How to Write a SWOT Analysis Paper; including Template, Table, Example, and Video

A SWOT Analysis, which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, has become a foundational tool for organizations seeking to assess their market position. It is widely employed to examine both the internal and external factors influencing an organization's operations.

Visual PMP Academy
October 19, 2023

How to Write a SWOT Analysis Paper: With Template, Table, Example, and Video


“The success of any opportunity is a function of the strength of the person executing it. ”
Sukant Ratnakar, Quantraz

SWOT Analysis: An Introduction

A SWOT analysis, which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, has become a foundational tool for organizations seeking to assess their market position. It is widely employed to examine both the internal and external factors influencing an organization's operations.

In today's competitive business landscape, companies must seize every available opportunity to enhance their growth prospects. Given the significant degree of uncertainty that businesses often face, SWOT analysis serves as a valuable tool for identifying an organization's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats within a given project or initiative.

 Moreover, SWOT analysis aids in providing a comprehensive view of the disparities between current conditions and future plans while shedding light on the prevailing competitive landscape.


→ Download Now: SWOT ANALYSIS Free Template by Clicking the Below Button

What is SWOT Analysis?

SWOT Analysis is a tool that enablesorganizations to systematically evaluate their internal strengths andweaknesses, such as their core competencies and areas needing improvement,alongside external factors like market trends and competition.



By identifying these critical elements,companies can craft more informed and effective strategies, ensuring alignmentwith their overall vision and goals. Moreover, SWOT analysis plays a crucialrole in guiding businesses to enhance their brand presence, optimizedistribution channels, and foster innovation to stay competitive and relevantin their respective markets.

→ Download Now: The 50 SWOT ANALYSIS Question You have to Ask before Youstart Planning Your Project

Blind Spots in Business

Business blind spots are those elusive issuesthat often escape notice but possess the potential to wreak havoc across anorganization. Whether manifesting as stagnant growth or an alarming employeeturnover rate, overlooking these blind spots can spell trouble for a company'sstrategic endeavors.

For instance, during the 1990s, many mobilephone companies placed excessive emphasis on hardware development at theexpense of software. This short-sighted approach left them ill-prepared forfuture technological advancements and ultimately led to their downfall. Intheir rush, they failed to appreciate the significance of software applicationcompatibility, resulting in phones unable to support beloved games from theirpredecessors. This oversight underscored a disconnect from customer needs.

Similarly, the unwavering commitment of analogcamera companies to traditional technology hindered their adaptability to thedigital age, jeopardizing their competitive position and market dominance.


Understanding SWOT Analysis Definition

SWOT Analysis offers a lens through whichcompanies can uncover untapped opportunities that may lie beyond their currentinnovative capacity. By undertaking a SWOT analysis, organizations can foster aculture of innovation, creating a forum where a diverse range of innovatorswithin the company can not only voice their ideas but also gain recognition.

This analysis method serves as a valuable toolfor comprehensively evaluating various facets of a business in terms of itsstrengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. SWOT analysis places equalemphasis on both internal and external factors critical to achieving acompany's objectives. While internal factors are attributes that a business cancontrol, external factors represent elements beyond the company's sphere ofinfluence.

SWOT analysis is a strategic planningtechnique that involves identifying internal strengths and weaknesses, as wellas external opportunities and threats, to inform organizational strategies. Thefour components of SWOT analysis help categorize these factors, with eachcomponent addressing either internal or external considerations.



Strengths in the context of SWOT analysisencompass the internal attributes and resources that enable an organization toachieve its objectives. These are distinct advantages and internal competenciesthat provide a competitive advantage in the market. Examples of strengths mayinclude:

·        Robust production capabilities

·        Effective marketing expertise,

·        A well-established supply chainnetwork, or

·        A strong brand reputation.

Recognizing and leveraging these strengths cancultivate customer loyalty and establish a sturdy groundwork for furtherexpansion.



Weaknesses pertain to internal factors thatimpede organizational achievement. These are internal facets where challengesmay arise or potential may not be fully realized. Examples of weaknesses canencompass:

·        An outdated or inadequate productline

·        Increasing production costs, or

·        A lack of effective marketingexpertise.

