Running a SWOT Analysis

One of the most basic, and most effective, marketing tactics in the books is the tried and true SWOT analysis. This exercise will help users identify their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, hence the abbreviation. While the SWOT analysis has been around since the dawn of freshmen marketing classes, they aren’t always that easy to do. That being said, here’s a guide to running SWOT analysis the right way.


When making a list of your strengths think about competitive advantages. A competitive advantage is something you have that your competition doesn’t. It could be buying power, service offering, or brand recognition. Thinking this way will help you identify why you stand out against your competition. If you get stuck on this point ask yourself, “why do our customers come to us instead of our competitors?”


Now it’s time to look in the mirror and talk about everything you don’t like about yourself. Listing out your company’s weaknesses takes a certain level of honesty some aren’t comfortable with, but if you want the SWOT to do its job everyone at the table needs to check their feelings at the door. Focus on things you’re not doing that you know you should be doing and things that can be done better. A good primer question for weaknesses is, “if I were a consumer, what would prevent me from buying this product, or engaging with this business?”

check their feelings at the door


Looking outside of your company, where are there opportunities for growth? Try to identify untapped customer markets or new ways to drive sales. Opportunities could include new technology, training programs, partnerships, or a change of government policies. Since opportunities can seem somewhat nebulous, ask yourself, “is there something our customers are always complaining about that we could fix?”


List external factors that could be a threat or cause a problem for your business. Threats are often outside of the control of the company, such as economic downturns. Asking yourself, “what’s going on in the industry, or with our competitors, that might stop our success?” will help you get the threat ball rolling.

The most important part of doing a SWOT is being objective. You can’t let your emotions get in the way of objective decisions. Adding numbers to your bullet points will help you stay honest. If you need help getting your SWOT started, feel free to reach out and we can give you a hand. 

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