Performing a SWOT analysis

A SWOT analysis is an important step in your market research. It is a process that aims to assess a business’ strengths, weaknesses, market opportunities, and threats. The analysis provides the owner a valuable insight into any potential and critical issues.

A SWOT analysis reveals facts relevant not only to your business, but also regarding your competitors and the current business situation. In the competitive world of ecommerce, an analysis of your business’ strengths and weaknesses can help you determine your own niche in the industry. It also exposes you to opportunities and makes you aware of threats brought on by the competition and other potential risks.


  • Determine the positive attributes of your business organization.
    • What is your specialization?
    • What are your available resources?
    • What are your advantages over your competitors?
  • Evaluate according to different areas such as marketing and organizational structure.
  • Strengths represent the positive aspects that are internal to your business. They add value and give you a competitive advantage.


  • Determine the controllable factors that hinder you from gaining or maintaining a competitive edge.
    • Which areas do you need to improve?
    • Are your resources enough to sustain your business?
    • Do you lack access to technology or skills?
    • Do you have poor customer service offerings?
  • Accurately identify your weaknesses to make your SWOT relevant for your assessment.
  • Weaknesses represent the negative aspects that are internal to your business. They diminish the value you offer and place you in a competitive disadvantage.


  • Assess the external attractive factors that are the reason for your business to exist and grow.
    • What opportunities exist in the market that you can capitalize on?
    • Is there a new emerging market you can tap to grow your business?
    • Are there any new developments that are relevant to your business?
  • Opportunities are external to your business. Opportunities that you identify as internal to your business should be classified as strengths.


  • Identify the factors that are beyond your control and place your business at risk.
    • What factors (competitors, alternative products, etc.) can negatively affect your business?
    • Is there an obvious change in consumer behavior?
    • Is there a developing trend that can render your product or service obsolete?
    • What situations threaten your marketing strategy?
  • Classify every threat according to their immediate consequences and prospect of happening.
  • As with opportunities, threats are external in the sense that you have no control over them. However, your analysis will allow you to formulate contingency plans to counter them, should they occur.

A SWOT analysis can offer valuable insight into the situation and potential of your business. How can you maximize the strengths to aid you in taking on new opportunities ahead? How can you anticipate the damage a threat may introduce? How can you improve on your weaknesses? You will appreciate the value of SWOT analysis once it presents you all of this information, and more.

By: Shirley Tan

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