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How to Write a SWOT Analysis for a Business Plan

Navigating the complexities of business requires a clear understanding of your strategic position, and a SWOT analysis is an essential tool to help you achieve this clarity. It’s a straightforward method that breaks down into Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, providing a snapshot of where your business stands and guiding your future strategic moves.

With this guide, you’ll learn how to leverage your advantages, address challenges, seize new opportunities, and guard against potential threats. Let’s dive into the process together and set a strong foundation for your business’s strategic planning. Let’s dive in!

What is a SWOT Analysis?

A SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool used to identify and understand the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats related to business competition or project planning. This method helps organizations in assessing both internal and external factors that could impact their objectives.

  • Strengths: Positive attributes internal to the organization and within its control. Strengths are resources and capabilities that can be used as a basis for developing a competitive advantage.
  • Weaknesses: Factors that are within an organization’s control but detract from its ability to attain the desired goal. These are areas the business needs to improve to remain competitive.
  • Opportunities: External chances to improve performance in the environment. Opportunities reflect the potential you can leverage to grow your business or project.
  • Threats: External challenges to the business’s performance or project’s success. Threats might stem from various sources, such as economic downturns, increased competition, or changes in regulatory landscapes.

Why Use a SWOT Analysis?

We use a SWOT analysis for several important reasons in business and strategic planning:

  1. Strategic Overview: It provides a concise and comprehensive overview of the current strategic position of the business or project. By examining internal and external factors, stakeholders can get a clear picture of their situation.
  2. Decision Making: SWOT analysis aids in decision-making by highlighting the strengths to leverage, weaknesses to address, opportunities to pursue, and threats to mitigate. It helps in prioritizing actions based on the analysis.
  3. Opportunity Identification: SWOT analysis is instrumental in identifying new opportunities for growth and expansion. Opportunities might come from market trends, economic shifts, or changes in technology.
  4. Risk Management: By identifying threats, organizations can develop strategies to address or mitigate these risks before they become significant issues. It’s a proactive approach to managing potential external challenges.
  5. Resource Allocation: Understanding the organization’s strengths and weaknesses helps in the effective allocation of resources. Resources can be directed to areas where they are needed most or where they will have the highest impact.
  6. Competitive Advantage: It helps businesses identify unique features and capabilities that give them a competitive edge in the market. Recognizing these strengths can guide marketing strategies and business development.

How to Write a SWOT Analysis


Writing a strength in a SWOT analysis involves identifying and articulating the internal attributes and resources of a business or project that contribute to its success and competitive advantage. Here’s how to effectively write a strength in a SWOT analysis:

  1. Identify Internal Positive Attributes: Focus on internal factors that are within the control of the business. These can include resources, skills, or other advantages relative to competitors. Consider areas like strong brand reputation, proprietary technology, skilled workforce, financial resources, strategic location, and efficient processes.
  2. Be Specific and Relevant: General statements like “we have a good team” are less helpful than specific ones like “our team includes industry-recognized experts in X field.” The more precise you are, the more actionable your analysis will be. Ensure that the strengths are directly relevant to achieving the business’s goals and objectives.
  3. Use Quantifiable Data When Possible: Whenever you can, back up your strengths with quantifiable data. For example, “a customer satisfaction rate of 95%” or “a 20% lower production cost than industry average” provides concrete evidence of your strengths.
  4. Compare to Competitors: Strengths are often relative to the competition. Identify areas where your business outperforms competitors or fills a gap in the market. This might involve superior product quality, a unique service model, or a more extensive distribution network.


Instead of simply stating “Experienced management team” as a strength, you could write: “Our management team has over 50 years of combined experience in the tech industry, including a track record of successful product launches and market expansions.

This depth of experience provides us with strategic insights and operational expertise that have consistently resulted in market share growth and above-industry-average profitability.”


