10 Easy Steps for Writing an Effective SWOT Analysis
In the business world, a SWOT analysis is a common tool that helps to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in order to evaluate potential courses of action. While a SWOT analysis can be a helpful tool to help achieve a quality decision, writing a SWOT analysis isn’t as easy as simply filling in a chart labeled SWOT. Fortunately, however, there are a few key steps that can help make the process easier. We’ve collected ten steps that will help you produce high-quality analysis paper in no time flat. All you need to do is follow along as you work on your own SWOT analysis.
- Identify the purpose of your SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis can be helpful for a number of potential situations, but in order to get the most out of one, it’s important to identify what you hope the SWOT will help you with so you can tailor it to your specific needs. For example, are you planning to analyze the business as a whole, the management team, specific employees, or potential projects? There are many ways to do a SWOT, so pick the target you need to analyze.
- Prepare your SWOT analysis chart. Create a table with boxes for all four quadrants of the SWOT analysis so you can begin to list strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats as you brainstorm them. Categorizing them as you think about them will help you to achieve the best results in your analysis, saving you time and effort during the analysis phase.
- Strengths. Identify your strengths. These will be tied to the person, company, or project under evaluation. Consider what assets they bring to the table and the resources they can muster, as well as areas where they perform above average.
- Opportunities. Identify your opportunities. These are potential situations where growth and development may lay the groundwork for success. Consider factors that might ease the way for you to reach your goals or places where you and the company might achieve improved results as a result of changes to the marketplace, the regulatory environment, etc.
- Weaknesses. Identify your weaknesses. As with strengths, these will be tied to the specific person, company, or project under evaluation. Consider areas where there are gaps in training, where financial issues might undercut success, or where interpersonal or psychological factors could impact the decision-making process.
- Threats. Identify any competitors, stakeholders, outside interests, or forces that are working against your goals. Threats can come from a wide variety of sources, so it’s important not to limit yourself only to people you perceive to be enemies. Instead, also consider environmental factors, the regulatory environment, and other intangible threats that might emerge. Something as simple as a zoning board ruling can have a massive impact on your business plans.
- Analyze internal factors. Your strengths and weaknesses are internal factors that are under your control. Analyze what you are doing well and what you are doing less well. Use this information to create an action plan to minimize weaknesses and maximize strengths.
- Analyze external factors. Opportunities and threats are external factors that come at you or your business from the outside. Analyze where your greatest threats are coming from and where your greatest opportunities lie. Develop an action plan to pursue your greatest opportunities and to minimize your greatest threats.
- Develop an overall plan. Once you have plans to deal with internal and external factors, you can develop an overall plan that will allow you to make a decision and implement it. Your analysis of internal and external factors should lead you to specific decisions about the next steps that you and the company need to take. Put these together and explore how to unify them into a concrete series of steps you will take going forward.
- Check your work by going backward. Double check your analysis by starting with threats and working backward to strengths. This should help you see how your strengths and weaknesses match up with your opportunities and threats, and it should suggest strengths and weaknesses you might have missed in your first pass through.
Once you’ve completed the ten-step process, you can make final revisions to your overall plan, and then you have a strong SWOT analysis that can lead you to an effective decision for any challenge facing you or your business. As a solution, you can pay experienced writers for quality custom writing services designed to help people with writing SWOT analysis reports.