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The SWOT Matrix
Internal Analysis
External Analysis
Learn to Build Your Own S.W.O.T Matrix
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Observe Your Environment!

April, 2007

Scientists begin their process by observing the environment around them.  Good marketers do the same thing, studying industry trends and market conditions to help them identify new opportunities.


A "S.W.O.T. Matrix" is one tool which is often used to organize and analyze the information they observe.

The SWOT Matrix


This is a simple, powerful tool used to examine factors affecting your business success, both internal and external to your organization and create a plan to address these factors.


The outcome will be a plan to capitalize on strengths, compensate for areas of weakness, take advantage of marketing opportunities, and address marketing threats.

Internal Analysis


Begin the process by listing your strengths.  Outline the positive elements of your current situation, including the skills each member of your team brings to the table. Make this list as long as possible.  Ask employees and customers what they consider your strengths.  For example:

  • Number and skill of your employees
  • Existing customers
  • Company reputation

The second element in the S.W.O.T. Matrix is an analysis of weaknesses.  This is always harder to do, but it is extremely valuable to take a critical look at areas for improvement.

  • Limited capital
  • Low brand awareness
  • Old equipment

The internal factors-strengths and weaknesses, are things you can control or change. Direct action can improve a weakness; possibly even converting it to a strength. As you look at these elements, ask yourself how do I use them to grow my business or what must I change before I can grow my business.

 External Analysis


A S.W.O.T Matrix also includes an analysis of the external factors. These external factors can not be controlled directly. They do, however, have the potential to affect your business in a positive or negative manner.


Opportunities are market conditions and events which create a need for the products or services you provide. Your opportunity list might include: 

  • Increase in number of homes in your market
  • A competitor closes their doors
  • A change in the law makes your product more attractive

Similar to opportunities, threats are outside of your direct control. These external factors, however, create challenges or obstacles which must be identified and dealt with.

  • Adverse weather conditions
  • Slow down in the economy
  • Increase in competition

After you list the opportunities and threats, ask yourself which of your strengths will allow you to take advantage of the opportunity.  Which weakness must be changed before you can move forward? Once completed, your Matrix forms the foundation of your marketing plan

Sample SWOT Matrix

Learn to Build Your Own S.W.O.T Matrix


To learn more about how to use this technique in the formation of your marketing plan, purchase a copy of the Entrepreneur's Notebook or attend "Marketing by the Numbers" presented by Roundpeg.


The workshop, which is part of the Marketing Basics for Entrepreneurs Series, will be offered only one more time this year on August 7th.


The Marketing Basics for Entrepreneurs Series is sponsored by the Central Indiana Small Business Development Center.

More information on the SBDC


Lorraine Ball



To learn more about how to use this technique order a copy of the Entrepreneur's Notebook today for only $18!