You have certainly heard of the SWOT Matrix before. Widely used in the field of marketing for competitive analysis, this method has proven itself. At the origin of SWOT, Albert Humphrey, American management consultant. A real strategic analysis tool, it is still used today by the biggest marketers.
Do you want to adapt it to your field of activity? I explain to you exactly what the SWOT matrix consists of. You will quickly become a follower of this essential method to take action!
SWOT analysis: what is it?
the SWOT is the English term for: Strengths – Weaknesses – Opportunities – Threats . In French it is assimilated to the MOFF: Threats, Opportunities, Strengths, Weaknesses. An essential marketing analysis tool for your business plan, the SWOT matrix is ultra powerful and will help you take action. It allows you to carry out an external (market) and internal diagnosis of your company, but also to have an overview of your company as well as your competitors. . The goal is to be able to maximize your strengths by highlighting the positive and negative points of your project. By analyzing the environment and internal factors, your strategy can then be refined and honed.
The SWOT matrix brings together important strategic components, market analysis, opportunities to position yourself in your field of activity.
The SWOT is divided into four parts: opportunities and threats which are more of an external nature and internal analysis including strengths and weaknesses.
Who is the SWOT analysis for?
The SWOT is for you, a business manager, marketer, independent, who want to develop a product, a brand or take stock of your business in order to find a new idea to develop. The SWOT matrix will become your favorite tool. Whether used for you or presented to your teams, it offers a certain clarity that is not to be refused before the launch of a project or to promote Business Development of your company. It helps you easily spot the difficulties and the ease of a project. Make a SWOT analysis should be a compulsory passage before each project.
The SWOT matrix for business leaders
Small or medium-sized companies, the strategic diagnosis will allow you to develop an in-depth external analysis and to be able to return to it in the blink of an eye. It structures the entire project and helps to set up the action plan. As a business leader, ideas come together to develop projects. However, it is not always easy to know, even with experience, who will know how to explode the scores. Instead of going for it with your eyes closed, it is better to analyze the entire market to obtain an internal and external diagnosis. This is where the SWOT comes in. This precise vision of the strengths of the company as well as of the external environment makes it possible to pose ideas and focus on the essential points. You will quickly realize that the idea which seemed the most judicious to you is not necessarily the one which will pay the most or vice versa.
I consider it a mistake to think that you know your market inside out and that it is not necessary to formalize the key points. In my opinion, it is essential to write down these key points, in order to have a global vision. I’m a man deeply into action, but I know how important it is to put strategy and analysis in WRITING. This changes everything, because it allows certain aspects to be revealed which would then have gone unnoticed. So: put your SWOT in writing!
Why and when to use SWOT analysis?
To be able to position yourself, it is essential to know the market inside out.
You must ask yourself about your positioning, your competitive advantages, your added value… Whenever you want to embark on a new range of products, develop your turnover, change your strategy… The analysis will not only allow you to ” identify the different possible strategies, but also to see if your new idea is adapted to the market, if it is innovative or on the contrary if it already exists. The SWOT will allow you to position yourself in relation to the competition, to analyze the feasibility of the product, to add value to it or on the contrary to decide to leave the project until later because you do not have the necessary financial means. for example…
You have done your market analysis, you are confident and think you can position yourself as in this niche, know that the SWOT is the step that will also allow you to define, subsequently, your business strategy . The SWOT is recommended when it is established on a specific project and real facts on which to rely. A SWOT that is too broad will not be relevant and will not move you forward.
I would like to point out that the SWOT, which I pair with a PESTEL for market analysis (market opportunities and threats), then makes it possible to identify the Key Success Factors and a strategic positioning. So this is the first step in any Marketing strategy !
Mobilize your forces, anticipate threats
The SWOT matrix will allow you to mobilize your strengths and recognize your weaknesses in order to be able to face them. In each project, you will have to do the diagnosis of the current situation and understand environmental factors. You will therefore have to anticipate and arm yourself intelligently in order to be able to carry out your project. It will also allow you to focus on the opportunities and your strengths, without neglecting the threats.
The analysis will really help you to identify your motivations, your skills, to analyze the context. Sometimes you will even be surprised to find opportunities where you had not necessarily looked for. The SWOT analysis directly confronts you with your issues and then allows you to broaden or reduce your action plan. It is more than essential before you start to do it carefully in order to maximize the opportunities.
How to do an expert SWOT?
The SWOT is not a complicated tool to set up, but it requires a certain rigor and methodology. We explain in detail what a SWOT consists of by analyzing the different parts of this marketing tool. Indeed, you must know your strengths and weaknesses to be able to design a solid project.
