How to complete a SWOT analysis template

Key points in this article

  • SWOT – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats
  • Use SWOT to help fine tune your business strategies and make decisions
  • Conduct regular SWOT analyses

A SWOT analysis is used to help fine-tune your business strategy by examining internal and external factors that may help or hinder your business. Identifying and understanding the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats – that’s what SWOT stands for – allows you to address them and make smarter decisions moving forward.

Our SWOT template will help you to identify each of these characteristics for your business so that you can better understand what you’re doing well, what you could improve, and which external factors could affect your business.

Being able to visualize the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of your business and various projects is essential in fine-tuning your strategy. SWOT analyses are a great way to explore potential solutions, identify potential barriers, choose an effective strategy, or revise an existing strategy. Conduct regular SWOT analyses to keep your business on the right track, and whenever you’re faced with a decision.

SWOT analyses help fine tune your business strategies.

How to use our SWOT analysis template

Our downloadable SWOT template is easy to use. It’s a Microsoft Word document containing a SWOT grid where you can enter and evaluate the internal and external factors affecting a given issue.

Step one: define the issue

Define the issue you’re assessing, and enter it in the space above the grid. For example, if you’re assessing your business as a whole, enter “business SWOT analysis” along with the date above the grid. Define the issue as clearly and succinctly as you can. The better defined the issue, the better able you’ll be in identifying relevant factors.

Step two: work the grid

Go through each of the four criteria – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats – and assess your business, or whatever the defined issue happens to be, on each one.

This is often a non-linear process, so feel to jump around the grid as ideas come to you. For example, as you’re listing strengths, you may realise that a serious risk exists that threatens that particular strength.

Step three – analyse the results

Look at each square of the grid. Are there any strengths you’re not making the most of, or any weaknesses that could be dealt with? Have you identified opportunities and threats?

Think about each of these factors and how you might take advantage of those that are helpful and fix, mitigate, or eliminate those that are harmful. Refer to the SWOT analysis as you make your decision or formulate an action plan.

Step four – repeat frequently

The simplicity of the 2 by 2 grid makes conducting a SWOT analysis something you can do quickly and easily – and often on a moment’s notice.

Think about how you can maximise strengths and opportunities, and reduce threats and weaknesses.

Plan on completing the analysis:

  • On a regular basis – such as each quarter to ensure that you’re aware of your business’s current and ever-changing status.
  • Whenever you need assistance making important decisions.

Conduct regular SWOT analyses to help make decisions and to keep your business on track.

Next steps

  • Download our SWOT analysis template.
  • Determine which strengths to leverage, which weaknesses to fix, which opportunities to exploit, and which threats can be reduced.
  • Visit ANZ Small Business Hub where you’ll find a wide range of tools and templates.

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