SWOT Analysis Template
What would be your first step when starting something new? Plan of action? Rushing into action immediately while the impulse is still strong? Your future success hugely depends on those first steps you take. They define how well and smoothly the whole process will go.
That’s why a comprehensive analysis of your idea is the best way to start a new project, college assignment, your own enterprise, etc.
SWOT Analysis is a simple yet powerful approach to evaluating your intent. The abbreviation stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. These are key objectives to consider before you start implementing your ideas.
If your analysis is not just for your eyes, you may need a nice-looking and structured SWOT analysis template to save time playing with fonts, colors, forms, etc. A free SWOT analysis template, which xTiles offers you, is the simplest way to analyze your future project or company from the most important for its successful completion angles.
What is a personal SWOT analysis?
SWOT analysis is an evaluation model for different kinds of tasks. Many people mistakenly believe that SWOT is only for business needs, and if you’re not a CEO of a huge company, you have no right to use it.
In reality, this basic method can be applied to many kinds of tasks and projects as long as they have Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats to contemplate.
The SWOT analysis definition speaks for itself. It helps you define and describe four factors that may affect your project at any stage. It is so good because it concentrates on internal and external factors, providing a 360-degree view.
However, there are disadvantages to this model too. While helping you find out where you stand, the SWOT matrix won’t help you come up with a plan of action. That’s why you will need to combine different approaches for a successful outcome.
So, if you decide to make SWOT the first stage of your project, it should be followed by thorough planning. Many business owners prefer to implement SWOT also to check whether their action plan has no breaches and will lead the company or team exactly where it should be.
Any business is about taking risks. And if you can prepare your plan for development and growth, you can not always prepare yourself for all the external threats and dangers that might come. SWOT Analysis helps you define what might become a problem in the future and what is a problem right now but hides behind other matters.
Who needs to use SWOT analysis
As we already said, you can use SWOT analyses for a wide variety of cases, and it will bring your positive results. However, you need to understand your objectives before you start analyzing. What is your initial goal?
Let’s take a look at some of the most common SWOT analysis examples.
- Recruitment process
Suppose you’re a recruiter who deals with many people daily. In that case, a SWOT matrix may become your best tool for making decisions or providing people who make decisions about hiring with all the needed information.
It will be especially useful for cases when you have many candidates for one important position.
Also, HRs may use SWOT analysis to be aligned with employees’ growth goals, hardships, and benefits. The tool will help you clearly understand who is who and what to expect from your colleagues.
- To help analyze your brand/company/organization/product and understand why your potential customers chose your competitors over you
Even the best product or brand has competitors. Probably, otherwise, development and growth would be impossible, and customers and consumers wouldn’t be the most important people in the world. However, striving to beat your competitors and win the audience is a feature of a business that wants to be successful.
SWOT Analysis will help you find out what may be the reason your potential customers still choose your competitors’ products over yours. It will help you to look at your and your competitors’ product from different angles and come up with the idea or ideas on how to change the ratio in your favor.
- For inspiration
Occasionally, everyone gets stuck with their tasks or projects, especially when they work on something similar for a long time. Eventually, goals lose their precise borders, and you can’t understand what exactly you need to do, and so on.
SWOT Analysis will help you to rebuild your connection with what you or your team are doing. Or it will help you build entirely new relationships with your company or product.
- Marketing campaign
That is one of the most popular cases when SWOT analysis becomes a central part of strategic planning and making decisions. It helps to find a project’s or product’s strong points that can be presented to potential customers or investors. Also, it will help define what needs to be changed to grow and develop.
A finished product usually differs from the initial idea. It came through many changes and many people with different visions, so no wonder it has evolved. Many marketers use SWOT to track those changes and how they affect the company’s goals.
- To evaluate smaller projects within a single department/bigger project
Breaking big tasks into smaller ones is one of the most important principles for effectively delivering a finished product. However, when many people are involved, it may be hard to keep track of whether everyone is aligned with the initial idea and with others.
SWOT Analysis will help keep everyone together even if everyone works on something different. Connection and collaboration within the project with many elements and participants are crucial for its success.
Project managers or department managers use SWOT models to ensure every team is effective and works toward the same result.
What are the four parts of a swot analysis?
We’ve already spoilered you with what SWOT stands for. Also, please note that the first two sections, i.e., Strengths and Weaknesses are the internal factors that you have, or at least must have, control over, while the external ones (Opportunities and Threats) aren’t in your power and come from outside, so the only things you can do about them are defining them, analyzing them, and being wary of them.
Now, let’s check in detail every element of this simple yet polished diagram.
That would be the part where you mention your strong points. What do you do particularly well? What are you proud of? What do others keep praising you for?
However, if you analyze your project and not your personal features, you need to put the project at the center of your questions. What advantages can your project offer to others? Why will it be useful for others? What will they find great about it?
For many, the part where you have to speak about your advantages and why you or your idea is fantastic is the hardest. In a world full of anxiety and low self-esteem, it’s super easy to fill the part of the diagram devoted to Weakness rather than come up with a few comprehensive advantages to convince yourself, your stakeholders, or your college professor that your idea deserves to live and be implemented.
We kindly ask you to give yourself some time while gathering the data for this part of your SWOT analysis. You may go and ask others’ opinions to get a better understanding of what you’re about to do. Sometimes, their judgments might be negative and better suitable for the next section. However, they may be what you yourself couldn’t see.
Now, you need to identify what needs improvement. These factors aren’t threats yet, but without you doing something/changing something, they might become dangerous.
Think about what is the hardest for you to achieve. Think of obstacles that prevented you from the desired outcome. Sometimes new and raw ideas seem perfect, with no hardships at all. If this is your case, give yourself some extra time for consideration.
You may check your strong points from the previous part and try to find their opposites. Still nothing? Well, maybe, indeed, you have come up with something magnificent. However, you may ask for other opinions once more. Other people are quick to come up with sour judgments, but that’s what we need (if they were fair) to move to the next part.
That part is where you can grow and develop. What has been there for ages, but you haven’t paid enough attention to it? What things/actions you neglected for different reasons can benefit your company or project?
If your project only starts, that diagram part will help you define where it may go. The longer your project exists, the harder it will be to find new opportunities. However, they may appear suddenly after some abrupt changes in society. For example, the CoronaVirus Pandemic significantly affected the world order we were used to, bringing many opportunities to many kinds of people and businesses.
That part will describe or at least count what you should be very well aware of to avoid losses. These obstacles may be only potential, which means they will not necessarily happen. However, preparing and discussing them now will take less of your resources than if you will need to resolve them on-site.
It is the last section, so sometimes people skip it because they are already tired or prefer not to think about a bad outcome. However, if you’re determined to get a clear and up-to-date SWOT analysis for your business or project, you must finish powerfully.
You may analyze your competitors, what threats they faced, and how they emerged clean from those difficult situations. Usually, others’ experience helps prevent similar difficulties or at least shows what to be aware of.
Now, you need to summarize your SWOT analysis with a well-defined action plan. Creating a strategy to move on according to what you’ve just found out is the natural continuation of your analysis. Otherwise, all your efforts and time will be wasted.
After you finish the xTiles SWOT Analysis Template, you may go on with other templates for strategic planning and management to create a great strategy for your business's success. Check our Template Gallery to find what you need.