SWOT: SWOT is an acronym that stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. These elements are crucial in assessing your strategic position with your organization. You want to build on your company’s strengths, shore up the weaknesses, capitalize on the opportunities, and recognize the threats.
Internal: Strengths and Weaknesses
The upper two sections (STRENGTHS and WEAKNESSES) originate internally. These are things internal to your organization over which you have some control and can change.
STRENGTHS: List of your capabilities and resources that can be the basis of a distinct competitive advantage. Ask: What are the most important strengths? How can we best use them and capitalize on each strength?
Strengths might include:
a new and/or innovative service
capabilities or cost advantages
other aspects that add value
special expertise and/or experience
superior location or geographic advantage
WEAKNESSES: What areas need improvement (or should be avoided)? Ask: What would remove or overcome this weakness? Weaknesses can sometimes be the absence of certain strengths, and in some cases, a weakness may be the reverse side of one of your strengths.
Weaknesses might include:
absence of marketing plan
gaps in capabilities or service areas
lagging in technology
management or staff problems
own known vulnerability
poor location or geographic barriers
undifferentiated service lines
External: Opportunities & Threats
The lower two sections (OPPORTUNITIES and THREATS) both originate externally. These are things external to your organization (in the larger market) that you cannot control. Opportunities are helpful; threats are harmful.
OPPORTUNITIES: In addition to new or significant trends, what other external opportunities exist and how can we best exploit or benefit from each?
Opportunities might include:
a market vacated by a competitor
availability of new technology
changes in population profile or need
lack of dominant competition
new market segment that offer improve profit
new vertical, horizontal, or niche markets
THREATS: Can include anything that stands in the way of your success. No practice is immune to threats, but too many people miss, ignore, or minimize these threats, often at great cost. Ask: What can be done to mitigate each threat? Can a threat become an opportunity?
Threats might include:
a competitor has an innovative product or service
a new competitor(s) in your home market
adverse changes in reimbursement or regulations
changing insurance plans and/or contracts for major area employers
competitors have superior access to channels of distribution
loss of key staff or associates
new or increased competition
shifts in market demand or referral sources
A thorough SWOT analysis is presented and explained……(10 points)
All major Strengths addressed……(20 points)
All major Weaknesses addressed……(20 points)
All major Opportunities addressed……..(20 points)
All major Threats addressed……..(20 points)
Items under each category are appropriately categorized and written……(10 points)
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