technology.

Feel free to explore any of these tools depending on your specifications and budget.

SWOT Analysis Generator 

This tool by Wiki Wealth allows you to build on existing analysis by completing a form. Immediately after you fill out this form, it takes action. To get you started, it gives you a slew of advantages, disadvantages, strengths, and weaknesses. Companies and products are the focus of their work. 

You can select a company or product from the drop-down menu at the top of the generator. Then select the statements that apply from the various categories. 

Finally, click “Create SWOT Analysis” at the top right. Using the generator, an outline is created, and you can then add comments and look at more detail in the explanations. 

Pricing: It is free to use

MatchWare MindView Suite

MindView Suite, a professional mind mapping software from MatchWare, is widely used in the business world. It is perfect for education, project management, and collaboration as well as generating ideas and concepts. The leading SWOT analysis software tool, MindView, makes it simple to complete your SWOT analysis. 

Pricing: It comes with a trial version followed by a $20/month subscription for the annual plan. Discounts are available when you buy multi-year plans. 


Canva is a high-end graphic designing app that does not require prior graphics knowledge. It also offers a mind map drawing feature. Canva is a home for many business-relevant SWOT analysis templates and you can edit or build on them. The best feature of this app is that you can personalize your SWOT report with in-house pictures and graphics.

Pricing: You can enjoy the free plan as well as the pro plan which is billed as $12.99/month or $119.99/year for up to five people.


SWOT is not only a SWOT analysis tool, but it’s a complete business suite that enables you to devise a successful growth strategy. SWOT is a web-based app and allows you to access your SWOT analysis project from any device wherever you are.

Pricing: SWOT has a free plan that allows for unlimited projects and up to 25 items per project. The pro plan is $4.95 per user/month. An enterprise plan is also available. Contact the company for pricing details. 


Visme is a complete suite that you can use to create graphics, infographics, and mind maps. You can install the app on your computer or access it through web browsers. 

You can create your SWOT analysis for free in this app. You also get free benefits like file exporting, collaborative voting, and creating reports from any device for unlimited projects. The free version also offers limited features like 100 MB storage, limited templates, up to five projects, etc.

Pricing: It comes with a free plan as well as a personal plan for $15/month billed yearly, a business plan for $29 per user/month billed yearly, and an enterprise plan (contact Visme for pricing). 


Creately is here for you when you’ve had enough of boring SWOT analysis diagrams. It’s straightforward to use and it allows for the creation of visually appealing analysis diagrams that are filled with your own research. It is possible to import photos and work within a group. They also supply thousands of templates. 

Pricing: It comes with a free plan, a $4/month personal plan as well a $4.75/month/user team plan. An enterprise plan is available with custom pricing. 


SWOT diagrams can be created using this program. Colors and the ability to import photos are still available, despite the lack of flash. The ease with which this analysis can be shared and/or published on social media makes it ideal for use in your social media profiles, where you may want to highlight it. 

Pricing: Gliffy comes with a free trial. You can upgrade to a professional plan for $6 per user/month for 10 to 50 users or $8 per user/month for one to nine users.


SmartDraw’s SWOT analysis software allows you to focus and generate better-looking outcomes than other long-term planning programs. Within minutes, it promises to produce an analysis. 

You only need to select a template, add any additional content, and it will generate a professional analysis for you. SmartDraw has everything you need to create diagrams, pie charts, and more. 

Pricing: You can get started with the free trial version and upgrade to a $9.95/month billed annually for an individual plan, $5.95 per user/month annually for the team plan (five users minimum), or $2,995 for a site plan billed annually. 

Visual Paradigm

Visual Paradigm is a web-based SWOT analysis tool available through Visual Paradigm Online. It can be used to quickly and easily create a SWOT analysis model. You can focus on putting the material into bullet points. InfoArt will automatically generate a SWOT matrix based on the information you’ve entered. 

Pricing: You can start with the free version and upgrade to the starter plan at $4 per user/month billed annually or $5 per user/month billed monthly, the advance plan at $9 per user/month billed annually or $11 per user/month billed monthly, or the combo plan billed at $15 per user/month billed annually or $20 per user/month billed monthly. 


Lucidchart’s SWOT analysis generator can help you make better business decisions. They make it simple to get input from all areas of the company and to compile a comprehensive report with concrete recommendations. 

Pricing: It has a free plan with limitations. The individual plan starts at $7.95/month and the team plan starts at $9 per user/month with a minimum of three users.

The above SWOT analysis software tools provide templates for SWOT analysis. Some of them come with questions to ask yourself when completing your own analysis. They serve as a springboard for further exploration.

