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SWOT Analysis Model

Using a Cross-SWOT (X-SWOT) to Find Alternatives and Recommendations External factors

Opportunities Internal Factors Strengths Weaknesses S-O Comparisons W-O Comparisons Threats S-T Comparisons W-T Comparisons

The correct use of a SWOT Analysis involves a careful examination of the multiple complications of external opportunities and threats with internal strengths and weaknesses. The S-O, S-T, W-O, and W-T comparisons (X-SWOT) are a brainstorming method used to create Alternative Strategies. Analysts do not treat all boxes in the same way: The S-O box [Growth and Profitability Alternatives] matches internal firm strengths, including core competencies, with external opportunities. This is the best box to find profitable and growth strategic alternatives. Strategic Alternatives built from distinctive competencies and focused on critical success factors (most cogent opportunities) may lead to competitive advantage. The W-O [New Opportunities Alternatives] box is used to brainstorm external opportunities that match-up with internal weaknesses. If an opportunity is determined to be so compelling that it cannot be ignored, then resources will need to be invested to turn the corresponding weaknesses into strengths. Strategies must ultimately be developed from the S-O box. No strategically lead firm would build a strategy around a weakness. The S-T [Reinforce the Defenses Alternatives] box is used to examine external threats that are offset by internal strengths. Resources may need to be allocated to these strengths in order to reinforce the firm from these external threats. The W-T [New Threats Defensive Alternatives] box is used to examine external threats that have corresponding weaknesses. This box is critical for dealing with dangerous threats that could endanger the success or survival of the firm. Emergency plans may be needed to defend the firm from these external threats. The result of the brainstorming work should be a large number of alternatives. No firm has the financial resources to pursue all alternatives. So, next the strategy team

members select the best strategic alternatives or combination of alternatives and construct strategic recommendations that are best for achieving organizational goals.

SWOT analysis template


Advantages of proposition? Capabilities? Competitive advantages? USP's (unique selling points)? Resources, Assets, People? Experience, knowledge, data? Financial reserves, likely returns? Marketing - reach, distribution, awareness? Innovative aspects? Location and geographical? Price, value, quality? Accreditations, qualifications, certifications? Processes, systems, IT, communications? Cultural, attitudinal, behavioural? Management cover, succession?

weaknesses Disadvantages of proposition? Gaps in capabilities? Lack of competitive strength? Reputation, presence and reach? Financials? Own known vulnerabilities? Timescales, deadlines and pressures? Cashflow, start-up cash-drain? Continuity, supply chain robustness? Effects on core activities, distraction? Reliability of data, plan predictability? Morale, commitment, leadership? Accreditations, etc? Processes and systems, etc? Management cover, succession?

opportunities Market developments? Competitors' vulnerabilities? Industry or lifestyle trends? Technology development and innovation? Global influences? New markets, vertical, horizontal? Niche target markets? Geographical, export, import? Market need for new USP's? Market response to tactics, e.g., surprise? Major contracts, tenders? Business and product development? Information and research? Partnerships, agencies, distribution? Market volume demand trends? Seasonal, weather, fashion influences?


Political effects? Legislative effects? Environmental effects? IT developments? Competitor intentions - various? Market demand? New technologies, services, ideas? Vital contracts and partners? Obstacles faced? Insurmountable weaknesses? Employment market? Financial and credit pressures? Economy - home, abroad? Seasonality, weather effects?