Tips for a successful SWOT analysis

Before conducting a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis, decide what you want to achieve with it and consider whether it is the best tool for your needs.

If you decide a SWOT analysis is the best tool, the following tips will help you get the most out of it.

  • Keep your SWOT short and simple, but remember to include important details. For example, if you think your staff are a strength, include specific details, such as individual staff and their specific skills and experience, as well as why they are a strength and how they can help you meet your business goals.
  • When you finish your SWOT analysis, prioritise the results by listing them in order of the most significant factors that affect your business to the least.
  • Get multiple perspectives on your business for your SWOT analysis. Ask for input from your employees, suppliers, customers and partners.
  • Apply your SWOT analysis to a specific issue, such as a goal you would like to achieve or a problem you need to solve, rather than to your entire business. You can then conduct separate SWOT analyses on individual issues and combine them.
  • Look at where your business is now and think about where it might be in the future, as well as where you would like to be.
  • Consider your competitors and be realistic about how your business compares to them.
  • Think about the factors that are essential to the success of your business, and the things you can offer customers that your competitors can't. This is your competitive advantage. It's useful to keep these in mind when conducting a SWOT analysis.
  • Use goals and objectives from your overall business plan in your SWOT analysis.

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