SWOT Analysis – Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats

SWOT analysis ( TOWS Matrix ) is a simple framework for generating strategic alternatives from a situation analysis. It is applicable to either the corporate level or the business unit level and frequently appears in marketing plans.

 SWOT Analysis (sometimes referred to as TOWS) stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. A SWOT analysis ( TOWS Matrix ) consists of the following two activities:

  •      An assessment of the organization’s internal Strengths and Weaknesses and
  •      An assessment of the Opportunities and Threats posed by its external environment

Assessing the Internal Environment

Internal scan or assessment of the internal environment of the organization involves identification of its strengths and weaknesses i.e., those aspects that help or hinder accomplishment of the organization’s mission and fulfillment of its mandate with respect to the following Four Ps:

  •     People (Human Resources)
  •     Properties (Buildings, Equipments and other facilities)
  •     Processes (Such as student placement services, M.I.S etc.)
  •     Products (Students, Publications etc.)

Assessing the External Environment

External scan refers to exploring the environment outside the organisation in order to identify the opportunities and threats it faces. This involves considering the following:

  • Events, trends and forces in the Social, Technological, Economical, Environmental and Political areas (STEEP).
  • Identifying the shifts in the needs of customers and potential clients and
  • Identification of competitors and collaborators.

After assessing these internal and external factors of an organization a SWOT Analysis is sketched. Strengths could be as following…


  •   Specialist marketing expertise
  •   Exclusive access to natural resources
  •   New, innovative product or service
  •   Location of your business
  •   Strong brand or reputation
  •   Quality processes and procedures

It is important to make sure that we consider only internal factors that show our core competencies. In a similar way weaknesses could be as under and they are also very internal like strengths.

WEAKNESS Under SWOT Analysis

  •    Lack of marketing expertise
  •    Undifferentiated products and service (i.e. in relation to your competitors)
  •    Competitors have superior access to distribution channels
  •    Poor quality goods or services
  •    Damaged reputation
  •    Lost brand value

Opportunities could be the Areas left out  by the competitor and could provide us an opportunity to explore and grow our business rapidly. Opportunities should be grabbed  and should be worked on so as to get a competitive edge . Opportunities could be as following …

OPPORTUNITIES Under SWOT Analysis ( TOWS Matrix )

  • Developing market (China, the Internet)
  • Loosening of regulations
  • Removal of international trade barriers
  • A market led by a weak competitor

Some thing that bothers the most are threats , they are signals that some thing should be done so as to stay in the business. Threats are factors that need to be worked as soon as possible. Apart from some threats like , change in government policies which don’t leave much to tinkle with other threats could be converted into opportunities.

THREATS under SWOT Analysis ( TOWS Matrix )

  •    A new competitor in your home market
  •    Competitor has a new, innovative substitute product or service
  •    New regulations
  •    Increased trade barriers
  •    Taxation may be introduced on your product or service

It is important to understand that in a  SWOT Analysis, ‘S’ and the ‘W’ are INTERNAL and the O and T are EXTERNAL. Traditionally, facilitators begin with the organization’s Strengths and Weaknesses and then move out to the external Opportunities and Threats. 

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