Carrying out a SWOT Analysis

Assessing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats on a regular basis gives essential insight into critical issues that can affect your organisation or project. 

In order to carry out a SWOT analysis you should put together a list of:-

  • internal strengths and weaknesses you have in the organisation
  • external opportunities and threats that can affect the organisation

You can carry out a SWOT analysis for each area of the organisation for example marketing, finance, competition, etc. or carry out an overall SWOT analysis of the organisation.

Listed below are some of the criteria that can be used in a SWOT analysis, there are many other criteria that can be used, and many criteria can belong to more than one heading.

Identifying Strengths

Include positive attributes within your organisation:-

  • things you do well
  • your resources
  • qualifications and experience of staff or volunteers
  • local knowledge 
  • organisational reputation
  • intellectual Property Rights, patents and copyright materials
  • contacts base
  • equipment
  • credit rating
  • assets 
  • competitive advantage

Identifying Weaknesses

Include negative aspects within your organisation that could be controlled:-

  • limited resources
  • lack of expertise
  • lack of access to skills
  • lack of access to equipment
  • location of business

Identifying Opportunities

Identifying opportunities will enable you to make the most of openings or gaps that exist to add value to your organisation.

Include external issues (negative or positive) that your organisation can benefit from, for example:-

  • market growth
  • lifestyle changes
  • gaps that present an opportunity
  • government priorities
  • local agendas

Note time scales and whether any opportunities are time dependant.

Identifying Threats

Being able to identify or speculate on threats that could put your organisation at risk means you can put contingency plans in place, enabling you to be prepared to respond to them.

Include things beyond your control that could put your organisation at risk, for example:-

  • competition
  • price increases
  • bad press coverage
  • shift in consumer trends
  • change in government priorities
  • new developments that make your service or product obsolete

Note the significance of the threat and the probability of it occurring.

What to do with the results of your SWOT analysis

Carrying out a SWOT analysis will enable your committee to:-

  • look at taking advantage of opportunities where you have the capacity to deliver.  Reviewing your identified strengths will help you determine this.
  • review your business plan.  Has your SWOT analysis identified threat in the direction you are going if so do you need to take a new direction, does this mean you have to look at diversifying, if so how?
  • look at identified opportunities and consider if there is any weaknesses in your capacity to deliver, if so can you do something about this to enable you to be in a position to plan for and respond to them?
  • look at identified threats and determine what can you do to strengthen your position in this area.

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Last Updated 05/02/2013 11:06