SWOT Analysis

The SWOT Analysis is one of several strategic planning tools that are utilized by businesses and other organizations to ensure that there is a clear objective defined for the project or venture, and that all factors related to the effort, both positive and negative, are identified and addressed. In order to accomplish this task, the process of SWOT involves four areas of consideration: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It should be noted that when identifying and classifying relevant factors, the focus is not just on internal matters, but also external components that could impact the success of the project.

A SWOT analysis may be incorporated into the strategic planning model. An example of a strategic planning technique that incorporates an objective-driven SWOT analysis is Strategic Creative Analysis (SCAN). Strategic Planning, including SWOT and SCAN analysis, has been the subject of much research.

} Strengths: attributes of the person or company those are helpful to achieving the objective. } Weaknesses: attributes of the person or company those are harmful to achieving the objective. } Opportunities: external conditions those are helpful to achieving the objective. } Threats: external conditions which could do damage to the business's performance.

Identification of SWOTs is essential because subsequent steps in the process of planning for achievement of the selected objective may be derived from the SWOTs.

If, on the other hand, the objective seems attainable, the SWOTs are used as inputs to the creative generation of possible strategies, by asking and answering each of the following four questions, many times:

} How can we Use and Capitalize on each Strength? } How can we Improve each Weakness? } How can we Exploit and Benefit from each Opportunity? } How can we Mitigate each Threat?

Ideally a cross-functional team or a task force that represents a broad range of perspectives should carry out the SWOT analysis.