SWOT Analysis

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As part of the process of developing or establishing a social enterprise it is worthwhile to carry out a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats).  A SWOT analysis is used to help assess the business position.  It is best used for reviewing strategy, position and direction of the business.  As a SWOT analysis is generally concerned with internal factors a SWOT is carried out after a PEST analysis which is more concerned with external factors.  In general it is worth carrying out a SWOT analysis with a cross section of the organisation’s stakeholders.  Below are some prompts that could be used:-


  • What is particularly good about the products/service the organisation provides?
  • What are your Unique Selling Points?
  • What is your competitive advantage?
  • How does your mission statement add to your work?
  • How do your values make a difference to your work and the way it is carried out?
  • What are the innovative elements to what you do?
  • What resources do you have?
  • How do the staff, volunteers and board contribute to your work?
  • What is good about your management and administrative systems?
  • Are you good at reaching particular markets?
  • What makes you stand out from the crowd?


  • What are the problems with your products/services?
  • What are the gaps in your skills and capabilities?
  • Do people know about you and what makes you different?
  • Are you good at responding to pressure?
  • Do you meet your deadlines?
  • Are you focused and concentrated on core activities?
  • What problems are there with the way you are financed?


  • What market developments should you be considering?
  • Are there any trends in your customers’ choices that could provide new opportunities?
  • Are there any new groups of customers you should be targeting?
  • How could you develop existing contracts?
  • Are you limited to a particular geographical area?
  • Could you achieve more by working with complementary organisations?


  • Are you over-reliant on a few contracts?
  • Could a political or legal change directly affect you?
  • Do you have plans in place in the event that key staff leave?
  • Is the current economic climate a potential problem?
  • Is there any new competition?

SWOT or PEST - ?

PEST (Political, Economic, Social, Technological) Analysis is generally used for assessing the market and is normally carried out before a SWOT.

SWOT is generally used for assessing the business or proposal and is normally carried out after a PEST.