Recognizing these weaknesses allows for thedevelopment of targeted improvement strategies, the enhancement of team skills,the adoption of new technologies, and overall operational efficiencyenhancement.



Opportunities, within the SWOT analysisframework, encompass external factors that support an organization in achievingits objectives. These factors extend beyond mere positive environmental conditions;they also represent chances to bridge gaps and initiate novel initiatives.Opportunities are external elements that have the potential to propel yourcompany forward. This can encompass:

·        Expanding into international markets

·        Capitalizing on unmet customer demands, or

·        Overcoming international trade barriers.

Capitalizing on these opportunities enables you to broaden your market presence, diversify your product portfolio, establish strategic alliances, and potentially venture into unexplored territories.




Threats refers to elements within the organization's external environment that act as obstacles or potential hindrances to goal attainment. Threats represent external factors that are outside your sphere of influence and can present difficulties for your business. Examples of threats include:

·        Shifts in consumer preferences,

·        The emergence of substituteproducts, or

·        Changes in legislation.

By engaging in proactive evaluation and mitigation,you can formulate contingency strategies, adapt your approaches, and mitigatethe adverse effects of these threats on your business operations.


Why is SWOT Analysis Important?

SWOT Analysis is a vital tool for businesses,offering a straightforward approach to evaluate their current status andanticipate future outcomes. It provides a realistic understanding of thebusiness strengths and weaknesses, and understand any consequences of currentprocesses and operation. This structured framework aids in strategicdecision-making, resource allocation, and risk management, ensuringorganizations are well-prepared to leverage opportunities and address potentialthreats.


How To Do A SWOT Analysis

Establish Your Objective

Whether integrated into strategic planning orapplied for a specific decision, it's crucial to orient the SWOT analysistoward a clear objective. This ensures a focused assessment of both internalstrengths and external challenges relevant to the goal at hand. Maintainingmanageability in the analysis is vital, avoiding an excessive number of keypoints and instead concentrating on essential considerations.

Defines Roles and Responsibilities

In a SWOT analysis, the facilitator's role isto guide rather than dictate the group's actions. A competent SWOT facilitatorshould possess strong listening, communication, and group process skills. Whilethe facilitator is responsible for ensuring adherence to procedural guidelines,it's the team itself that collaboratively establishes these rules.Leadership-oriented responsibilities revolve around creating an environmentthat encourages all team members to engage in open, honest communication andmaintaining discussions on the right track.

During the planning phase, the facilitator maydivide a large group into smaller teams, establish procedures for collectingand organizing the work of these teams, and decide on the format for presentingthe session's outcomes. Presentation options may include having each teamdeliver their results, following the sequence of the SWOT acronym, or based onpriority order.

Collectand Confirm Data Accuracy

Data collection and accuracy confirmation areintegral components of the SWOT analysis process. To effectively identifycritical factors, it is essential to ensure the accuracy of the data used,whether it pertains to the organization's monthly financial performance orcompetitive landscape. Managers play a crucial role in exercising soundjudgment as they gather and categorize information within the framework of thefour SWOT categories. During this process, honesty and a critical perspectiveare paramount. It's important to recognize that the objective of the SWOTanalysis is to comprehensively pinpoint both strengths and weaknesses, as wellas opportunities and threats, that either currently affect your business orwill result from your decision-making. This assessment is not an evaluation ofperformance; rather, it serves to identify areas with the greatest potentialfor positive transformation.


Ask Questions related to the Four Quadrants and List Your Ideas

Begin the SWOT analysis process by posingvaluable questions pertaining to each of the four quadrants: strengths,weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. These questions serve as a strategicfoundation for your analysis. After you've ensured the accuracy of your dataand generated these essential questions, you can start listing your ideas inthe respective quadrants. This systematic organization helps structure yourSWOT analysis effectively and ensures that you capture all relevant factors forcomprehensive strategic decision-making.

SWOTAnalysis Questions


• What are your notable skills and abilities?

• What positive qualities do you possess?

