SWOT Analysis

SWOT analysis process for maximum benefit


SWOT Analysis Definition

SWOT analysis is a strategic approach to assist a person or organization in identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats associated with their business or project planning. It is an empirical and straightforward form of an evaluation model that considers factors related to the internal and external environment and mainly focuses on getting an in-depth analysis of business, brand, project, and product. Strengths and weaknesses are the attributes of the organizations which usually come under the ambit of internal factors, whereas external factors are threats and opportunities.



It aims to highlight the objectives of any organization and identify the sufficient conditions to achieve those objectives. It gives you the answer to the following questions and helps you to maximize the benefits

How to respond to new trends?

How to identify and take advantage of a new business opportunity?

How to apply new techniques to maximize satisfaction?

How your organization can adapt to changes?

How to tackle with your competitor's activity?

Some authors believe Albert Humphrey to be the creator of SWOT. He was the first person in the 1960s to collect data from fortune 500 companies and analyze it. But the creation of this approach is still unclear. SWOT analysis is a method of categorization with some limitations. One of the disadvantages of SWOT- analysis is that its sole aim is to systematize information, and it ignores producing real outcomes or objectives.



Four variables of SWOT analysis:

Strengths

Quality of any business or project that gives it an edge over others.

Weaknesses

An aspect of any business or project that gives it a disadvantage.

Opportunities

Elements of surroundings that the business or project can use to achieve maximum satisfaction

Threats

Surrounding elements that can disturb the process of business or project.


Identification of external and internal factors to analyze SWOT is essential as it can help to achieve the objectives and improve the performance of the organization. A SWOT analysis helps you to have an edge over your competitors in the market. In the situation of decision making, SWOT analysis can help both profitable and non-profitable organizations to achieve the desired result, both from an internal and external perspective. SWOT-analysis templates are one of the easiest ways to do a SWOT analysis through visual representation. SWOT analysis templates can create a framework of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats associated with any organization, project, or business. The effect of any one element of SWOT reflects on another. SWOT mainly analyzes for the internal, financial, customer, learning & growth sector.



Things to do in the SWOT analysis
process for maximum benefit:

  • Do the necessary research to analyze the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of your organization.
  • Put your analysis outcome into a SWOT matrix.
  • Start creating the strategy map for your organization with the SWOT analysis.
  • Involve everyone from your organization to develop the strategy.
  • After the implementation of the strategy, take measures to overcome your weaknesses, improving your strengths.
  • To maximize benefit, go after the opportunities available to your organization.
  • SWOT analysis should be used as a process to analyze input for developing and improving the strategic plan.


  • Uses: SWOT analysis is a very useful and convenient instrument for decision making, brainstorming, and strategic planning.

    Upgrading strengths: It helps to identify areas of your organization that is executing well. These areas are your bonus points and give your organization an edge over others. Familiarity with these areas can help you boost your strengths so that you don't lose your supremacy in the market and can grow your business.

    Reducing weaknesses: This is the characteristic that gives your organization a disadvantage over others. SWOT analysis is useful to identify these areas and tackle them efficiently before they become more complex. In the process of identifying your weaknesses, it is necessary to be realistic about the weaknesses. It gives you the chance to deal with them appropriately.

    Grabbing opportunities: SWOT analysis can help you to utilize the opportunities that your organization has to make maximum profits. It would be of no use if you don't have the internal capability to seize an opportunity, but you decide to anyway. Thus the understanding of internal factors through SWOT analysis helps us to improve our ability to grab the opportunities available in the market.

    Preventing threats: External factors such as new policies, new advertising plans of your competitors can cause difficulties for your business. SWOT-analysis helps you to identify and counteract these threats with your strengths.



    Some individual issues affecting the organization:

    SWOT analysis can also solve some individual issues, as follows:



    When you are making a SWOT analysis, you should keep in mind that weakness for one could be a strength for another. A space in the market for some product that you do not provide could be an opportunity for some other business.


    When to Perform SWOT Analysis?

    You can perform a SWOT Analysis at any time, but it is most fruitful for you if you do it during the strategic planning period. A small business or a large firm can both perform SWOT Analysis for the development and growth of the respective business.

    How to do a SWOT analysis?

    Every business conducts a periodic SWOT analysis to be successful. There are two factors, i.e., internal factors and external factors that can affect the business. The internal factors cater to Strengths and Weaknesses, and the external factor caters to Opportunity and Threats.



