SWOT Analysis which is aided with a SWOT Analysis Template is used as a situational Analytical tool to assess the situation in preparation for a Strategic Planning. It is often used in conjunction with most Strategic Planning Processes. To master it, you can make use of the SWOT Analysis Template which consist of various matrix at different stages of the process.
What is SWOT Analysis Template
The word S.W.O.T. is clearly indicated in a SWOT Analysis Template. It is an abbreviation for Strengths; Weakness; Opportunities and Threats. Often it is sometimes called the SWOT Factor which is categorized into External and Internal factors. They are captured in a four quadrant matrix called a SWOT Analysis Template. It is not a fixed rule that you must use a SWOT Analysis Template to do your analysis with your business environment, competitor situation, market changes, operation capabilities etc. However, a carefully planned SWOT Analysis Template execution will guide you to identify what is important so that they are captured in the SWOT Analysis Template matrix.
As indicated in the SWOT Analysis Template, the internal factors refer to the Strengths and Weaknesses of a business, organization or an internal operation. The template guide you to made comparison with the competitors. And the strengths add value in the strategic planning if it has competitive advantage over your competitor. Example; it may help you to fulfill your order faster, provide a better customer service, lower production cost etc. The list may go on but the point is you must dig deep enough to recognized these strengths ( against your competitor ) and be able to take advantage of it.
Below are some example of Strengths:
1) You are financial strong as you have big sum of reserved in your account as compared to your competitor who depends on borrowing. These information should be factual and not guess work.
2) You can provide immediate delivery of goods to your customer order as compared to next day delivery by your competitor. Again, this claim must be factual and preferably got it from customer’s feedback. But then it is only a useful strength if your customer asked for immediate delivery otherwise, it is not a value-add to the customer and therefore it should not be taken as a Strength for SWOT Analysis Purpose.
Having listed as many Strengths as you could find in the SWOT Analysis Template, , then do the same for the Weaknesses. This is one moment you have to be objective as these factors may jeopardize your business if it is not disclosed. Often than not, many organization do not see their weaknesses as they are contented with what they have or achieved. However, for the purpose of SWOT Analysis for Strategic Planning, you need to pull out as many weaknesses as opposed to your competitors so that you can make improvement to them in order to faced with competitive challenges.
Some of you may be objective in this exercise and able to list a long list of items as weaknesses which is a good start. But the fact is that your weaknesses may not have any impact to your business if they are not as bad when compared with your competitor. If this is the case, you can park the item as lesser priority for improvement. Below are some example of not obvious weaknesses of a business:-
1) customer perceived quality is poor
2) High internal rejects
3) Long order lead time
4) Price is high
5) Short Credit terms
6) Lesser product models
7) High employee turnover
You notice that you could make a long list of weaknesses fairly easily. This is quite natural as our minds are full of negative thoughts anyway. However, not to be too worry about it at this stage as the process is to identify as many Internal weaknesses as you could. And you do not have to worry about the shape of the SWOT Analysis Template as there is not fix dimension to it. As long as you capture all the four factors of SWOT in it.
The content in the SWOT analysis Template can capture simple data up to complex in nature. If you are more advance in using the SWOT Analysis tool, you should take a challenge to examine your strengths and confirm indeed it is a strength. What we do not want is not able to identify a strength indeed is a weakness. Examine a real case such as mentioned below:-
A Strength May be A Weakness:
Take for an example:
You are able to make delivery of goods to your customer order next working and your competitor did the same.
This looks like not a strength and not a weakness. If you analyze deep enough, you may noticed that your competitor is able to do it with no inventory whereas you did it from your stock. This item has explored into a weakness because stock means higher operation cost. Therefore, it become a weakness when compared with your competitor. See more example of Weakness
You can see from the video below how a SWOT Analysis Template is used to capture various aspect of the SWOT Factors :
Opportunities is one of the two external factors in the SWOT. It is placed in one of the four quadrant in the SWOT Analysis Template. It refers to elements that has an impact to your business. These elements has influence to the market and customer of your niche. It is not an opportunities in general term such by by improving something, you get something else as you may fall into this common practice.
How to identify opportunities? In the internet business, there are frequent changes to the business landscape to such as extent that keep alive in the Internal Business is really a great challenge. Change Create Opportunities and which is true if you take it positively. However when your plug the data into the SWOT analysis Template, it will be interesting to note those opportunities are quite obvious but some are not easy to realize. Below is a list of obvious opportunities in the internet business:
Another external factors in the SWOT Analysis Template is the Threats. As in the other three cases, it is one of the four quadrant in the SWOT Analysis Template. It refers to elements that has a detrimental effect or or major destruction to your business . These elements has the most negative impact to how you operate your business.
How to identify Threats? Lately, there is publication on U.S. Authorities shut down 73,000 blogs . If you are running an Internet business, watch out of these external factors that you have no control at all. There are frequent changes to the Internet world to an extent that keep put many unprepared Internet Marketer in a dead lock situation. Although there can make complaint to their hosting company but there is nothing much you can do if they cannot resolve it. Check your SWOT Analysis Template to ensure some of the following common SWOT Threats are captured.
Below is a list of obvious SWOT Opportunities in the internet business:
SWOT Analysis Template