SWOT analysis an acronym for Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threats, and is a necessary framework to analyse the internal strengths and weakness of the company along with external opportunities and threats for the company. Internal factors, strengths, and weaknesses are in the control of the organisation, while external factors like opportunities and threats are beyond the supervision of the company. This is one of the basic and fundamental frameworks of business studies. These four basic elements of SWOT analysis aid the company in evaluating the proposition of business ventures and projects. It is not necessary that a SWOT analysis is carried out for a company only, it can be carried out for a person, industry and even a place. What actually a SWOT analysis addresses is that it assists in identifying the objectives of the project and the business venture while analysing internal and external factors of the company.
Being a business student, it is pivotal to study SWOT analysis in the initial years of your business education, because these concepts are the basics of every strategic decision, a company plans to take; let it be acquisitions, mergers, ventures, expansions, or launching a new product. Hence, under no circumstances, can you escape from SWOT essays or assignments, throughout your business education. What you, being a student need to be vigilant while doing a SWOT assignment or essay is that you need to identify the aspects accurately that fit the internal and external factors individually. What students usually do is that they confuse strengths with opportunities or fail to follow proper guidelines. If the assignment is regarding strategic decision making and you fail to do a SWOT analysis adequately, you will land up proposing strategic decisions that do not fit well into the given situation. Thus, let’s first have a look at these four components of SWOT individually;-
Strengths are fundamentally the capabilities and abilities of the company that is actually making it survive in the competitive industry. It is the characteristics of the company that gives it an edge over others. What are the things that make up a company’s strengths? Strengths can be anything from the trademark, technology, patent, resources, lower cost of production to the workforce or its supply chain network. Here students need to be careful and write within the context of a particular, industry or company as per the needs and requirements of the given guidelines by the professor.
The weakness of the company is what they lack internally, which makes them prone to threats from outside sources. Weaknesses of the company can be anywhere; it can be its patents, production cost, production system, debts, liabilities, lack of quality resources, supply chain network, distribution system, marketing, human resources, or values and even at times the mission and vision of the company. All you students need to do is study the company carefully and analyse its internal lacking.
Opportunities are elements in the business environment that can be used for reaping profits and growth in the industry. This can be a new market, untapped customers, new methods of production, new technology, international trade and even government regulations. These are the factors that should be kept in mind while analysing a chosen or given company by your professor for the analysis.
Threats comprise of outside elements that are not under the control of the company and can cause a significant problem for the company and its operations. These factors can be a change in government regulations, fluctuations in currency, economic turmoil (inflation or recession) change in consumer’s taste or preference, increase in taxes, discontinuation of the use of technology and so forth. Above all the biggest threat is from the competitors dealing in the homogeneous and heterogeneous industry. Likewise, it is always advisable to study the industry in which the company is dealing in, its rules and regulations, and the political and economic factors for identifying threats.
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