What Is SWOT?
A SWOT analysis is a tool that is frequently used that questions the provision of a broad or comprehensive picture of the
health of an organization. A SWOT analysis may be considered a periodic audit that a company may require to identify and rectify troubles already caused or those in the process of being created. SWOT offers a useful methodology to project managers to provide assistance in the process of evaluating and making correct decisions. SWOT may not be able to identify the best solution. However, it will facilitate the identification, classification, and prioritization of the issues concerning a project. All the elements of SWOT, namely strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, need to be thoroughly considered to execute an enduring project strategy.
Image Credit: wikimedia.org/Xhienne
A SWOT analysis will require numerous questions to be answered before it can be useful for the development of an action plan. Generally, the following may be the important SWOT questions that may be pertinent during the conduct of SWOT analysis:
Strengths: The strengths of an organization consist of the advantages a business may possess compared to its opponents. These may include a healthy financial state, suitable place, reduced and controlled overhead expenditures, or other factors that may be favorable for the organization. To determine the strengths, the following questions are considered suitable:
- What are the conditions that are more prominent and not available with other organizations?
- What is the organization's share of the products in the market?
- What is the track record of stocks?
- What is the financial state of the organization?
- What are the advantages available that do not exist for others?
- What is the state of skilled workforce in the company?
- What are the strong product brands?
- What is the capability to be flexible and accept changes?
- What is the state of employees morale?
- Is the advertisement and marketing strategy effective?
- Is the modern product technology being used?
- Are the best practices being utilized?
- Is the company making best use of information technology?
- What is the condition of inventory management, including dead stock?
- Is the company's culture innovative?
- Is the organization capable to be competitive locally and internationally?
- Is the project management team suitably trained and skillful?
- What are the policies regarding reward and recognition?
- How does the organization manage cultural differences?
- What are the special resources available?
- What is the strength of its customer base?
Weaknesses: The weaknesses comprise the areas that are not adequately equipped when compared to other market organizations. These weaknesses may be related to finances, human force, market conditions, technology, or other factors. The following questions may be used to determine the organizational weaknesses:
- Is the organization concentrating to achieve its objectives?
- What are the areas in which the competitors possess an overwhelming edge?
- What are the essential human resources that are essentially required but not available?
- Are funds available when required?
Please continue on page 2 for more SWOT questions.
- Are their problems related to flow of capital?
- Is the clientage limited to a few customers?
- Can the organization meet challenges from competitors?
- What are the areas in which the costs have not been recovered?
- What are the largest expenditures of the company?
- Are the stock price trends favorable?
- What are the brands that are considered weak in the market?
- What are the general customer complaints?
- Is the working environment suitable for the employees?
- Is the management considered trustworthy by the employees?
Opportunities: These are the indicators that provide guidance for company growth, improvement of financial status, and enhancement of market share. The product customers and market conditions are examined to seize the opportunities being offered. For example, a particular product is required and is not available in the market. There is a huge opportunity that may be availed by the adoption of appropriate strategy. Suitable SWOT questions are the following:
- Are there any indicators to be beneficial for the industry?
- What are the market trends of the product?
- What are the emerging market trends that are in accordance with strengths of the organization?
- Are there products or services that have not yet been provided by the competitors?
- What are the circumstances that are favorable and can be used beneficially?
- Can the organization make best use of the modern technology?
- Are there new markets that can be examined?
- What are the national and international changes that are favorable for the organization?
- What are the government policies regarding the industry?
- What are the social and economic conditions?
- What are the vulnerabilities of the opponents?
- What are the government import and export policies?
- What are the industry best practices?
- What sources are available for research and development?
- What is the influence of the seasons and weather?
Please continue on page 3 for more SWOT questions…on Threats
Image Credit: sxc.hu/bigevil600
Threats: Threats are basically the unfavorable conditions that may critically damage the business, like exceptional rent increase, non-availability of skilled manpower, political unrest, exceptional inflation that may reduce purchasing power, and adverse market conditions. The following SWOT questions will facilitate the evaluation of threats being created for the organization:
- What are crucial actions being taken by the competitors, and evaluate their potential threats?
- Are funds readily available to the opponents?
- Is the brand of competitors too popular in the market?
- Do the opponents enjoy a better reputation in the market?
- Does the skilled workforce prefer to be employed in other organizations?
- Is better technology being utilized by others?
- Is the change in technology too abrupt so that the organization cannot keep pace with it?
- Are the product specifications changing too rapidly?
- Will the emerging product trends affect the organization weaknesses?
- Are there any other external threats that may affect the organization?
- Are there serious internal financial, human resources, or technological threats?
- Does the vendor industry support your products?
- Do the industry policies affect the organization?
- Are the achievements in accordance with the objectives?
- Are the user requirements being met?
- Are the company relations with important organizations, including fund providers, cordial?
- What are the obstacles to organizational growth?
- Are joint ventures functioning properly according to agreement?
- What are the potential obstacles to achieve the objectives?
- Are the company products changing due to other innovative emerging solutions?
- How will the national economic condition affect the project?
Image Credit: sxc.hu/saavem
Advantages: SWOT Questions
Conducting a SWOT analysis through useful and relevant SWOT questions can improve the organization's capabilities and achievement of objectives. A SWOT analysis assists with achievement of organizational objectives by the conducting of accurate assessment of the market conditions, and those of the competitors. A real SWOT analysis, conducted through proper SWOT questions, will assist in revealing the areas in which an organization is successful. The SWOT analysis conducted by SWOT questions will be the basis for development of a proper business strategy. Thus, the resources will be assigned to ensure the maintenance of prevailing status. Opportunities may be discovered that were not perceived earlier and can be beneficial for the organization in terms of financial, human, reputation, or other aspects. Similarly, the SWOT questions may enable one to recognize and avoid potential dangers to the organization. During periods of economic depression, opportunities may still exist. However, the need is to identify them and adopt measures to make full use of these opportunities.