SWOT Analysis - A How To - Plus 4 Free Templates (2023)

A SWOT analysis is a powerful way tool to guide decision-making.

In this article, I’ll cover the common mistakes made that can lead to poor strategies and the power tips that can significantly boost your success.

In addition, you’ll get free SWOT analysis templates in PowerPoint, Word, Pdf and Excel. You can choose the SWOT analysis templates that best fits to your needs.

A SWOT analysis is only as good as the information that you use to create it. Research and up-to-date data is vital to identify key issues in the business environment.

What is a SWOT Analysis?

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SWOT stand for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

In simple terms, a SWOT analysis is used to assess how your internal capabilities match the external environment.

The SWOT Analysis is a strategic planning tool used to evaluate an organization, a plan or a business activity.

A SWOT Analysis has two dimensions: Internal and External:

  • External analysis offers insights into the opportunities and threats your business may face.
  • Internal analysis will reveal what are your core strengths and weaknesses.

The external environment consists of all the factors that are outside of the firm. External factors are usually things that the firm has little or no control over.

In contrast, the internal analysis – strengths and weaknesses, reflects all the parts of the firm that can be managed. The ‘internal’ characteristics of a firm though are still complex and varied e.g. talent, intellectual property, assets, partners, technologies…

However, throwing everything into the SWOT will create a poor quality analysis. The art of strategy is to understand what are the priorities, the important parts of both internal and external capabilities to focus on.

Why Do a SWOT Analysis?

A SWOT analysis arms management teams with knowledge they need to develop strategies that will provide future growth as well as mitigate any threats and compensate for weaknesses.

A SWOT is only one part of the strategy and ultimately other factors come into play.

A SWOT can be used to assess capabilities, resources, partnerships and so provides valuable insights into an organisations business model.

Just because an organisation has defined it’s business model doesn’t mean it is still relevant or competitive. Business models change within markets, and new business models emerge. Quite often, business models are adapted and incrementally change.

Part of the strategic planning process is to assess the need for business model innovation.

SWOT Definitions

  1. What is an opportunity in a SWOT analysis?

    An opportunity is a situation or condition that if seized upon can offer an advantage to an organisation. It becomes a driving force for an organisation to allocate resources and undertake activities that then turn these into profits and growth. An opportunity then is a promise of future potential.

  2. What is a threat in a SWOT analysis?

    SWOT Analysis - A How To - Plus 4 Free Templates (2)
    A threat is a situation that could disadvantage a firm in the short or long-term. A threat can prevent an organisation from reaching its goals or even its existence. Threats result from changes in the distant or the immediate business environment and can range in impact and therefore severity.

  3. What is a weakness in SWOT analysis?

    A weakness refers to a firm lacking in skills, resources and capabilities. Although weaknesses can be individual they can also be compounded. As an example, if competitors are aggressively pursuing the use of AI then a firm might be weak because of lack of talent as well as lacking in the technology itself. The main takeaway is that a weakness is relative to what the firm wants to achieve, its goals, and compared to competitor capabilities.

  4. What is a strength in a SWOT analysis?

    A strength is some thing that the firm does well, usually better than the competition. Strengths are positive, favourable capabilities, resources or skills that play a critical role in achieving the goals of the firm. Strengths, like weaknesses, can be tangible or intangible. Tangible strengths are things that are easily measured such as cash flow, financial ratios, assets…Intangible strengths often reflect things like tacit knowledge in a firm (the way we do things) or another example is the power of a brand in a market – brand equity.

5 Steps To Create A Powerful SWOT Analysis

Pulling together information and data to create a SWOT can seem quite daunting.

(Video) What is a SWOT Analysis? How to Make One For Your Business (Plus a Free Template)

How to do a SWOT analysis the right way.

  1. Step 1 – Conduct a PESTEL analysis

    A PESTEL analysis will reveal the big macro factors that are shaping changes in your business environment. PESTEL stands for Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental and Legal factors.
    Each industry and market is different so there are no hard and fast rules for which of these is more important or relevant.
    As an example, if you are a bank then legal, economic and regulatory factors are a significant factors that will influence your SWOT.
    Gather data and identify changes and trends in the short, mid and long-term.

  2. Step 2 – Analyse the Competition

    Draw up a list of your main competitors.
    Compare them on key measures such as market share, range of products, value proposition, brand positioning, innovation capabilities, technologies. Don’t forget to also analyse substitutes products or services.

