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How to Write a SWOT Analysis (With Examples & Free Templates)

Dec 8, 2022 | 0 comments

Dec 8, 2022 | Blog | 0 comments

A SWOT analysis is a simple but powerful tool that gives you a good business overview. It helps you see strengths and weaknesses and opportunities and threats that may affect your business. This blog will provide insights on how to write a SWOT analysis for a business or a new product, examples of SWOT analysis, and free templates you can use.

What is SWOT analysis?

SWOT analysis is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Businesses can use a SWOT analysis tool to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a company or business.

SWOT analysis is a tool often used as an effective way to identify opportunities and threats in the environment. This type of process aims to generate new ideas for marketing campaigns or business strategies that will help you achieve your goals.

The first step in conducting a SWOT analysis is identifying what makes your company strong or weak compared with competitors. You’ll also need to look at how external factors like market trends can influence how well your brand will perform against competitors in the future (and whether those trends will be positive or negative).

Breaking down the SWOT analysis definition

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, divided into four quadrants (SWOT Matrix). It is a strategic planning tool to analyze the internal and external factors that affect a business. It helps you determine your position about your competitors, customers, suppliers, and partners and identify opportunities to be exploited or threats that may impact your company.

For example, A company wants to find out whether their new product will succeed in the market before they start production. They can use their SWOT analysis template (see below) to consider various factors such as their strengths (what makes them unique), weaknesses (what they lack), opportunities (what markets they can target), and threats (potential obstacles).

1. Strengths

Strengths are the positive aspects of your business. These can be related to anything: your company’s mission statement, its products or services, it’s brand identity and reputation, or even things like location (if you’re a brick-and-mortar store).

Critically thinking about your strengths is a great way to improve them. Suppose any characteristics will help you grow as a company. In that case, whether they’re related to how you operate internally or what kinds of products/services you offer—they’re strengths worth highlighting in your SWOT analysis.

2. Weaknesses

The second section of your SWOT analysis is about weaknesses. Weaknesses are problems you have to solve to achieve your goals and objectives, but they can also be opportunities for your competitors. Weaknesses are usually internal or external factors that prevent you from achieving what you want.

They’re not always negative, though! If the weakness is something like “not enough money” or “lack of time,” then it’s probably a good thing because it means something is stopping you from doing something else instead!

3. Opportunities

The key to identifying opportunities is to think about how your business could grow. Opportunities are external factors that can help your business, such as:

  • Expanding into new markets or increasing sales in existing markets
  • Launching a new product or service
  • Acquiring another company, either through acquisition or mergers & acquisitions (M&A)

4. Threats

The threats section of your SWOT analysis is where you will detail any external factors that could negatively affect your business. This includes economic downturns, anti-competitive legislation, and disruptive new technologies.

As with the other sections, it’s important to carefully consider each threat before deciding how to address it.

For example, if a competitor has higher quality products at lower prices than you do, then there’s no point in addressing this issue unless it’s something that your company can change. Likewise, suppose state or federal laws are about to change in a way that makes running your business more difficult (such as stricter environmental regulations). In that case, these should be included in the threats section, along with suggestions for how they might be mitigated (like investing in pollution control equipment).

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Importance of SWOT Analysis

  1. It’s an effective way to identify and address key issues in your company and determine how best to use your resources (money, time, talent) to improve them.
  2. The SWOT analysis is a technique that is extremely helpful to a small business owner because it allows you to focus on your strengths while identifying areas where improvement is needed.
  3. You can also use your SWOT analysis information to create an action plan to address any shortcomings identified in your analysis. This will help keep you from making costly mistakes later on down the road.
  4. SWOT analysis may be used to brainstorm ideas and is an important tool for strategic business planning.
  5. It helps you to identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
  6. It also helps you to identify your competitors and define your business strategy.

SWOT analysis of internal and external factors

SWOT analysis also includes internal and external factors. Internal factors like structure, management, and employees are related to your business. External factors were identified as that outside of your control. These include the economy, legal environment, and technological developments.

1. Internal factors

  • Company’s culture: A company’s culture is the way people work together. It can be an important factor in whether or not your business is successful, as it affects how well employees work together and your ability to attract new talent.
  • Company’s management: Your management team sets the tone for everything that happens within your organization, so it’s essential to ensure they have a positive attitude about the company and its prospects.
  • Employees: A well-trained workforce will help you provide better customer service and build goodwill with existing clients, which can lead to increased sales.
  • Resources: The equipment and supplies necessary for running your business are called resources; if these aren’t available when people need them, production may halt until they show up again (or until someone goes out and buys more).

