SWOT Analysis: An outstanding tool in every entrepreneur’s arsenal

SWOT Analysis
SWOT Analysis

Have you ever thought what is SWOT Analysis?  Analysis, in general, pays dividends. Let’s say you are embarking on a new venture or starting a new project with your company The number one thing you should have is a goal — you need to know what is it that you want to achieve. You should have a grasp of the steps you need to take to achieve that goal, which is where strategic planning comes in handy. But if you want to ensure your venture or project performs well, you have to be aware of the things that will help you achieve your goals and the things that will stand in your way.

SWOT analysis is a framework that helps you take stock of your resources, as well as the obstacles you will face. SWOT Analysis can be applied to any type of venture, project, campaign, or for personal development. You can even use it to analyze your competition. Swot Analysis is as simple or as complex you want it to be, it’s versatile, and it’s one of the best ways to gain actionable insights.

What is SWOT Analysis?

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. Strengths and weaknesses refer to factors from within your organization that can affect your success in achieving a goal. Opportunities and threats are the external factors that affect your project or venture. Because the framework is set up in a way that lets you analyze both internal and external factors, SWOT analysis is also often called internal-external analysis.

Strengths in SWOT Analysis

Strengths are the internal positive factors you need to take into account. Strengths can be literally your strengths — the skills you are good at, the time you have to devote to a venture, your previous entrepreneurship experiences you can apply in the specific situation.

Strengths can also be any other type of resource or circumstance you find beneficial. Your support staff is a strength. The fact that your team uses an applicable project management methodology is also a strength. Whatever is beneficial and comes from within yourself or your organization is a strength.

Weaknesses in SWOT Analysis

Weaknesses are the internal negative factors that can influence your project or venture. They are the opposites of strengths — your internal barriers that will make it harder for you to do what you have set out to do. A lack of necessary skills is a weakness. The fact that you don’t have any previous experiences you can apply is also a weakness. Your lack of time to devote to a project or venture is also a weakness.

A lack of support structure within your organization is a weakness. The fact that your company doesn’t have the talent needed for the project is a weakness, and a major one. Even not having enough of office space can be a weakness under some circumstances.

Opportunities in SWOT Analysis

Just as strengths are the things that benefit you from the inside, opportunities are the things that benefit you from the outside. If there is tech you could be using to achieve your goals, that is an opportunity. If the market is going your way, that is an opportunity. Your competitors’ weaknesses are also your opportunities if they benefit you.

Threats in SWOT Analysis

But it also goes the other way around. If you are competing against another venture and they have acquired major talent, that is a threat to you. If the market is against you, that is also a threat. And so is the lack of tools that would make your success easier.

How to Perform SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis is not an exact analysis. There will be no need to crunch any numbers, use complex formulas, or do a lot of research. The insights you get from a SWOT analysis can still be specific and in some cases measurable. However, obtaining measurable insights is not the main goal of a SWOT analysis. Having a clear picture of your ability to achieve a goal is.

SWOT analysis can easily pass as a series of brainstorming sessions. Ideally, you would want some other people in there with you, because the more perspectives are involved, the clearer the picture you get. Here are some of the things you should ask during a SWOT analysis:

SWOT Analysis question’s list

Strengths

  • What do we do better than anyone else?
  • Which assets do we have at our disposal now?
  • What are the resources we have that will be useful for achieving our goals?
  • What are the support structures that will make our goals more attainable?
  • What are the traits that give us a competitive edge?

Weaknesses

  • Are there any skills we are lacking?
  • Are there any assets we should be using?
  • What are the areas where we lack experience?
  • Are there any resources we need to replenish?
  • What are the traits that make us worse than our competitors?

Opportunities

  • Is there a new segment of the market we can reach?
  • Can we use the project to branch out into new products or services?
  • Will the market be receptive to the results of our work?
  • Is our main competitor experiencing problems?
  • Is there an opportunity for disruption?

Threats

  • Are there any obvious obstacles facing us?
  • Is there a segment of the market that is closed off to us?
  • Are our competitors outperforming us?
  • Is there a downturn in the market?
  • Are we entering a market under a monopoly?

These questions should serve you as the starting point of your SWOT analysis. Depending on the answers you come up with, you can break it down even further and ask questions that are more specific. You can also use these questions to propel competition and market research.

SWOT analysis is a general framework. Learning about your strengths can help you use them better, maybe to take advantage of some opportunities you discover during the analysis. Learning about your weaknesses can help you fix them and prevent the threats you discovered from exploiting them. The more effort you put in into finding the answers to your questions, the better you will be able to plan your venture or project. And having a solid plan will go a long way in ensuring success.