SWOT Analysis Examples - Business Assessments

These S.W.O.T. analysis examples can help show how to evaluate
and improve one's own businesses, career, or personal life.

The following SWOT Analysis Examples focus on well-known businesses: Walmart, Nike, and Starbucks. The four important factors in running a business are its Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, (ie. S.W.O.T.)

Strengths and Weaknesses are factors one controls and can learn to control better. Opportunities and Threats are things one doesn't control, such as the general economy, your competition, and the overall size of the market you compete in.

Why do a SWOT Analysis? Taking inventory of one's situation is a key to getting ahead, whether it's a business or one's personal life. Really thinking about what you can control and what is out of one's control helps eliminate doing things that can't be done. In addition, it's a perfect step to do before creating a business plan, or personal plan of action.

I hope these SWOT Analysis Examples give you a good taste of what it is and why it's a very good exercise to do periodically!

Links to Various Business Assessments
Business Assessments
Executive Assessment/Initial Jump-Start
Leadership Assessment Test
SWOT Analysis Examples
Smart Goals Coaching Homepage

Even though one can't control opportunities and threats, having a strong grasp for the environment you're working within will likely help your situation. You will be able to make smarter business decisions to take advantage of the opportunities and work around the threats.

Practicing doing a SWOT analysis sample teaches you to construct the vital information needed to make informed decisions about the direction your company is going, or needs to go now, or in the future. To get an idea of how this method works, I suggest you read these following very brief SWOT analysis examples.

Would you like to learn how to do a SWOT analysis? If so, I will be writing an article which will be sent out through my free monthly newsletter. You can sign up for it on the small form on the top left side of this page. (Click if you would like to read backissues of the newsletter).

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SWOT Analysis of Walmart

Strengths - Walmart has become the largest retailer in the US, and perhaps the world. It's huge buying volumes and negotiating style keeps its cost low, which allow them to keep their prices low. People will travel a pretty long distance to shop there. It has invested heavily in software technology to keep tight controls on its operations.

Weaknesses - Small local businesses often can't compete with Walmart, and go out of business, which often alienates the small local business community. Walmart has been sued for unfair labor practices as well. These and other issues tarnish Walmart's image, especially for those who are directly impacted.

Opportunities - Growing markets outside the US offers a great opportunity to continue its growth.

Threats - Being number one in its market, some of Walmart's proven strategies are being imitated, to various degrees, by other large retailers. This will likely make the market for the "big box" retailers more competitive over time.

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Nike SWOT Analysis Example

Strengths - Nike manufacturers a very wide range of very well tested high-quality products. Many of their products use very high quality, lightweight and durable materials. They are one of the key leaders to try to emulate.

Weaknesses - some of its labor practices, especially in Asian countries, are under scrutiny.

Opportunities - there are still some almost virgin territories of the world that Nike could focus on marketing to.

Threats - There is growing competition that sell similar products for lower prices. Some companies, particularly in Asia, make Nike knock-offs (they look like Nikes, say Nike, but they are not made by Nike).

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Starbucks SWOT Analysis Example

Strengths - profitable organization with a well-known name and product line. Nice, well-trained staff. Customers have habits and routines to go to Starbucks frequently. Reputation for creatively developing new products.

Weaknesses - In some places, there are several Starbucks stores within a very short distance, which can make them suspectible in a down economy.

Opportunities - new products and services, such as Fair Trade products, can be offered in their stores

Threats - the prices of coffee and dairy products are rising, which may lower their profit margins, or cause them to raise prices. Also, when the general economy is not very good, many people become much more cautious spending money on non-essential items.

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SWOT Analysis Sample of an Internet Based Business

This SWOT analysis example is based on a fictional online business that sells children's books. It's a good template for many online businesses.

• Potential Customers world-wide
• Low overhead cost: items can be stocked and shipped from multiple warehouses
• Low cost to maintain the book website
• E-mail makes it easy to stay in close touch with customers
• Can offer a lower price than brick-and-mortar bookstores
• Utilize existing networks for distribution

• Customers must return unwanted items via mail
• Marketing can be a challenge - only on Internet (no drive by or passerby traffic)
• Books are heavy and can be expensive to ship
• The financial capital required to update and continue to expand the website and business is limited
• Must outsource some of our website building due to lack of knowledge in this area

• Increase traffic by getting name of website out there via blogs, forums, and "electronic word of mouth"
• Look for trends during the year and areas of the country so we know how to market a bit better
• Repeat customers will help the business along during slow times and may give us ideas for additional product lines related to books and reading

• Tough niche - a lot of big competition
• Some customers are still hesitant about buying online
• Larger bookstores/businesses could set prices lower than us and cut into our small business income

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As you can see, each type of business has its own set of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Hopefully these SWOT analysis examples have given you a better idea of how the SWOT method works and how you might be able to apply it to an existing or proposed business.

Would you like to learn how to do a SWOT analysis? If so, I will be writing an article which will be sent out through my free monthly newsletter. You can sign up for it on the small form on the top left side of this page. (Click if you would like to read backissues of the newsletter).