  3. Step 3 – Analyse the Market/Customer

    What are the trends in the market? What new business models are emerging? How are customers (B2C) or buyers (B2B) changing?

  4. Step 4 – Assess Internal Strengths and Weaknesses

    There are lots of different methods and tools to use to assess your internal strengths and weaknesses. Often I find firms using strategic scorecards and key performance indicators. They measure themselves against these but tend to not think outside the box. They have become narrow in their view of their strengths and weaknesses.

    A good tool to assess internal strengths and weaknesses is to start with a VRIO analysis. The VRIO tool reviews internal resources of an organisation and categorises each based on overall value to the organisation.Another tool is McKinsey 7s, McKinsey 7S prompts you to analyse 7 internal aspects of your organisation: Structure, Systems, Shared Values, Skills, Style and Staff.

    Tip: when analysing strengths and weaknesses remember to assess and evaluate intangible factors as well as tangible.

  5. Step 5 – Complete The SWOT Analysis

    Now that you have all the data you need – external and internal you’re ready to add this into the SWOT and create the full analysis. By matching strengths to opportunities you can create a strategic advantage. By developing strategies to mitigate risks from threats that expose weaknesses you can avoid future risks.

Of course, once you’ve developed a strategy once it gets easier to gather data and develop a SWOT.

How do you identify external opportunities and threats?

SWOT Analysis - A How To - Plus 4 Free Templates (3)

A SWOT analysis requires you to pull in information from other research to get a picture of the opportunities and threats.

The most common tools managers use are:

  • Porters Five Forces
  • PESTEL analysis
  • Competitor analysis
  • Porters Diamond
  • Industry lifecycle

It’s important to recognise that the business environment is a fluid, constantly changing and so any analysis is just a snapshot in time.

By the time you have got ready to conduct a SWOT analysis you should already have a picture of the most important priorities.

Examples of External Opportunities and Threats

Societal Changes

  • Changes in customer preferences and behaviours that impact product demand or design.
  • Population trends that impact distribution, sales and/or design.

Governmental Changes

  • New legislation that impacts production, distribution, operations, recruitment, sales and marketing. Recent examples, Covid rules on opening hours, social distancing, GDPR regulations…
  • New policies or priorities from a government to stimulate economic growth.
  • Tax breaks for types of companies that invest in localised areas.

Market Changes

  • New uses of product impacting demand
  • Substitute products/services impacting market share
  • Product obsolescence impacting portfolio
  • Mergers and acquisitions impacting competitor position/buying power

Economic Changes

  • Change in interest rates
  • Change in exchange rates
  • Change in international trade regulations
  • Recession/inflation

Competitive Changes

  • Adoption of new technologies impacting cost position
  • New competitors impacting business model, prices, market share, margins…
  • Price changes impacting margins

Supplier Changes

  • Changes in materials impacting demand, capacity utilisation…
  • Supply chain changes impacting production processes
  • Changes in suppliers impacting availability

How to identify internal strengths and weaknesses.

The following are examples of tools that can be used to analyse your organisations strengths and weaknesses to develop a realistic strategy. The tools you use will depend on your current capabilities to analyse and evaluate your internal environment.

(Video) Free SWOT Analysis PowerPoint Template 🔥🔥 Free PowerPoint Template

Interviews

Often I find that executive teams are missing critical information regarding strengths and weaknesses. With limited time and demanding roles they are often focusing on high level critical decisions.

On the ground floor and across the organisation there are clues and insights that are invaluable when assessing internal strengths and weaknesses.

By taking a sample set of interviews from across different business units and levels often provides much needed data. As an example, customer service teams can give you details of what customers are saying/complaining about, sales teams often have a deep knowledge of specific competitors and tactics.

McKinsey 7s

McKinsey has created many strategy tools to help in the strategy process.

The 7S framework is solid straightforward tool was featured in the excellent book, In Search of Excellence, by former McKinsey consultants Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman.

It helps you get to understand the factors that influence an organisation’s ability to change.

Core Competencies

The Core Competency framework is an ideal tool to assess the specific characteristics that make an organisation unique and different from others in its sector. One of the benefits of this tool is that it assesses knowledge, skills and capabilities that result from them.

A ‘competency framework’ is a method that defines competency at an individual as well as aggregate level e.g. problem-solving. Competencies help to understand the behaviours, attitudes and activities that then deliver the output effectively.

