Advantages & disadvantages of SWOT analysis

Written by jennifer uhl
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Advantages & disadvantages of SWOT analysis
A SWOT Analysis identifies strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. (pie graph image by Tomislav from

A SWOT analysis is a tool used for strategic planning that looks at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for a project. This type of analysis can be applied to a variety of different projects, and looks at favourable, unfavourable, internal and external factors involved with achieving specific objectives. There are both advantages and disadvantages to performing this type of analysis.

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Advantage: Clarity

One of the greatest advantages of SWOT analysis is that it helps to summarise and clarify whatever opportunities and issues are facing a business or project. For this reason, a SWOT analysis is often advantageous and can play a key role in how a business sets its objectives and develops strategies for achieving goals.

Advantage: Cost

Another advantage of SWOT analysis is that the primary cost involved in the process is time. A SWOT analysis makes it possible for new ideas to be generated without costing the business much in the process. Hiring a business strategist or a marketing team would cost time and resources, but a SWOT analysis can be performed by anyone with time available and an understanding of how the business is run.

Advantage and Disadvantage: Simplicity

A SWOT analysis is simple to conduct, which poses both advantages and disadvantages. The advantage lies in the fact that anyone with a basic understanding of the business can perform this analysis. The disadvantage to the simplicity of this type of analysis is that it usually creates a very simple list that is not presented critically. If a company is focused only on the creation of a list, then it may not be focusing its attention sufficiently or deeply enough on how it can actually achieve all of its objectives.

Disadvantage: Further Research Required

In order for a SWOT analysis to be truly successful, it should extend beyond a simple list of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. For example, a business should consider what degrees of strengths and weaknesses it possesses in comparison to competitors in order to determine how strong those strengths actually are. A thorough SWOT analysis should also look at an opportunity or threat's size in order to see how it is related with the company's strengths and weaknesses. While a SWOT analysis can be simple and straightforward, more research and analysis is usually needed in order to obtain a comprehensive picture.

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