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Industry Research Step By Step: SWOT - Internal & External Analysis

SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis

SWOT is an acronym used to describe the particular Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats that are strategic factors for a specific company. A SWOT analysis should not only result in the identification of a corporation’s core competencies, but also in the identification of opportunities that the firm is not currently able to take advantage of due to a lack of appropriate resources. (Wheelen, Hunger pg 107).

The Internal Analysis of strengths and weaknesses focuses on internal factors that give an organization certain advantages and disadvantages in meeting the needs of its target market.

The following area analyses are used to look at all internal factors effecting a company:

  • Resources: Profitability, sales, product quality brand associations, existing overall brand, relative cost of this new product, employee capability, product portfolio analysis
  • Capabilities: Goal: To identify internal strategic strengths, weaknesses, problems, constraints and uncertainties

The External Analysis examines opportunities and threats that exist in the environment.

The following area analyses are used to look at all external factors effecting a company:

  • Customer analysis: Segments, motivations, unmet needs
  • Competitive analysis: Identify completely, put in strategic groups, evaluate performance, image, their objectives, strategies, culture, cost structure, strengths, weakness
  • Market analysis: Overall size, projected growth, profitability, entry barriers, cost structure, distribution system, trends, key success factors
  • Environmental analysis: Technological, governmental, economic, cultural, demographic, scenarios, information-need areas Goal: To identify external opportunities, threats, trends, and strategic uncertainties.

    Consult the following databases for ready-made SWOT Analyses:

  • Marketline Business Information Center
  • Business Source Premier
  • Business & Company Resource Center (currently provides a small collection of SWOT analyses - approximately 200 U.S. and 300 non-U.S. companies)
  • LexisNexis Academic  
    Under "Get Company Info" select Company Profiles link in the right column of the home page.  1.  In the first box, type the name of your company.  For Example, McDonalds.  2.  Change the field designation to Company Name.  3.  In the next box, type: swot  4.  click Search.  The results come fron global Markets Direct.  Scroll down until you find the report that includes "SWOT Analysis" in the title.