We have put together a few questions for you that will help you find your strengths and weaknesses. Remember that you will always need to be able to distinguish between the different areas: sales, human resources, organization, production, management in terms of finances. Depending on your field, some sectors will be more important than others.
Before doing the SWOT: define your market!
To do an expert SWOT, already, I recommend to start by defining the market. It is quite simple. It suffices to say for example: “In the vocational training and online training market in France, Switzerland, Canada and Belgium, the following constitute opportunities and threats”.
Expert tip: change the order of the SWOT matrix!
I have always found it absurd to start by analyzing the company before analyzing the market. I do not find this logical.
This is why I recommend that you act in a funnel , starting from the market with the analysis of opportunities and threats and only then moving on to the internal part with the strengths and weaknesses. To finally identify the FCS and marketing positioning.
Analyze opportunities and threats
The external diagnosis consists in analyzing the whole project in relation to the market and the competition, the environment, the legislation… This is why I recommend that you use PESTEL both in the opportunities and the threats to do nothing to forget.
The opportunities of the SWOT matrix
They represent the external opportunities to be seized, those which will allow your project to develop. They will allow you to answer questions such as:
- What are the trends that I will be able to rely on?
- Will the market allow me to prosper over time?
- What represents an opportunity in this market?
The threats of the SWOT matrix
They are considered as the dangers, the barriers of your project. The idea is to find what opportunities will counterbalance the threats. They will allow you to answer questions such as:
- What are the obstacles ? Are they surmountable?
- Is the legal environment a threat?
- What is the competition in this market?
- Is the market demand sufficient?
- Is the economic situation favorable for the development of this market?
- Is the market international?
Internal analysis of the company: analysis of the strengths and weaknesses in this market
The strengths of the SWOT matrix
The internal diagnosis of the strengths and weaknesses of your business is essential especially if you are launching a new product. This analysis should encompass all the strengths at your disposal. You will answer questions like:
- What are my internal resources?
- What are the advantages of my product / company?
- Is it innovative?
- What is the price / quality ratio?
- What are the financial, material, immaterial resources?
- What are the strengths of my company / product / project?
- What are my values?
- What is my knowledge of the core target?
- What is the competitive advantage?
The weaknesses of the SWOT matrix
The weakness part will allow you to know your Achilles heel perfectly. They correspond to the internal brakes. You will answer questions like:
- What are the obstacles to the project?
- What is the weak point of the product?
- What could be improved, revised to be more efficient?
- What are my limits?
- Do I have a resource problem? Positioning ? By brand strength? Of price ?
Pass the SWOT analysis
We have seen that the SWOT matrix makes it possible above all to identify weaknesses, to analyze the factors in order to subsequently make strategic choices. To successfully complete your SWOT matrix, there are some golden rules to follow!
Create a visual table
Take the time to make a visual table, you can add colors to it so as not to mix the different parts, do it in your image! If you prefer a paper version, do not hesitate.
Put some bold, underline, add notes in order of importance, your table must, at a glance, allow you to understand the extent of your project, its difficulties and its facilities.
You can make a PowerPoint slide per part or make a table with 4 boxes to keep the global vision.
Make sentences concise
Expert tip: Keep sentences short, the SWOT should only include notes and should be easy to understand. Indeed, it must be precise, synthetic and rigorously done to be effective.
Avoid putting too many ideas. Get to the point and be relevant.
Rely on facts
For your matrix and like many other areas more generally, you will need to rely on real facts and not assumptions . Even though your intuition is often the start of your plans as a business executive, put it aside for this time. Base yourself on real facts, figures, segments, data …
Segment the SWOT
It will be necessary to segment your fields of activity or your products. For example, if you are the manager of a company that offers several ranges of products, it is advisable to do a SWOT for each range or sector of activity and / or brand.
Anticipate the future
If your market analysis must be done in the present moment it can change very quickly, the SWOT must also be thought of in the future, in order to be able to anticipate the evolution in a few years (1 or 2 years).
SWOT matrix models with EDRAWSOFT
Do you want to download models to make your SWOTs and get a professional result? With Edrawsoft you can get artistic models that allow you reading clarity. You just need to download the template and then open it with Word to complete it. Ideal if you later want to present it to your teams. This free tool is ideal for designing matrices, flowcharts, workflows …
To read also: V-cycle: the complete guide to learn how to better manage your projects
Develop a strategic plan after the SWOT
Once your SWOT is completed, you are able to put in place the necessary actions to carry out your projects. From the SWOT generally derive the Key Success Factors of the market. Then, you will determine a marketing positioning. Before rolling out the marketing mix, which is the operational marketing strategy that will condition the way you market your product or service.
Everything flows from the market to your business and your marketing strategy.