Portfolio Analysis

A portfolio analysis will help you evaluate existing products and services and score them. Mapping your services in this way will identify which products or services are profitable, the stage of their lifecycle and whether they represent a strength or weakness.

Benchmarking

Unless you know how others are performing you might have a distorted view of your own capabilities – strengths and weaknesses.

Benchmarking is a systematic approach to identify best practices that other businesses, including your competitors, use to achieve a high performance level. By benchmarking, you quickly identify areas for improvement (weaknesses) and learn how and what needs to be changed to achieve best practice.

Examples of Internal Strengths and Weaknesses

Marketing

  • Product quality
  • Number of product lines
  • Product differentiation
  • Market share
  • Pricing
  • Distribution channels
  • Customer service
  • Customer churn
  • Marketing research
  • Customer experience
  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Marketing technology
  • Digital media
  • Social media

Business Model

  • Differentiated business model
  • Unique value proposition
  • Unique resources
  • Unique set of partnerships
  • Well defined customer segments
  • Cost model
  • Pricing model

Operations

  • External partners
  • Sourcing
  • Cost structure
  • Inventory control
  • Facilities and equipment
  • Efficiency
  • Capacity
  • Agility

Employee

  • Employee turnover
  • Employee capabilities
  • Employee morale
  • Employee development
  • New ideas put forward
  • Job applications
  • Number of employees to revenue/profits
  • Agility level
  • Organizational structure
  • Accountability
  • Autonomous vs Hierarchical decision making

Technology

  • Digital transformation capabilities
  • Agility of organization
  • Quality of market/customer information
  • Business intelligence information
  • Big data analytics
  • AI driven decisions
  • E-commerce
  • Customer personalisation

Innovation

  • Innovation capabilities
  • Speed to market
  • Success of innovation(s)
  • Percentage of sales/profits from new products/services
  • Number of active projects

Management Team

  • Product quality
  • Number of product lines
  • Product differentiation
  • Market share
  • Pricing
  • Distribution channels
  • Customer service
  • Marketing research
  • Customer experience
  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Marketing technology
  • Digital media
  • Social media

Finance

  • Financial leverage
  • Operating leverage
  • Balance sheet ratios
  • Ratio of net cash to capital expenses
  • Credit rating
  • Age of debt / due date
  • Share value
  • Market Cap

How to Use Your SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis - A How To - Plus 4 Free Templates (4)

The first and most important part of using a SWOT analysis is to use it. Do not simply run through it as an exercise and then abandon it.

Getting good at strategic planning takes time and effort. But by making it part of your organisational culture, your way of doing things you will rapidly see the benefits.

Management and teams will have a much higher level of sense-making, the ability to understand complexity and distill it into actions and outcomes.

A SWOT is NOT separate or divorced from other planning processes such as OKR – see the OKR guide.

Free SWOT Templates To Download (No Sign-up Required)

Free SWOT Analysis PowerPoint Template

The Free SWOT analysis PowerPoint template is available without any need to sign-up. Please download and if you have any ideas for improvement please contact me.

(Video) Simple SWOT Analysis for Teachers (FREE TEMPLATE)

Free SWOT Analysis Word Template

The Free SWOT Analysis Word Template contains a basic SWOT template that is a useful when building your overall strategy document.

Free SWOT Analysis Excel Template

The free MS Excel SWOT Analysis template has three tabs with different ways to use a SWOT.

(Video) How to do a SWOT Analysis | Free SWOT Analysis Template

SWOT Analysis Examples

Here are a few examples of SWOT’s that I’ve produced. Note these are from an outside-in perspective and therefore reflect more of an analysis a competitor might undertake.

Read the full Tesla SWOT Analysis.

SWOT Analysis - A How To - Plus 4 Free Templates (9)

Read the full Apple SWOT analysis.

SWOT Analysis - A How To - Plus 4 Free Templates (10)

Read the full Amazon SWOT Analysis.

SWOT Analysis - A How To - Plus 4 Free Templates (11)

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FAQs

What are the 4 steps of SWOT analysis? ›

The four steps of SWOT analysis comprise the acronym SWOT: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Is there a SWOT analysis template in Excel? ›

There are ten best swot analysis templates in excel options available. These ten best swot analysis templates in excel are very easy to download and easy to use.

