How To Do a SWOT Analysis
If you’ve never done a SWOT analysis before, don’t worry! It’s a straightforward analysis that’s easy to build and present. You’ll use a diagram to model strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in any situation.
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What is a SWOT analysis?
The name says it all—a SWOT analysis tracks strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. SWOT analyses are often used as a strategic planning tool in business and academic settings, but they can be applied to nearly any situation. When used properly, this method of analysis is both simple and effective.
SELECT A DRAWING MEDIUM
Pick the right medium for your SWOT diagram. While pen and paper can be used for a rudimentary diagram, a digital or printed chart looks more polished. Web-based software gives you the advantage of online storage and easier sharing across platforms.
For the purposes of this guide, we’ll proceed as though you’re using Lucidchart. You can follow along by signing up for a free Lucidchart account.
You might want to create a preliminary document where your team works out the details of your SWOT. It can be difficult, for example, to distinguish between a strength and an opportunity. These tips can help you generate a robust list of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats:
- Don’t dismiss any ideas during the initial planning stage.
- If you’re stuck, try listing general characteristics of your organization.
- If your team is large enough, split into groups and brainstorm privately.
- Generate as many ideas as possible, then refine. Aim for 10 or fewer points per quadrant.
FILL OUT QUADRANTS
Fill out the details of each category. You can begin with strengths and weaknesses, since internal characteristics are often easier to record. Consider factors like:
- Experience: what do you know? Do you have a special understanding of your community, customers, or processes?
- Financial status—is your bank account thriving or struggling? Do you have alternate sources of income?
- Your human resources: employees, volunteers, leaders, mentors, or customers. How do they help or hurt you?
- Tangible resources, like office location or hardware. What do you offer or lack?
Move on to opportunities and threats, which are external elements. If you’re not sure what to add, consider factors like:
- State of the economy—are your customers willing to buy? How does the local, national, or international economy affect your activities?
- Current events, such as an uptick in crime or an upcoming festival. What impact do they have on your organization?
- Demographics and psychographics—are there changes in your target audience’s age, race, gender, attitudes, values, or mindset?
Your chart is nearly finished. But before you put it to use, take your SWOT diagram to someone you trust and ask for feedback. That person should have an outsider’s perspective that can add valuable insight to the finished product.
With Lucidchart, you can easily create professional-looking SWOT diagrams, org charts, and other specialized diagrams, right in a web browser. Start a free trial and see for yourself.Try it now Sign up free