BUSINESS STRATEGY AND OBJECTIVES
Strengths the internal positive capabilities of the organisation, for example
ﬁnancial resources, motivated staﬀ or good market reputation;
Weaknesses the internal negative aspects of the organisation that will
diminish the chances of success, for example out-of-date
equipment and systems, unskilled staﬀ or poor management
Opportunities the external factors that present opportunities for success,
for example social changes that increase demand for the
organisation’s services, or the development of technology to
provide new service delivery channels;
Threats the external factors that have the potential to harm the
organisation, for example a technological development that
could enable new competitors to enter the market, or economic
diﬃculties leading to a reduction in market demand.
Using SWOT analysis
SWOT is used to summarise and consolidate the key issues identiﬁed when
analysing an organisation and its business environment. It follows the use of
techniques such as PESTLE (external) and Resource Audit (internal).
Once the SWOT has been developed it is then used as a means of evaluating the
organisation’s business situation and identifying potential strategies for the
future. A standard approach is:
Identify the new business improvements made possible by the opportunities
ﬁned in the SWOT.
Identify the business issues that may arise from the threats deﬁned in the
Consider the actions required to grasp the opportunities and address the
Identify the areas of strength that will enable the organisation to carry out
Identify the areas of weakness that could undermine any action taken.
Develop and evaluate strategic options for delivering success based on the
SWOT analysis is often employed in workshops, where techniques such as
brainstorming are used to identify the elements in each of the four areas.
However, this approach is not rigorous and can be too informal to produce a
comprehensive SWOT. There is the risk of missing signiﬁcant factors, such as a
looming threat or a major area of organisational weakness. A better approach is
to use formal techniques to derive the SWOT, which helps to ensure that all
relevant areas are considered and the key issues identiﬁed. Using techniques
such as PESTLE, Porter’s Five Forces and Resource Audit will provide a more