• What resources and advantages are at yourdisposal?

• What achievements are you most proud of?

• What personal values can aid you in reachingyour objectives?

• How do others perceive your strengths?


• What tasks do you tend to avoid due toself-doubt?

• Are there any personality traits that mighthinder your career progress?

• What disadvantages or limitations do yourecognize?

• Do any fears impede your advancement?

• What negative habits or characteristicsshould you address?

• Are there resources or knowledge you lack?

• In which areas could additional training oreducation be beneficial?


• How can you leverage your strengths to seizeopportunities?

• Are there ways to turn your weaknesses intoadvantages?

• Is there an unmet need within yourdepartment or field?

• What innovative actions can you take thatothers haven't?

• What changes are occurring in your industry,and how can you benefit from them?

• Are there emerging technologies that alignwith your goals?

• Do you have valuable contacts that cansupport your endeavors?



• What obstacles or challenges do youcurrently confront?

• Could your weaknesses pose a barrier to yoursuccess?

• Do any of your strengths inadvertentlyimpede your progress?

• Is your job role or industry undergoingsignificant changes?

• Are there any commitments, work-related orotherwise, that might limit your development?

• Do you face competition from others pursuingsimilar objectives?

• Are there industry or technological shiftsthat could jeopardize your success?


Plan your Strategy

 Once your SWOT analysis is finalized, it becomes a valuable resource for shaping your business's strategic planning. Take some dedicated time to contemplate the following aspects:

·        How can you further develop your strengths?

·        What measures or training can beimplemented to improve identified weaknesses?

·        In what ways can your strengths beleveraged to capitalize on the opportunities you've identified?

·        Can your strengths be employed tomitigate potential threats?

·        Will weaknesses hinder yourpursuit of opportunities?

·        Could weaknesses exacerbate thechallenges presented by identified threats?

By closely analyzing these factors, you cancreate a well-informed strategic plan that leverages your strengths, mitigatesweaknesses, exploits opportunities, and effectively addresses potentialthreats. This forward-thinking approach enhances your business's chances ofsuccess in an ever-evolving landscape.

Benefitsof SWOT Analysis

SWOT analysis provides several benefits tocompanies:

Spotting Blind Spots: SWOT analysis helps organizations uncover hidden issues orvulnerabilities.

Adapting to Change: It aids companies in adapting to changing circumstances and marketdynamics.

Informed Strategic Decisions: SWOT analysis informs strategic decision-making by offering valuableinsights.

Alignment with Mission and Vision: Aligning strengths with opportunities helps companies fulfill theirmission and vision.

Competitive Strategy Formulation: It assists managers in formulating competitive strategies tailored totheir business environment.

Exploring Market Opportunities: SWOT analysis identifies market opportunities that can create value.

Generating Alternative Options: It effectively generates alternative courses of action for a business.

Assessing Future Consequences: At the evaluation stage, SWOT analysis provides a preliminaryunderstanding of potential future outcomes.


Tableof SWOT Analysis

Visualizing your SWOT Analysis can be simplifiedusing a table format. Arrange each of the four sections into separatequadrants: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Within eachquadrant, input data points corresponding to the respective elements. Feel freeto list as many factors as needed for each quadrant. To efficiently organizeall components of your SWOT analysis, consider creating an outline first.Before designing your table, generate a list of each SWOT element to describetheir factors. Focus on identifying the most critical strengths, weaknesses,opportunities, and threats.

ReasonsFor Conducting a SWOT Analysis

Utilizing a SWOT analysis provides variousadvantages in different scenarios. For instance, when contemplating theintroduction of a new product, a SWOT analysis proves valuable in assessing howthis addition might impact your company, offering insights into potentialbenefits and drawbacks. Additionally, when your organization undergoespersonnel changes, conducting a SWOT analysis aids in understanding how theseshifts could influence your operations. Furthermore, when contemplating amerger or acquisition, a SWOT analysis offers essential insights into thepotential implications and opportunities associated with such strategic moves.