Is there a SWOT analysis template in PowerPoint? ›

Open your PowerPoint presentation, go to your Add-Ins and select Lucidchart within the Insert tab. Select your SWOT analysis diagram from your documents to insert into PowerPoint. Open this SWOT analysis chart template in Lucidchart or open up a blank document.

How do I create a SWOT analysis template in Word? ›

How to create a SWOT analysis in Word
  1. Open Word and create a new document. Open the Microsoft Word application on your computer. ...
  2. Insert a table. ...
  3. Design your chart. ...
  4. Label your quadrants with headings. ...
  5. Enter your SWOT text. ...
  6. Save your SWOT chart. ...
  7. Share your SWOT chart.
8 Apr 2022

What are the 3 C's in SWOT analysis? ›

This method has you focusing your analysis on the 3C's or strategic triangle: the customers, the competitors and the corporation. By analyzing these three elements, you will be able to find the key success factor (KSF) and create a viable marketing strategy.

Does Word have a SWOT analysis template? ›

SWOT Analysis Diagrams in Microsoft Word

Although Microsoft Word is not primarily a diagramming tool, it can be used to create SWOT diagrams. These are text-based charts, so building a SWOT analysis template in Word is easy. There are advantages and disadvantages of using Word for SWOT analysis.

Where can I get free Excel templates? ›

Free Excel for the web templates on Office.com
  • Go to Office.com.
  • Click Templates at the top of the page.
  • On the Templates page, click Excel. ...
  • Click the template you want, click Edit in Browser, sign in if prompted, and then click Continue.

Is there a SWOT template in Google Docs? ›

You can check out our SWOT analysis templates in Google Docs should you wish to make creating the document more convenient.

Does PowerPoint have free templates? ›

Microsoft offers a wide variety of PowerPoint templates for free and premium PowerPoint templates for subscribers of Microsoft 365.

How do you create a 4 quadrant in PowerPoint? ›

Open PowerPoint presentation and, go to the Insert tab, then to Shapes and select is lines. Divide slide area into quadrants. Leave space at the top for header, but essentially you only need two lines. Example of this article is adding a third line to separate the header from the actual quad chart.

Where can I get free templates for word? ›

You can download free, pre-built document templates with useful and creative themes from Office when you click File > New in your Office app. Templates can include calendars, business cards, letters, cards, brochures, newsletters, resumes, and much more.

How do I create a free template in Word? ›

Open the Word document that you want to save as a template. On the File menu, click Save as Template. In the Save As box, type the name that you want to use for the new template. (Optional) In the Where box, choose a location where the template will be saved.

What are 4 examples of opportunities? ›

What are some examples of opportunities?
  • Get help on projects.
  • Propose working groups.
  • Get testers for new ideas or products.
  • Create a team to work on an idea you have.
  • Share your expertise or best practices in a particular field.

What is SWOT analysis PDF? ›

A SWOT analysis evaluates the internal strengths and weaknesses, and the external opportunities and threats in an organization's environment.

What is a SWOT worksheet? ›

SWOT Analysis Worksheet. Page 1. A SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis could help you identify different strategies to implement to improve your business.

What is 4p strategy? ›

The four Ps are a “marketing mix” comprised of four key elements—product, price, place, and promotion—used when marketing a product or service. Typically, businesses consider the four Ps when creating marketing plans and strategies to effectively market to their target audience.

What is 4p framework? ›

What is the 4 Ps framework? The 4 Ps is one of the most popular marketing frameworks that businesses use. Also known as the marketing mix, the framework identifies the four main elements that are most crucial to customer acquisition: Product, Price, Promotion, and Place (see Figure 1).

What is 3C 4p? ›

The 4 Ps are Product, Price, Promotion and Place - the four marketing mix variables under your control. The 3 Cs are: Company, Customers and Competitors - the three semi-fixed environmental factors in your market.

Where can I find template in Word? ›

To find and apply a template in Word, do the following: On the File tab, click New. Under Available Templates, do one of the following: To use one of the built-in templates, click Sample Templates, click the template that you want, and then click Create.

How do you make a 4 quadrant graph in Word? ›

Step 1: Open the Word document. Step 2: Go to the Insert tab on the ribbon and click on the Chart option under the Illustrations group. Step 3: An Insert Charts dialog box will appear on the screen. Select the XY (Scatter) option from the left pane and pick a line graph that you want to insert.

