How to Conduct and Use
a SWOT Analysis
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. A SWOT analysis will help you understand your company’s position in the market.
It will identify your company’s internal strengths and weaknesses and external opportunities and threats in the current business environment.
The SWOT analysis is a core business tool.
It is used to recognize and evaluate how vulnerabilities and risks can be mitigated to achieve business priorities and how they can use strengths and opportunities. A SWOT review, if updated periodically, will form the basis of your strategic marketing strategy and lead to future growth plans.
ELEMENTS OF A SWOT ANALYSIS
WHEN TO USE A SWOT ANALYSIS
At any stage of your business, a SWOT evaluation can be used. An inventory of internal strengths and vulnerabilities and external opportunities and risks may help to disclose solutions to challenges and to explain courses of action. It is extremely desirable to perform a SWOT on a semi-annual basis.
SWOT ANALYSIS STEPS
Build a SWOT team: involve decision-making staff. The team may be small or large; the larger the squad, the more data you are going to get. A new insight may be given by bringing someone from outside the business.
- Choose a leader, a good listener and community facilitator, and a recorder. If the group is small, it could be the same person. For larger groups, getting a recorder that can back up the leader is helpful. To document the conversation, please use a flip chart or white board.
- Introduce the SWOT analysis method and explain why it is being used. The leader should clarify that the examination of the SWOT is used to determine where the business is and where it can go. Use an example if appropriate to help team members comprehend the process and priorities.
- Brainstorm with strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Split into smaller groups, brainstorm, and reconvene to share outcomes if the community is large.
- Discuss and report outcomes. Achieve consensus on the most significant outcomes in each category. Compare the results to the vision , mission and priorities of the organization. Develop SWOT analysis-based action plans and strategies.
- Summarize the SWOT analysis in a report to use for strategic planning.
HOW TO USE A SWOT ANALYSIS
A SWOT helps to define the positive characteristics of your company and market and the actual and future issues that need to be identified and/or addressed.
To use the information in your SWOT table, concentrate on using strengths to fix vulnerabilities so you can mitigate threat risks and take advantage of opportunities.
SHELF LIFE OF A SWOT ANALYSIS
A SWOT is a living text. At least on a semi-annual basis and if requirements for the company change, it should be checked and revised.
This example is based on the fictional company ABC, a new business manufacturing a gluten-free cookie made from ancient grains. The company’s mission is to become the largest producer on Vancouver Island of safe cookies. For illustrative purposes, Company ABC ‘s SWOT table lists key strengths , limitations, opportunities and risks.
Using the knowledge collected in SWOT analysis Company ABC may use its expertise in food science to reformulate lower cost cookies and/or create and sell new, science-based, safe cookies. Developing shelf-stable gluten-free cookies will improve retail sales and e-commerce opportunities. It is possible to exploit growing revenue, product listings, collaboration possibilities to access funding and marketing expertise. Knowing what the risks are helps Company ABC to prepare for improvements in labeling, the creation of new trendy products and more reliably sourced ingredients.
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