A SWOT analysis is a business tool designed to aid in the decision making process by forcing an analysis of four critical areas; Strengths, Weakness, Opportunity and Threats. It can help a business engage in niche placement, evaluation of current models and decision making process for investments.
Strengths. Evaluating business strengths is the first component. Typically, strengths and weaknesses are considered internal operation factors. The organization has a tremendous amount of control of them.
- What does the business do well?
- How is it unique?
- What plans do you have to mitigate problems?
Weakness. Weakness is the opposite of the company's strengths. These first two categories play off each other to reveal additional strengths or weaknesses.
- What could the company improve?
- What does the organization not do well?
- What has caused problems in the past?
Opportunity. It can be tempting to over-inflate this category with hopes versus realistic goals. It is important to remember to only include those opportunities which the business can compete.
- What are trends which play to your strengths?
- How can laws/ordinances be changed to meet business objectives?
- What advertising events are open for promotion?
Threats. Just as weakness is the antithesis of strengths, threats are the opposite of opportunities. This category needs to include internal and external evaluations.
- How does your business fare compared to competitors?
- Are there cash flow problems?
- What social causes are opposed to your business model?
Purposed SWOT for ABC Travel Incorporated.
- Connections with over 100 airlines, hotels, cab companies and cruise lines.
- The only travel agency in the local area.
- Low overhead.
- Travel service requires disposable income.
- Uncontrollable events such as weather limits ability to influence customer satisfaction.
- Customers usually limited to one or two services per year.
- Cruise lines are offering discounts due to recent bad press.
- Local radio station has offered travel related show to educate consumers.
- Lower gas prices encourage travel.
- Terror incidents discourage international travel.
- Free internet sites are becoming increasingly popular.
- Travel documents are becoming harder to obtain and take longer to receive.