How to Do a SWOT Analysis

by Contributor; Updated September 26, 2017

A SWOT analysis allows you to assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of a situation -- thus, the acronym. By doing a SWOT analysis, you can analyze a situation and figure out if you may reach the desired outcome and if it is worth trying.

Step 1

Create four quadrants on a piece of paper, or create them on your computer. Label the first quadrant strengths, label the second quadrant as weaknesses, then opportunities, and finally threats.

Step 2

Analyze the strengths of your plan for the strength quadrant of your SWOT analysis. Write down the strengths of your plan. Write down as many as you can think of. These will be internal, relating to your brand, plan or product.

Step 3

Analyze the weaknesses of your plan for the weakness quadrant of your SWOT analysis. Like strengths, these will be internal. Write down the weaknesses of your plan. Be honest. If you can identify your shortcomings, you can possibly overcome them. For a SWOT analysis, strengths and weaknesses may be opposites, but they do not have to be.

Step 4

Work on your opportunities quadrant. What external factors can become opportunities? For example, are you creating a new toy which kids will love, but no toy like it yet exists? That's a great opportunity. Look for positives that can make your product or idea work.

Step 5

Threats, like opportunities, are external. What threatens your plan? To stick to the above example, a market saturated with products like yours can be a threat. Or, a stronger company coming out with a similar toy can pose a threat. Map all of these out so you are prepared for what you may face, and you can figure out how to avoid or overcome these threats.

Step 6

Analyze what you've written. After completing a SWOT analysis, you should should have a pretty clear idea of the negatives and positives of your plan, whether you can overcome the negatives, and whether or not you want to move forward with it.

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