I’ve been using SWOT Analysis for strategic planning lately and I thought I’d share the basics of it.
What is a SWOT Analysis
SWOT is a strategic planning tool. The acronym SWOT stands for:
W = Weaknesses
O = Opportunities
T = Threats
The importance of a SWOT Analysis
A SWOT Analysis is a great exercise to help determine your tactics or execution of an objective.
The more you can prepare before you jump into your tactics (or execution), the better off your results will be.
How to do a SWOT Analysis
First, pick your topic (e.g. your topic might be broad such as on your business/company overall (a “Company SWOT Analysis” or something more specific such as a department in your business (e.g. a “Marketing SWOT Analysis) or it could be for yourself as an individual (a “Personal SWOT Analysis”).
Next you pick your objective. For example, if you’re doing a Company SWOT Analysis your objective may be to double the business within the next three years.
Now do the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats related to that topic or objective:
Next, ask yourself if your objective is achievable given your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Is SWOT objective achievable?
If the answer is no, you have to revise your objective and do another SWOT.
If your answer is yes, then you can now move into discussing the tactics related to your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Specifically, you’ll want to ask yourself the following questions:
A SWOT Analysis Example
[Check out my SWOT Analysis Examples posting to see larger company SWOT Analysis examples]
Here’s a summary of a general Business SWOT Analysis I did on our start up Mojam about ten years ago.
Our objective was to double the revenue of the business within twelve months.
When we asked ourselves if the objective of doubling our business was achievable given these strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, the answer was yes…so we moved on to answering the four questions on each SWOT.
Now you’re into tactics and execution and that requires prioritization, time lines, business plans, etc….or, in other words, you just go do all the things you just said you shoud do in your answers!
Who should carry out the SWOT Analysis exercise?
Ideally it’s a cross functional team (e.g. someone in sales, marketing, finance, technology, etc.)
Who Invented SWOT?
Most people credit Albert S. Humphrey, a business and management consultant who also founded the Stakeholder Concept and Team Action Management (TAM) Concept.
note: Some people mistakenly call it “SWAT” Analysis (SWAT is an acronym for special weapons and tactics started by the Los Angeles Police Department around 1968 (coincidentally, Albert Humphrey began popularizing SWOT right around the same time (in the late 1960′s!))
A great definition of SWOT can be found at SWOT Analysis Wikipedia.
Good luck with your SWOT!Tweet 19 Comments