Innovation Future Specialist

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Ted's Guide to SWOT Analysis

Teddy bear reading a book Hello, my name is Ted. I am a cuddly character, with a simple attitude to life, and well read. I tell it like it is, in simple plain language. So you will not need your encyclopedia of jargon: "Jar be gone".

Instead of lolling around in the bedroom all day I decided to write a few short guides to business and other stuff.

This is one of my guides ...

SWOT Analysis looks at Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Typically, this is used to review a business, but it could be used for other things too; you could even assess yourself! If done objectively, it provides a balanced perspective: positive (strengths and opportunities) and negative (weaknesses and threats). Strengths often present opportunities, whereas weaknesses allow threats to become a danger.

Analysing a Business

Consider all aspects of a business - both internal and external aspects. For example:

» Staff, management, and leadership

» Suppliers, partners, and customers

» Competitors

» Policies, strategies, plans, and processes

» Equipment, tools, machinery, and information and communications technology

» Effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability, and environmental impact

» Improvement, research, development, and innovation

» Financial status


Identify strengths in all aspects of the business. Be specific: what is it about a specific aspect that makes it a strength? Record this so that the associated benefit of this strength is preserved, when you make changes to the business. (Sometimes business development activities overlook existing strengths and accidentally lose them when changes are made.)

Identify where the business makes use of good practice.


Identify weaknesses in all aspects of the business. Record why it is a weakness.

Identify where the business does not make use of good practice.


money Opportunities include aspects that can be improved upon inside and outside the business; and opportunities to improve revenue, profit, quality, and overall impact. (Note that improvements in sustainability, environmental impact, and relationships can also be good for the business.)

New science and technology allows you to create innovations that benefit your business.


External aspects can represent threats to the business. The most obvious is competitors - what are they up to? Governments and regulators might also pose threats; for example what happens if one of your processes, raw materials or products is going to be banned, or have heavy tariffs imposed on it?

The introduction of new technologies and innovations is a constant threat to traditional businesses - and the pace and impact of these is going to increase! See the Future Gallery for a taste of what is coming.

Remember also that threats might exist within the business too. What happens if your best members of staff leave? Are staff motivated, or planning a revolt?


The world is always changing and just to keep up, your business needs to keep improving. Your business needs to conduct a SWOT analysis periodically; and action needs to be taken to address weaknesses and threats, and to pursue opportunities. A missed opportunity might later return to bite you as a threat, from the competitor that made the most of that opportunity.

To excel and become a leader you need to innovate; and the Innovation Future Specialist provides the best options for learning how to do this.


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