What's your SWOT

SWOT analysis

Have you heard of the SWOT analysis but you don't know exactly what the individual components are? In the following article, we will explain how you can create a SWOT analysis using a simple example.

  • SWOT Analysis Definition and Example SWOT Analysis - Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats
    in the text
  • What is a SWOT analysis? - SWOT matrix
    in the text
  • SWOT analysis case study
    in the text
  • Strengths weaknesses analysis
    in the text
  • Opportunities and Risks Analysis - SWOT Analysis Example
    in the text
  • in the text
  • SWOT analysis strategies: S-O strategy and S-T strategy
    in the text
  • W-O strategy and W-T strategy
    in the text

SWOT Analysis Definition and Example SWOT Analysis - Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats

The SWOT analysis consists of two areas: a company analysis and an environmental analysis. The former deals with the strengths and weaknesses of the company you are advising.

The environmental analysis focuses on external factors. These are opportunities and threats that await the company in the market. The analysis and the name SWOT are composed of these four factors.

What is a SWOT analysis? - SWOT matrix

Four basic questions are central to the SWOT analysis. So that you can imagine it better, let's take a look at it graphically: In the event that we focus on opportunities and strengths, our question is: Do we have the strengths to take advantage of our opportunities? When it comes to opportunities and weaknesses, we have to ask ourselves: are we missing opportunities because of our weaknesses?

When we look at the combination of strengths and risks, it's all about what strengths we use to counter the risks. And last but not the least, let's consider the unsightly scenario of risks and weaknesses. Here we ask ourselves: What risks are we exposed to because of our weaknesses?

SWOT analysis case study

Let's take a look at the whole thing using a SWOT analysis example. Let's take a library for our analysis. The SWOT analysis serves on the one hand to position the library in the market, on the other hand it identifies possible need for action and helps it to concentrate on the most important influencing factors. For this, the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for our library must be defined.

Strengths weaknesses analysis

We will now start the strengths and weaknesses analysis with our strengths as a library: We have a high level of information and media competence and free access to both. Furthermore, our employees are very motivated. A library is also demonstrably the most frequented cultural institution with a low-threshold offer. Unfortunately, we also have some weaknesses.

This shows a lack of willingness to innovate in our library and our customers complain about a lack of orientation to their wishes. In addition, the administration is quite inflexible. Another problem is the low radiance due to our old-fashioned image. Radiance here means how present the library is in the minds of customers. To change that, marketing and lobbying would be needed. However, we often have insufficient financial resources for this.

Opportunities and Risks Analysis - SWOT Analysis Example

Our chances are that we enjoy a positive perception as a place of learning in public and that information is a central component of the added value. Customization is also a great opportunity for us to develop a unique selling point. In addition, the phenomenon of lifelong learning is becoming increasingly important.

These opportunities are in turn offset by risks, in our case high competition from online providers and downloads of e-books. In general, there is only a small selection of e-books in our library. Libraries are also increasingly struggling with budget cuts, partly due to a significantly reduced interest in reading.

SWOT matrix

The strict separation of external opportunities and internal strengths is particularly important. This is where errors occur most often when performing the SWOT analysis. You also have to note that a SWOT analysis describes states and not strategies. Strategies are only derived on the basis of the results of the matrix.

SWOT analysis strategies: S-O strategy and S-T strategy

They are always developed on the basis of a combination of two factors and take into account the questions asked beforehand. The following combinations for strategy development are possible:

Strengths & Opportunities: S-O strategies are about developing strategies that show how opportunities can be exploited through the strengths of the library. Let's break that down to one chance and one strength. How can we use the lifelong learning phenomenon through the strengths of the library? Since we have free access to almost unlimited knowledge and almost all media in the library, we can start here. For example, the library could offer seniors a free trial membership to help them familiarize themselves with the new media.

Strengths & Threats: S-T strategies are about developing strategies that show which library-internal strengths can be used to avert external risks.

Here, too, we are looking at a strength again, but this time in connection with a risk: A current problem is the dwindling interest in reading. The library can counteract this through its strength in information and media competence. For example, one could organize readings with well-known writers and advertise them intensively. Contact with the authors could lead to a greater interest in the books and thus in reading.

W-O strategy and W-T strategy

Weaknesses & Opportunities: W-O strategies are about developing strategies that show how the library's external opportunities can be used to compensate for internal weaknesses.

Let us assume the following: Our weakness is the library's low charisma. On the other hand, there is the external chance of positive perception as a place of learning. The library must now try to develop this opportunity in order to counteract its low charisma. She could achieve this by, for example, hiring professionals and thereby improving her marketing.

Weaknesses & Threats: W-T strategies help libraries develop “defense plans” to protect themselves from external risks and the effects of internal weaknesses. They often serve as an early warning system. For example, the library runs the risk of its budget being cut. At the same time, one of their weaknesses is too little marketing and lobbying.

To counter this financial risk, one could try to improve lobbying and marketing. So precautions must be taken to face the worst case scenario. One option would be to raise funds or host a charity event for the library.

Based on the results of the SWOT analysis, the library can therefore estimate quite well what it has to do in order to remain competitive in the future.