What is business strategy?
The commercial strategy aims to increase the marketing of products. To define a commercial strategy, you must know your offer perfectly as well as your added value compared to that of competitors (you can use the BCG matrix to position your products in relation to the market). You must know the habits of your target core (thanks to the buyer persona ) as well as those of your secondary targets and distribution channels.
Then, you will have to define the means put in place to achieve this objective, without forgetting the follow-up in order to assess your return on investment and see the evolution of turnover. The analysis is very important since it will allow you to adjust your strategy.
The SWOT and PESTEL matrices
The SWOT analysis allows to put into perspective the external market data and the internal information of the company. This study can be completed with the matrix PESTEL . This brings a look at the 6 major influences that can weigh on the company: political, economic, socio-cultural, technological, ecological and legal. The two matrices then provide a complete analysis to help you adapt your strategy.
Expert SWOT example
Take the example of Charles, manager of a coaching company in Paris. It offers personalized coaching for people who want to gain self-confidence, develop a project …
Today, he wants to extend his offer to companies by offering to coach internal teams in order to give employees motivation, challenge them, and learn to communicate through online videos, which can be viewed from his website. He is obviously not the only one to offer this type of service, he would also like to be able to extend his network throughout France. He has extensive knowledge of the field and a developed network. His expertise is recognized in the market and he has many positive reviews verified on his site.
SWOT Example: Opportunities
- Market: very buoyant, companies are investing in coaching, + 7% growth each year according to INSEE;
- Distribution: online sales;
- The market is mature to buy programs in part or completely online;
- Few coaches have a diploma recognized by the State (Title recognized by the RNCP).
SWOT Example: Threats
- Strong competition in this area / very saturated market in France and abroad;
- Many coaches have an extensive offer such as online coaching + physical;
- Competitors already have a very advanced strategy ( Inbound marketing , Social Selling LinkedIn , LinkedIn Ads , retargeting, emailing, blog , youtube videos ).
SWOT example: strengths
- Brand awareness (15 years in coaching, clients type the brand directly on Google);
- Advanced knowledge in the field of coaching;
- Training recognized by the State;
- Customer network already existing in Paris and surrounding cities;
- Large network of partners;
- Little financial risk, because no premises and little investment;
- Over 200 positive verified reviews.
SWOT example: weaknesses
- Website no reference in the top 10 results for this type of service;
- Technical skills Youtube limited therefore a lot of wasted time;
- Marketing strategy still too much based on recommendation;
- Poor performance material for quality videos.
Although the plot begins with strengths and weaknesses, I have always started my SWOTs with market opportunities and threats. Why ? Because it is better to start in a funnel, by defining the market, analyzing it, before ending with the audit of the company.
Charles can therefore develop his strategy with a marketing plan. So now he knows how to maximize his strengths, reduce his weaknesses while exploiting opportunities.
SWOT: definition, examples and secrets for a successful analysis: in conclusion
Establish a SWOT analysis before its Marketing strategy is therefore essential and will allow you:
- Identify your strengths and weaknesses;
- To analyze the market in order to have a global vision;
- To better understand the feasibility of your project;
- To subsequently implement the means to carry out your project;
- To better understand the feasibility of your project;
- To focus on the essential points of your strategy.
SWOT: definition, examples and secrets: to summarize in 4 questions
À quoi sert une analyse SWOT ?
The SWOT is the internal and external analysis of your business and the current market. This allows you to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of your project by adapting it to the competition. Note that the SWOT can also be a personal development tool to improve skills. For an effective diagnosis, use the SWOT matrix!
Quand réaliser une matrice SWOT ?
When you are a business owner and want to launch a new line of products, you can get started with analysis through a SWOT to get new opportunities. Draw up a picture before you jump body and soul into marketing the product.
Quels sont les avantages d’un SWOT ?
It will allow you to focus on the essential elements of the creation of your project. You need to know the weaknesses of it so that you can understand how to address it by your strengths. This type of analysis allows you to anticipate difficulties and adapt your strategy. The SWOT matrix remains an essential strategic tool.
In addition to your SWOT, you can make a PESTEL analysis which allows to deepen the risks and opportunities represented by the market.
Comment faire une bonne analyse SWOT ?
In order to put all the chances on your side of having a good SWOT matrix, it is advisable to:
- Separate what is external from what relates to the internal. Elements from the outside determine opportunities and threats while those from within determine strengths and weaknesses.
- You rely on figures and facts in order to classify information in a precise and objective way.
- To synthesize the 4/5 key points of each box of the matrix to facilitate the overview in the form of a table.
So, you design your SWOT to help you make the best strategic decisions for your business.
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