What is the SWOT tool?

What is SWOT?

Many people wonder what SWOT is all about. It’s a method of strategic analysis used in business management. The acronym SWOT represents the four elements that this analysis takes into account. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

Strengths: These are the positive internal aspects of the company. Such as its distinctive skills, resources, expertise, reputation, etc.

Weaknesses: These are the negative internal aspects of the company. Such as gaps in skills, limited resources, inefficient processes, etc.

Opportunities: These are the positive external factors that could have an impact on the business. These could be new market trends, favourable legislative changes, new technologies, etc.

Threats: These are negative external factors that could pose risks to the business. These may include increased competition, changes in regulations, market developments, etc.

SWOT analysis aims to help an organisation identify its competitive advantages. To understand areas for improvement, exploit market opportunities and guard against potential threats. It is a versatile tool often used in the strategic planning process to guide future decisions and actions.

In short, SWOT is a mnemonic to help you remember the four key aspects analysed in the SWOT strategic analysis tool.

What is a SWOT analysis?

SWOT analysis is a strategic planning technique used by companies to assess their internal strengths and weaknesses. As well as the external opportunities and threats that can influence their performance. This method aims to provide a holistic view of a company’s situation, helping to develop effective strategies.

Here’s how a SWOT analysis usually works:

  • Strengths: Identify the company’s internal strengths. Such as distinctive skills, solid resources, reputation, competitive advantages, etc.
  • Weaknesses: Identify the internal aspects that can be improved or that are obstacles. Such as skill gaps, limited resources, inefficient processes, etc.
  • Opportunities: Look at external opportunities that the business could exploit. Such as new markets, emerging trends, potential partnerships, etc.
  • Threats: Identify external factors that could represent risks. Such as increased competition, regulatory changes, market fluctuations, etc.

Once these elements have been identified, companies can develop strategies. Strategies that capitalise on strengths, mitigate weaknesses, exploit opportunities and guard against threats. SWOT analysis is often integrated into the strategic planning process to help companies make decisions. And to adjust their strategy according to the internal and external context.

What is the purpose of analysing the SWOT matrix?

The main objective of a SWOT analysis is to provide a comprehensive assessment of a company’s situation. By identifying and examining its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This analysis aims to help an organisation understand its current position in its environment. And to develop appropriate strategies and make informed strategic planning decisions. Here are some of the specific objectives of a SWOT analysis:

Capitalising on strengths: 

Identifying the company’s strengths enables it to exploit them to the full, reinforce its competitive advantages and optimise its performance.

Mitigate weaknesses: 

By understanding internal weaknesses, the company can take steps to mitigate them and improve its processes. And strengthen its skills and resolve existing problems.

Exploiting opportunities: 

Identifying external opportunities enables the company to take advantage of market trends, new partnerships, growth niches, etc., to drive growth.

Protecting against threats: 

By identifying external threats, the company can develop strategies to protect itself, anticipate risks and adapt to changes in the business environment.

Facilitating strategic planning: 

SWOT analysis provides a solid basis for strategic planning, enabling a company to make informed decisions about its objectives, priorities and future actions.

Internal communication: 

Facilitate communication within the company by involving stakeholders in the identification of key factors and promoting a shared understanding of the situation.

In short, SWOT analysis aims to provide an in-depth understanding of a company’s situation. And to maximise its advantages, minimise its weaknesses, exploit market opportunities and guard against threats. All with the aim of formulating relevant strategies and strengthening the company’s competitiveness.

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Carrying out a SWOT analysis involves a series of systematic steps to assess a company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Here is a step-by-step guide to conducting a SWOT analysis:

How to do a SWOT analysis :

Identification of Strengths:

  • List the positive internal aspects of your company.
  • Identify distinctive skills, resources, competitive advantages, reputation, etc.

Identification of Weaknesses: 

  • Examine the internal aspects that need to be improved.
  • Identify gaps in skills, limited resources, inefficient processes, etc.

Identification of Opportunities:

  • Explore the positive external factors for your business
  • Identify new market trends, potential partnerships, market niches, etc.

Identification of Threats: 

  • Assess the negative external factors that could affect your business.
  • Identify increased competition, regulatory changes, market developments, etc.

Grouping information:

  • Organise your observations under the categories of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Cross analysis:

  • Explore the relationships between strengths/weaknesses and opportunities/threats.
  • Identify strategies that capitalise on strengths to exploit opportunities, mitigate weaknesses in the face of threats, etc.


