What are The Elements of a SWOT Analysis?

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on reddit
Share on email
Share on print

Elements of a SWOT Analysis and What Is a SWOT Analysis?

elements of a swot analysisSWOT analysis (also sometimes referred to as a SWOT Matrix) is a structured planning method used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a project or in a business venture. These elements of a SWOT analysis can be carried out for a product, place, industry or person. It involves specifying the objective of the business venture or project and identifying the internal and external factors that are favorable and unfavorable to achieving that objective. The technique is credited to Albert Humphrey, who led a convention at the Stanford Research Institute (now SRI International) in the 1960s and 1970s using data from Fortune 500 companies.  The degree to which the internal environment of the firm matches with the external environment is expressed by the concept of strategic fit.

Setting the objective should be done after gathering the elements of a SWOT analysis has been performed. This would allow achievable goals or objectives to be set for the organization.

  • Strengths: characteristics of the business or project that give it an advantage over others
  • Weaknesses: are characteristics that place the team at a disadvantage relative to others
  • Opportunities: elements that the project could exploit to its advantage
  • Threats: elements in the environment that could cause trouble for the business or project

Identification of SWOTs is important because they can inform later steps in planning to achieve the objective.

First, the decision makers should consider whether the objective is attainable, given the SWOTs. If the objective is not attainable a different objective must be selected and the process repeated.

Conducting a SWOT Analysis With Handy Template Guides

The purpose of performing obtaining and establishing the elements of a SWOT analysis is to reveal positive forces that work together and potential problems that need to be addressed or at least recognized in ANY company. Before you conduct a SWOT session, decide what format or layout you will use to communicate these issues most clearly for you.

We will discuss the process of creating the analysis below, but first here are a few sample layouts-ideas of how you may go about gathering the elements of  a SWOT analysis can look like in order to get to the final elements in order to start building your company objective, mission, value statements, or marketing messages.



Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats

Or if a looser structure helps you brainstorm, you can group positives and negatives to think broadly about your organization and its external environment.



  • strengths
  • assets
  • resources
  • opportunities
  • prospects
  • weaknesses
  • limitations
  • restrictions
  • threats
  • challenges


And here’s a third option for structuring your elements of a SWOT analysis that might be appropriate for a large initiative that requires detailed planning or many alternatives. This more elaborate “TOWS Matrix” is adapted from Fred David’s Strategic Management text (see “Print Resources”). Here a working table guides you to identify strategies by matching items in each quadrant.







Opportunity-Strength (OS) Strategies

Use strengths to take advantage of opportunities


Opportunity-Weakness (OW) Strategies

Overcome weaknesses by taking advantage of opportunities




Threat-Strength (TS) Strategies

Use strengths to avoid threats


Threat-Weakness (TW) Strategies

Minimize weaknesses and avoid threats


You can then use this SWOT matrix to interview the CEO, President, Managers and employees. After these one-on-one interviews, you summarize the data you have gathered and submit a report on what SWOT OPPORTUNITIES present themselves through this process and present them to the CEO.

Use Pareto’s Principle to prioritize opportunities or use VOC (Voice of the Customer) techniques to implement these opportunities to improve your company. Continuous Improvement is what all companies should be doing daily.

In January 2020, Cerasis was acquired by GlobalTranz, a leading technology and multimodal 3PL solutions provider. To learn more, please read the press release. If you are a current or prospective Cerasis customer, we invite you to reach out to us to learn how our combined capabilities can deliver new services, solutions and enhanced value to your supply chain. To learn more about GlobalTranz, please visit www.globaltranz.com.

Join 30,000 Plus Subscribers!

To subscribe to our blog, enter your email address below and stay on top of things. We'll email you with a confirmation of your subscription.


Send this to friend