What is a SWOT?

A SWOT analysis is named after its contents – where the business analyses its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.  Conducting a SWOT forms part of a situational analysis as part of a larger marketing plan.

The SWOT analysis of a company is a way to focus on areas of your business, the market and its environment. In summary, analysing its current and potential future positions.

An excellent framework has been proposed by Elliot et. al. 2017. A number of important questions to assist in identifying each component for your business to get you started.


Once the strengths of the business have been identified, a business should look to capitalise on these. Specifically by making them more prominent and emphasising them to its target market. Questions that can help discover the strengths of your business include:

    • What does your company do well?
    • What do your customers compliment you on?
    • What makes your company stand out from competitors?
    • What advantages does your company have when compared with others?


A company’s weaknesses are not necessarily a negative issue. If weaknesses are identified early, minimised and improved upon, they can become a positive. In particular, this reveals the importance of a good SWOT analysis. In order to discover weaknesses early on, ask yourself the following questions:

    • What doesn’t your company do well?
    • What do your customers complain about?
    • What are the unmet needs of your sales force?


Opportunities refer to external factors in the business environment that a business can exploit in order to improve their situation. The goal of identifying opportunities is to seize them and turn them into strengths over time. So, it is critical to continually reassess opportunities to take them as they arise. Such opportunities can be found by asking questions such as:

    • Are there emerging trends that fit with your company’s strengths?
    • Are there things that your competitors don’t do well?
    • Are customer and client tastes changing?
    • Are there any advantages now available in the market for potential growth?


Business threats must be identified early to prevent them from harming your business operations. Some tips which can help you identify threats include:

    • What do your competitors do better than you?
    • Are there emerging trends that threaten your business?
    • Are there any expected changes in regulations that may impact entry to a new market or sales levels?

How can I conduct a better marketing SWOT analysis?

While this framework is an excellent start, practice will make it easier to list more important factors for each component.

Moreover, obtaining input from other team members, or external sources may provide a fresh perspective. This method allows for important factors which may otherwise be missed.

Finally, reassess the SWOT on a regular basis. For example, as the business grows or your service or product offering changes. Other instances when the SWOT may need redoing are when relooking at competitors, or a change in the business environment.

For assistance with creating a SWOT or looking at a strategy for your business, get in touch with FWD Focus.