If you have completed the first four steps of a SWOT analysis, you will be able to understand how to use SWOT analysis, and your SWOT matrix should be complete.
Now is the time to take ideas and information into your analysis and use them to create effective strategies to guide your business. Here’s a quick overview of how it is.
Before you develop operational strategies:
Your SWOT matrix should be complete. At the beginning of the challenge, you probably downloaded the SWOT matrix template. If it’s in this format instead of a separate piece of paper or computer file, it’s easier to use.
Look at other examples. If you haven’t done so already, check out some completed SWOT reports so you know what to look for. Here are some SWOT examples that you can see.
Use bullet points. Everything in your analysis should be in a bulleted format. You do not need complete sentences.
Each point flies. Each bullet point should be brief — make a few words. If you need your point simple,
Refine your data. If you’ve come up with a healthy list for each of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, it’s time to refine the information. Check for inefficiencies, gather bullets where necessary, and delete any information that is important.
Prioritize your information. It’s time to go through each section and rank the data. Place the most important or stress items on each square.
SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool to identify and understand the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats affecting a business, project or situation.
In fact, this tool is extremely flexible – when used properly – and can help make all kinds of decisions in situations.
But first, let’s start with a definition before going into the SWOT analysis example.
What is a SWOT Analysis?
You are probably familiar with SWOT (sometimes called TOWS) analysis matrix or grid.
Come on, this is not an analysis!
It’s just a way of capturing information so you can analyze later.
Yes, that’s right. The SWOT analysis begins by collecting information about the organization or project and concludes with an explanation of the information summarized in the summary of the matrix.
What’s more, SWOT analysis is a useful way of integrating an organization’s external environment analytics – for example, the five forces of PEST and Porter and the internal environment – using Porter’s value chain, resource analysis, and so on.
From SWOT analysis to TOWS analysis
A list of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats creates a simple business guide, but you will want to take this step one step further to create the strategy and the plans to improve your business.
The exercise you are about to perform is called a TOWS analysis. It helps you connect your analysis into each quadrant. You will work around a square, combining data from two quadrants to create an operational strategy.
Power Use your inner strength to take advantage of the opportunity.
Power-threat. Use your power to reduce the threat.
Weakness-Opportunity. Improve vulnerability by taking advantage of opportunities.
Vulnerability-threatening. Work to eliminate vulnerabilities to avoid threats.
As you answer these questions, you will begin to create actionable strategies. For example, if one of your strengths is an experienced grant writer on your team, you should charge that person to take advantage of the new federal grant opportunities available this year. This is a strategy that you can implement immediately to improve your business.
You can only add a few blocks to your SWOT analysis to get these techniques on paper. Here is an example of a supplemental TOWS analysis from the University of San Francisco, which shows a TOWS analysis for Volkswagen. It shows you what exercise looks like and gives you an idea of the techniques that come from this analysis.
How to use a SWOT analysis
Since SWOT analysis is unique to every business, we can only give a few general pointers. However, there are many things that can be done to increase the quality of your SWOT.
Follow these tips and use them in SWOT analysis in the following example.
Effective SWOT analysis
Here are our tips for a perfect SWOT analysis:
Use a SWOT analysis to distinguish between where you are now and where you want to be,
To be realistic about your strengths and weaknesses,
Be specific – include only key points and topics,
Critical success relates to the strength and weakness of the cause,
Always aim at the state of strength and weakness in competitive terms,
Points of order, and importance
Finally, keep it short – no more than a page.
Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats
Strengths and weaknesses are internal to the business and regulatory. On the contrary, there are uncontrollable external forces that operate on the situation of opportunity and threat.
We are often mistaken for this part of the exercise. To clarify:
Strengths – An internal positive feature of an organization or situation within your control.
Weaknesses – Also internal factors of your control that can hinder your ability to fulfill your objectives.
Scope – External factors that the organization or project should (or may) develop.
Threats – External factors beyond your control that may put a project or organization at risk.
Conduct SWOT analysis
Ideally, in a group or workshop, brainstorm each department and capture the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats associated with the situation, context, strategy or project. Just aim to include key points and make sure these are backed up with evidence – but don’t be too rigid.
Also, do not spend too much time capturing this information and do not over analyze. The goal as all brainstorming exercises is to capture relevant concepts in the current business situation.
Finally, highlight the most important ones and then rank them seriously as a checklist for your own SWOT before using your SWOT analysis example.
Develop a strategic plan
The next stage of analysis is to take the highest ranking strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and answer the following questions:
How do you use your energy to take advantage of opportunities?
How do you overcome the weaknesses of taking advantage of opportunities?
How can your energy be reduced to the possibility of a threat?
What can you do to minimize the threat to your weaknesses?
As you answer these questions, you will begin to understand how you deal with external forces and how to deal with them. Use your understanding to develop a plan of action plan.
SWOT analysis is about capitalizing on your strengths, overcoming weaknesses, exploiting opportunities and counteracting threats.
Moreover, it is about identifying the most important issues, setting priorities, evaluating options and taking action.
This should be done in the context of the company, project or situation and customer.
So you see, the output of SWOT analysis is not just a matrix or grid but a transparent goal and activity that you should communicate to your stakeholders.
Leadership and management skills
The quality of the product or service
Lack of leadership and management skills
The key skill gap
Low quality and reputation
The product or service does not matter
New product or service
Changes in political and economic environment
New technology development
New market entrants
Changes in political and economic environment
Global warming / weather
Your finished product
When you are done with SWOT and TOWS analytics, you will have an insightful look at your business that follows a list of strategies to make your business better.
Take this list of strategies and start implementing them. If some strategies are a long-term plan, break them down into steps with specific milestones and put each one on your calendar so you can implement the change over time.
Now that you have this business resource, you want to keep it simple. Stick it to your office wall, or put it on your desktop so you can refer to it throughout the year when you make a decision. Your hard work will stop.
In addition to strategic planning, here’s the added benefit of your participation in the SWOT Challenge:
Advanced focus. This analysis should keep everyone on the same page. Identifies what you should be working towards this year.
Strategic alignment. With everyone working on the same goal, managers and employees can work together to create better strategies.
Identify unknown aspects. You will probably discover aspects of your business that you do not know. Revealing this information will help you move forward, from hidden threats to unknown powers.
If you are a business owner who takes the time to complete every step of your SWOT analysis, we would like to congratulate you. You have made great strides toward improving your business this year.