A SWOT analysis is an essential component of any business or marketing plan. It is a base for you to work out an overall situation, allowing you to review the relevant marketplace and to think about possible changes to your business or organisation.
What is a SWOT?
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats and is it the analysis of any internal and external factors, both current and potential, of a business. It will help you build a framework that is used to evaluate your company’s position within the market. This is the starting point to building a strategy or marketing plan. A SWOT analysis is often carried out in a 2×2 grid like this:
How to do a SWOT Analysis:
It is useful to have a group of people involved to be able to get different points of view. If you are part of a larger organisation, having people from different areas of the organisation will also help give you in collecting other perspectives throughout the organisation.
Ask your group to come up with ideas for each area. This can be done by going around the group asking for suggestions or to help combat group pressure, you can have the group write down ideas on post-it notes and stick them to the board/ paper for each area.
Here are some potential questions to think about for each of the SWOT areas:
Put simply, it is what your business or organisation does well, or what gives you an advantage over the opposition. This could range from your location, your staff or what you offer that is different to others in your sector (Your USP). Think about this not only from your perspective but also from your competitors and your customers too.
It’s important, to be honest about your weaknesses! It is the only way to make the exercise valuable. Like with strengths, it is weaknesses in the different parts of your business, so think about systems, resources, staff, location, premises etc. Also, think about it from all views as you did with strengths.
These are chances for improvements or openings that could help your business or organisation. Many of these will occur from things that happen from outside your business or organisation. This could be, for example, a new housing development close to your retail premise, changes in trends and social behaviour or new technology helping your sector.
As with opportunities, threats to your business or organisation come from outside your control and could negatively affect your business prospects. It is vital to try and anticipate threats, but as we have seen recently, some threats are completely unexpected and change the way things are done.
Here is an example of a SWOT analysis done for the brand Nike:
What comes next?
Once your group analysis is complete, it is worth looking to see if there are any connections between the different areas. For example, can some of your strengths help open more opportunities? Will completing some of the opportunities you have identified help in stopping some of the weaknesses?
It is also worth narrowing down some of the statements into more targeted aims that you can measure and track your progress on. All this will form part of your strategy or marketing plan.
The next thing to do would be to review your SWOT analysis in a year. Has anything changed within this time? Have you increased your strengths from your opportunities? Have the threats been reduced? It is a good way to keep track and monitor your progress and to see if your marketing or strategic plan is on track.
As always, if you have any questions about SWOT Analysis, or want any advice on marketing planning & strategy in general, we encourage you to get in touch with us by calling us on 01522 708855 or sending an email to email@example.com.