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How to Perform a SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool that helps businesses identify their Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. This method is particularly useful when trying to make decisions about the future course of action, whether for a company, department, team, or individual project.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to performing a SWOT analysis:


  • Objective Setting: Understand and define why you are performing the SWOT analysis. Are you exploring new business avenues, analyzing a problem, or assessing a change in direction?
  • Gather Stakeholders: Include a diverse group of people from different departments or perspectives to get a comprehensive view.

Draw the SWOT Grid:

  • Create a large square and then divide it into four smaller squares. Label each quadrant as Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.


  • Think about the assets, resources, and advantages your organization has in its favor.
  • Ask: What does the organization do well? What are our unique skills or capabilities? What do our clients or customers see as our strengths?
  • Consider resources like brand reputation, intellectual property, and unique partnerships.


  • Identify the areas where your organization can improve and the challenges you currently face.
  • Ask: Where can we improve? What should we avoid? What factors lose us sales or credibility?
  • Consider things like a lack of resources, outdated technology, or areas of negative public perception.


  • Look outside your organization for potential paths of success. Think about the trends, openings, or changes you can capitalize on.
  • Ask: What trends or changes could we benefit from? Are there emerging needs for our products/services? Are there gaps in the market?
  • Think about technological advancements, policy or demographic changes, or shifts in social patterns.


  • Identify factors outside your organization that could cause trouble for your business or project.
  • Ask: What obstacles do we face? Are our competitors doing something better than us? Are there negative market trends we need to be aware of?
  • Consider things like new competitors, changing regulatory environments, or unfavorable economic conditions.

Analyze & Strategize:

  • For each quadrant, prioritize the points based on impact and likelihood.
  • Discuss and develop strategies to:
    • Leverage strengths.
    • Address and mitigate weaknesses.
    • Capitalize on opportunities.
    • Protect against threats.


  • Use the findings from the SWOT analysis to inform decisions and strategies in other areas like marketing, operations, or finance.

Review Regularly:

  • The business environment is dynamic. Periodically repeat the SWOT analysis to adjust to new challenges and opportunities.

Keep in mind, while SWOT is a useful tool, it is subjective. Different stakeholders may have varying opinions. The true value lies in the discussion it sparks and the insights it provides to inform decision-making.

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