The SWOT analysis, which considers a blend ofstrengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, can be effectively employedto generate alternative strategies for a business. This approach provides aclear framework for aligning strengths and weaknesses with opportunities andthreats. Managers, by evaluating both internal and external factors, candevelop four distinct strategies: SO (strengths - opportunities), ST (strengths- threats), WO (weakness - opportunities), and WT (weakness - threats).

In summary, the SWOT matrix encompasses thefollowing strategies:

SO strategies: Capitalizing on opportunities.

ST strategies: Mitigating threats.

WO strategies: Identifying new opportunitiesthrough the improvement of weaknesses.

WT strategies: Shielding against threats byaddressing weaknesses.

How to Create a SWOT Analysis: A Step-by-Step Guide

 1. Access Free SWOT Analysis TemplatesOnline

Begin your SWOT analysis journey bydownloading free, customizable SWOT Analysis Templates online. These templatescome in various designs and are tailored for different industries andscenarios. By utilizing these templates, you'll gain valuable insights andpractical advice to simplify the creation of your SWOT analysis. They serve asan invaluable resource for strategic planning and decision-making.


2. Visualize Your SWOT Analysis in a TableFormat

Structure your SWOT analysis effectively byusing a table format, which divides the analysis into four distinct quadrants:strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This visual representationenhances clarity and simplifies the organization of data.


3. Define Your Scope: What Are YouAnalyzing?

Before diving into your SWOT analysis, clearlydefine the scope of your evaluation. Ensuring a well-defined scope isessential, as it keeps your analysis focused and relevant. For example, ifyou're embarking on a new product launch, your SWOT analysis should concentrateon aspects directly related to your product strategy.


4. Identify Internal Factors: Strengths andWeaknesses

Examine internal factors that impact yourbusiness. Identify your strengths, which may include unique advantages overcompetitors, brand perception, operational efficiency, and productdifferentiation. Simultaneously, pinpoint your weaknesses, such as lessprofitable business segments, resource gaps, and time-consuming processes.


5. Identify External Factors: Opportunitiesand Threats

Recognize external factors, both opportunitiesand threats, that influence your business environment. Highlight opportunitiesthat align with your product strategy, such as expanding your target audience,adopting new technologies, and exploring untapped market segments.Additionally, identify threats, including industry developments, competitiveactions, and emerging technologies, that could pose challenges to yourproduct's success.


To help with this process, ask yourself thebelow questions:




·        What Market Opportunities Existfor Your Product Strategy?

·        How Can Technological AdvancementsBoost Your Business Growth?

·        Which New Target Audiences CanYour Product Strategy Target for Success?




·        What Obstacles Could Impede theAchievement of Your Business Goals?

·        Are There Industry DevelopmentsThat May Challenge Your Product's Success?

·        How Can Emerging TechnologiesAffect Your Product Strategy?


This comprehensive SWOT analysis process aidsin informed decision-making, assists in crafting effective business strategies,and ensures you're well-prepared to tackle challenges and leverageopportunities in your industry.


WhatAre the Four Key Elements of SWOT Analysis?



Strengths in SWOT analysis are internalfactors that give an organization a competitive edge. A comprehensive list ofstrengths should emphasize core competencies and areas of excellence. Examplesinclude:


o   High Production Capacity

o   Effective Promotional Expertise

o   Efficient Goods Management Network

o   Recognizable Brand Name

o   Sound Economic Management

o   Strong Customer Trust

o   Diverse Product Lines



Weaknesses are internal factors representingareas for improvement. Identifying weaknesses helps an organization recognizeshortcomings and areas requiring growth. Examples of weaknesses include:


o   Outdated or Inadequate Product Line

o   Rising Manufacturing Costs

o   Limited Promotional Expertise

o   Inefficient Goods Management

o   Damaged Reputation

o   Costly Operational Structure



Opportunities are external factors beyond theorganization's control that can drive profitability and market expansion. Embracingthese factors can lead to growth and success. Examples of opportunitiesinclude:


o   Exploring Emerging Market Segments

o   Leveraging Advanced Technologies

o   Overcoming International Trade Barriers

o   Addressing Unmet Customer Needs

o   Expanding into Global Markets



Threats represent external factors that canaffect an organization's profitability and sustainability. Being aware of thesefactors helps in strategic planning and risk management.


