What Is a SWOT Analysis?

A SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool that helps organizations identify their Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats related to business competition or project planning. It is an acronym for:

  • Strengths: Internal attributes and resources that support a successful outcome.
  • Weaknesses: Internal attributes and resources that work against a successful outcome.
  • Opportunities: External factors the project or business can capitalize on or use to its advantage.
  • Threats: External factors that could potentially harm the project or business.

Why Is SWOT Analysis Important?

SWOT analysis is important because it provides a structured method for understanding a company's position within its industry and market. It can help:

  • Identify areas for growth and improvement.
  • Understand the competitive landscape.
  • Develop strategies for improving performance.
  • Inform decision-making and strategic planning.
  • Anticipate future challenges and opportunities.

How to Do a SWOT Analysis?

To conduct a SWOT analysis, you need to reflect on the four components one by one. Answering a set of relevant questions to identify internal/external factors but also positive and negative ones will help you to have a better perspective strategically on the subject you want to analyze. 


Look at your resources, capabilities, and things you do well. Consider your competitive advantages and how you add value.

  • What does your company do well? 
  • What unique resources can you draw on? 
  • What do others see as your strengths?


Consider areas where you could improve, where you lack resources, or where others have an advantage over you.

  • What could your company improve? 
  • Where do you have fewer resources than others? 
  • What are others likely to see as weaknesses?


Look at the market and consider trends, shifts, and changes that could serve as opportunities.

  • What opportunities are open to you? 
  • What trends could you take advantage of? 
  • How can you turn your strengths into opportunities?


Consider the challenges you face, including competitors, changes in market conditions, or any other potential roadblocks.

  • What threats could harm you? 
  • What is your competition doing? 
  • What threats do your weaknesses expose you to?

SWOT Analysis Example for a Cloud-based HR Software

LeaveBoard is a Cloud-based HR management software, so it is relevant to provide an example relevant to the topic. Let's start with the Strengths.


  • Easy accessibility from any location.
  • Quick implementation time.
  • Scalability to match business growth.
  • Lower upfront costs than traditional software.


  • Dependence on internet connectivity.
  • Security concerns and potential data breaches.
  • Potential compatibility issues with existing systems.


  • Growing trend towards remote work and digital transformation.
  • Potential for AI and machine learning integration.
  • Increasing demand for automated HR processes.


  • Competition from other cloud-based HR software providers.
  • Changes in data protection laws and regulations.
  • Potential disruption from technological advancements.

SWOT Analysis Template

Internal Factors
External Factors
Positive FactorsStrengthsOpportunities
Negative FactorsWeaknessesThreats

If you're looking for a SWOT analysis template in Word, we have one that you can download, customize and edit free of charge. It has details of the key questions for all the 4 areas to address, to help you with the overall preparation.

Download the SWOT Analysis template


FAQ SWOT Analysis

Who Invented SWOT Analysis?

The SWOT analysis was developed at the Stanford Research Institute in the 1960s under the funding of Fortune 500 companies. Albert Humphrey is credited with the original creation of this strategic planning tool.

What Are the Biggest SWOT Analysis Mistakes?

Some common mistakes include:

  • Overlooking important weaknesses or threats.
  • Confusing internal strengths with external opportunities.
  • Not being specific or actionable.
  • Not regularly updating the SWOT analysis.

How to Use a SWOT Analysis?

A SWOT analysis can be used to:

  • Inform strategic planning and decision-making.
  • Identify areas for improvement or growth.
  • Prepare for potential threats or challenges.
  • Take advantage of opportunities.

How to Conduct a SWOT Analysis?

  1. Gather a team from a variety of roles within your organization.
  2. Define your objective or goal.
  3. Brainstorm each category: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
  4. Prioritize or rank each item based on its impact.
  5. Develop a plan of action to leverage strengths, minimize weaknesses, capitalize on opportunities, and mitigate threats.

Top Takeaways 

  1. SWOT analysis is a powerful tool for understanding your business's current position and informing strategic decisions.
  2. It's a structured way to identify your strengths and weaknesses and to examine the opportunities and threats you face.
  3. Regularly updating your SWOT analysis can help your business adapt to changes and maintain a competitive edge.

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