In general, SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) refers to areas of analysis used to determine the position of a company in the market. Once identified, these same areas are generally used to develop a marketing strategy that capitalizes on internal and external factors. The strengths and weaknesses of SWOT analysis templates look at areas where the company excels and has liabilities that could hurt performance. Opportunities and threats tend to examine favorable market circumstances for the company, and potential obstacles from competitors or other external forces that may have a negative impact.
The type of SWOT analysis templates that could be used may largely depend on the area of analysis that is targeted. The template for a SWOT analysis is generally used as a layout or guide for the types of information necessary to complete the analysis. Using SWOT analysis templates reduce the time needed to make a good analysis of a particular strategy or area of concern. The template may help maintain focus on the objectives of the analysis. It is possible that the use of SWOT analysis templates will facilitate strategic analysis and planning.
When used to identify a company's strengths, SWOT analysis templates will typically outline the areas that contribute to success. Strengths may explain the company’s position in the market relative to its competitors and why these factors are considered strengths. This process basically involves identifying the core competencies that make the company effective. These may include the work environment, senior management team, and the productivity of the employees.
While a company may enjoy several factors that improve its market share, there might be areas where improvements are necessary. Identified as weaknesses, a SWOT analysis of potential liabilities may assist a company in creating a strategy to turn those weaknesses into strengths. Examples of weaknesses could be a limited cash flow or old technology.
Opportunities tend to refer to those areas that may lead to an expansion of business into new markets. Market trends may offer an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage over competitors. Using a SWOT analysis template to perform a trend analysis may help to devise a strategy that captures the opportunity before others.
Even the best strategy may suffer a set back if perceived threats are not identified before gravely impacting a business. Threats might be obstacles, advances by a competitor, or business regulations that could hamper growth. SWOT analysis templates for this area can possibly serve as an area to strategize a plan. The strategic planning might thwart the threat before it occurs, or prevent the full brunt of the threat on a company.