    SWOT Analysis Template

    Strengths

  • does the business do well?
  • what unique resources does the business have?
  • What competitive advantages does the business have over other competitors?
  • Weaknesses

  • where does the business need to improve?
  • Are there things that the business needs to become competitive?
  • Opportunities

  • what trends can the business take advantage of?
  • how can you turn strengths into opportunities?
  • are there upcoming changes that might impact the business positively?
  • Threats

  • Do you have potential competitors who may enter your market?
  • Could future developments in technology change how you do business?
  • Is consumer behavior changing in a way that could negatively impact your business?
  • Are there market trends that could become a threat?


  • SWOT Analysis template elaborated:

    Strengths:

    These are internal factors that are an integral part of the business. Strengths are nothing but what the business excels at that sets it apart from other competitors in the market. If a business has physical assets such as customers, equipment, technology, cash, and patents, then it can be considered as a strength of the business.

    Weaknesses:

    They are the negative factors that hold back the business from performing to its optimum level. The business must identify where it needs to improve to have a competitive edge over other companies in the market.

    Opportunities:

    They refer to the favorable external factors that give a competitive advantage to the business. A business should look for ways as to how it can turn its strengths into its opportunities at the right time. Any trend or upcoming changes that might impact the business positively is an opportunity.

    Threats:

    They refer to the unfavorable factors that give a competitive disadvantage to the business. Any potential competitors who may enter your market or future developments in technology change how the business functions or market trends that could become a threat are some of the most common threats to a business. It is important to anticipate threats and to take precautionary actions against them before it takes the business to losses and hampers the growth.



    Visualizing SWOT Analysis:

    There are various ways to visualize a SWOT analysis. Some of them are:

    2×2 grid:

    It helps in comparing all data at once because each box has a direct relationship with each other. It altogether makes SWOT analysis easy rather than analyzing individual segments. This grid helps in styling the design with the help of different colors or shapes. Used in highly informative business reports, it makes it easy to understand all the elements together.

    Vertical List:

    Vertical List template is useful within reports and used in sending mail, but this requires ample space between each segment to make a proper visual distinction. This template uses different colored boxes in its design.

    Horizontal List:

    Horizontal tables are specially used for presentations because the orientation of the presentation is in landscape form and fills the entire screen with information. It can create differentiation through different graphics, colors, or empty spaces between the boxes.



    How to write a SWOT analysis:

    It is essential to consider every point while evaluating SWOT analysis. Deciding SWOT analysis questions is equally time-consuming as conducting the SWOT analysis. Hence it is imperative to decide the objective of performing a SWOT analysis. It could be anything like high sales, business growth, brand promotion, or anything else. While conducting a SWOT analysis, always pick a goal and identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Once you have set a goal, you must evaluate related SWOT analysis questions. The questions can be:



    There is a whole list of topics to evaluate for proper SWOT analysis.

    Although SWOT analysis is a straightforward process, there are a few best practices to increase its effectiveness.

  • Ensure that the statements used in SWOT analysis are quantifiable and measurable. Whatever you mention in the analysis should have evidence and should also be quantifiable.
  • All the departments, along with their strength and weaknesses, need to be represented in the SWOT analysis.
  • The list of all weaknesses should be of the same number. If there are ten strengths, then try to find ten weaknesses and similarly the same number of opportunities and threats.
  • SWOT analysis of developing a new project or scaling revenue works best if there is an objective set for the outcome. As discussed earlier, always start with the long list generated in the brainstorming session and then sort out this list to get an effective outcome.
  • Mention every possible strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat. A SWOT analysis's effectiveness depends on the information that is included here.
  • Make sure that the SWOT analysis is easy to understand and presentable so that it becomes easy for all to take in the information. Use a horizontal SWOT template for presentations, a 2×2 grid template for information, and others.
  • Think of the future while conducting the analysis. It might be that the product is the best now and the competition is very low but what will happen after six months or a year. Always prepare for the future to stay ahead.
  • Different design tricks like different colors or graphics could be used in SWOT analysis to grab attention.


  • When should you do a SWOT analysis?

    If you're an existing business, these are the times you should be conducting SWOT analysis:

    Product or Service Launches

    If you are planning to or launching a new service or product, then conducting a SWOT analysis is useful in developing effective product positioning. By looking at aspects like what you do better, what are your weaknesses, opportunities, and competitors, you can make sure that your product has a chance of success.

    Strategy Building

    While brainstorming a new business plan, SWOT analysis is a great starting point. It enables you to check and evaluate your current performance, find areas for improvement, and look for new opportunities.

