SWOT Analysis – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats

A SWOT analysis useful for assessing both the internal factors (strengths and weaknesses) and external influences (opportunities and threats) which may have an impact on your organisation.

It is important to carry out a SWOT analysis for your own organisation, but you also could potentially do this for other competitors to get a better idea of their strengths and weaknesses. What they are lacking, you could provide to fill their gap, or you could take inspiration from their strengths as examples of what works most effectively.

Being aware of the strengths of your organisation can allow you to leverage opportunity and use all your resources to their fullest potential.

These strengths might include:

  • What aspects of your services or products are already most popular
  • What you know you generally do well
  • What unique resources you have.

It may also be useful to find out what other people see as your strengths, as this will give you a sense of what people like about your organisation which you can then emphasise in marketing campaigns. 

By understanding your weaknesses, it will be easier to alleviate potential risk as you are more aware of what may go wrong and will have a clearer idea of how to fix any problems.

Weaknesses are likely to be internal unlike threats which come from outside your organisation. It may be useful to consider what skills your staff or volunteers could improve upon, where you have fewer resources and what outsiders see as weaknesses. Once again, it is important to learn what your customers or service users consider to be your biggest weakness, as their experience is ultimately the most important, and they reveal problems you wouldn’t have otherwise noticed.

Opportunities arise from situations outside of your organisation and your control and require you to look to what may happen in the future.

Opportunities may be:

  • Trends you could join in on
  • New technological developments you can use to your advantage
  • Changes in social patterns
  • Changes in government policy such as new grants.

Also distinct from your organisation and outside of your control, things to consider as threats may be anything that can affect your organisation negatively, such as providing a barrier to income or preventing you from carrying out your mission.

You could consider what threats your weaknesses could expose you to, what your competition is doing and other changes in the market.

The PEST analysis method may help to more clearly define some types of outside influences which could cause threats, such as changes in regulations, specifications, environment, technological developments or attitudes towards your cause. If you can anticipate any potential threats it will be easier to take action against them and reduce their impact. 

For More Information:

See our other posts detailing how to do Competitor Research and a PEST analysis as part of your market research, or our Introduction to Competitor and Market Research.

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