SWOT:Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats
Introduction
It is an analysis carried out to assess and discuss your business, your marketplace, your resources and your competition. Essentially you identify and nominate the Strengths and Weaknesses of the business (its internal resources and capabilities) then you identify the Opportunities and Threats the business faces (factors that may be both external and internal).

You can benefit from finding out exactly where you are in the marketplace at any given time and can thus assist in key decision when planning the future direction and path of your business. Running your own business you need to constantly look at the external factors that face or even threaten your business, such as competitor activities, market trends, technology etc.

SWOT
Strengths
  • Why should you succeed?
  • What do we do well?
  • Why would others do business with you?
  • What are your distinct advantages?

Weaknesses

  • Have you any skills gaps?
  • What does the competition do better?
  • Why stumbling blocks do you face?
  • What things could be improved?

Opportunities

  • Where are the openings for your business?
  • What customer needs are not being met elsewhere?
  • What are the interesting trends in the market?
  • What’s your businesses future potential?

Threats

  • What can get in the way of your succeed?
  • Could new technology be a threat?
  • What about economic conditions?
  • What about staff confidence and policy?
  • Can competitors take business away from you?
Dos and don'ts
Do
  • Be analytical and specific.
  • Record all thoughts and ideas in stages 5-8.
  • Be selective in the final evaluation.
  • Choose the right people for the exercise.
  • Choose a suitable SWOT leader or facilitator.

Don't

  • Try to disguise weaknesses.
  • Merely list errors and mistakes.
  • Lose sight of external influences and trends.
  • Allow the SWOT to become a blame-laying exercise.
  • Ignore the outcomes at later stages of the planning process.

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