Step 3 - Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats

The strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) should also be reviewed in relation to the mission of the organisation so that, as part of the strategy, you can:

  1. Build on strengths
  2. Resolve weaknesses
  3. Exploit opportunities
  4. Avoid threats.

Strengths and weaknesses are essentially internal to the organisation and relate to matters concerning resources, programs and organisation in key areas. These include:

  1. Sales - marketing - distribution - promotion - support;
  2. Management - systems - expertise - style;
  3. Operations - efficiency - capacity - productivity;
  4. Products - services - quality - pricing - features - range - competitiveness;
  5. Resources - people - performance - costs;
  6. Systems - technology - ability to change.

The external threats and opportunities confronting an organisation can exist or develop as a result of any of the factors considered in the review of the markets above, but should be discussed and prioritised.

Once the SWOT review is complete, the future strategy may be readily apparent or, as is more likely the case, a series of strategies or combinations of tactics will suggest themselves.

There are many techniques and management theories that can provide assistance to management in a review of the SWOT of the organisation. It is important to select the most appropriate tools and develop an effective way for providing regular reviews as part of the strategic planning process.

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