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How to Conduct a SWOT Analysis

Updated: Aug 19, 2022

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats and it classifies each of these as internal (strengths and weaknesses) or external (opportunities and threats), and helpful (strength and opportunities) or harmful (weaknesses and threats).

It is a useful way to analyse your organisation's current status, as well as a starting point to plan its future.

When populating this table it is most important to be thorough and honest. Acknowledging weaknesses is not always easy but it is critical nevertheless.

● Strengths

List the things that make you strong, comparatively or absolutely. These can be:

- Intellectual property

- Skills

- Branding

- Experience

- Strong team

- Geographic spread


Strengths will have to be preserved or enhanced.


List anything that makes you weak, whether structurally, financially, procedurally, competitively or otherwise. For example:

- Small volumes

- High employee turnover

- New to market

- No intellectual property (“me too”)

- Reliance on one (or very few) clients or suppliers


Weaknesses are going to have to be dealt with and fixed, as they may become threats.


Anything that can support growth but has not been exploited yet:

- New clients

- New markets

- New products

- New financial resources (re-finance)

- Better processes


These are to be looked into and converted into actionable goals.


Elements that can put the business at risk:

- Competition

- Regulation and legislation

- General economic cycles


You cannot eliminate threats but you can identify, prepare for, and mitigate them.

Note that while opportunities and strengths are rather distinctive, threats and weaknesses are easy to be confused with one another. Make sure to classify any negative element under your control as weakness, while anything external as a threat.


Not all strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are equal in their impact on the business. Some are more important, significant or stronger than others. It is important to select the ones that matter most.


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