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posted Apr 2, 2013, 1:09 PM by Jageshwar Tripathi   [ updated Apr 2, 2013, 1:19 PM ]
Initially Satisfactory, Opportunity, Fault and Threat (SOFT) became Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunity and Threat (SWOT).

S - Strength - Internal factors which are positive in the organizations growth. Good at present from within the organization/its environment.
W- Weakness - Internal factors which are bad at present.
O - Opportunities - External factors which can help organization grow or achieve its goals. Good in future (external)
T - Threats - External factors which can harm organization in achieving its goals. Bad in future from external environment

 Present (Internal forces)
 Strength Weaknesses
 Future (External forces)
 Opportunity Threat

When to use

  • Business strategy planning
  • Assessment- Entering in to a new market
  • Assessment - Launching a new product
  • Assessment - A new business idea
  • Evaluating the competition
  • Review and analysis of business proposition
  • Position of a company and its business in the market
  • Assessment before acquisition or partnership 


Identify S W O T by finding out present good/bad things internally and future good/bad things you can foresee. These are some example categories to find out these things:

  • Unique thing about organization or product
  • What are your capabilities?
  • Core experience and knowledge area
  • Market reach
  • Location advantage compared to others or suitable for a business
  • Work of research, niche in an area
  • Competitive edge
  • Cost of your product or service
  • Value addition
  • People, assets and financial strength
  • Environment (infrastructure, systems and processes)

  •  Market reputation
  • Gaps in capability and skills
  • Weakness in knowledge and lack of experience
  • Limited or limitation in market presence
  • Distribution challenges, after sales service track record
  • Behind competition in areas
  • Issues of cash-flow, funds
  • Leadership and working culture of the organization
  • Behind competition/late in the market

 Opportunities Threats
  • New markets
  • New trends - lifestyle, technology, business
  • Competition's weaknesses
  • Niche areas
  • Need of better services and products (value addition)
  • New business due to globalization
  •  Usual big business and contracts
  • Merger/acquisition and partnership
  •  Local and global economy
  • Demand (less)
  • Finance and cash reserves
  • Legal and political
  • New competitors
  • New trends in technology and lifestyle
  • Resource availability (human and other)

Above list provides list of good and bad things or areas. What actions to take can be interpreted from those points but it is better to identify the actions using a systematic way 2X2 SWOT matrix. Using this one can find out areas where  there are opportunities as well and organization has strength so those areas should be leveraged and should be priority areas of focus. Similarly other combinations provide different actions or areas of focus.

2x2 SWOT Matrix

List of priorities
List of corrective measures
List of areas easy to handle

List of risk areas

Strength/Opportunities - First priorities - Where should we focus on ?
Weaknesses/Opportunities - Good options if overcome challenges/weaknesses - What should we correct?
Strength/Threats - Can be defended - What challenges can we handle?
Weakness/Threats- Risk - What risks we have to plan for?

Related things

PEST analysis

To analyse market and potential considering external factors. Whereas SWOT analyses business or proposition

Porter's five forces model

To assess and analyse competitive position of a business.


Case studies and samples: