Posts Tagged ‘SWOT’

Example SWOT analysis and follow up action sheet built using Word & Excel

As we said in our article on SWOT analysis – The SWOT is a great tool for capturing information and issues relating to your business (in particular it can be used during strategic planning) – we also think it makes a great addition to a standard monthly management reporting pack.

Luckily you don’t need any special tools or software to produce a SWOT and the simple 4 box template is easy to setup in MS Word.

Due to the nature of a SWOT analysis capturing pieces of information that often require follow up actions we like to pair our SWOT with a simple action list which you can build in Excel – this takes the items captured within your SWOT and turns them into a simple plan with owners and review dates. Why do this? Well all too often you’ll construct a SWOT analysis and use it in a presentation or report but there is a tendency to forget all about it and move on to the next business issue – this simple action plan allows you to record those issues you need to follow up on in a simple straightforward way.


SWOTS can be easily constructed using MS Word – go for a 4 box (one for each element) or as we like to do a 3 x 3 this enables you to articulate which elements are internal/external and which are positive/negative attributes – this may not mean much to you but if your going to be communicating your SWOT to anyone unfamiliar with the tool it can be really helpful. The other thing to remember is when you add your inputs into the SWOT remember to number them so that you can refer to the numbers in your action tracker.

The Action Plan

We like to couple our SWOT tool with a simple action plan tracker that captures the inputs from the SWOT and turns them into a list that can be used to track activity and attribute owners. We’ve chosen to do this in Excel (but you could easily create a list in MS Word to do it).

Example SWOT video

SWOT Analysis Example

Following on from our article on the SWOT business tool we thought we should put theory into practice with an example swot analysis

For this example we we’ll take a look at a SWOT analysis from the perspective of a small manufacturing company.  Their looking to develop themselves and develop thier strategy to understand their issues and exploit their marketplace – well make some assumptions that it’s a niche provider and that it’s customers key drivers are cost and quality.

So jets get too it!

Brainstorming your SWOT Analysis

Firstly when brainstorming your SWOT it’s helpful to have some data around you – SWOT’s can sometimes be subjective which can lead to personal opinion getting in the way of fact.  But what should you consider?  We often like to think of four variables when building our SWOT.

People, processes, systems and Market

However you might want to also include key issues that affect your business (the above should give you a start!).

So let’s take a look at the SWOT




  • Loyal staff with low turnover
  • Existing long term order book
  • Established high quality product line
  • Strong design ties with customer product



  • Old inefficient capital equipment
  • High rate of yield
  • Bottlenecks in some production cells
  • Knowledge not shared evenly across workforce
  • Inefficiencies due to legacy IT system


  • Introduce effective IT system
  • Introduce new, more efficient, capital equipment
  • Expand customer base
  • Introduce training plan for all staff



·         Long term customer strategies to move to lower cost providers

·         Capabilities not aligned with market needs

·         Poor cash flow


What next

The SWOT should be seen as a planning tool and help in the strategic process and therefore the end result of your SWOT analysis should not be the SWOT by itself but coupled with an action plan that capitalizes on your strengths and mitigates your weaknesses and threats.


This last point is crucial without a plan to correct key issues your business could suffer as a consequence.


Finally consider the frequency you’ll review your SWOT this shouldn’t be a onetime only process regular SWOT assessments will help capture new issues and ensure appropriate action plans are delivering the changes required to keep our organization efficient and competitive.