Examples of threats include:


o   Increased Competition in the Industry

o   Shifts in Consumer Preferences

o   Availability of Substitute Products

o   Changes in Regulatory Environment

o   Trade Barriers and Tariffs


This structured approach to SWOT analysis empowers organizations to make informed decisions, capitalize on strengths, address weaknesses, exploit opportunities, and mitigate potential threats effectively.


A Sample Project SWOT Analysis Example


Let's explore the types of questions to ask when creating a SWOT analysis and craft our own project SWOT analysis as an example:




o   Access to Abundant, High-Quality Data for Informed Decision-Making

o   Membership in a Knowledge-Enriching Network with Valuable Contacts

o   Effective Risk Management Strategy for Infrastructure and Delivery




o   Limited Financial Resources: If the project has a constrained budget orlimited access to funding, it can hinder the execution of key initiatives.

o   Shortage of Time: Tight project timelines may limit the ability tothoroughly test and refine products or services before launch.

o   Limited Brand Recognition: A lack of brand awareness can make itchallenging to attract and retain customers in a competitive market.



o   Opportunities to Distinguish Your Organization from Competitors

o   Favorable Current and Projected Economic Trends Benefitting theBusiness

o   Potential Growth Opportunities for the Organizational Workforce




o   Risks Stemming from Inadequate Recruitment Processes

o   Threats to Product Quality and Integrity

Incorporating Other Strategic Models with SWOT Analysis:

Experts have found success by combining theSWOT model with various other strategic frameworks like the PESTEL (Political,Economic, Sociological, Technological, Environmental, and Legal) analysis,Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), and Porter's Five Forces model. Suchintegrations have enhanced the accuracy of results and empowered organizationsto make more robust strategic decisions aligned with their goals.


By conducting a SWOT analysis in your project,you can uncover key insights and formulate effective strategies to leveragestrengths, address weaknesses, seize opportunities, and mitigate threats,ultimately steering your project towards success.

SWOT Analysis vs PESTEL Analysis:

WhileSWOT delves into an organization's internal capabilities, PESTLE zooms out toscrutinize the external business environment. Often dubbed as "scanningthe business environment," PESTLE takes a broader, more holistic view ofthe market in which a business functions.


Historyof SWOT Analysis 

Theevolution of the SWOT analysis spans several decades, with its initial roots inthe early 1950s at Harvard Business School. The framework emerged as a resultof in-depth case study analyses conducted by Harvard professors, focused onevaluating organizational strategies in relation to their surroundingenvironment.

 However,some scholars trace the origins of SWOT to the 1960s at the Stanford ResearchInstitute, where it was employed to analyze Fortune 500 companies, aiming todevise an innovative approach to change management and control. Subsequently,the concept gained substantial traction after a significant business policyconference at Harvard in 1963, where SWOT analysis was extensively discussedand recognized as a groundbreaking advancement in strategic thinking.

 Inthe 1980s, SWOT analysis experienced a resurgence in popularity, with Hoskissonet al. (1999) noting its prominent position as a dominant framework in therealm of strategic management during the 1990s. Over time, the validity andaccuracy of SWOT analysis have been verified, leading to its widespreadadoption across various fields such as education, industry, and agriculture.


SWOTAnalysis in Healthcare

 Forhospitals and medical practices, a SWOT analysis functions as a vitalnavigational tool, akin to embarking on a cross-country journey. Just as youmust comprehend your starting point and your vehicle's current condition,conducting a SWOT analysis aids in setting milestones, understanding strengthsand weaknesses, spotting growth opportunities, and preparing for potentialthreats along the way. Think of it as the map guiding your way through thecomplex healthcare landscape, ensuring a clear understanding of your positionand prospects.


SWOTAnalysis in Education

 In the realm of education, a SWOT analysis provides a comprehensive understanding of a school's internal dynamics, including its strengths and weaknesses, while also uncovering potential opportunities and looming threats. Engaging various school stakeholders, such as parents, board members, staff, and students, allows for a holistic evaluation of the institution's standing. With a primary focus on management staff and board members, the SWOT analysis becomes an instrumental guide, facilitating effective decision-making and strategic planning.


