Over the decades, countless business strategy and research frameworks have been proposed by consultants, managers, and business thinkers; most fall by the wayside.
Some, however, stand the test of time--and the SWOT Analysis framework (tracing back to its first formulation as early as the 1930s) is one fine example.
What is the SWOT Analysis Framework?
A framework that's designed to help you quickly assess key facets of a venture. Typically, this venture will be a 'company', and the SWOT framework helps you evaluate the competitive position of this company; with comparison to others in the industry or market.
But the framework can also be useful on a project level. Instead of thinking of 'company versus company', you can also apply the framework for 'project versus project'--what are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of each?
For businesses that are constantly innovating--or with multiple streams of revenue--the SWOT analysis framework is something you can return to time and time again.
Analyzing internal factors is done by looking at 'Strengths' and 'Weaknesses'. To assess these factors, you might prompt discussion with questions like:
Strengths: What do we excel at? What do we do well?
Weaknesses: What are we struggling with? Where are we unable to compete well?
Analyzing external factors, on the other hand, is done by looking at 'Opportunities' and 'Threats'. Examples of how you might prompt those discussions include questions like:
Opportunities: What trends do we see in the broader market that we are well positioned to cash in on?
Threats: What's changing in the market that might affect us negatively? How easy is it for new entrants to join? Do we rely on any platforms that may change their policies?
How to do a SWOT Analysis?
There are different ways to approach a SWOT analysis. Some suggest starting with the 'strengths' of the venture, and then moving on to weaknesses; others advise going from opportunities, to strengths, then threats--and so on.
Generally speaking though, you can follow these steps:
- List your company's or project's key strengths.
- Next, list its weaknesses.
- Then, take a look at the potential opportunities in the market or industry that your venture could capitalize on.
- And finally, consider any threats to your company or project--such as competition, new innovations, changing regulations, and so on.
The strengths section of a SWOT analysis is one of the most important elements, as it provides valuable insights into the key assets and competitive advantages of your company or project.
Some common strengths that businesses and projects may have include:
- Strong market position;
- Innovative products or services;
- A talented team of employees;
- Brand recognition;
- Favorable industry trends;
- Access to capital;
- and many others.
When conducting a SWOT analysis, it is important to take the time to identify and analyze each of these key strengths in detail, so that you can understand how they contribute to your company or project's competitive position in the market. By doing so, you can also identify any areas where these strengths may be vulnerable or susceptible to threats, and therefore take steps to mitigate those risks going forward.
The weaknesses section of a SWOT analysis is also an important element, as it provides crucial insights into the areas where your business or project may be vulnerable.
Common weaknesses that businesses and projects may have include:
- Limited market share;
- Lack of financial resources;
- Poor customer service;
- Weak brand recognition;
- Outdated technology or processes;
- and many others.
The opportunities section of a SWOT analysis is one of the most important elements, as it provides critical insights into potential areas for growth or expansion for your company or project.
Common opportunities that businesses and projects may have include:
- New market segments;
- Untapped customer groups;
- Emerging technologies;
- Favorable regulatory changes;
- and so on.
The threats section of a SWOT analysis provides crucial insights into potential areas of vulnerability for your company or project.
Common threats that businesses and projects may face include:
- Competitive pressure;
- New entrants to the market;
- Changing customer tastes or preferences;
- Technological obsolescence.
In addition, it's important to remember that threats are often interrelated with other elements of a SWOT analysis, such as weaknesses or opportunities. Therefore, it is critical that you consider how these various factors may interact or influence each other when conducting your analysis.
SWOT Analysis Example
Let's take a look at an example of how a SWOT analysis can be used to improve the competitive position of a company or project. ABC Corporation is a small business that manufactures and sells widgets. The company has been in business for several years and has a loyal customer base, but it is facing increased competition from larger businesses that are able to offer lower prices and better product quality.
To begin, ABC Corporation conducts a SWOT analysis to identify its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Some of the key strengths that the company identifies include:
- Its high-quality products;
- Strong brand recognition; and
- A loyal customer base.
On the other hand, some of the key weaknesses include:
- Limited financial resources;
- Poor customer service; and
- Outdated technology.
In terms of opportunities, the company identifies:
- A new market segment that it could potentially tap into.
And finally, in terms of threats:
- The company faces increased competition from larger businesses.
Armed with this information, ABC Corporation can now develop a strategic plan to improve its competitive position.
For example, it may choose to focus on improving its customer service and investing in better technology, in order to reduce weaknesses and improve opportunities. Meanwhile, it can take steps to mitigate the impact of threats by building stronger relationships with customers and exploring new marketing channels or partnerships. In this way, a SWOT analysis can be an invaluable tool for businesses and projects looking to improve their competitive position and achieve their objectives.
How to use the Notion SWOT Analysis Template:
- Begin by accessing the SWOT analysis template with your member template link, then hit 'Duplicate' in the top right corner;
- Give the page a name, specific to the company, venture, competitor or project you'd like to analyze;
- Next, use the four quadrants of the template to identify and analyze your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This may involve conducting research on different aspects of your business or project, such as its products, marketing strategies, financial position, industry trends, and more.
- Once you have completed your analysis of each quadrant, you can use the insights you have gained to develop a strategic plan for improving your business or project going forward. Jot these down on the same Notion page, or you can add them to the relevant sections of your Notion workspace/account as they apply best;
- You can use this template SWOT framework as many times as you like. Just hit the '+ SWOT Framework' button to spawn a fresh copy when you need it :)
You can duplicate the SWOT Analysis Template with the button 'Your Member Template' so long as you're logged into your Landmark account. Enjoy, and happy analyzing.