HOW TO DO A Swot Analysis

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Developing Strategies to Grow

HOW TO DO A Swot Analysis

You can use a SWOT analysis has a business analysis technique; to provide the information necessary to establish strategies, planning, and objectives for deciding the best way to achieve future growth. It is a relatively quick way to look at organizational strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for your business.

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You can see the positive attributes, tangible and intangible, internal strengths of your organization.  This is what you can control, factors such as human resources; staff, volunteers, board members, target population. Physical resources; your location, building, and equipment. Financial factors such as grants, funding agencies, and other sources of income. You can also see activities and processes, programs you run, or systems you employ. Past experiences are building blocks you can see for learning and success, your reputation in the community. Make up your own list of strengths, below are examples.

  •         What do you do well?
  •         What is your brand or trademark?
  •         What internal factors will help your business to succeed?
  •         What do your clients like about your business?
  •         Good/Busy location for the business?
  •         What do you do better than your competitors?
  •        Where are you most profitable in your business?
  •         What advances have you made lately?
  •         Are you as profitable as you can be?
  •         What is highlighted on your website?
  •         Are you creative/lots of ideas?
  •         Good at starting and finishing projects?


Weaknesses are business aspects that detract from the value you offer, or how much you are at a competitive disadvantage. You need to enhance these areas in order to compete with your best competitor. Make up your own list of weaknesses, below are examples.

  •         What needs to be improved?
  •         No clear strategic direction?
  •         Weak financial position and resources?
  •         Do you have credit issues?
  •         Do you have enough working capital?
  •         Are costs high, profit low?
  •         Have net 30/60/90/120 day billing problem?
  •         Have narrow product or service line?
  •         Small customer base compared to competition
  •         Poor/Slow location for the businesses?
  •         Do you have control over your suppliers?
  •         Is your suppliers’ group small?
  •         Is equipment old or outdated?
  •         Have ample supply of resources?
  •         Lack of strong management?
  •         High employee turnover?
  •         Non-responsive customer service and follow-up
  •         Need better marketing?
  •         Focusing on details too much?
  •         Take on too many projects at once
  •         Take too many risks?
  •         Too critical of people’s work?
  •         When you lose a sale why does it happen?


Weaknesses are aspects of your business that detract from the value you offer or place you at a competitive disadvantage. You need to enhance these areas in order to compete with your best competitor. Make up your own list of weaknesses, below are examples.


Threats include external factors beyond your control that could place your strategy, or the business at risk. You have no control over these, but you may benefit by having contingency plans to address them if they should occur.

  • What external factors could have an adverse impact on your business?
  • Has a new product or technology been introduced that makes your products, equipment, or services obsolete?
  • Who are your existing or potential competitors who pose a threat to your business?
  • Has there been a change in vendor prices or the availability of raw materials?
  • What are the strengths of your biggest competitors?
  • What are your competitors doing that you’re not?
  • What’s going on in the economy?
  • What’s going on in the industry?
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Internal and External Factors

Looking at realities both inside the firm and the external business environment. Strengths and weaknesses are factors that can be change are internal to your business. Opportunities and threats are external forces relative to the environment that you need to be aware of so that you can either take advantage of, or mitigate losses to your company.

Identifying Internal and External Factors

Once you have identified your SWOT results, can analyze your internal factors or strengths and weaknesses to develop short-term and long-term strategies for your business. Determining how your strengths can help you reach your goals and how you can use them most effectively. Then identify what steps you can take to minimize or overcome your weaknesses. External factors analyze the opportunities and threats affecting you. Decide which opportunities would be best to pursue and create a plan to minimize or neutralize threats facing you.

The point of a SWOT analysis is to help you develop a strong business strategy by making sure you’ve considered all of your business’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as the opportunities and threats it faces in the marketplace. Continuous improvement in all areas of a company’s operations is an important aspect of staying ahead of competitors.

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