SWOT Analysis – A Springboard for Succesful Projects

SWOT Analysis – A Springboard for Succesful Projects
July 21, 2020 Omnibus

Some things are so simple, yet efficient that they are destined to stay around for good. Like the game of noughts & droughts. Or SWOT – a business tool (not a goal, a tool!) used for analyzing the situation and preparing a strategy for business models / products / brands / projects etc.

More than half of a century after initial publishing, SWOT is well & alive. Entering digital times didn’t hurt it. On the contrary, SWOT  reinvigorated itself through the startup community – showing its fit for their agile mindset.

SIMPLE & POWERFUL REPRESENTATION

Here is how analysis could be condensed. A simple square is tiled in four equal squares.

The explanation of the acronym is simple as well:

  • S (trengths)
  • W (eaknesses)
  • O (pportunities)
  • T (hreats)

TYPICAL BUSINESS USES OF SWOT ANALYSIS

Though SWOT has been instigated by acclaimed university professors working with huge corporations, SWOT provides a framework for infinite uses. From your future journey or planned investment or even partnerships.

At Omnibus we use SWOT analysis mainly for the following:

  1. to estimate the current situation of the company or activity, eg. brand position within an observed sales channel
  2. to find out what are the future opportunities for new endeavors, eg. a newly launched product or innovative store format
  3. to jumpstart a project and define the roadmap for project activities: how do we get from point A (current) to point B (where we’d like to be)

In one case our client – a CPG company with national brands wanted to establish what are opportunities for further growth in the supermarket and convenience channel. It was the SWOT that paved the way for necessary merchandising practices and smart tactics to improve.

Sometimes SWOT can also serve to vividly describe complex situations and put the focus on the most important stuff. It helped me convince the Managing Director of a top national retailer not to put further efforts in promotions of own label (because these efforts were on the level of the competition) but rather in the reshaping of the own-label lines itself.

Recent SWOT use: repositioning a prototype store to refresh the business model for a chain of restaurant/stores (included perspectives on changed habits due to coronavirus).

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO PREPARE SWOT?

Depending on the scope and preparation level, it might take 60 minutes for the sketching out of an otherwise complex problem like store assessment -> check our online sessions, or one month for a SWOT full of analysis and stakeholders included -> for more check our workshops.

SWOT AS A SPRINGBOARD FOR A BUSINESS STRATEGY

SWOT provides the framework for establishing the current situation (both internal and external, like competition and market trends) and connecting it with future opportunities.

As such it can also serve as a roadmap that connects starting point A with the destination point B (where we’d like to be).

Good diagnostics bring us to key challenges of success.

In-between the current situation and key challenges to overcome is a strategy – a set of guiding lines to confront and succesfully solve the key challenges.

With SWOT firmly in place, and key challenges clearly set, we might write down an actionable strategy with measures of success.

8 TIPS FOR DESIGNING SUCCESSFUL SWOT ANALYSIS

Sure, SWOT is not immune to all sorts of oversimplifications. The matrix itself is simple but the contents need to be properly prepared. The experience tells us one common “sin” is to oust proper analysis with wishful thinking.

For those who’d like to put a little SWOT in practice, the list below delineates the border between a SWOT analysis and a SWOT hodgepodge.

1. the choice of the right factors is of utmost importance

a. you shouldn’t strive to fill all squares equally so that it looks nice (one exemption: if you are preparing an annual report for a huge corporation or government sector department)

b. choice of the factors should reflect the goals: eg. customer in-store behavior links directly to a product development

2. be utterly relentless when you estimate your weaknesses – better do it here at the initial stage, then later when you’re deep into the project (investing time & money to find out what you could learn if being honest enough)

3. take the importance of the factors into consideration

– the fall of the meteorite will probably destroy your business, but how probable is that? -> not important

– tax already put in the government’s procedure could seriously affect the financial viability of your endeavors -> important

4. save the list of eliminated factors – might be of use next time!

5. SWOT is an analysis! Actually, a set of analyses.

If you analyze assortment then the range analysis could be a part of SWOT. Also, an analysis based on Pareto’s rule 80 / 20 could give insights.  BCG analysis could serve to assess the potential of the brands (size of bubbles shows current sales of brand sales). Etc.

6. SWOT shouldn’t be the final product. Out of the conclusions you prepare Action Plan with activities, responsibilities, and time-frames for execution. (an exemption: see point 1a above)

7. It’s important to discern between short- and long-term opportunities. How much time do you need to convince your partner, get the funding, develop a product? A good SWOT is realistic.

8. Again, SWOT is a tool, not an objective. As a tool, it could be used in different ways. Something has been so brilliantly shown in a “scene with monkeys” in Kubrick’s predictive movie Odyssea 2001.

KICK-START A PROJECT BY SWOTTING

At Omnibus SWOTs are regular dishes on the table. We feel SWOT’s are our specialty. A whole lot of analysis & strategical thinking with a crispy crust of imagination. Delicious stuff, believe us. We’d be glad to cook one with you and then turn it into a firm actionable strategy in one of our online sessions or workshops.

 

3 Comments

  1. Woodrow 9 months ago

    In 2015, a Value Line SWOT analysis of The Coca-Cola Company noted strengths such as its globally famous brand name, vast distribution network, and opportunities in emerging markets. However, it also noted weaknesses and threats such as foreign currency fluctuations, growing public interest in “healthy” beverages, and competition from healthy beverage providers. ? ?

  2. Furnitures 7 months ago

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  3. Michałowski Tomasz 5 months ago

    Thanks for sharing, this is a fantastic article post.Really thank you! Really Cool.

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