2.2.1 What is a "SWOT analysis"?

When undertaking a traditional strategic planning process, debating future direction, or assessing existing opportunities for the organisation, a board, manager or management team can rely on a SWOT analysis for help. During the analysis, the team lists and assesses the organisation's (S) Strengths, (W) Weaknesses, (O ) Opportunities and (T) Threats, often on a matrix (see annex). Each of these controlling forces prompts the team to consider factors that might easily be overlooked as it shapes the future of the organisation.1

This process provides insights to the organisation's internal and external positioning, examining internal and external elements that must be factored into future decision making. It prohibits the organisation from becoming too insular and functioning without proper feedback.2

The role of SWOT analysis is to gather the information from the environmental, analysis and distinguish it into internal (strengths and weaknesses) and external issues (opportunities and threats). Once this is completed, SWOT analysis will help you decide if the information indicates something that will assist the firm in fulfilling its objectives (a strength or opportunity), or if it shows an obstacle that must be overcome or minimised to achieve desired results (weakness or threat).3

When doing SWOT analysis, remember that the S and W are INTERNAL factors and the O and T are EXTERNAL factors. The following tables indicate a variety of possible strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

SWOT Analysis - Some questions to identify Possible Strengths4

Remember - Weaknesses - internal to your business/ organisation; characteristics or qualities of the way you work that make you less competitive in comparison with your competitors.

SWOT Analysis - Some questions for identifying Possible Weaknesses5

Please stop and think: Are there any additional weaknesses that are unique and innovative to your business/ organisation?

1 www.rapidbi.com/created/SWOTanalysis.html
2 lbid
3 InnoSupport: Supporting Innovations in SME. 2.2 SWOT Analysis, 2005
4 lbid
5 www.rapidbi.com/created/SWOTanalysis.html