The SWOT Analysis Matrix
One of the most popular methods of SWOT analysis review is the SWOT matrix. This matrix is comprised of a two-column, two-row table with strengths and weaknesses listed in the top two boxes and opportunities and threats outlined in the bottom two boxes.
Each row and column in the SWOT matrix has a label. The row with strengths and weaknesses is named "Internal Origin," defining parts of your business or persona that you control. The row with opportunities and threats is labeled "External Origin," since you have no real control over the environment that provides these elements.
The left column, which houses the strengths and opportunities categories, is known as the "Helpful" column, as these benefit your initiative. The right column, which contains the weaknesses and threats categories, is called "Harmful," since these can work against your objective.
To obtain the most desirable results from a SWOT analysis, fill out each of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the most honest, objective way possible. For instance, if you're writing about your company include details about your employees as well as yourself. If this SWOT analysis regards your own personal goals, list the ways your skills can contribute to your goal in the "Strengths" section, but don't forget to cite any necessary improvements or skill deficiencies in the "Weaknesses" category.
Outlining Strengths in the SWOT Matrix
Mindtools.com recommends beginning with the strengths you or your company possess. Begin making a list of any advantages your company provides over competitors as well as positive personality characteristics you maintain. Anything considered to add to your bottom line or your unique selling proposition (USP) should be categorized under strengths.
Outlining Weaknesses in the SWOT Matrix
Defining your weaknesses can show you where you need to improve. Mindtools.com says you should use this section to face the truth about how well you're doing as a company or as an individual. Be sure to list any aspect that could be perceived as a turn-off or disadvantage to potential customers. This includes your personality or that of your employees as well as any product or service that appears sub-par when compared to your competitors.
Defining Opportunities in the SWOT Matrix
According to netmba.com, opportunities often arise with changes in your environment. For instance, if one of your competitors relocated its business several states away, this could be considered an opportunity. Write down any aspect about the current market environment, the economy, or new government policies that make your company stand out or look better than your competitors
Defining Threats in the SWOT Matrix
Threats to a business occur in much the same way opportunities do; they just affect your business in a negative direction. Let's take the above example of your competitor moving away. If a competitor moves into your location and begins providing a product or service on par or better than yours, this is a threat. According to netmba.com, similar threats occur with changes in market trends and government regulations. If your company is affected by these changes, list them in the threats category.