How to Plan for the Future with a SWOT Analysis

When you’re working nine-to-five day-to-day, it can all feel tedious and you might lose sight of your company’s big picture. You must always review progress assessments every quarter. One approach you can take to reflect on your professional progress and future is the SWOT analysis.

From small start-ups to large-scale corporations, all companies can stand to benefit from this simple yet multi-faceted approach to business analysis, irrespective of industry. For example, Apple, General Motors, and Home Depot have organized internal reports or contracted outside professionals to conduct in-depth company profiles with SWOT.

Much like The Six Hats, the SWOT analysis is used to evaluate a company’s current status and identify future room for improvement through different lenses.

Well, what does SWOT stand for? The acronym represents:

  • Strengths:
    • What sets you apart from the competition?
    • What’s ensuring your current success?
  • Weaknesses:
    • Are there any current resource restraints?
    • Is your business not so popular PR-wise?
  • Opportunities:
    • How do you maximize your existing strengths?
    • How can you innovate with new technologies?
  • Threats:
    • Are there any rising competitors on the scene?
    • Is there growing or decreasing demand for your product/service?

When evaluating Strengths and Weaknesses, focus on the current state of your business, identify your advantages to capitalize on, and address points to improve upon.

On the other hand, Opportunities and Threats pertain to the current landscape of the industry as a whole and its projected trajectory. While these factors are out of your hands, being proactive can pay off in dividends in the future.

During your next brainstorming session, take the time with your team to reflect and look to the future of your business and the industry. Here’s a simple 5-stage process for the SWOT analysis.


    1. Bring your team together to brainstorm at the drawing board
    2. Collectively evaluate each category in depth
    3. Discuss some questions:
      • What’s the current trend in the industry?
      • Where do we stand amongst competitors?
    4. Gather some internal and external stats:
      • Revenue and profits
      • Customer feedback
      • Resources
        • Human
        • Material
        • Financial capital
      • Market research and trends
      • Competitors’ stats
    5. Compile all your notes/data and organize your final report in either:
        • A four quadrant-cell
        • An official report for press release
        • A list format

There are a plethora of templates and other guidelines to follow online.

Be sure to try out this nifty strategy next fiscal quarter!