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SWOT Analysis Template for Efficient Business Planning

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What is SWOT Analysis? SWOT Analysis is a strategic business planning tool that can be used for analyzing different business situations faced by a company. This analysis allows businesses to assess their current positions in the market. It also extends to the resources and efforts required to change, sustain or strengthen that position. Four key aspects of a situation are analyzed, including strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, to provide a clear picture of the situation.

SWOT Analysis can be used for various purposes including:

  • Marketing Analysis
  • Business Development
  • Strategic Planning
  • Research Report
  • Business Planning
  • Competitor Evaluation

To help you better understand how this analytical framework is used, here is a SWOT Analysis template:

 

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Strengths:

  • Identify capabilities
  • Evaluate resources including assets and people
  • Analyze competitive advantage
  • Assess intangibles like data, knowledge and experience advantages
  • Evaluate financial reserves
  • Check processes or IT systems driving value
  • Assess market research abilities

Opportunities:

  • Development in technology and innovation
  • New or better target markets
  • New partnership and contracts, and surprises
  • Business or new product development
  • Industry, market and lifestyle trends
  • Global influences and import/export
  • Seasonal business trends
  • Economies of scale and production volumes

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Weaknesses:

  • Lack of capabilities
  • Unfocused competitive strengths or lack of a core competency
  • Deadline, pressure and time limits
  • Cash drain or cash limitations
  • Supply chain continuity and delivery
  • Inefficient management structure or lack of succession planning
  • Business reputation, reach or awareness level

Threats:

  • New legislative regulations
  • Political, environmental and economical effect
  • Development in the IT and communications industry
  • Loss of resources or partners
  • Changes in market demands
  • Shift in competitive atmosphere
  • Unavoidable circumstances like natural calamities

How to use a SWOT analysis template

This SWOT analysis template can give you an idea of factors that can be included in each of these categories. In every SWOT analysis model, it is common that a set of two elements always negates the set of other two elements. Strengths oppose the weaknesses while opportunities and threats go against each other. In that particular order, you can consider all possible market elements that relate to a situation, putting them in either one of these categories. While you are running a SWOT over a situation, a factor which isn’t exactly your strength is counted as your weakness.

SWOT is a subjective form of analysis that is made by a business manager. Every manager would interpret this SWOT analysis template in his or her own way, making somewhat biased assumptions. This is one of the biggest limitations associated with this analysis and the reason why managers prefer to carry out SWOT with a team through a brainstorming session, allowing multiple opinions to be heard and completely unbiased decisions to be made. External consultants can also be hired to analyze a business and develop a SWOT analytical report for the company’s current situation in order to limit the biasness, based on the aforementioned SWOT analysis template.

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