Free SWOT analysis templates
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Building a comprehensive business strategy is no simple task. There are a number of important elements to consider — from your business' core values to customer personas. But you can make this process easier and more organized with the help of strategic planning templates. These templates can act as a guide to get going quickly on your business and product strategy.
One of the most common types of strategic planning templates is a SWOT analysis template. Many product managers and business leaders use Excel and PowerPoint SWOT analysis templates or software tools with built-in strategy templates to conduct this analysis.
Below are 10 SWOT analysis templates you can download for free to get started.
What is a SWOT analysis?
SWOT is an acronym that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. A SWOT analysis is used by product, marketing, and project management during strategic planning to identify what their product is doing well, where it can improve, and how it fits in the competitive landscape. It can also be applied even more strategically at the company level. However, the explanations below assume that you will use them for product planning purposes (unless otherwise indicated).
There are many different types of SWOT analyses that can be done. Most are split into internal factors (strengths and weaknesses) and external factors (opportunities and threats). To fully understand the benefits of this strategic planning tool, you must first understand the various components and how teams should address them.
Why should you use a SWOT analysis?
For product managers, part of your job is understanding your products inside and out. But even if you have extensive knowledge of how your product works, that does not mean you understand everything about your product's place in the market. This is where a SWOT analysis can be a useful tool to help you fill in these sides of the story.
Use a SWOT analysis to consider your product from different internal and external perspectives. An effective SWOT analysis will reveal which aspects of your product or business are the strongest and where there is room to improve your offering for your customers. You can also uncover opportunities and challenges for your product in the competitive landscape — such as new strategic partners or shifting customer sentiment. Product and marketing teams should incorporate SWOT analysis into their strategic planning to minimize risk and maximize potential value for your products.
Components of a SWOT analysis
Internal strengths are an internal assessment of the product's attributes that give it an advantage over other products. These can be features of the product or characteristics of the business. For example, a strength of one product may be its wide range of integrations, while for another, it is veteran product leadership.
Similar to strengths, the weaknesses component of the SWOT analysis is an internal assessment of the product's attributes that put it at a disadvantage when compared to alternatives. For example, a weakness could be a key feature that the product is lacking.
Opportunities are usually external to the product and can range from partnerships to new markets. These can also be future product expansion opportunities — expressed as unmet customer needs that the team has identified.
Threats are typically external factors impacting the product. These factors can be anything ranging from economic factors to emerging technology. Ultimately, these threats are the obstacles facing the business and what could adversely affect the product in the future.
Internal and external factors in SWOT analysis
Internal and external factors can have similar effects on your business, so it is sometimes tricky to discern the difference between them. If you are new to conducting SWOT analyses, you may confuse internal and external factors such as weaknesses and threats, for example.
In general, internal factors (strengths and weaknesses) are characteristics of your business or product in relation to your competitors. External factors (opportunities and threats) are elements of your environment that could positively or negatively impact the success of your business.
It can be helpful to look at the reason behind an advantage or disadvantage to determine if it is an internal or external factor. For example, say that you are experiencing a decrease in users signing up for free trials of your software. If the issue is due to limited marketing resources to promote the free trials, then this would be considered an internal weakness. But if it is due to a competitor introducing their own free trials and capturing more market share, this would be an external threat. You may need to conduct additional research and analysis to determine whether a factor is internal or external.
SWOT analysis examples
The specific components of your SWOT analysis will be unique to your organization and products. But to help you start thinking about each of these components, here are some examples of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Examples of strengths
Expertise and/or experience in a certain area
Relationships with customers, thought leaders, and communities
Skilled leadership and team members
Unique qualities that differentiate you from competitors
Examples of weaknesses
High employee turnover
Inefficient or outdated process
Lack of expertise or experience in a certain area
Lack of resources
Limited product offerings
Slow brand penetration
Examples of opportunities
Emerging needs that your product can address
Expansion of relationships
New marketing and promotion channels
New or underserved markets
Examples of threats
Market growth outpacing your product
Privacy and security concerns
Shifting customer perspectives
Small market size
Uncertain economical or political environments
Excel SWOT analysis templates
Many teams use SWOT templates to conduct a SWOT analysis. These templates are commonly built using tools such as Excel or Powerpoint. Excel templates are typically used for detailed analysis where a large amount of data and information is required to be entered.
The basic SWOT matrix template is the four-quadrant table that is most commonly associated with SWOT analysis. It includes strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, in a color-coded grid.
The business planning SWOT template allows you to summarize key information at the beginning and end of your template. These bookends provide strategic context of the internal and external factors within the analysis.
Internal vs. external
The internal vs. external template segments your SWOT analyses into internal factors related to your team and processes against external factors that are outside your company. This Excel SWOT analysis template highlights the relationships between each of the components.
The top-down SWOT analysis template focuses you on one component at a time and allows more flexibility to expand copy areas as needed. This template formats the SWOT components into a colorful format that is great for including in a spreadsheet.
PowerPoint SWOT analysis templates
PowerPoint SWOT analysis templates are typically more visually appealing and used for presentations. When using one of these templates, it is important to distill each quadrant down to its essence because there is less space. This will make it easier for your audience to read and comprehend your key ideas.
The traditional four box SWOT layout is also called a simple matrix, or SWOT matrix. This template adds color and design to presentations.
This is a useful analysis template template when you need to add longer descriptions. Similar to the top-down SWOT for Excel, this colorful Powerpoint template includes the same components in a horizontal layout.
This SWOT analysis template allows you to compare internal and external factors for your organization with one competitor or a set of competitors. This analysis allows you to make a strategic comparison within the structure of the SWOT framework so you better understand how you stack up.
The circle template shows the SWOT matrix as a graphic in the middle while providing callout text area for each component. This bold layout is great for talking through key points in a presentation.
This SWOT analysis template incorporates growth strategies into the SWOT framework with forward-looking statements for each component. This is useful when you want to come away from the analysis with an action plan.
What tools do product managers use to prioritize what to build next?
The most successful product teams take a value-based approach to product development. This requires a shared system for estimating the value of new functionality during ideation, development effort, and when features are released to customers. Use product development software to assess the value of your ideas and features. Update your evaluations every step of the way — from raw concepts all the way through to market.
No matter where or how you prioritize your features, look at value through two lenses: product strategy and customer love. This is the surest way to build products that make a real difference in people's lives.
Set strategy, capture ideas, score features, and share visual plans with a free 30-day trial of Aha! Roadmaps.
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