Enhanced SWOT Analysis Template
More than likely, you are familiar with the SWOT analysis. You may have done a couple of these over the years. Unfortunately, too often the SWOT analysis becomes merely a “fill-in-the-blanks” exercise on that familiar 2 x 2 table.
The problem with the traditional SWOT is that it neglects to develop the connections between strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. As a result, the SWOT analysis falls short of producing deep insight.
Here, we’re introducing a new way of conducting a SWOT analysis.
The enhanced SWOT analysis adds more nuance and is more quantitative compared to the traditional SWOT. And, most of all, it allows you to get insight from the relationships you create between strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Completing this enhanced SWOT analysis takes more time and effort than the traditional method. But, you gain actual understanding and useful insight.
How to use this SWOT template for Excel is outlined below.
First of all, the enhanced SWOT goes beyond the basic concept of a company’s “strengths”. Instead, we think it’s more meaningful to talk about strategic competencies to express what the firm is really good at relative to the competition.
What is a strategic competency?
- A combination of skills, knowledge, proprietary processes, tools, experience, know-how, etc.
- Something that’s valuable to the customer
- It differentiates the company from the competition
- Something that’s difficult for the competition to acquire or copy
- It can be applied to more than one market
Elements of Strategic Competencies
A strategic competency is a combination of skills, experience, processes, knowledge, tools, etc. This means that in order to define the strategic competencies, the elements, the building blocks, need to be defined first.
Take what you do and how you do it and break it down into its individual components. For example, CAD skills, engineering skills, material processing experience, a strategic supplier, or a state-of-the-art inventory system. These are the elements of your strategic competencies.
Next, rate these elements on a 3, 5, or 10 point scale. This can be helpful to select the most relevant elements. The higher the rating, the more important this element is to your firm’s processes.
Define the Strategic Competencies
Now, with core skills, process, proprietary methods, etc., defined, you have to put together specific combinations of these elements to define the company’s strategic competencies.
Which elements, combined together, define a strategic competency? You can think of the elements as the ingredients of each strategic competency.
Rate each of the core activities on how they if and to what extent they contribute to a particular strategy competency. The higher the rating, the more the strategic competency depends on that particular element.
Evaluate The Strategic Competencies
Next, evaluate each of the strategic competencies how well they satisfy the strategic competency requirements.
Next, identify the external opportunities in the marketplace that look interesting and promising for the future growth of your business.
Keep in mind only to list external opportunities, such as new markets, joint ventures, new technology, etc. Any internal initiatives for growth should not be included.
Rate these opportunities on their anticipated upside potential and taking into consideration the resources required to pursue them. You can use a 3, 5, or 10 point scale. The higher the rating, the better the external opportunity for growth.
Next, you have to take an objective look at the internal weaknesses of your organization.
These are the areas that have a negative impact on performance. You don’t have to list all the internal weaknesses of the firm, just the ones that are most significant.
You can use a 3, 5, or 10 point rating. The higher the rating, the greater the negative impact of that weakness.
For a first evaluation of the weaknesses you can use a 3 point scale, similar to a Low-Medium-High rating. Later on, if more nuance is required, you can switch to a 5 or 10 point scale.
Each firm operates in a dynamic, highly competitive marketplace. You can anticipate certain events or developments in the near- and mid-term that threaten the survival and growth of your business.
Define and rate these external threats using a 3, 5, or 10 point scale. The higher the rating, the more significant the threat is to the business.
Strategic Competencies & Opportunities
So far, the information entered has been pretty similar to the traditional SWOT. With the next worksheet, this is now changing.
This worksheet is used to define and rate the relationships between Strategic Competencies and External Opportunities.
Indicate if, and to what extent, each Strategic Competency improves the firm’s ability to pursue a particular External Opportunity.
Keep in mind that not every competency plays a role in pursuing each opportunity. Be thoughtful in matching up strategic competencies and external opportunities that go together.
Rate the relevance of a strategic competency for the pursuit of a particular opportunity on a 3, 5, or 10 point scale. The higher the number, the higher its relevance.
The worksheet provides insight into your most significant and powerful strategic competencies as well as how your ability to go after new growth opportunities relies on your firm’s strategic competencies.
You’ll get more insight into which opportunities are within reach and which ones appear to be beyond your capabilities.
Strategic Competencies & Threats
Similar to the previous worksheet, but now we’re looking at the relationship between strategic competencies and the threats your firm is facing.
On a 3, 5, or 10 point scale, rate the seriousness of each threat relative to the protection provided by a strategic competency. In other words, the higher the number, the weaker the strategic competency’s ability to protect against or mitigate against the threat.
Weaknesses & Opportunities
Similar to the previous analysis, but now you’re looking at the relationships between internal weaknesses and opportunities.
Using a 3, 5, or 10 point scale, rate how each weakness jeopardizes your firm’s ability to successfully pursue an opportunity. The higher the number, the more serious the weakness.
Weaknesses & Threats
Here you look at how each company’s weakness leaves you exposed to the external threats defined earlier.
Use a 3, 5, or 10 point scale to indicate the seriousness of the company’s weakness. The higher the number, the more serious the weakness.