  • Rank the elements according to their importance and impact.
  • Identify the key areas on which to focus your efforts.


  • Develop strategies based on the findings of your SWOT analysis.
  • Exploit strengths, mitigate weaknesses, exploit opportunities and mitigate threats.


  • Integrate the strategies into your overall action plan.
  • Allocate resources and set deadlines.


  • Periodically, re-evaluate your SWOT analysis to adapt to changes in the business environment.

The SWOT analysis is often represented in the form of a four-quadrant table, with strengths and weaknesses. In the top two columns and opportunities and threats in the bottom two columns. However, it can also be presented in the form of a list or diagram, depending on the company’s preferences. 

Analysis of the strengths of your SWOT matrix:

Strengths analysis in the SWOT method focuses on identifying the positive internal elements that give a company a competitive advantage. These strengths are assets that enable the company to stand out, succeed and prosper in its competitive environment. Here is a detailed explanation of the Forces analysis in the SWOT matrix:

  • Distinctive skills: Strengths can lie in the company’s unique skills and capabilities. This may include technical skills, specialist knowledge, patents, etc.
  • Solid Resources: Tangible and intangible resources such as advanced technologies, modern production facilities, strong brands, solid financial capital, etc., are strengths.
  • Competitive advantages: Strengths can be derived from competitive advantages such as lower production costs, superior quality of products or services, efficient distribution, etc.
  • Positive reputation: A solid reputation in the market, customer trust, brand loyalty and a positive image are crucial strengths.
  • Staff expertise: The skills, knowledge and experience of staff can be a significant strength.
  • Networks and Partnerships: Strategic alliances, strong partnerships and extensive networks can strengthen a company’s position in the market.
  • Innovation: The ability to innovate, to introduce new products or services, and to stay at the forefront of technology can be significant strengths.
  • Operational Flexibility: The ability to adapt quickly to market changes and adjust operations can be a crucial strength in a dynamic environment.

The aim of Forces analysis is to enable a company to maximise its internal strengths, capitalise on its competitive advantages and strengthen its market positions. By understanding these strengths, the company can formulate strategies aimed at making the most of its strengths and maintaining or improving its competitive position.

Weakness analysis of your matrix using the SWOT method in marketing

Weakness analysis in the SWOT matrix focuses on identifying the internal aspects of the company that may hinder its performance or growth. These weaknesses represent areas where the organisation may face obstacles, limitations or deficits compared to its competitors. Here is a detailed explanation of the Weaknesses analysis in the SWOT matrix:

Skills gaps: 

Weaknesses can result from insufficient skills and knowledge within the business, whether at employee, management or process level.

Limited Resources: 

Financial constraints, limited human resources, limited access to capital or other resource limitations may constitute weaknesses.

Inefficient processes: 

Inefficient operating procedures, inappropriate workflows or management problems can be internal weaknesses.

Lack of Innovation: 

The inability to innovate, introduce new products or services, or keep up with market trends can be a significant weakness.

Dependence on Customers or Suppliers: 

If the business is heavily dependent on a small number of customers or suppliers, this can be a vulnerability in the event of changes in these relationships.

Unfavourable brand image: 

A poor reputation, perceived quality issues or customer service problems can be weaknesses.

Rigid organisational structure: 

An overly hierarchical organisation, with slow decision-making processes, can hamper the company’s responsiveness and adaptability.

Lack of diversification: 

Concentrating too much on a single market, product or service can leave the company vulnerable to market fluctuations.

The purpose of weakness analysis is to enable the company to recognise areas requiring improvement and adjustment. By understanding these weaknesses, the organisation can develop strategies to mitigate them, strengthen its capabilities and improve its competitiveness in the marketplace. It can also help prioritise investment and continuous improvement efforts.

What are the benefits of SWOT analysis?

SWOT analysis offers a number of benefits to companies and organisations, helping them to make informed decisions and develop strategies tailored to their environment. Here are some of the key benefits of SWOT analysis:

Comprehensive overview: 

SWOT analysis provides a complete overview of a company’s situation, taking into account both internal factors (strengths and weaknesses) and external factors (opportunities and threats).

Identification of priorities: 

This helps to identify key areas on which to focus efforts, highlighting strengths to capitalise on, weaknesses to mitigate, opportunities to exploit and threats to counter.

Strategic alignment: 

SWOT analysis promotes strategic alignment by helping a company to ensure that its objectives and initiatives are in line with its internal and external environment.

Decision Support: 

It facilitates decision-making by providing a solid basis for evaluating options and choosing strategies that maximise benefits and minimise risks.

