SWOT Analysis Template
SWOT analysis (alternatively SWOT matrix) is an acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats and is a structured planning method that evaluates those four elements of an organization, project or business venture. A SWOT analysis can be carried out for a company, product, place, industry, or person. It involves specifying the objective of the business venture or project and identifying the internal and external factors that are favorable and unfavorable to achieve that objective.The degree to which the internal environment of the firm matches with the external environment is expressed by the concept of strategic fit.
- Strengths: characteristics of the business or project that give it an advantage over others
- Weaknesses: characteristics of the business that place the business or project at a disadvantage relative to others
- Opportunities: elements in the environment that the business or project could exploit to its advantage
- Threats: elements in the environment that could cause trouble for the business or project
Users of SWOT analysis must ask and answer questions that generate meaningful information for each category (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) to make the analysis useful and find their competitive advantage. Identification of SWOTs is important because they can inform later steps in planning to achieve the objective. First, decision-makers should consider whether the objective is attainable, given the SWOTs. If the objective is not attainable, they must select a different objective and repeat the process.
As part of the development of strategies and plans to enable the organization to achieve its objectives, SWOT alongside PEST can be used as a basis for the analysis of business and environmental factors.
- Set objectives – defining what the organization is going to do
- Environmental scanning – Internal appraisals of the organization’s SWOT, this needs to include an assessment of the present situation as well as a portfolio of products/services and an analysis of the product/service life cycle
- Analysis of existing strategies, this should determine relevance from the results of an internal/external appraisal. This may include gap analysis of environmental factors
- Strategic Issues defined – key factors in the development of a corporate plan that the organization must address
- Develop new/revised strategies – revised analysis of strategic issues may mean the objectives need to change
- Establish critical success factors – the achievement of objectives and strategy implementation
- Preparation of operational, resource, projects plans for strategy implementation
- Monitoring results – mapping against plans, taking corrective action, which may mean amending objectives/strategies
Strategic Planning Templates
The collection of strategic planning templates can also be accessed below: