SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunties, and Threats. A SWOT analysis is a process companies use to assess themselves and their competitors and formulate their strategies.
Information in a SWOT analysis is organized into internal and external factors:
1. An examination of the Strengths and Weaknesses of a company. This is an internal look at company operations to identify what the company does well and where it needs to improve. It focuses on the current situation.
2. An examination of the external environment in which the company operates. This means identifying industry trends and outside forces that could pose Threats or provide Opportunities for the company. It focuses on the future.
What's a SWOT analysis? See the box to the left for an explanation.
RESEARCH TIP: published SWOT analyses can be outdated or incomplete, so evaluate them as you would any other information resource. If you use them in your report or presentation, you need to cite your sources.