SWOT Analysis in Project Management

 In project management, the SWOT analysis method serves as a critical means of evaluating a project's inherent strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. By enabling stakeholders to pinpoint specific project areas that demand attention and proactively address potential risks, this approach fosters a comprehensive understanding of the project's trajectory. Harnessing the power of a SWOT analysis empowers project managers and stakeholders to identify potential impacts on project success, paving the way for informed strategies that optimize project outcomes.



SWOT Analysis in Communication

 When integrated into communication planning, a SWOT analysis acts as a dynamic tool, enabling the identification of key communication goals and the formulation of strategic pathways to accomplish them. By emphasizing a comprehensive understanding of both internal capabilities and external challenges, this approach facilitates effective communication strategies tailored to the unique dynamics of the business environment.


SWOT Analysis in Social Work

 In the domain of human services and social work, SWOT analysis emerges as a powerful ally, fostering the enhancement of organizational efficiency and effectiveness. By providing a structured framework for identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, this method contributes to improved responsiveness, innovation, and collaboration. This analysis becomes instrumental in empowering social work organizations to adapt, grow, and effectively address the diverse needs of the community.


SWOT Analysis in Risk Management

 SWOT analysis, also referred to as internal-external analysis, serves as a valuable technique when combined with brainstorming methodologies to identify and document potential risks. Particularly useful for recognizing internally-generated risks within the organization, this approach focuses on the comprehensive evaluation of the organizational landscape. By leveraging the SWOT framework, risk management efforts gain a strategic edge, emphasizing proactive identification and mitigation of risks to ensure organizational resilience and sustainability.



SWOT Analysis in Power Point:

Utilize a complimentary SWOT Analysis PowerPoint template to seamlessly incorporate your strategic insights into your presentations.


SWOT Analysis in Word:

Access a free SWOT Analysis Word template to articulate your project's key elements with precision and clarity in your documentation.


 SWOTAnalysis in Excel:

Leveragea free SWOT Analysis Excel template to meticulously organize and analyze yourproject's critical factors, facilitating informed decision-making andsuccessful outcomes.


SWOTAnalysis Questions:

·       How does the economy impact your organization?

·       Do you have trained staff available for crisis assistance?

·       What specific outcomes does your program aim for throughpartnerships?

·       Will technological advances open the door for new marketcompetitors?

·       What are the struggles you faced while launching yourbusiness?

·       How effective is your organization's policy influence?

·       What are the notable strengths of your workforce?

·       What customer service complaints have you received?

·       How does the SWOT analysis impact your business strategy?

·       Is your IT department adapting to changing technologies?

·       What resources could you combine to create a new approach?

·       Are your colleagues competing with you for projects or roles?

·       What key benefits will be emphasized in your project?

·       What are the main challenges your business finds difficult toovercome?

·       How secure is your organization's financial position?

·       How do consumers prefer to purchase your product or service?

·       What are the obstacles you face within your organization?

·       Are there any significant changes in technology affectingyour industry?

·       What sets your organization apart from others?

·       Where do you apply your strengths in the organization?

·       How do consumers typically discover your product?

·       What kind of relationship do your target audience expect fromyou?

·       What is the biggest challenge your IT services encounterwithin your system?


Final Thoughts

To compete in today's technology-driven world, it's essential touse effective tools like SWOT analysis. This helps management identifyobstructions and anticipate potential issues to stay competitive. Using SWOTanalysis, companies can gain insights into financial benefits, customer needs,and potential threats and figure out ways to address them.

SWOT Analysis is a helpful tool to identify potential risks and areas of weakness in your organization's performance that may have gone unnoticed. Utilizing it cautiously and in cooperation with others, it has the potential to provide fresh perspectives on your company's present status and aid in the creation of tailored strategies for any circumstance.


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Global Business Insights Vol 6, Iss.1(2021), Art 5, pp. 55-73    


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