2. External factors

External factors are the environmental, economic, political, social, and technological forces that affect your business. These factors can be either positive or negative. If a business is affected by external factors positively, it’s known as an opportunity; if affected negatively, it’s known as a threat.

For example:

-The economy may be booming right now, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that all businesses will benefit from this boom because of other external factors, such as the availability of resources and competition from other companies in the market.
-Congress has passed new laws that affect how employers should treat their employees regarding wages and benefits. This will affect every business operating within America today because everyone must comply with these new changes even though they might not seem fair or beneficial for some companies (or individuals).

Conducting a SWOT analysis/ How to Write a SWOT Analysis

Conducting a SWOT analysis is the first step in determining how to prepare your business for success in the new year. Follow these steps:

1. Decide on the objective of your SWOT analysis

Now that you know what a SWOT analysis is and how it works let’s focus on what it does. A SWOT analysis has one main objective: to help you make good decisions. This is done by helping you understand your current situation in light of opportunities and threats. Doing so will also help clarify where the strengths and weaknesses of your business lie so that you can take advantage of them while mitigating any future liabilities.

In addition to providing an overall view of your company’s position within the market, this type of analysis also provides valuable information about its strengths and weaknesses and its opportunities and threats.

2. Research your business, industry, and market

When writing a SWOT analysis, it’s important to do your research. It would be best if you looked at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to your business.

To do this effectively, you should spend some time researching everything that could have an impact on your business:

  • Your business itself (strengths and weaknesses)
  • The industry in which it operates (strengths and weaknesses)
  • Your market (the competition) and how it’s changing over time

3. List your business’s strengths

Now, list your business’s strengths. What are your company’s greatest strengths? What makes your business unique? What are you good at? Remember that this is not an exhaustive list of everything your company does well; it’s just a summary of the most important qualities that make up its core competencies.

For example: “Our company is great at providing quality service and high-quality products.”

If you don’t have too many strengths to choose from, consider working on improving some of them over time so that they can become even more powerful in helping you achieve success.

For example: “Our marketing team has been working hard to improve our SEO ranking on Google.”

4. List your business’s weaknesses

The fourth step of the SWOT analysis is to list your business’s weaknesses. Weaknesses are things that you aren’t doing well or need to improve, such as

  • Internal factors include poor relationships with suppliers or an inability to listen to customers’ needs.
  • External factors include intense competition in your industry or a lack of funding for new projects.

Weaknesses can also be tangible (such as insufficient storage space) or intangible (such as not knowing how to use social media effectively). They can be current (for example, your website is down right now) or potential (you don’t have any employees yet). They can also be specific (you don’t know how many people visited the site yesterday) or general (“we need more money!”).

5. List potential opportunities for your business

You can also list opportunities for your business, industry, market, and country. These are the areas that you’ll want to explore in more depth. You may find that there are opportunities for your business within these areas. For example:

  • A new product or service
  • A new technology trending in the market
  • An increase in demand for product/service X

6. List potential threats to your business

Now, it’s time to identify the threats that could affect your business. These can include:

  • The threat of another company coming in and taking over the market
  • The threat of the economy collapsing and making it difficult for you to generate revenue
  • The threat of customers not being satisfied with your service or product quality, which would result in poor reviews on social media platforms and other review sites that may hurt your reputation
  • The threat of a competitor being able to create a similar product at a lower price point

7. Establish priorities from the SWOT

Now that you have a clear idea of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, it’s time to establish priorities. This is an important step in creating a good SWOT analysis.

Your priorities will vary depending on what type of business you want to start and the available resources.

For example, if your company has access to plenty of capital but doesn’t have much experience in marketing or customer service, then it would make sense for them to focus its efforts on building up those departments more than anything else.
On the other hand, if they have limited funding but strong expertise in sales, then maybe they should focus more on expanding their sales team so they can grow faster while keeping costs low, at least until they’re making enough money from sales alone without having additional expenses due solely because one department isn’t as well staffed as another department needs them

8. Develop a strategy to address issues in the SWOT

You now have a very clear idea of where you’re standing and where you need to go. Developing a strategy to take you from point A to point B will help keep your goals achievable and measurable so that you can measure success along the way. Your strategy should be goal oriented: what exactly do you want your organization or business unit to accomplish? What resources do they need?

With this information in mind, it’s time to develop an action plan with specific milestones and timelines for each step. This is similar to how any company develops an annual plan; however, with SWOT analysis, there are also external factors affecting your organization that must be accounted for when developing this plan (e.g., competitors).