Where do I find templates? ›

How to Access Online Templates
  • Select File > New to start a new document.
  • Select a template or use the search box to find alternatives.
  • When you find the template you want to use, select it to see a preview and description. Select Create to open the template.
13 Feb 2021

Where can I get free templates for Google Sheets? ›

TheGoodocs - Free Google Doc Templates. A large number of Google Docs, Google Slides, and Google Sheets templates to boost your business. A large number of Google Docs, Google Slides, and Google Sheets templates to boost your business. Open and Edit thousands of flawless templates from professional designers.

Does Microsoft have a free spreadsheet? ›

Microsoft Excel online is free and can be accessed by anyone through a free Microsoft account.

How do I get more templates for Google Docs? ›

From the Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, or Sites home screen, at the top, select one of the featured templates. Click Template gallery to see additional templates. Note: If you can't find Template gallery, go to Display or hide Template gallery.

Where do I find templates in Google? ›

Use a Google template

On your computer, go to Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, or Forms. At the top right , click Template Gallery. Click the template you want to use.

Where can I get templates for Google Sheets? ›

On your browser, go to Google Sheets. Click “Template Gallery” at the top right. Explore the templates to find the right one for you.

Is PPT online free? ›

Using Microsoft PowerPoint Online

You can log in with a Microsoft account, or create one for free if you don't already have one. Remember, it's free to use PowerPoint online.

Are Google Slides templates free? ›

Google Slides is free, easy to use, and offers so many cool options! These Google Slides templates are all also free, and they give you endless ways to use this essential tool in your classroom.

Is the template app free? ›

Many of the features are free to use, but Template always wants to provide you with the best & freshest template designs. With Template Plus, you get unlimited access to all 850+ Template designs, fonts, & more. You can choose to subscribe monthly or annually.

How do I get more templates for PowerPoint? ›

Click File > New. In the search box, do one of the following: To browse a wide range of templates with backgrounds and individual slide backgrounds, search for "Backgrounds." For the background images shown above and more, search for the template called "Backgrounds for PowerPoint slides."

How do I show all 4 quadrants on Excel? ›

Right-click on any of the four dots and pick “Change Series Chart Type” from the menu. In the “Chart Type” dropdown menu next to the two series representing the quadrant data (“Vertical line” and “Horizontal line”), choose “Scatter with Smooth Lines.”

Can you download templates into Word? ›

Load templates or add-ins

, and then select Word Options > Add-ins. In the Manage list, select Word Add-ins, and then click Go. Click the Templates tab. Under Global templates and add-ins, select the check box next to the template or add-in that you want to load.

Is there a template in Word? ›

You can find Word templates for most kinds of documents on Office.com. If you have an Internet connection, click the File tab, click New, and then click the template category that you want. You can also you can create your own templates.

Can I use a PDF as a template in Word? ›

Go to “File,” then “Save As” and then choose “Document Template.” Alternatively, perform the conversion by loading the file into a Word to DOT or DOTX converter, such as the ConvertOnlineFree website.

What material can I use to make a template? ›

Stencils and templates can be made from various types of paper, wood, metal, or plastic materials. Because plastic is durable, light, flexible, and moisture resistant, it far outperforms other materials for most stencil and template applications.

How do I type in a template in Word? ›

Click the “Text Box” button on the ribbon, choose “Simple Text Box,” drag the cursor to form the size of the box on the template, then type any text if desired. The Insert tab is also where you'll click to add graphic elements to your template.

What are at least 4 benefits of SWOT analysis tool? ›

address weaknesses. deter threats. capitalise on opportunities. take advantage of your strengths.

What is step by step analysis? ›

To put it simply: You're looking for trends, determining what the direction of the change is, and finding out what the outcome of trends have had on companies and industries. You (or the analyst) will do this for each section of the STEP analysis — so at least four times.

What is the most difficult part of the SWOT analysis? ›

A: The most challenging part of your SWOT analysis is looking at your internal and external data to decide what indeed are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. We recommend looking at objective data to help make these decisions.

What are the 4 parts of analysis? ›

This can be the role of the business analyst. Often strategic analysis has four fundamental parts: present state, future state, risk, and transitional analysis.

What are the 4 steps to write an analysis? ›

Define your thesis. Write the introduction. Write the body paragraphs. Add a conclusion.

What are 5 methods of analysis? ›

The 5 methods for performing statistical analysis
  • Mean.
  • Standard Deviation.
  • Regression.
  • Hypothesis Testing.
  • Sample Size Determination.
2 Mar 2021

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