PEST & SWOT Analysis Research Guide

SWOT Analysis Overview

A SWOT analysis examines a company's Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Strengths and weaknesses are internal to the company; opportunities and threats are external.


A firm’s strengths are its resources and capabilities that can be used for developing a competitive advantage, such as strong brand names, unique resources, patented products or services, good reputation, valuable assets, positive financials, access to resources, unique or innovative technologies, and so on.


A firm's weaknesses may be obsolete technology or aging infrastructure, financial concerns, legal issues, lack of resources, how the company is perceived by its customers or the public, poor reputation or low brand recognition, leadership instability, labor conflicts, or ethical issues.


Marketplace opportunities might be consumer demand for new products or functionalities, regulatory changes, opening of new geographic markets, or new technologies. 


External threats come from new competitors entering a specific market, shifts in consumer demand away from a company's offerings, restrictive regulatory and trade conditions, etc.

Source:  Adapted from Quick MBA Strategic Management SWOT Analysis

Questions a SWOT Analysis Answers

  • What are the internal strengths and weaknesses of the company?

  • What are the external opportunities and threats in the marketplace in which the company operates?

  • Can any of the weaknesses be converted to strengths?

  • Can any of the threats be converted to opportunities?

  • How can the company take advantage of its strengths and opportunities?

  • What strategic changes can the company make as a result of the analysis?