A Business Student’s Guide to a SWOTT Analysis

How to Create a SWOTT Analysis

Written with  by Allan Calder

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the use of SWOTT analysis is a bunch of men and women sitting around a board room strategizing. It sounds boring, and you might be starting to nod off already, but hang on just a minute. It’s actually quite a useful tool for any organization, whether it’s a small business, large corporation, non-profit organization, educational institution, or just about any other organized group you can think of. Not only that, the process can be quite stimulating – if you’re nodding off, you’re not doing it right! There are five components to the analysis, one for each letter in the acronym SWOTT. I’m going to use a small college as an example as we look at each step.

S is for Strengths

What are the schools strengths in attracting students? In the case of a small college they might consider the intimate atmosphere of their campus as a recruiting tool for attracting students. Perhaps another strength revealed from the analysis might be the favourable student to teacher ratio. There may be many others and the exercise of bringing together key players to do a formal analysis of these – such as school administrators and professors – will allow the college to focus on and improve upon these strengths.

W is for Weaknesses

For a small college an analysis of its weaknesses might reveal the schools limited budget for extracurricular activities, limited course offerings, and lack of diversity as areas of concern. By identifying these weaknesses the school can work on strategies to overcome them.

O is for Opportunities

In a formal analysis of the opportunities available to the small college it might be revealed that one of its tenured professors is a foremost expert in his/her field. This asset could then be used as a recruitment tool in the schools advertisements. The opportunity to      study under such an individual would be very attractive to many potential students.

The First T is for Threats

The analysis might reveal a large college nearby that is aggressively recruiting in the area, offering a wide range of curriculum choices, and many extracurricular activities. This is hard for a small college to compete with, but as our earlier analysis revealed, if they focus on the intimacy of their school they will make a strong case for why their school should be chosen over the larger one. 

The Bonus T is for Trends

Looking at trends in education, the small college might see an opportunity to increase the schools revenue streams by expanding online course offerings. In the virtual world the school doesn’t need a large campus and lecture halls to compete with its larger neighbor.

As the analysis performed above reveals, a SWOTT analysis can be very beneficial to any organization – not just a large corporation. The small college in our example, is now much more aware of their position as an educational institution, and better able to compete. It’s a worthwhile tool that can reveal a lot of useful information.

Organizing SWOTT Data into a Table

The end result of a SWOTT analysis should leave you with a bunch of information to organize in a table. The graphic below shows how you can place each topic into a table that corresponds to the letters of the SWOTT analysis.

swott analysis table

Try creating a set of columns for each part of the SWOTT analysis, then place each functional area in a row.

Some Great SWOTT Analysis Example Essays


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