Writing a weakness in a SWOT analysis involves acknowledging and detailing the internal factors that limit or challenge your business or project’s ability to achieve its goals. Here’s a structured approach to effectively articulate weaknesses in a SWOT analysis:

  1. Identify Internal Limitations: Focus on internal attributes that are within the control of the organization but currently act as disadvantages. Weaknesses might include insufficient resources, lack of expertise, outdated technology, poor location, limited product range, or inefficiencies in processes.
  2. Be Specific and Honest: It’s important to be honest and specific about your organization’s weaknesses. Vague statements won’t help in addressing these issues. For instance, rather than saying “we need to improve our marketing,” specify “our current marketing strategy does not effectively reach our target demographic of 18-25-year-olds on digital platforms.”
  3. Use Internal Comparisons and Feedback: Compare your performance, processes, and resources against your own past performance or industry benchmarks. Utilize customer feedback, employee insights, and performance data to identify areas of weakness.
  4. Keep it Constructive: While it’s crucial to be honest about weaknesses, frame them in a way that focuses on potential for improvement. Consider each weakness as an area for development and growth.


Instead of a broad statement like “Inadequate online presence,” a more effective description would be: “Our business currently lacks a robust online presence, reflected in our outdated website and minimal engagement on key social media platforms. This limits our ability to attract younger demographics who predominantly discover and interact with brands online. Improving our online visibility and engagement could enhance brand awareness and customer acquisition.”


Writing opportunities in a SWOT analysis involves identifying and articulating external factors that your business or project could exploit to its advantage. Opportunities are elements in the environment that, if leveraged effectively, could provide a pathway for growth, improvement, or competitive advantage. Here’s how to systematically approach writing opportunities in your SWOT analysis:

  1. Spot External Trends: Focus on the trends and changes outside your organization that could be beneficial. These might include technological advancements, shifts in consumer behavior, market gaps, regulatory changes, or economic trends.
  2. Be Relevant and Actionable: Ensure that the opportunities you identify are relevant to your business and actionable. They should align with your business’s strengths and capabilities, allowing you to take practical steps toward capitalizing on them.
  3. Use Market Research: Base your identification of opportunities on solid market research. Understand your target market, industry trends, and the competitive landscape to pinpoint where the real opportunities lie.
  4. Detail Potential Benefits: Clearly articulate how each opportunity could benefit your business. Whether it’s entering a new market, launching a new product line, or adopting new technology, explain the potential impact on your business growth and success.


Rather than vaguely stating “New market segments,” a more strategic description of an opportunity could be: “With increasing consumer interest in sustainable living, there’s a growing market segment for eco-friendly products. Our business’s strong commitment to sustainability and existing lineup of environmentally friendly products positions us well to capture this emerging market. Expanding our product range to include more items that cater to eco-conscious consumers can tap into this trend, potentially opening up new revenue streams and enhancing our brand’s reputation as a leader in sustainability.”


Writing threats in a SWOT analysis involves identifying external challenges that could pose risks to your business or project’s success. These are factors outside your control that have the potential to harm your operations, financial performance, or strategic positioning. Addressing threats effectively in a SWOT analysis requires a focused approach:

  1. Identify External Challenges: Start by pinpointing the external factors that could negatively impact your business. This can include new competitors entering the market, changes in consumer preferences, technological advancements that render your product less desirable, regulatory changes, or economic downturns.
  2. Be Precise and Realistic: Clearly define each threat in specific terms, avoiding vague descriptions. Being realistic about the level of risk each threat poses is crucial; not every external challenge is a dire threat, but understanding the potential impact is key for strategic planning.
  3. Assess the Impact: For each threat identified, evaluate how it could impact your business. Consider the worst-case scenario and more likely outcomes to gauge the potential severity of the threat. This helps in prioritizing which threats need immediate attention and strategic response.
  4. Use Reliable Sources: Base your identification of threats on solid, reliable information. This might include industry reports, economic forecasts, and news sources that provide insights into market dynamics and external conditions.
  5. Consider Your Weaknesses: Link potential threats to your identified weaknesses. Understanding how external threats could exploit your vulnerabilities offers valuable insights for fortifying your business against these challenges.


Instead of broadly stating “Economic uncertainty,” a more actionable description of a threat would be: “The looming economic downturn poses a significant threat to discretionary consumer spending. Given our business’s reliance on non-essential luxury products, a reduction in consumer spending could directly impact sales. This economic uncertainty requires us to diversify our product offerings and identify more value-oriented options to maintain customer engagement and spending during tighter economic conditions.”