Understanding your sector
Understanding your sector

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1.5 Conducting a SWOT analysis

The following example of a SWOT analysis has been completed by Lucy, a marketing assistant in a company that manufactures and sells walking boots.

Table 1 Lucy’s SWOT analysis
Strengths Weaknesses
  • I am a good communicator with both colleagues and customers.
  • I can organise my time efficiently.
  • I contribute effectively to teams I belong to.
  • I take the lead where this seems appropriate.
  • I enjoy my work and get on well with my employer.
  • I have three reasonable A levels and a vocational qualification in marketing.
  • I can be easily discouraged by negative feedback.
  • I am not very good at using IT effectively.
  • I can lose my temper if roused.
  • I am nervous when in front of an audience.
  • Many of my work colleagues have a degree and therefore have more potential opportunities.

 

Opportunities Threats
  • There are new markets opening up in the Far East.
  • Technological change is bringing down production costs.
  • Customers are very loyal to our brand.
  • Our competitors have opted for the popular end of the market leaving a gap for us.
  • Health trends are making walking a popular pastime for many, especially older people.
  • There is a major industry conference soon where I can make new contacts.
  • There is growing competition from cheaper producers in the developing world who sell online.
  • The company is still family owned with a very traditional culture.
  • There is a lack of good designers with the right skills in the organisation.
  • My line manager would like to leave his job and I am uncertain about his possible replacement.

It is now time for you to do a SWOT analysis on your own situation. As you work through Activity 1, think about the kind of evidence that Lucy has drawn on for each element of her SWOT analysis. Some of it is personal but some of it relates to the wider context within which her organisation operates.

Activity 1 Conducting your SWOT analysis

Timing: Allow about 20 minutes

Conduct a SWOT analysis of your current situation, drawing on some of the questions outlined in Sections 1.1–1.4. Try to use the knowledge of your sector that you have developed over the last few weeks in order to inform your thinking. The Toolkit [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]   has a SWOT analysis tool to help you do this activity. Alternatively, draw up a table like Lucy’s in your notebook and fill it in.

Comment

This activity should help you to view your personal situation from a new perspective. Once you have identified and written down important factors they often become more concrete. As a result, strengths and opportunities become more real as assets that you can exploit and draw on while weaknesses and threats become less challenging to address and overcome.

Having conducted your SWOT analysis, what do you do next? It should not just be an academic exercise with no practical outcomes but a launch pad for action, designed to improve your situation based on your analysis and research. The rest of this week will be devoted to identifying what action you might take to do this.

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