Measure performance and set targets

SWOT, PESTLE and other models for strategic analysis

There are a number of different business analysis models that may help you understand your organisational environment. Carrying out an organisational analysis can be useful for thinking more strategically about your business.

SWOT analysis - strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats

The SWOT analysis is one of the most popular strategic analysis models. This involves looking at the strengths and weaknesses of your business' capabilities, and any opportunities and threats to your business.

Once you have identified all of these, you can assess how to capitalise on your strengths, minimise the effects of your weaknesses, make the most of any opportunities and reduce the impact of any threats.

Opportunities and threats in the external environment

It's important to remember that opportunities can also be threats - for example, new markets could be dominated by competitors, undermining your position. Equally, threats can also be opportunities - for example, a competitor growing quickly and opening a new market for your product or service could mean that your market expands too.

A SWOT analysis can provide a clear basis for examining your business performance and prospects. It can be used as part of a regular review process or in preparation for raising finance or bringing in consultants for a review.

Once you have collected information on your organisation's internal strengths and weaknesses, and external opportunities and threats, enter this data into a simple table.

  Positive Negative
Internal Strengths Weaknesses
External Opportunities Threats

See our SWOT analysis example and complete a SWOT analysis (tool).

Other strategic analysis tools

  • Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental (PESTLE) analysis - a technique for understanding the various external influences on a business. See our PESTLE analysis example.
  • Scenario planning - a technique that builds various plausible views of possible futures for a business.
  • Critical success factor analysis - a technique to identify the areas in which a business must succeed in order to achieve its objectives.
  • The five forces - the theory that there are five defined factors that influence the development of markets and businesses - potential entrants, existing competitors, buyers, suppliers and alternative products/services. Using this model you build a strategy to keep ahead of these influences.