Strategic Market Planning with
SWOT Analysis
success.  This simple tool, developed at Stanford University in the late
1960’s, is an extremely powerful ingredient in the recipe for business
success. Used by most Fortune 500 companies in strategic planning,
the SWOT matrix involves a frank evaluation of a business’ Strengths,
Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats:

    •        STRENGTHS: attributes of the organization that are
    HELPFUL to achieving the objective. These are the company’s
    core competencies, and include proprietary technology, skills,
    resources, market position, patents, and others.

    •        WEAKNESSES: attributes of the organization that are
    HARMFUL to achieving the objective. Weaknesses are
    conditions within the company that can lead to poor performance,
    and can include obsolete equipment, no clear strategy, heavy
    debt burden, poor product or market image, long product
    development cycle, weak management, and others.

    •        OPPORTUNITIES: external conditions that are HELPFUL
    to achieving the objective. Opportunities are outside conditions or
    circumstances that the company could turn to its advantage, and
    could include a specialty niche skill or technology that suddenly
    realizes a growth in broad market interest.

    •        THREATS: external conditions that are HARMFUL to
    achieving the objective.  Threats are current or future conditions in
    the outside environment that may harm the company, and might
    include population shifts, changes in purchasing, serious
    competitive barriers, changes in governmental or environmental
    regulations, and others.

SWOT analysis provides an efficient way to evaluate the range of
factors that influence your operation, and can give you valuable
guidance in making decisions about what to do next. It also provides a
highly productive way to get your key personnel involved in the
management decision-making process.

The exercise of going through the swot analysis matrix can be a great
opportunity to do management team building.  If you have a large team,
break into 4 teams for each of the quadrants and each team can
prepare and report its findings.  Make sure to include not only your
market planners, but also finance, operations, product development
and others.


Pamela Millar, CEO                          
Bridgemakers Consulting