    Business Growth

    If you or your business are going through a rapid growth period, you must take out some time to conduct a SWOT analysis. It helps you to reach your growth goals. Doing a SWOT analysis will also help you identify any possible weaknesses that may later become an issue for your growth.

    Marketing

    While you are creating or developing a marketing plan, you must conduct a SWOT analysis for your product or service. By analyzing what you do better than your competitors, you can find out the best way to market your product. Just like that, after analyzing the opportunities, you can understand potential new markets along with underserved areas that you already market in.

    Team Evaluation

    You can do a SWOT analysis to evaluate the strength of your team. It is useful if you are restructuring or creating new departments. With SWOT analysis, you can spot areas of weakness in your team.

    Personal Growth

    In some cases, you may want to conduct a personal SWOT analysis to evaluate your personal growth. For instance, if you're going to move up the career ladder, then you should slightly reposition your thinking regarding threats. Instead of thinking about competitors or changes in the market, think about things that are the anchor of your life holding you back.


    SWOT Analysis of YouTube


    Strengths:

    It is the most popular and largest video sharing website in the world, with billions of views every day. One can find all types of content on YouTube, entertainment, educational, music, movies, technical, which makes it highly popular among all age groups around the world. YouTube supports 34 languages, including some local languages as well. It makes it more useful for people residing all over the globe. YouTube has a simple yet user-friendly design. It is easy to go through through the website.

    Weaknesses:

    A major problem faced by YouTube is copyrighted content being uploaded by users as original content, which results in loosing revenue for the original content creator. Movies are even leaked online very quickly. More and more vloggers have shifted from YouTube to their private podcast, where they generate revenues directly from brands. Hence viewers on YouTube are reducing.

    Opportunities:


    The first opportunity for YouTube to regain its original volume of users is to start paid viewership so that a user can skip advertisements and follow what he/she wants to watch. Frequent advertisements between the videos have made a drastic fall in the number of viewers. With more and more technological advancement each day, the internet and smartphones are reaching every corner of the world. YouTube comes auto-installed on most of the android smartphones, which makes it reachable to a larger audience around the globe.

    Threats:


    There are more and more competitors entering the market nowadays; for example, Netflix, Amazon Prime Videos, Spotify, etc. Users are shifting to paid subscription content to see better quality and uninterrupted videos.



    SWOT Analysis Template

    Strengths:

  • Most popular and largest video sharing website in the world
  • All types of content in one place
  • Supports around 34 different languages
  • Simple and user-friendly interface
  • Weaknesses:

  • Copyright issues
  • Reduction in viewership
  • Opportunities:

  • Start paid viewership
  • It can reach out to more and more people around the globe through the internet and smartphones.

    Threats:

  • Low-quality videos
  • Frequent advertisements


  • SWOT analysis of Apple.


    Strengths:

  • Apple is one of the most valuable brands by Forbes. And as it is easily recognizable, Apple can produce new products and can expect success only because of its name.
  • High prices are another positive trait of Apple. Because of this brand recognition, Apple can sell its products at a high price also. People do not value money over the brand.
  • Apple has earned its name because of the highly innovative products they produce. Their innovation is at the forefront of the industry.
  • Weaknesses:

  • Although Apple is the most loved brand of upper or middle-class customers because of its high price, Apple is not able to reach lower-class people.
  • Apple controls all its products and services in-house in a closed ecosystem to earn loyal customers, which ultimately becomes a burden on Apple employees.
  • Lastly, Apple carries a high level of recognition and prestige, and this is the reason Apple avoids taking risks and experimenting with any new product.
  • Opportunities:

  • If Apple increases its network and allows third party businesses to sell Apple products, it would increase its reach and would lower down the burden on in-house employees.
  • Apple could focus on creating more new and affordable products for reaching a larger demographic.
  • Apple could also use its existing products and refine it to offer some more unique features.
  • Threats:

  • Apple faces tough competition from Samsung, Google, and many others in terms of innovations, and the competitors don't work in a closed ecosystem and have freedom of experimentations.
  • Apple has been facing lawsuits with Samsung for a long time and has won only one case. It could impact the image of Apple, and people may prefer other options.
  • Lastly, apple should improve its international penetration. Apple doesn't have a positive relationship with China and does not hold a good market share in India as well, which is the most potential market.
  • Apple may fall behind if it is not able to compete globally, like Samsung and Google.
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