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Businesses these days are becoming more self-aware about their abilities and flaws by using a planning tool called SWOT analysis. This tool helps them identify the different factors that influence how they approach the marketplace and possibly how they can dominate it. 

It also reveals their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and strengths. In this blog article, you'll discover what a SWOT analysis is and why it matters in business, as well as take a deeper look into the four parts of a SWOT analysis and their significance to your business. 

What is a SWOT analysis, and why does it matter to a business?

SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool that businesses make use of to both identify and evaluate their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. 
As Kenneth R. Andrews, Professor Emeritus at Harvard Business School, points out, "SWOT analysis is a valuable tool for strategic planning because it helps organizations assess their current position and anticipate future challenges. By identifying internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as external opportunities and threats, businesses can develop strategies that align with their objectives and maximize their chances of success in a dynamic environment." 
This tool reveals so much to businesses about the internal and external factors that are both their advantages and disadvantages. 
In the words of Peter Drucker, an Australian-American consultant and educator, "What the SWOT analysis does is uncover areas where the business is performing well and areas that need improvement." 
With SWOT analysis, you can carefully pinpoint the areas of your business that are working and those that are not, and then take the necessary steps towards making them better.

The Four Parts of SWOT Analysis Explained

The term "SWOT" is an acronym where "S" stands for strengths, "W" stands for weaknesses, "O" stands for opportunities, and "T" stands for threats. 

These four words that make up SWOT form the tool by which you can effectively identify and evaluate your business's present situation. 

On the surface, their significance may not be too obvious, but a further discussion on what they are will bring a clearer understanding of their significance and how you can make do with the information at your disposal. 

Using SWOT as a tool to analyze your business's present situation is what we often refer to as SWOT analysis. 

To understand what SWOT analysis is, it's important that you know that it attempts to evaluate both internal and external factors that influence a business generally. With this in mind, let's now take a close look at the four different parts:

Strengths: Revealing Your Inner Capabilities

Strengths in SWOT analysis refer to those internal attributes that a business, a project, or an individual possesses that make them stand out or get noticed in the marketplace. 

This is what we commonly refer to as their competitive advantage or unique selling points. Anything that reveals your inner capabilities could be one of your strengths. 

You can identify your strengths as areas of strong confidence in what you offer. It could be that your strengths lie in your core values of professionalism, customer-centricity, or operational excellence, and that you over deliver on your promises. 

It could also lie in having loyal customers, resources, strong networking in the industry, partnerships, premium product and service delivery, etc. 

It can be virtually anything and everything that you know you're confident about, which boosts your business's relevance in the marketplace. 

By identifying and evaluating these strengths in SWOT analysis, you can know the areas to channel more of your energy, with the potential to yield more returns. 

Weaknesses: Confronting Limitations and Challenges

Just as businesses have strengths, they also have areas of weakness. These weaknesses are internal factors that SWOT analysis identifies as limitations to the performance of businesses and their growth potential. 

The fact that they are internal means that the limitations or challenges come from within the business. 

Some of these internal factors could include a poor management system, the use of outdated technologies, limited financial resources, a lack of skilled labor, etc. 

These limitations can prevent your business from reaching its full potential. This requires that you pay keen attention to them because they are significant to the success of your business. 

With SWOT analysis, you could identify the internal challenges that could hinder your business's growth and then aggressively confront them with strategies that mitigate them.

Opportunities: Exploring External Possibilities

Opportunities in SWOT analysis refer to every possible chance that businesses have to experience growth. They are the external factors that present themselves as means for businesses to advance, if and when harnessed. 

These chances are always there for every business to take advantage of in the course of their journey. Often times, what it takes for businesses to make a shift is to recognize and explore the countless possibilities that are before them. 

These chances usually come in different forms. They could present themselves as trends that businesses could tap into by conducting market research, technological advancements for marker disruption, an unreached target audience, and a larger market share, just to name a few. 

Businesses could also conduct competitor analysis to know the areas that their competitors are not looking at and then effectively cover those areas. Any and every external factor that you could harness to make your business shift from one growth level to another can be an opportunity. 

By using SWOT analysis as a tool, you'll be able to carefully identify, evaluate, and explore them for your own benefit.

Threats: Mitigating External Risks

Threats in SWOT analysis refer to every external factor that risks the success of a project or a business. Some may not be as obvious as others, but they could still cause equal damage all the same. 

Threats differ from one industry to another, depending on which one your business falls into. For instance, threats to tech companies are not the same as those in service delivery; hence, you must identify them properly. 

One common threat that businesses, likewise yours, face is that of intense competition. Since the market is not a perfect system, there'll always be competitors in your industry. 

They pose a serious threat to your business because they will divide the market share, reducing profitability over time. 

Another factor that can be a threat to your business is the economic downturn. Instability in the economy can affect your business's growth by causing disposable income to nosedive, which in turn reduces the demand for products. 

Furthermore, the instability in the political climate of your country can pose a threat to your business through the uncertainties it come with, which invariably cause the demand for products to fall drastically. 

With the use of the SWOT analysis tool, you can both identify and evaluate possible risks to your growth and seek effective strategies to mitigate them. 

Integrating SWOT Analysis into Business Processes

Understanding the four parts of a SWOT analysis is only the first step towards unlocking its potential and significance in a business. 

The information from the analysis affords you the knowledge of how to use SWOT as a tool to identify and evaluate the internal factors—strengths and weaknesses—and external factors—opportunities and threats—that can determine the success of your business's journey. 

The next step is really important, and that is integrating it into the different processes in your business. With SWOT analysis, you can plan out strategies that you can implement to retain and improve your areas of strength, overcome your weaknesses, harness opportunities, and mitigate threats in your business. 

With what you get from the analysis, it'll inform your decision when developing a product that capitalizes on your strengths to give you a competitive advantage in the marketplace. 

You can also watch out for trends that pose opportunities that you could buy into. In general, integrating SWOT analysis with your business processes gives you a better chance at success in business.


The four parts of a SWOT analysis can reveal the integral fibers of your business. By frequently conducting a SWOT analysis, you can consistently evaluate your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats and come up with effective strategies to improve, overcome, harness, and mitigate them, respectively.
Ominigbo Ovie Jeffery | Founder of Business Blommer

I am an individual who believes in finding solutions to problems rather than magnifying one. With my zest, I proffer solutions within and outside the business world through article writing and leadership. I believe in growth, and I'm convinced that if we all channel our efforts towards growth across all endeavours, we'll achieve great feats.


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