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SWOT analysis questions

Free SWOT analysis quadrant

The SWOT analysis questions are:

  • Strengths. What do you do well? What makes you better than the competition?
  • Weaknesses. What could hurt your business if it wasn’t fixed, improved, or addressed?
  • Opportunities. Where is this market headed, and what opportunities does that present to you? Consider trends, new technologies, and changes in legislation, for example.
  • Threats. Who or what poses a threat to the success of your business now or in the future?

1. Strengths questions

  • What are our strengths?
  • What do we have going for us?
  • What are some of the things we’re good at?
  • How can we leverage these strengths to achieve our objectives and make better decisions in the future?

2. Weakness questions

  • What are your weaknesses?
  • What are the weaknesses of your competitors?
  • What are the weaknesses of your industry?
  • What are the weaknesses of your company? (For example, does it have a high debt load or low cash reserves?)
  • What are the weaknesses of your product or service (e.g., is it too expensive)?

3. Opportunities questions

  • What opportunities are there in the market?
  • What opportunities can you create for your business?
  • What opportunities are there for your products or services? (For example, this could be a new product line.)
  • What opportunities are there for new markets? (This could be an expansion into other countries.)
  • What opportunities are there for new products or services? And so on…

4. Threat questions

  • What are the biggest threats to our business?
  • What are competitors trying to do damage to us?
  • How could the industry change that would negatively impact us?
  • How can we protect ourselves against these threats?
  • What could happen if we don’t take action right now?

PEST analysis

PEST analysis

PEST stands for Political, Economic, Social, and Technological factors. PEST analysis is one of the most popular techniques used to analyze an industry. It helps you understand the external factors that may affect your business.

You can use a PEST analysis template or create your own to ensure you consider all aspects of your business when making strategic decisions.

1. List of Pros of PEST analysis

  • PEST analysis is a great way to understand the external factors that may affect your business.
  • It allows you to see how the factors are related and how they can impact your business. You can use this information to make strategic decisions about your company.
  • Provides a snapshot of the industry and its current trends
  • It allows you to see what competitors are doing
  • It can be used as a diagnostic tool to determine whether your business is performing well or not
  • Identifies opportunities and threats that may not have been obvious before
  • It helps you to predict what will happen in the future
  • It allows you to make informed decisions about where your business is heading

2. Cons of PEST analysis

  • The biggest problem with PEST analysis is that it can be very difficult to do correctly. It’s easy for a company to make mistakes, especially if they don’t have enough information about its industry or market.
  • It isn’t easy to assess the impact of external factors on your business because it does not consider how much control you have over them. For example, if there is a war in a country where you do business, it will affect your company’s profitability. However, if you cannot predict the war and get out of the market before it starts, PEST analysis will not help you much.
  • PEST analysis is less useful for evaluating small businesses because they often have no competition and, thus, no need to consider what competitors are doing.
  • It is a popular method, but its simplicity also limits it. For example, PEST analysis will not help you identify new market opportunities or threats unrelated to economic forces (such as government regulations).
  • It also does not provide insight into why certain developments happen or how they might affect your business.
  • It’s not foolproof. It doesn’t include everything you need to know about your industry and market, which can lead to gaps in your knowledge. These gaps may leave you unprepared for changes in your environment or unable to capitalize on opportunities when they arise.
  • It isn’t easy to quantify external factors’ effects, which are usually very broad. For example, it might be hard to determine how much of your success is due to favorable economic conditions versus how much is due to good management decisions.
  • Another major problem with using PEST as a standalone tool is that it doesn’t give much insight into how competitors compete within those environments.

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Benefits of SWOT analysis for small businesses

  • SWOT analysis helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses. When you know what your business is doing well, you can use SWOT information to develop an effective marketing plan and improve your products or services positively.
  • SWOT analysis helps you identify your opportunities and threats. This can help small businesses avoid surprises by warning them of any market changes that could affect their bottom line, as well as alerting them to upcoming innovations they may want to take advantage of before their competitors do so themselves!
  • SWOT analysis helps create a strategy for addressing issues. Once again, since it’s based on objective facts rather than guesswork or assumptions, SWOT analysis gives businesses concrete strategies for dealing with any problems they encounter along the way – without wasting time trying out ideas that won’t work anyway (or worse yet, trying something new only because someone said so).
  • Improve specific campaigns and projects. SWOT analysis can help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your current marketing efforts, including how they’re being implemented. This can help you improve those campaigns that are not currently working and determine how to improve those that are working.

A full SWOT analysis example


Free SWOT analysis template

The following free SWOT analysis template contains all of the basic elements that you need to develop an effective strategy:

Free SWOT analysis template

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