The first two letters in a SWOT analysis (strengths and weaknesses) refer to internal factors. In other words, they refer to the resources and materials that are available to your business. These would include factors like:
- Human Resources: Target audience and employees
- Physical Resources: Hardware equipment
- Access to copyrights
- Current processes like software systems
It’s important to note and document external factors that may influence a project whether these factors are related to opportunities or threats. These may include aspects that your business does not control like:
- Political, legal and economic regulations
- Relationships with partners and suppliers
- Economic trends
- Market trends like changes in user needs as well as products and emerging technological innovations
These define the positive attributes that are within your control. A strength analysis should address questions like:
- What resources do you have?
- What does your business do well?
Strengths can also include tangible assets like established customers, equipment credit, available capital or budgets, processing systems, and other sources of value at your business’s disposal.
Weaknesses are defined as factors that are within your business’s control but for certain reasons require improvement in order to effectively accomplish business objectives.
Weaknesses may include:
- Lack of access to the right technologies
- Limited technical skill set of employees
- Lack of expertise
- Limited technical or other resources
Determine which areas the proposed solutions for a project can improve to assess their feasibility.
An effective way of assessing opportunities is to analyze strengths and identify whether any of them are open to opportunities. Similarly, weaknesses can also help you recognize opportunities for improvement.
The threats your business faces while implementing a project is perhaps the most important considerations of a SWOT analysis. A threat is a challenge that may lead to deteriorating revenue or profit if not checked. For instance, competition is a threat. Other threats may include economic downturns or in this case, downtime or technical issues. The better you are in identifying these threats, the better you can position yourself to address and solve them as they appear.