Chapter 10: Perfect Your SWOT Analysis with Effective Process Management in SweetProcess

Perfect Your SWOT Analysis with Effective Process Management in SweetProcess

If you’re still reading this part of the article it means you’re ready for a drastic change. There’s no benefit to conducting a SWOT analysis without finally executing it to improve your organizational processes. If your dream is to get a hold of a tool that will help you achieve this dream, then you’re in the right place.

Taking advantage of the opportunities available to you, as well as turning your weaknesses and threats into your strengths, does not happen on its own. It requires that you design the steps and processes for the course of actions you already have in place. This is what will take you to your final destination.

You may not be able to implement all these processes at one time but will need to review them from time to time until you’re able to design a perfect plan. 

For instance, if your weakness lies in the inefficiency of your employees, you may design a process to turn this into your strength following these steps:

  • Figure out the features of your dream workplace and define your ideal employee.
  • Hold meetings with your employees to know who is ready to work and improve with the company.
  • Employ new team members based on your laid down criteria.
  • Adopt proper onboarding of new employees.
  • Organize frequent training for existing employees.
  • Share timely productivity tips.
  • Use employee productivity apps.
  • Prioritize employee satisfaction and wellbeing.
  • Assess each employee from time to time.

Similar processes can be designed for each concept you want to focus on improving. Taking manual account of all of this can be taxing and this is where SweetProcess comes in handy. 

SweetProcess is a tool that helps you to document processes, procedures, and tasks in one place so you can stay focused on growing your business. You can sign up for a 14-day free trial without a credit card.

One of the companies that were opportune when taking sweet advantage of process documentation with SweetProcess is pLink Leadership. Chief executive officer Gretchen Pisano and chief design officer Jennifer Schneider dreamed of accelerating their business growth. But they had one great weakness in their company— frustrated employees. This was due to the heaps of tasks they needed to perform. 

As a fully virtual company with team members across the United States, pLink Leadership relied on having everyone operate using the same processes to maintain consistency and efficiency. This goal was unrealistic due to the absence of well-documented standard operating procedures (SOPs). 

One thing was clear: they needed an effective tool to document and streamline their operations. SweetProcess came in handy. Today, their operations are in top gear. 

Finding SweetProcess turned a weakness into a strength for pLink. The feeling that comes with finding a solution to a longstanding problem boosted the company’s morale and the productivity of their employees took a new turn for the better. 

Try SweetProcess for free for 14 days. No credit card required.

Jonathan Harvey, chief operating officer at Neon Buddha, had the dream of building a household clothing brand. He realized that their company’s success was threatened by the inadequacies in their archaic business process documentation. Rather than focusing on channeling the high-level creativity needed to excel in such a competitive industry, employees were struggling with the complex processes in the organization. This greatly affected the productivity levels they dreamed of meeting.

In an attempt to set things right, Jonathan embarked on a search for a better business process documentation system and found SweetProcess. 

In the beginning, Jonathan and his team were unable to pursue the goals that were important to them—growing and diversifying—due to the bottlenecks in their business processes. Finding SweetProcess solved their problems and now they’re fully empowered to follow their processes and lead their industry.

Jamie Ramsden, the business intelligence and lean Six Sigma champion at Turkstra Lumber, has resolved to prioritize the smooth running of the organization’s operations. Relying on individual efforts without a unifying procedure is one of their greatest weaknesses. 

As far as job expertise was concerned, Jamie and his team were up to the task. They realized that they could do better with streamlined business processes and procedures. 

Their quest to be more strategic and sophisticated in their operations led to the discovery of SweetProcess, and this has been a game-changer in the organization. 

If your dream is to design a procedure that helps you turn your weaknesses into strengths and threats to opportunities, consider signing up for SweetProcess. No credit card is required.

Final Thoughts

A SWOT analysis is a great way to guide business-strategy meetings. It’s powerful to have everyone in the room discuss the company’s core strengths and weaknesses, define the opportunities and threats, and brainstorm ideas. Oftentimes, the SWOT analysis you envision before the session changes later to reflect factors you were unaware of and would never have captured if not for the group’s input.

A company can use a SWOT for overall business strategy sessions or for a specific segment such as marketing, production, or sales. This way, you can see how the overall strategy developed from the SWOT analysis will filter down to each of the segments you want to tackle.

While you’re pursuing your mission and targets, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s not just about making the sale. An important part of a SWOT analysis is making sure that you’re building a business that is long-lasting, reliable, and trustworthy. When conducting a SWOT analysis, whether you’re a small startup or one of the world’s largest corporations, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of your company’s strengths and weaknesses and work with them.

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