SWOT Analysis: The Key Management Technique

To identify, analyze, correct your weaknesses, and further strengthen your strengths is the main purpose behind SWOT analysis.


Find out your weaknesses and don’t stop working until they become your strengths.

This line tells us more about SWOT Analysis than complex articles and research papers about it.

To identify, analyse, correct your weaknesses and further strengthen your strengths is the main purpose behind SWOT analysis. In order to simplify this important management technique, let’s delve a little bit into the background of SWOT analysis.

What is SWOT Analysis?

SWOT is a key part in strategically planning and managing any event, business venture or even common life activities. It has rightly gained significant value ever since it was first used by Albert Humphrey. A Stanford Research Institute management consultant at the time, Humphrey used SWOT analysis as a tool for strategic planning to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a project.

Although, it is not like people went around doing tasks without any strategy before SWOT came into place. But, for the major part, that kind of planning was limited in its scope and did not help the people starting out from scratch. With SWOT analysis, almost every individual can plan strategically. They can move on with their plan in an effective manner, be it a business venture or any daily life event.

Let us consider a simple real life example to understand what the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats really are to any business prospect or activity. Suppose you and a team of students in your college are assigned with the task of organizing the annual cultural festival. The college administration has given you a limited budget for the event, and you and your team have to organize the event and the tons of activities associated with it in that budget window itself.

How to Do It?

So, what do you do in a scenario where you have to plan your college fest? Well, you turn to the simplest and best tool for management and organisation- SWOT analysis.

For such a large scale event, you will begin by jotting down the points related to the cultural fest simply on an A-4 sheet (that’s right, it is that simple). The key parameters related to the fest might include budget allocation, number of events, number of participants, arena management, decorations, food stalls, special guests, performances, etc. What you will need to do is to discuss among your team members and write these parameters under the four columns, which are strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. E.g.

Strengths

Weaknesses

Opportunities

Threats

Sufficient budget

Management of large crowds

Marketing Opportunity for sponsors

On ground chaos or mismanagement

As far as doing the SWOT analysis is concerned, it is one of the simplest tasks before starting actual work. You don’t need to have access to consultancy firms and agencies like PWC or KPMG. You are self-sufficient to conduct the SWOT analysis. The most important part of SWOT analysis is the format or diagrams which should be used in the technique. Here’s the FIVE-step format of doing SWOT analysis:

Determine the objective

Create a grid

Label each box

Add strengths and weaknesses

Draw conclusions

Why You Need SWOT Analysis

The purpose of performing obtaining and establishing the above-mentioned elements in the process is to reveal positive forces and potential problems. Capabilities as well as shortcomings need to be addressed, or at least recognized, in any organisational task.

So, the most important aspects that SWOT analysis makes you aware of are:

Precautions to be taken in case of a threat to the idea or plan,

Advancing quickly and capitalising on opportunities,

Sustain and develop internal strengths of your business,

Work relentlessly towards improving the weaknesses,

Appropriate and effective allocation of resources, and

Competitive positioning to help see new trends in the market and position the business idea appropriately.

Components of SWOT Analysis

SWOT analysis will give you a basis to evaluate your event’s viable position and help you develop a strategy to organise different parts meticulously. By assessing the factors, both internal and external, you will get an idea of your current position and a chance to explore the future potential.

Now, you will ask, what are these internal and external factors? Talking about internal and external factors will answer your questions about the components of SWOT analysis. Internal and external factors are the-.

Internal Positive Features

Internal Negative Features

External Positive Features

External Negative Features

How to Identify Strengths and Weaknesses (Internal & External)

For instance, your fest will be conducted inside the college premises located in, let’s say, the North Campus of Delhi University. So, the positive factors that will become the strengths in your planning are the logistic aspects.

Since the college is near the campus metro station ->, which means higher footfall as many students and people will be easily able to reach the college easily -> easy way to attract sponsors & marketers. Thus, your college’s prime location is a positive external factor as far as the overall setup and favorable conditions for an event are concerned.

For an event this big, you will obviously have a large team of people divided into different groups. This is where the internal factors of SWOT analysis will help you out significantly. Suppose you have an IT group in your team. The IT group will be responsible for the inline presence and management of the complete event, starting from social media marketing of the event to the brand management of sponsors.

In this drop-down system, even if one member of the IT team has any trouble doing their assigned task or lack any equipment necessary for IT purposes, the whole event can suffer adversely.

Is SWOT Analysis Effective?

Doing the proper breakdown of internal groups and SWOT analyzing them will ensure that all the members ‘internal’ functioning is smooth, and thus the event is smooth. This SWOT analysis of internal factors must be done for all the team groups to ensure the optimum functioning and best output of the efforts.

Simply said, internal factors will help you find out the errors and faults inside your team, company, or business idea, and external factors will help you identify the broader trends, practices, and ideas of your business’s industry or nature. It would help if you kept the analysis accurate by avoiding preconceived beliefs or gray areas and instead focusing on real-life contexts. These factors are critical to finding out and be dealt with accordingly.

Who Should Do SWOT Analysis?

As said before, SWOT analysis can and should be done by every individual and group responsible for any task in the event’s organization. Compare it to a business idea/model, every department should do a SWOT analysis, and the company must do its overall SWOT analysis process. The reasoning here is simple: the more the analysis, the better the business’s outcome or the initiative you have undertaken. SWOT analysis will guide you in determining the credibility of your idea and its planning track. A precise and accurate evaluation of your idea helps determine if their idea is strong, bankable, and scalable and whether it suits their industry or business environment.

What’s In It for You

By now, you must have understood all that is there to know about SWOT analysis- what is it, how to do it, why it, and by whom it should be anyone shall use anyone and everyone who is part of the planning of a venture in any way, shape, or form, be it a large corporate business, a small scale business, a college fest, or any initiative. This way, you will be able to facilitate a realistic, fact-based, data-driven look at the strengths and weaknesses of your business, its initiatives, and industry, as portrayed through the example of organising the college cultural fest.

Some actual businesses and companies have, in recent years, attributed their success to SWOT analysis. One of the biggest examples is American company PactSafe. The company provides the tools and guidance you need to make remote digital work easy, especially during the COVID crisis. It easily implements efficient and secure ways to transact online SaaS features like e-signature with its modern signing methods, including click-to-sign and text-to-sign technology. PactSafe used SWOT analysis to drive its product roadmap, which included building a Legal Centre where its customers can manage all of their contracts. The analysis led them to identify a gap seen within its customer base: a single, dedicated portal to manage old and new contracts, revisions, acceptances, and more. And they cashed in on the opportunity by rolling out this new feature and addressing customers’ felt needs.

In the end, you should be able to consider whether the objectives and factors arrived at from the analysis are attainable. If the objectives are not attainable, a different objective must be selected. The process is repeated if they are attainable. Focus on correcting the wrongs and starting your idea on the right note.

The key learning from this article is that SWOT analysis is usable for any and every business model. From small businesses like a tea-stall owner or a Kirana shopkeeper to businesses like food stalls and start-ups, everyone can use this efficient technique.

If you’ve come this far in this article, it is clear that you are interested in learning more about business techniques and skills. Learn about organizational strategies other than SWOT that can help you in real life. Read about PEST, STEEP, and STEEPLE on our website. Remember the details of processes and their ultimate goal- to help you plan strategically.

Aakash Sharma
Aakash Sharma
Aakash writes on Startup Ecosystem, Policies, Legal and Regulatory aspects of business planning. An alum of Delhi University, he is assistant editor at Dutch Uncles.

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