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SWOT Analysis: The Subtleties of Conducting It

No matter what kind of business you start — a new business, a new product, or any other large-scale launch of an idea — you can’t do it without analytics. Often, analytics is imagined as a lot of numbers and complex calculations, graphs, and tables, which can be read only by an experienced marketer. However, before plunging into the world of numbers, it’s worth looking at the situation from another, slightly simpler angle: look at the market and competitors, assess the opportunities and risks, and compare your strengths and weaknesses. SWOT exists for this purpose, and this method can be used to analyze anything, even the Andar Bahar real cash game or your favorite meal. Let’s discuss how it works and when you should turn to the methodology.

What SWOT Is

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It’s essentially a four-cell square table that lists all the possible characteristics of your idea or product from all angles.

Note that the analysis evaluates the state of the object under study from both inside and outside. Strengths and weaknesses show the internal readiness to “jump” forward; opportunities and threats present external conditions for the start.

SWOT analysis for a company is the key to the right strategy. This methodology allows us to evaluate each of the parameters in detail, find out where the thing we are evaluating is now, and, based on the data, choose the most accurate strategy for further development.

How to Understand That the Time for SWOT Analysis Has Come

If you are wondering who needs SWOT analysis and whether it’s time for you to resort to it, the answer in any case will be — everyone needs SWOT. This methodology is applicable in almost any sphere and for any task. Let’s consider a few examples.

The methodology is necessary for marketers. Marketing deals with strategy building, analytics, and other nuances of promotion. SWOT analysis allows marketers to understand the state of the market and defend the strategy of promoting the current product or bringing something new to the market in front of the management based on the data obtained as a result of analytics.

CEOs and business owners themselves participate in the creation of such a strategy and seek to understand where the company is moving. The analytics show the big picture for the company and help identify bottlenecks to fix them. Often, the task of conducting SWOT falls to business analysts, who will dictate to the business owner the way forward.

Lower-level management also needs SWOT. With the help of the methodology, you can take a fresh look at your team. You can assess where the team is strong and where employees should be tightened up, what the department can influence within the company, and what can only be decided by the top management.

SWOT can also be useful for assessing your career strategy. As soon as you start to grow, it’s time to assess your strengths and weaknesses and see what outside helps you and what only hinders you.

What to Assess With SWOT

Depending on exactly who is using SWOT, the analysis can yield many answers:

  • Market launch of a new product — assessing risks and opportunities, calculating potential success. Everything is obvious: the company needs an understanding of the market and the potential of the new product. Analysis will allow you to see which strategy will come in handy best and where it’s better not to go. Here, the marketer assesses what needs to be improved in the product before it enters the market, what opportunities are worth learning more about, and what threats to avoid. 
  • The state of the company or individual team and how to strengthen employees. This is more about changing or adjusting strategy. You are working in a certain way; everything seems to be going well, but it seems that there is a chance to improve everything. Let’s look at a real-life example.

Types of SWOT Analysis in Marketing

There are as many as three types of SWOT analysis for finding complex solutions. Each has its own peculiarities:

  • Quantitative. The easiest way to assess what’s happening in the here and now is to  communicate it to management and employees. All you have to do is accept proven facts that no one doubts are true. In essence, it’s a box-ticking exercise — little effort is required at each stage, and the results are revealing.
  • Qualitative. Everything is more complicated; such analysis is carried out less often and is rather directed at global changes in strategy and the assessment of the position among competitors. Qualitative SWOT will give an understanding of the position not only in general but also in comparison with competitors and will help understand what factors are important at the moment and what should be postponed. This is an opportunity to prioritize hypotheses and develop faster, but this analysis will require more energy.
  • Correlational. Here, we take both methods and blend them together to see both the big picture and the detailed features. A great way to figure out what is going wrong with an existing strategy or to get out of a crisis or any difficulties.

Rules for Conducting a SWOT Analysis 

What is important to consider? SWOT is highly dependent on the factors it considers. So, to avoid distortion, it’s important to collect the most accurate and reliable information. If there are numbers, take the numbers. You shouldn’t take into consideration facts that at least a couple of participants in the process doubt. It’s best to narrow down the amount of data and not inflate the SWOT; then you will get the most accurate.

Clearly separate external from internal factors. Opportunities and threats always come from outside, while strengths and weaknesses are what you already have. You can’t control the opportunities and threats, but you can control the characteristics of the product (or anything else you are researching).

Reach out to colleagues. Of course, a novice can conduct a SWOT analysis and generate hypotheses alone, but the rule of thumb is: the more people, the better. The experience of your colleagues can help you not miss important issues and assess the situation correctly.

Typical Mistakes

It seems difficult to make a mistake in SWOT analysis, but in fact, mistakes most often occur in obvious things:

  • No objective. As with any analysis, conducting a SWOT analysis “just for fun” is pointless. The goal is always to solve a problem or build or change a strategy.
  • Data “out of your head.” Don’t rely on the fact that you know the market, competitors, and product well. Dig up information and mine the most accurate data.
  • Mixing external and internal factors. Don’t confuse product features with things you can’t control. Strengths and weaknesses are always inside, and opportunities and threats are outside.

Like any other analytical method, SWOT is a tool for understanding problems and solutions within a company, product, or even yourself. It’s easy to understand the quantitative version — start with it. And if you need to dig deeper, there are always experienced fellow marketers ready to help.

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