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What is SWOT Analysis?

SWOT analysis is a strategic planning model, very useful for those who are seeking changes in their career or for bringing about alterations in one’s own personal life. By analyzing your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, you can achieve new heights in your career. This analysis is basically introspection into the self with the goal of bringing out the best in every individual and every organization so that production and quality can be optimized. SWOT analysis is also extensively used in businesses, where it is of paramount importance, and also other spheres of human endeavour. This article will delve into the details and nuances of SWOT analysis and how it can help enhance the prospects of individuals as well as companies in turn.

A. Harrison Barnes says that the first stage in a SWOT analysis is the identification of the desired goals or objectives. Let’s understand various aspects of SWOT analysis.

• Strengths- This refers to the positive qualities of a company or of a particular individual that can help in further advancement of career or business. Strength refers to the special ability of a person to excel in a particular field, his academic qualification, work experience and accreditation; the values and qualities of an individual that differentiate him from the rest of the people.

• Weaknesses: Every individual must have clear knowledge about his weaknesses so that he can work upon them. It is expected that every individual will make a list of his weaknesses that is preventing him from taking risks and identify his personal shortcomings that is preventing him from achieving the end result.

• Opportunities: Here, opportunity mainly refers to external opportunities that are brought about by advancement in technologies. Every individual must analyze the opportunities that are there at his disposal and the best possible means of utilizing these opportunities.

• Threats: The threats, most of the times come from external sources. These external forces or threats acts as an impediment and makes it difficult for people to achieve their desired goals. Make sure that you are able to identify these obstacles and overcome them. You can also device alternatives that can help you get the desired results, says A. Harrison Barnes. This will help you to cut down or minimize threats.

SWOT analysis helps you to arrive at significant conclusions. It tells you your improvement areas and you can then work suitably to overcome those and achieve new heights in your career. It is very important that you analyze all these stages well for effective planning and advancement in your career. The objective set must be rational and logical, says A. Harrison Barnes, the CEO of It is the responsibility of the decision makers to see to it that the goal set is achievable. Alternative objectives must be devised if necessary to achieve the desired results.

A. Harrison Barnes points out that SWOT analysis tries to generate new creative, logical strategies by repeatedly asking and answering the following questions:

• What are the ways in which our strength can be capitalized and utilized?

• What are the possible methods that can be adopted to work on our weaknesses and improve our skills?

• What are the different possible ways by which opportunities can be exploited and the best possible measures for utilizing the benefits?

• What are the ways by which the potential threats can be alleviated?

The entire team of SWOT analysis aims to identify external and internal factors that affect the achievement of goals. The internal factors refer to the inner strengths and weaknesses of the institution or the individual. The external factors refer to the potential threats as well as opportunities available.

The concepts of strengths and weaknesses are very relative, says A. Harrison Barnes. What may appear as strength from one angle may become weakness when viewed from another angle. Internal factors may include financial, personal and mechanical capabilities. The external factors mainly include social, economic, cultural and political changes and along with these, changes in the current market scenario and competition from different quarters.

SWOT analysis can be utilized for matching and converting:

• Matching involves the process of bringing the strengths and weaknesses together. This method helps to discover advantages that are competitive in nature.

• The conversion method is used for turning weaknesses or threats into strengths and opportunities.

SWOT can be used for analysis of environmental and business factors:

• Goal setting: setting up goals which the organization must achieve.

• Scanning of the environment, analysis of the present market scenario, life cycle of the services and products.

Analyzing the strategies already existing in the market

The strategic issues must be specified and factors responsible for bringing about development of the corporate plan must be looked after by the organization. In order to achieve the desired results, it is very important that we try all the possible options that are there at our disposal. Strategies must be implemented to achieve the end results. The results need to be monitored constantly. Creative actions can be undertaken for amending objectives and strategies.

A. Harrison Barnes says that to conclude, it can be said that SWOT analysis is a comprehensive and concise method that can be used in areas like planning and advancement of one’s career with substantial results.

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