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SWOT analysis (or SWOT matrix) is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats and is a structured planning method that evaluates those four elements of an organization, project or business venture.
SWOT is sometimes called Internal-External Analysis and the SWOT Matrix is sometimes called an IE Matrix.
Internal factors – the strengths and weaknesses internal to the organization. External factors – the opportunities and threats presented by the environment external to the organization.
characteristics of the business or project that give it an advantage over others.
characteristics of the business that place the business or project at a disadvantage relative to others.
elements in the environment that the business or project could exploit to its advantage.
elements in the environment that could cause trouble for the business or project.
Users of SWOT analysis must ask and answer questions that generate meaningful information for each category to make the analysis useful and find their competitive advantage.
The first two letters in the acronym, S (strengths) and W (weaknesses), refer to internal factors, which means the resources and experience readily available to you. Examples of areas typically considered include:
Financial resources (funding, sources of income, investment opportunities)
Physical resources (location, facilities, equipment)
Human resources (employees, volunteers, target audiences)
External forces influence and affect every company, organization and individual. Whether these factors are connected directly or indirectly to an opportunity or threat, it is important to take note of and document each one. External factors typically reference things you or your company do not control, such as:
Market trends (new products and technology, shifts in audience needs)
Economic trends (local, national and international financial trends)
Funding (donations, legislature and other sources)