Conduct a SWOT analysis

How to conduct a SWOT analysis

In our role as strategic business advisors, we are frequently asked how to conduct a SWOT analysis.

Why do a SWOT analysis

As a business matures, it faces obstacles, challenges, opportunities, and threats to its long-term existence.

It is the job of the senior leadership team to review this commercial landscape and assess where they want the business to go, and how it will get there.

Enter the SWOT framework that can help develop a strategic plan for taking the business forward. It makes everyone look hard at defining the internal and external variables instead of leaping into the planning and execution. It saves time downstream when writing the plan.

It creates time to think more critically. As weaknesses and threats become identified they can be resolved or avoided, thus improving the chances of success.

The SWOT process

A SWOT analysis is a process conducted by the senior leadership team along with others with specific technical input to enrich the plan.

The findings from the SWOT analysis form the basis of the strategic or long-term plan.

However, the real magic happens in the interpretation of the findings. That takes years of experience coupled with a deep understanding of how businesses work.

It is the cornerstone of the strategic business planning process. The analysis allows the senior leadership team to allocate scarce resources to those projects that have the greatest chance of success.

Writing a SWOT analysis
A strong reputation tales years to build

What is a SWOT analysis

A SWOT analysis ia a high-level planning technique. A framework that allows the Senior Leadership Team to capture the principal factors that impact success and mitigate risks.

Strengths – Strengths refers to those aspects of the business that it does well. Taken from either the customers viewpoint or from a competitive view. Ideally it should define a uniqueness to it, or it delivers competitive advantages. Identified Strengths take full advantages of the Opportunities below

Weaknesses – Weaknesses are the obstacles hindering you from reaching your goals. Like the Strengths, view them for the customers and competitive perspective. What do your customers want that you cannot deliver. What do your competitors do better. Be honest here. A weakness is still a weakness even if you do not wish to face up to it.

Opportunities – Opportunities are those specific internal or external actions, activities or circumstances that positively impact the business. Take advantage of these, if possible, in a way that delivers a competitive advantage. It can also create a unique sales advantage.

Threats – Those internal or external actions, activities or circumstance that could derail the strategic intent. They could be real or as yet unrealised but come into play during the time frame of the strategic plan. Eliminate or negate the effects of the weaknesses and turn them into opportunities.

Where to start

Start at the beginning with the business goals, move on to the external PEST, PESTLE, STEEPLE external analysis, then the internal diagnostic review.

Gather all the findings and insert them into the 2 x 2 matrix. Then write the strategic business plan using these insights

A strong reputation is a powerful competitive advantage

Not sure if you have got it right…

If you are stuck, confused or lack confidence in your analysis, call us on 0117 230 3166.

We can have a look at your thinking and offer constructuve suggestions to make it work for you.