5 steps to making your SWOT more useful

SWOT analysis is a standard tool for many businesses. It stands for Strength-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats and is an assessment method meant to help businesses analyze their internal and external strategic risks and opportunities. The information is collected in a matrix:

swot picture
A SWOT analysis is a structured team walkthrough of your project’s internal strengths and weaknesses, and its external opportunities and threats.

The key to using the SWOT method successfully is to have a good grasp of the business model as a starting point. This means you need to be intimately familiar with how your company creates value for its customers; which pain points are removed, or which gains do the customers get by using your product or service? How does the customer perceive this value? What are the core elements of creating that value for the customer?

You should also have a clear grasp on the customer relationship process, including communications channels and delivery channels for your product. Those may both be strong and weak suits of your business – and lack of follow-up after sales can be a serious weakness compared to customers.

In addition to the very customer focused side, you should also keep an up-to-date view on how you generate money from the work that you do, and what you need to spend money on. Budgets and account ledgers are great – but to discuss these items in the context of the SWOT analysis, a more qualitative view is usually useful.

This is where the business model canvas comes in. The core elements of your business model can be summarized in a “canvas” – or a table with the most important information. For our “Sample” SWOT that background is illustrated in the following canvas.

Picture of sample business model canvas
The business model canvas is a 1-page summary of your business model. This forms the background for any good SWOT whether it is for an internal IT project or for a new startup company. gives you access to these tools: setting up both the business model canvas is easy and quick both on your desktop and your mobile.

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