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What is SWOC Analysis?

Jun 13, 2016 by Kiesha Frue 0 Comments

SWOC analysis is a strategic planning method used to research external and internal factors
which affect company success and growth. Firms use SWOC analysis to determine
the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges of their firm, products, and
competition.

SWOC analysis is relevant to SWOT analysis. SWOT examines strengths, weaknesses, and
opportunities. But it focuses on threats rather than challenges. The two are similar but they do
have their differences, which is why firms may choose to use SWOC or SWOT.

How to use SWOC analysis

When beginning a SWOC analysis of a product or firm, you must go through each section
individually. Starting with…

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Strengths

Strengths are features which benefit the company, such as product sales. For example, sales of
Product X is growing 3% each month. But Product Z is seeing a 3% monthly decline. In this
case, Product X, which brings in more revenue, is where the firm should focus their efforts to
continue profit growth.

Strengths can also be more abstract. If you’ve decided to build a product because you know
you can offer it cheaper than your competitor, this is an overall strength of the company. Or if
you have records of better customer service via positive reviews online, this is a strength you
can use to your advantage. Strengths can be documented through statistics, customer service
reviews, and surveys.
Weaknesses

The next step is noticing weaknesses. Weaknesses cause a company to struggle. For example,
if you’ve decided to target a younger audience but your packaging is still dedicated to senior
citizens, the new consumer base will struggle to connect to the product. This will show in
reports, and cause an internal struggle within the company.

Weaknesses need to be documented and acknowledged to handle them promptly before it


spreads and leads to overall destruction.

Opportunities

Opportunities are often external. They provide ways for firms to grow successfully. For
example, a digital marketing agency helps a client develop an effective email marketing
strategy. The agency has been thinking of doing graphic design so they offer a reduced fee to
re-do the existing client’s logo. This is an opportunity for the agency to develop a new section
of their business without having to devise a marketing plan because they can reach out to
existing clients.

Being open to opportunities, knowing when to look for them, and how to act on them can boost
a firm’s success. Documenting past opportunities can help create a plan on how to capitalize
future opportunities.

Challenges

The final step in SWOC analysis is acknowledging challenges. This is how SWOC and SWOT
analysis differ because SWOT analysis focuses on threats.

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Challenges are similar to threats but have the chance of being overcome. Threats have the
potential to damage a firm, but challenges often already exist and need to be handled
appropriately.

This step is crucial. If you’ve already examined the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities
but skip assessing challenges, you may be on the path to failure. Challenges can greatly
undermine any progress you’ve made, so by ignoring this step, you’ve opened yourself up to
potential failure.
When to use SWOC analysis

Use SWOC analysis whenever you have a business idea. Whether it’s starting a brand new
business, a product, or a product upgrade. You can do SWOC analysis annually, quarterly, or
monthly; it depends on what product or idea you’re using SWOC analysis for.

But if you choose to do SWOC analysis, remember it’s a great cost-effective way to reduce
challenges and deter failure of a business venture or product.

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 Food scientist: job description
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How to cite this article

Extra information elsewhere

 The Textile Institute

 Industrial Fabrics Association International

 The Association of Suppliers to the British Clothing Industry (ASBCI)

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