What is a SWOT Analysis?
SWOT Analysis is a very effective way of identifying your Strengths and Weaknesses, and of examining the Opportunities and Threats your program faces. Participating in an analysis using this framework helps you to focus your activities into areas where you are strong and where the greatest opportunities lie.
- What advantages does your program have?
- What do you do well?
- What relevant resources do you have access to?
- What do other people see as your strengths?
Consider these questions from the point of view of your program as well as the point of view of those you deal with in the community. Don’t be modest, but be realistic. If you are having difficulty getting started, try writing down a list of characteristics. Some of the will hopefully be strengths!
While looking at the strengths of your program, think about them in relation to your competitors. Certain things may be a necessity to the quality of your program rather than strengths.
- What could you improve?
- What do you do badly?
- What should you avoid?
Again, consider this from and internal and external basis: Do other people seem to perceive weaknesses that you do not see? It is important to be realistic and identify the weaknesses of your program in order to plan strategically to overcome them.
- Where are the good opportunities facing you?
- What are the interesting trends you are aware of?
Useful opportunities can come from such things as:
- Changes in technology and markets on both a broad and narrow scale
- Changes in government policy/legislation related to your field
- Changes in social patterns, population profiles, lifestyle changes, etc.
- Trends and activities present in local area
A useful approach to looking at opportunities is to look at your strengths and ask yourself whether these open up any opportunities. Alternatively, look at your weaknesses and ask yourself whether you could open up opportunities by eliminating them.
- What obstacles do you face?
- What is your competition doing?
- Are the required specifications for your program changing?
- Is changing technology threatening the quality of your program?
- Could any of your weaknesses seriously threaten your program’s effectiveness?
Carrying out this analysis can be a very eye opening process. If done properly, it will assist you both in terms of pointing out what needs to be done, and in putting problems into perspective.