Please Press for STRENGTHS Press for WEAKNESSES Press for OPPORTUNITIES   Press for THREATS

This is SWOT Index - Press on S - W - O - T buttons  - Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats

SWOT Analysis is a strategic method for identifying your small business' Strengths and Weaknesses, and to examine the Opportunities and Threats in the wider environment (market, industry, global situation).  There three levels is this tutorial: beginners who want to just do it, intermediates who want a more sophisticated analysis, and advanced for the intellectuals in the crowd.  There are many good examples of the beginners and intermediate analyses on the web (see links).

BEGINNER LEVEL (undergraduates)  back to SWOT index
  1. Brainstorm a list of relevant SWOT questions to analyze your business (see Diagnostic list)
  2. NEW Click Here for popup list of Diagnostic Questions!
  3. Prioritize the list
  4. Assign a probability (it may/will happen) and importance (trivial/urgent) score to each item.
  5. SWOT is often a piece of your Business Plan Outline (press here).
Begniing List of SWOT Questions
Press button for Strengths      back to SWOT index
What is golden about your company?
What do you do well (in sales, marketing, operations, management)?
What are your assets?
What are your core competenceis?
Where are you making money?
What experience do you have?
WEAKNESSES  Press button for Weaknesses  back to SWOT index
What looks a bit rusty inside your company?
What do you need (customer service, marketing, accounting, planning)?
Where do you lack resources?
What can you do better?
Where are you loosing money?
OPPORTUNITIES Press button for Opportunities    back to SWOT index
Where is the blue sky in your environment?
What new needs of customers could you meet?
What are the economic trends that benefit you?
What are the emerging political and social opportunities?
What are the technological breakthroughs?
Where niches have your competitors missed?

THREATS Press button  for Threats    back to SWOT index

Where are the red alerts in your environment?
What are the negative economic trends?
What are the negative political and social trends?
Where are competitors about to bite you?
Wher are you vulnerable?


A more sophisticated analysis is called "minimax."

How to minimize WEAKNESSES while maximizing Strengths?
How to minimize THREATS while maximizing OPPORTUNITIES ?
The more sophisticated SWOT looks at how the list items interact.  It always includes a probablity and importance matrix.
In this table, the Green Squares are an analysis of S, W. O, & T, as in the Beginner level.
However, in the Yellow Squares there is an important inter-relationship.
We will take the example of a Termporary Personnel Agency that assigns printers and typesetters to quick, in-plant and commercial printshops.

                           Figure 2:  MiniMax SWOT Analysis for Temporary Personnel Agency for Printers

                                              factors ---->


Internal Strengths: Strengths

SKnow personnel work
SKnow print industry
S3 Strong sales force

Internal Weaknesses: WEAKNESSES

W Office too small
W Rising costs of labor
W No business plan

External Opportunities: OPPORTUNITIES

O Growing demand for temp help
O Ready available applicants
OWe are the only one


S1/O Build resume bank
S2/O1 Develop niches of types of shops
S3/O3 Saturate market with name recognition


W1/O Expand to bigger office
W2/O2 Develop a training program
W3/O3 Do business plan and get a loan

External Threats: THREATS

T Competition may enter market
T Quick printers expect miracles
TDeadbeats that do not pay


S1/T1 Compete with advanced locator system
S2/T2 Specialize in in-plants
S3/T3 Tie commissions to receipt of payment


W1/T1Open 2nd office in 6 months
W2/T2 Develop Inplants (pay more)
W3/T3 Collections, part of business plan


ADVANCED LEVEL (Ph.D.s)   back to SWOT index

For some strange reason scholars in strategy point out the problems with SWOT but the knowledge does not seem to filter down to the practitioner level.  While SWOT can be a great start in analyzing your small business, it has several blind spots.

to other SWOT sites and resources   back to SWOT index


SWOT TUTORIALS   back to SWOT index

SWOT Applications   back to SWOT index

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