Shore up your business strategy with a SWOT analysis
When your team needs to give a project careful consideration, a SWOT analysis built with a Post-it® Super Sticky Easel Pad and Post-it® Super Sticky Notes can help illuminate its pros and cons and find solutions for how to move forward.
A SWOT analysis is an easy-to-use solution to help teams appraise different business opportunities. It combines elements of competitive analysis and gap analysis to build a comprehensive picture of a business.
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats — and each category offers your team the chance to look at what you’re analyzing clearly and objectively.
The origins of SWOT analysis are difficult to pinpoint. It’s most often credited to two Harvard Business School (HBS) Policy Unit Professors, George Albert Smith Jr. and C. Roland Christensen, who came up with the idea in the early 1950s. Later in the 1950s, their colleague Professor Kenneth Andrews developed its usage and application. The HBS unit continued to develop SWOT during the 1960s into the tool we use today.
How to do a SWOT analysis
SWOT analysis can work for almost anything — a business plan, a project, an idea or even a job candidate. Small teams can use SWOTs to gather different perspectives to make informed decisions. Follow this approach to get started, or create a variation that suits your team’s unique needs.
- Choose the idea or project you want to analyze. Put four easel pad sheets on a wall and label them as follows:
- Strengths: What advantages does this idea offer?
- Weaknesses: What disadvantages does it offer?
- Opportunities: What can we do to improve or add to it?
- Threats: What are the risks or potential problems involved?
- Ask your team to write down the strengths of your idea on sticky notes (you can use the Strengths prompt above to guide your thinking). Place the sticky notes on the easel pad sheet labeled “Strength.”
- Repeat Step 2 for Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
- Once you’ve completed the processes, discuss the diverse thoughts written on each sticky note. Refine them down to the most important items for each SWOT category.
- Attach one more easel pad sheet to the wall. Draw a square and divide it into four quadrants: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Attach your refined sticky notes to their respective quadrants to get the final SWOT for your project or business.
By visualizing these positive and negative factors as a team, you’ll enable every voice to be heard and drive deeper assessment of the topic under discussion. And who knows — your SWOT analysis just might inspire strategic possibilities you’d never considered.