SWOT Analysis Definition


What Is SWOT Analysis?

SWOT stands for Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. It is a planning tool and approach to concretize what needs to be done to develop a company. SWOT can also be used by associations and individuals.

This is the very core of the analysis method. The SWOT analysis is used to define what these four parts consist of, and how a business should progress based on these factors.

SWOT analyzes can be a powerful tool both when it comes to planning and evaluating both projects and your own business.

How should the SWOT analysis be used?

A SWOT analysis is used to answer the question of whether a company is capable of taking advantage of market opportunities and overcoming external threats to its future survival.

The concept of such an analysis includes tools to be able to measure both internal strengths and weaknesses as well as external opportunities and threats.

The purpose of the four characteristics measured in a SWOT analysis can be described as follows:

  • Strengths: the basis for creating a strategy (strategies should be based on strengths, not on weaknesses).
  • Weaknesses: locating deficiencies to improve.
  • Opportunities: establishment of strategic goals.
  • Threats: establishment of strategic defense.

By using the framework for a SWOT analysis and the tools that this concept contains, you can acquire information that is important for you to be able to make the right decisions about your business.

For example, on a strong basis, you can then draw conclusions about your overall business situation, in addition to implementing strategies that improve your company’s performance in the market.

SWOT – a way to achieve goals

One of the main purposes of conducting a SWOT analysis is to identify the factors that stand in the way of achieving set goals.

With a fairly simple hand grip, you create a map of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It is often a matter of testing oneself and weighing many different factors.

When you or your organization has done a SWOT analysis, it is easier to determine what needs to be done to take the next step and develop.

The fascination with a SWOT analysis is that it is relatively easy to do.

But paper and pencil and a few minutes of brainstorming, you quickly get a pretty clear picture of what the situation looks like.

Of course, you can also do a much more in-depth SWOT analysis.

Interestingly, no one really knows who invented this method of analysis. Management consultant Albert S. Humphrey has been mentioned, but he himself has not claimed to be the author.

How to do a SWOT analysis?

When you do a SWOT analysis, you start by drawing the four analysis areas.

It can look like this:

SWOT analysis tips:

One tip is to be as concrete as possible. Present existing examples instead of generalizing. Otherwise, the result will also mostly just be generalizations.

Using SWOT in an organization can be good with discussions at both individual and group level.

As you identify different strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, you fill them in in the sketch.

Here is an example of what you can look for when doing a SWOT analysis:

S – Strengths:

  • Knowledgeable staff
  • Material assets
  • Things the company does well
  • Qualities that set the company apart from the competition

W – Weaknesses:

  • Resource constraints
  • Unclear sales proposals
  • Things the company lacks
  • Things competitors do better

O – Opportunities:

  • Emerging needs for the company’s products / services
  • Press / media pays attention to your company
  • Possible market that has not paid attention to the company’s products / services yet
  • Get competitors in your area

T – Threat:

  • Negative press / media
  • Emerging competitors
  • Amendment of legislation

In which types of occupations are SWOT analyzes suitable?

It is possible to apply the analysis both to an entire company or within an organization, but it works just as well to use it in a specific department or for a specific project.

When the analysis is used in a larger context, it is mainly to see whether the company is in line with its expected objectives.

It can also be used to examine how successful a particular project has been, such as a marketing campaign.

The SWOT analysis can be designed in slightly different ways depending on the business in question, but the core of it is always the same.

Analyze the result

Once you have entered all the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in your SWOT template, it is time to analyze the results.

It is not impossible that you get ideas already when you enter all aspects in your SWOT template. The next step is to process the data.

The two lines in the SWOT analysis stand for:

  • Internal factors: Strengths and weaknesses that have to do with the organization.
  • External factors: Opportunities and threats that exist in the environment.

The two columns in the SWOT analysis stand for:

  • Useful factors: Strengths and opportunities that can help the company achieve its goals.
  • Harmful factors: Weaknesses and threats that can prevent the company from achieving its goals.

You can start from your SWOT analysis and use it as a basis for further discussion. Although the SWOT analysis itself provides a good overview, it does not say anything about the priorities that must be made.

There is also a risk of misjudging the time aspect with SWOT because both the organization and the environment are constantly changing.

If you want to get even more out of your SWOT analysis, you can use a so-called analysis hybrid.

This means that you combine SWOT with another analysis method, for example to determine the priorities.

SWOT analysis: Be Concrete, instead of General

Regardless of where the SWOT analysis is used, it is important to remember that the formulations made of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats must be as concrete as possible, and preferably give examples based on real situations – instead of generalizations.

This makes it clearer what different people are really referring to, and makes it possible for everyone involved in the SWOT analysis to start from the same frame of reference.

It will also be a method to see what perceptions there are in the group, for example if people agree or have perceived things in different ways.

Who uses SWOT analysis?

SWOT is a planning tool that can be used to make decisions in almost all types of contexts where there is an end goal.

A SWOT model is used, for example, in:

  • Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
  • Marketing
  • Environmental work
  • By individuals / for personal purposes
  • Business
  • Associations
  • States
  • Municipalities
  • Cities

To use SWOT analysis in project management and marketing

The SWOT analysis can also be used in project management and marketing. In these cases, it can often mean a more serious approach to the analysis method – but of course it does not have to.

