SWOT Analysis Example, Steps, and Importance at Work

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated August 25, 2022

Published October 18, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

In your personal and professional life, assessing subjects objectively can help you make informed decisions. A SWOT analysis is an effective technique for evaluating strengths, weaknesses, objectives, and threats. Reviewing examples of how to conduct SWOT analyses can help you gain more insights into evaluating your business, performance, product, or service. In this article, we provide a SWOT analysis example for businesses and individuals, describe how to perform these analyses, and explain why businesses and professionals use them.

SWOT analysis example for businesses

Here is a SWOT analysis example for a sales department:

Strengths

  • skilled sales professionals with an average of four years of experience

  • exceeded sales quarter target by 34% compared to the previous quarter

  • reduced average cold calling time by five minutes to enhance productivity and ensure sales success

  • made over 3,000 sales during peak business periods

Weaknesses

  • employees report feeling pressured to reach quarterly targets

  • consistent lower sales on Fridays as it's the week's end

  • reliance on cold pitches as the company has no business development department

Opportunities

  • competitor's products are more expensive

  • angel investors and venture capitalists show interest in partnerships

  • market research and customer analysis indicates improved brand awareness

Threats

  • new competitors launching more exciting products

  • shoppers increasingly look for products on alternative search engines

  • industry leaders have twice our company's market share

SWOT analysis example for individuals

Here is a personal SWOT analysis example for an accountant looking to advance their career:

Strengths

  • completed a bachelor's degree program in accounting three years ago

  • earned the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) certification

  • completed an accounting internship at a top management consulting firm

  • show passion for managing a company's cash flow

Weaknesses

  • introverted and find it challenging meeting new clients

  • find multitasking and dealing with stressful situations challenging

  • uncomfortable speaking to an audience and presenting information

Opportunities

  • taking an online course on presentation and leadership skills

  • volunteered to speak at an upcoming networking event in Manitoba

  • joined a professional accounting organization and connected with more experience accounting professionals

Threats

  • manager reluctant to delegate more responsibilities

  • employer limited the number of training programs

  • company is looking to merge with an industry leader

How to perform a SWOT analysis

Here are the steps to perform a business or personal SWOT analysis:

1. Define your subject

Determining the subject you want to analyze is typically the first step to complete a SWOT analysis. Doing this can help you gain clarity in your expected result and focus on relevant aspects of performing your analysis. Define the subject by making it clear and specific. Here are good examples of SWOT analysis subjects you may have:

  • readiness for a supervisor role

  • quarterly performance of a marketing team

  • effectiveness of company campaigns

  • readiness to change careers

2. List strengths

Strengths are skills, abilities, and qualifications that make you or a business valuable. If conducting a personal SWOT analysis, it may include your experience, education, or qualities. For business, it may include competitive advantage, corporate culture, market share, or recent strategies. Here are questions you might ask to identify your strengths:

  • What helps you accomplish goals?

  • What resources do you have?

  • What makes you unique?

  • What are your achievements?

  • What helps you achieve professional or personal goals?

3. Identify weaknesses

Weaknesses refer to aspects for improvement related to the subject you're evaluating. Along with strengths, weaknesses are internal factors for completing a SWOT analysis. Here are questions you might ask to identify weaknesses:

  • What makes achieving your professional or personal goals challenging?

  • What resources or technology are you yet to have?

  • What resources can help you achieve long-term goals?

  • In what aspects are improvements possible?

Related: Interview Question: "What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?"

4. Recognize available opportunities

Opportunities are elements that can improve your current situation. Consider all resources and market trends to determine available opportunities. Here are questions you might ask to recognize opportunities:

  • What technology would be useful in the future?

  • What is the perspective of clients and stakeholders about your brand or business?

  • Can a recent economic activity or market trend benefit you?

5. Understand potential threats

Threats are factors that can impact the subject you're evaluating. Along with opportunities, threats are external elements of a SWOT analysis. Here are inquiries to help you recognize potential threats:

  • Is the technology you currently use becoming obsolete?

  • What could put your brand or business at risk?

  • Do competitors have a competitive advantage over you?

  • Are new competitors making better offerings?

Related: Understanding How To Complete a Risk Analysis

6. Create a SWOT analysis framework

A SWOT framework is a box divided into four sections. If you're creating a personal SWOT, you can prepare this framework on a notepad, spreadsheet, or word processing software. Otherwise, it may be more helpful to have the framework on a whiteboard for team members to access.

7. Review the SWOT analysis framework

Reflect on each square on the framework to ensure you included the correct details. If analyzing a subject with a team, encourage collective participation. This can help you identify new perspectives and understand the SWOTs better.

8. Make conclusions

End your analysis by determining what the SWOT framework suggests. Record these conclusions and use them to plan your next steps. For example, suppose you're trying to determine a company's readiness to launch a new product. The conclusion of your SWOT analysis might suggest you proceed with the launch plan. Similarly, suppose you're conducting a SWOT analysis to determine whether to advance your career. Your conclusion might show that you have the required skills and experience to progress with your career development plan.

Tips for performing a SWOT analysis

Here are the best practices for conducting a SWOT analysis:

Create a timeframe for opportunities

While it's important to identify opportunities, you also want to have a timeline to use each. Many opportunities are short term, so identifying when they're available can help you take advantage of them. For example, suppose you discover that a company stock would become more valuable in a few weeks. You can create a timeframe to use this opportunity to reach your financial goals.

Read more: 11 Opportunities for Development To Improve Your Professionalism

Prioritize the most valuable strengths and opportunities

From your SWOT analysis, you may identify multiple strengths and opportunities. Focusing on the most important ones can help in reaching business or personal goals. For example, suppose you work for an agricultural institute, and your SWOT analysis shows that the business can start producing fertilizers and complete its ongoing agricultural project. You may prioritize completing the ongoing project to ensure business growth and development.

Understand and manage threats

View threats as challenges and try to understand how they might impact your goals. For example, suppose you identify competition among other personal trainers as a threat to getting more clients. You can see it as an opportunity to improve your skills and gain more experience. Remember that threats are typically outside of your control, and you can use the following ways to manage them:

  • gather market intelligence on competitors, consumer behaviour, and expansions

  • create an emergency fund for unexpected situations

  • consider hiring a public relations professional to address public perception of a threat

Related: What Are Threats in SWOT Analysis? (With Examples and Steps)

Consider using a SWOT analysis template

If you perform many SWOT analyses, you can use a template to simplify the process. A helpful template typically includes possible questions to ask about internal and external factors. It may also contain the SWOT framework for you to fill in the information. Depending on your reason for performing a SWOT analysis, you may share this template with team members, coaches, mentors, or executives.

Why do businesses use SWOT analyses?

Businesses typically perform a SWOT analysis to create strategic development plans. This technique is also common because of its versatility, and it may be useful in identifying factors that can affect business goals. Here are situations when a business might perform a SWOT analysis:

  • hiring a new employee

  • reviewing the performance of an employee, team, or department

  • assessing a customer or market

  • deciding how to allocate company resources

  • analyzing company services, processes, and products

  • deciding on viable projects to meet cost and time constraints

  • designing and launching a new service or product

Related: How To Develop a Strategic Business Development Plan

Why do professionals use SWOT analyses?

Many individuals conduct a SWOT analysis to evaluate their performance and make professional and personal decisions. It encourages honest self-assessment of a current situation. Here are situations when a professional might perform a SWOT analysis:

  • deciding whether to advance your career

  • conducting a personal performance evaluation

  • deciding whether to change careers

  • desiring more productive business meetings

The model shown is for illustration purposes only, and may require additional formatting to meet accepted standards.

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