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Business Research Guide

This guide is to help you research topics and trends in Business. Using the tabs, you can access links to library resources as well as research tips and citation tools.

SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis is an objective planning tool used to evaluate a company's competitive position.  It is designed to provide a realistic, fact-based, data-driven look at a company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.  To keep the analysis accurate, avoid pre-conceived beliefs or gray areas and focus instead on real-life contexts. A SWOT should be used as a guide and not necessarily as a prescription.

The SWOT analysis is typically depicted as a square segmented into four quadrants, each dedicated to a SWOT element. This visual arrangement provides a quick overview of a company’s position. 

Are a company's internal resources and capabilities that can be used for developing a competitive advantage, such as brand recognition or great customer service.

Are a company's internal factors that affect how the business performs.   These factors are within the control of the company to be fixed such as low company morale or poor quality control.

Are external factors that may give a company a competitive edge or be used to its advantage such as public need or inexpensive building materials.  To see examples of opportunities, check out this page on Simplicable:  "23  Examples of SWOT Opportunities".

Are external changes that negatively affects your company such as bad publicity or slow economy.

The following is an example of a SWOT chart:

Remember, the SWOT analysis is meant to be an objective summary tool.  Any analysis which lacks good information will result in a biased viewpoint, and may cause you to reach the wrong conclusion.