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SWOT analysis is a business analysis technique used regularly provides the tools and information necessary to establish strategic planning and objectives for deciding on the best way to achieve future growth. It’s a relatively quick way to look at organizational strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The overall purpose of a SWOT analysis is identifying strengths and weaknesses, as well as any opportunities and threats that may exist in a specific business situation.

Looking at realities both inside the firm and the external business environment. Strengths and weaknesses are factors that can be change are internal to your business. Opportunities and threats are external forces relative to the environment that you need to be aware of so that you can either take advantage of, or mitigate losses to your company.

What is SWOT Analysis


Strengths describe the positive attributes, tangible and intangible, internal to your organization, and they are within your control. Human resources – staff, volunteers, board members, target population. Physical resources – your location, building, equipment. Financial – grants, funding agencies, other sources of income. Activities and processes – programs you run, systems you employ. Past experiences – building blocks for learning and success, your reputation in the community. Make up your own list of strengths, below are examples.

  • What do you do well?
  • What is your brand or trade mark?
  • What internal factors will help your business to succeed?
  • What do your clients like about your business?
  • Good/Busy location for the business?
  • What do you do better than your competitors?
  • Where are you most profitable in your business?
  • What advances have you made lately?
  • Are you as profitable as you can be?
  • What is highlighted on your website
  • Are you creative/lots of ideas?
  • Good at starting and finishing projects?


Weaknesses are aspects of your business that detract from the value you offer or place you at a competitive disadvantage. You need to enhance these areas in order to compete with your best competitor. Make up your own list of weaknesses, below are examples.

  • What needs to be improved?
  • No clear strategic direction?
  • Weak financial position and resources?
  • Do you have credit issues?
  • Do you have enough working capital?
  • Are costs high, profit low?
  • Have net 30/120 day billing problems?
  • Have narrow product or service line?
  • Small customer base compared to competition
  • Poor/Slow location for the businesses?
  • Do you have control over your suppliers?
  • Is your suppliers group small?
  • Is equipment is old or outdated?
  • Have ample supply of resources?
  • Lack of strong management?
  • High employee turnover?
  • Non-responsive customer service and follow-up
  • Need better marketing?
  • Focusing on details too much?
  • Take on too many projects at once
  • Take too many risks?
  • Too critical of other people’s work?
  • When you lose a sale why does it happen?


Opportunities are external attractive factors beyond your control, you can take advantage of to grow your business.

  • What opportunities to invest in profitable projects?
  • What opportunities does your business have within its external environment?
  • What are the business goals you are currently working towards?
  • How can you do more for your existing customers or clients?
  • How can you use technology to enhance your business?
  • Are there new target audiences you have the potential to reach?
  • Are there related products and services that provide an opportunity for your business?
  • Purchasing of a competitor to expand business.
  • Discover underserved markets and satisfy needs of that market.
  • Purchase of an unrelated company to diversify product or service offerings.
  • Developing strategic alliances, networking with other companies.
  • Hiring talented personnel to increase work flow and customer service.


Theats include external factors beyond your control that could place your strategy, or the business at risk. You have no control over these, but you may benefit by having contingency plans to address them if they should occur.

  • What external factors could have an adverse impact on your business?
  • Has a new product or technology been introduced that makes your products, equipment, or services obsolete?
  • Who are your existing or potential competitors who pose a threat to your business?
  • Has there been a change in vendor prices or the availability of raw materials?
  • What are the strengths of your biggest competitors?
  • What are your competitors doing that you’re not?
  • What’s going on in the economy?
  • What’s going on in the industry?

What is SWOT

Internal External Factors

Once you have identified your SWOT results, can analyze your internal factors or strengths and weaknesses to develop short-term and long-term strategies for your business. Determining how your strengths can help you reach your goals and how you can use them most effectively. Then identify what steps you can take to minimize or overcome your weaknesses. External factors analyze the opportunities and threats affecting you. Decide which opportunities would be best to pursue and create a plan to minimize or neutralize threats facing you.

The point of a SWOT analysis is to help you develop a strong business strategy by making sure you’ve considered all of your business’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as the opportunities and threats it faces in the marketplace. Continuous improvement in all areas of a company’s operations is an important aspect of staying ahead of competitors.

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