Internal communication: 

SWOT analysis facilitates internal communication by enabling members of the organisation to understand and discuss strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, thereby promoting shared understanding.

Strategic Planning: 

It plays a key role in the strategic planning process, helping to define objectives, develop action plans and implement strategic initiatives.

SWOT adaptability: 

SWOT analysis encourages adaptability by enabling a company to periodically reassess its situation in the light of market changes, industry developments and new opportunities or threats.

Risk Management: 

By identifying potential threats, SWOT analysis helps to anticipate risks and put in place mitigation plans to minimise negative impacts.

Optimisation of strengths: 

This maximises the use of internal strengths, reinforcing the company’s competitive advantages.


A SWOT table enables a comparative analysis and evaluation by comparing the company’s strengths and weaknesses with the market’s opportunities and threats.

In short, SWOT analysis is a versatile tool that provides a holistic perspective, promotes informed decision-making and helps companies develop strategies tailored to their business context.

Example of a SWOT analysis

Here are a few concrete examples of SWOT analyses to illustrate how this method can be applied to different situations:

SWOT analysis in a technology company :

  • Strengths: Technological expertise, innovative patents, talented development team.
  • Weaknesses: Dependence on a key supplier, short product life cycle, R&D funding requirements.
  • Opportunities: Expansion into new markets, strategic partnerships, growing demand for new technologies.
  • Threats: Fierce competition, rapidly evolving technologies, constantly changing regulations.

Local restaurant : 

  • Strengths: Excellent local reputation, diversified menu, strategic location.
  • Weaknesses: Seasonal dependence, high raw material costs, weak online presence.
  • Opportunities: Customer loyalty programme, expansion of delivery service, special events.
  • Threats: Increased competition as new restaurants open, fluctuations in ingredient costs, changes in consumer food preferences.

Management student : 

  • Strengths: Analytical skills, internship experience, academic commitment.
  • Weaknesses: Lack of work experience, communication skills to be improved, limited professional network.
  • Opportunities: Additional internship opportunities, participation in networking events, professional development courses.
  • Threats: Intense competition for internship opportunities, fluctuations in the job market, high academic requirements.

These examples show how SWOT analysis can be adapted to different contexts to assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats specific to each situation. 

Internal and external factors:

1/ Internal SWOT factors :

Internal factors in SWOT analysis refer to elements that are specific to an organisation and have a direct impact on its performance. These factors are generally controllable by the company, which means that it can act on them to improve them. The two main internal factors are Strengths and Weaknesses. Here is a detailed explanation of each of these factors:

  • Strengths are the positive internal elements that give a company a competitive advantage.
  • They represent the assets and resources that the company can exploit to achieve its objectives and stand out in the market.
  • Examples of strengths: distinctive staff skills, cutting-edge technologies, strong brands, market positioning, efficient processes, etc.
  • Weaknesses are internal factors that can hinder a company’s performance and reduce its competitiveness.
  • They represent the areas where the company needs to improve in order to remain competitive.
  • Examples of weaknesses: lack of staff skills, operational inefficiencies, dependence on specific suppliers, rigid organisational structure, etc.

In short, the internal factors in SWOT analysis are the characteristics and aspects specific to the company that influence its ability to achieve its objectives. Precise identification of these factors enables the company to capitalise on its strengths and mitigate its weaknesses to improve its competitive position.

2/ SWOT’s external factors: 

External factors in SWOT analysis refer to elements outside an organisation’s direct control, but which can have a significant impact on its performance. These factors are often linked to the economic, social, political, technological and competitive environment in which the company operates. The two main external factors are Opportunities and Threats. Here is a detailed explanation of each of these factors:


  • Opportunities are positive external factors that the company can exploit to promote its growth and success.
  • They represent market trends, legislative changes, technological developments, or other external factors that can be beneficial to the company.
  • Examples of opportunities: new market demand, strategic partnerships, changes in consumer behaviour, geographical expansion, etc.


  • Threats are external factors that can pose risks or challenges to the business.
  • They include factors such as increased competition, market fluctuations, unfavourable regulatory changes, disruptive new technologies, etc.
  • Examples of threats: intense competition, volatile commodity prices, political instability, emergence of new and aggressive competitors, etc.

To sum up, the external factors in SWOT analysis are elements external to the company that can positively or negatively influence its performance. Precise identification of these factors enables the company to exploit opportunities and guard against potential threats, thereby helping it to develop effective strategies for dealing with its external environment.