If, on the other hand, you intend to use the analysis as a concrete and useful tool, it may be good to keep a few things in mind.

Concrete and precise

For example, it may be that the formulations that are made should be as concrete and precise as possible, which also means that abstractions and diffuse or clichéd expressions should be avoided.

What is written must be measurable and anchored in real events, phenomena and situations.

Rank

Once the various factors have been written down, some may find it helpful to rank them, in order to prioritize them according to how relevant or important they are.

If this is done, it can be good to think about how this will affect the outcome and the end result.

Another thing to keep in mind when using the SWOT analysis in specific projects or contexts is to remember that this is exactly what is meant – and not the whole company or organization as such.

Some may think it is good to combine SWOT with other tools such as USP analysis and core competency analysis, as it provides an overall view of the situation.

But of course there are other tools to combine with as well, and some use only the SWOT analysis. It is up to your own business to decide what is best for them.

How to do SWOT analysis in SEO

SWOT can be useful in SEO. The work with SEO consists of many parts.

With a SWOT analysis for SEO, you can outline the project’s various strengths and weaknesses as well as the threats and opportunities that exist.

SEO and digital marketing are about much more than “just” content and links.

With the help of a SWOT for SEO, you can create a clear picture of how your project relates to the competitors and what you need to invest in to improve the ranking.

For example, a SWOT analysis for SEO might look like this:

S – Strengths:

  • Many followers on social media
  • Content on the website that already receives some quality traffic
  • The site has a strong brand (as opposed to a generic name)
  • Strong and natural link profile

W – Weaknesses:

  • Followers on social media rarely share what is published
  • No marketing plan that includes SEO
  • Many important keywords are missing from existing content on the site
  • The traffic converts poorly

O – Opportunities:

  • Low competition for certain relevant keywords with high search volume
  • Hold a mini-course where writers can learn the basics of SEO
  • On page SEO has never been done – relatively simple action
  • Some sites convert better than others – analyze!
  • The website touches on an area where it is easy to write content worth reading

T – Threat:

  • Algorithm updates from Google
  • Many competing websites with a strong link profile
  • Competing websites have very exhaustive content

Conduct a SWOT analysis for future scenarios

Once you have analyzed the underlying factors to determine how attractive a specific market is, it is a good idea to project these into future scenarios.

Thus, it is recommended that you also carry out a SWOT analysis based on future market characteristics, in order to be able to compare the current situation with a potential future development.

In the same way, you should determine which factors are important – for example cost and differentiation factors, in order to be able to map the competitive advantages that your company holds in the current situation as well as potentially in a future situation.

The strengths and weaknesses that exist within your business should therefore also be assessed according to how they are likely to develop.

Overview – Advantages and disadvantages of a SWOT analysis

1. Pros

  • The SWOT often makes it possible to raise the level from the everyday to a slightly higher, more strategic level
  • The method can be used in a number of different contexts and is easily adapted to the area and level of ambition
  • Commonly known and recognized method
  • The method is easy to understand and the result is easy to communicate

Cons

  • The model, and the way the work is often conducted, can open up for opinions where strong individuals can influence the result
  • The analysis must sometimes be combined with other analysis methods to give sufficiently good results, which reduces the simplicity and clarity
  • The four areas that the model focuses on are obviously not the most important in a strategic work
  • The method provides weak support in the collection of information and data and thus does not guarantee any quality per se
  • The method provides weak support in the analysis of the information, which easily leads to the conclusions becoming well general

It is not entirely uncommon for a SWOT analysis to stand on its own and be presented as it is.

But often the analysis is included in a broader material – for example a marketing plan – and then it is natural to supplement the analysis with parts that cover the disadvantages or weaknesses that a SWOT can have.

Conclusion

A SWOT helps you to compile strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in a way that is easy for outsiders to absorb.

Exactly how you do your SWOT depends a lot on the circumstances, but here you have a number of tips on things you can think of to increase the quality of your SWOT analysis.

Should I highlight something as more important than anything else, it is to try to include some facts in the work.

It can be benchmarking figures relative to the worst competitor or relevant figures in any market report.

And so I would like to highlight the importance of being a few people with different skills, backgrounds, experience and personalities.

Sources

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/9780470592663.ch24

https://books.google.se/books?hl=en&lr=&id=Yrp3DQAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=SWOT+Analysis&ots=ODnc4xCZYH&sig=AmdsoI00vlTKI0UzJlqf86h6a60&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=SWOT%20Analysis&f=false

https://demo.dspacedirect.org/handle/10673/792

https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/EUM0000000001042/full/html

https://europepmc.org/article/med/30725987

https://theapprenticeshartpury.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/swot-analysis/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0377221703000626

https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/17554251011064837/full/html

https://content.iospress.com/articles/journal-of-intelligent-and-fuzzy-systems/ifs00334

Kevin

This article has been reviewed by our editorial board and has been approved for publication in accordance with our editorial policies.

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