SWOT Analysis Video
Learn how to use SWOT Analysis to create a successful competitive position.
Every organization needs a clear strategy in place for growing its business, and every person needs career focus and direction. But how do you know where to start?
This is where SWOT Analysis comes in useful. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. By analyzing these four areas of your business, or career, you'll be able to cut through the noise, and focus on what really matters.
You can use SWOT Analysis to identify a niche in the market, or to help you develop your career. When you understand your strengths and weaknesses, you can exploit the most relevant opportunities, and manage threats that may otherwise have surprised you.
To start your SWOT Analysis, you'll need a piece of paper, or you can print off the free worksheet at MindTools.com.
Give yourself time to consider each of the four areas in depth, and try to be as realistic and rigorous as you can.
Starting with Strengths, ask yourself some key questions. What advantages do you or your organization have? What do you do better than anyone else? What do people in your market see as your strengths?
Moving onto Weaknesses, ask yourself what you could improve. What should you avoid? What factors lose you sales? What do outsiders see as your weaknesses?
Next, you'll want to consider where your best Opportunities lie. What interesting trends are you aware of? What advantages might arise from changes in technology, government policy, social patterns, and the like? And – this is really important – what options do your strengths open up for you?
Finally, Threats. Ask yourself what obstacles you or your organization face. What is your competition doing that you should be worried about? Do you have bad debt, or cash-flow problems? And what threats do your weaknesses expose you to?
When you're making your lists, be precise and prioritize, so that the most important points are at the top.
You'll find that your strengths and weaknesses are often internal, while opportunities and threats often relate to external factors. This is why SWOT Analysis is often called "Internal/External Analysis."
When you've finished, you'll have made a good start to creating an effective strategy for success, and you'll have a better understanding of how you can move up the career ladder.
For more information about SWOT Analysis, see the article that accompanies this video.