Top 3 Mistakes People Make When Doing SWOT Analysis

SWOT analysis can be such a simple process, people don’t expect the great insights it reveals about internal departments and communication within a company.

The analysis addresses the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of a topic so you can create an actionable plan based on the information you gather.

But SWOT analyses aren’t bulletproof. You may be making grievous mistakes without even realizing it. When you do your analysis, make sure to avoid these three problems.

1. Not deciding the SWOT analysis goal before starting

Whenever you plan to document anything, you must decide your reason “Why.”

The reason, or goal, guides the entire SWOT analysis. Not having a goal at the beginning of the analysis can make the results messy and difficult to decipher. That’s not good, considering the point of SWOT analysis is to have a clear understanding of four things:

  • What your strengths are
  • Where your weaknesses lie
  • How to capitalize opportunities
  • When to handle threats

Your goal can be simple. It can focus on a specific aspect of the company, such as operations, manufacturing, and marketing. You can go deeper, and explore whether to say with your current manufacturer or not. Or you can decide whether to do another campaign that’s similar to your last one.

There are no limits to SWOT analysis. You’re using to internally assess specific operations, department, or team. But you must decide the purpose first. It can be anything, including:

  • Should we change our logo?
  • What channels should we use to distribute products?
  • Is building a new prototype the right way to go?

Now, when you move through the analysis, you’ll be answering the goal in each section. For example, what are the strengths of your current logo? What are the weaknesses? Can you think of opportunities it provides? Or does it look too similar to the competition, threatening your brand identity?

Now that you have your goal, it’s time to get started!

2. Don’t niche down too hard

While you need to decide on a goal before starting your SWOT analysis, you don’t want to narrow it down so much that you end up stuck. Focusing too heavily on a specific goal can strangle your results.

It’s one thing to examine how well a marketing campaign did and whether to do a similar one next month. It’s a whole other thing to make your goal about “Ensuring your marketing campaign results matches up with the competition’s campaigns from the last five years.”

While you could do something like this, but it’ll take a vast amount of time to get the information you need (five years worth of competitor marketing data) before you even begin the SWOT analysis.

And then you might realize your SWOT analysis doesn’t benefit your company. You end up with wasted efforts and time, which could’ve been used towards conducting a worthy SWOT analysis.

Know your goal, but don’t get too strict. It may end up limiting progress and defeat the purpose of your SWOT analysis.

3. Not discussing it with others

The first part of SWOT analysis is examining the strengths and weakness of your subject. It requires an in-depth examination of what’s working and what isn’t. If possible, you should use data to back up your response.

But you should also talk to others, such as department heads, team members, and managers. This is especially important when workers have specific, first-hand experience with your topic.

Who better to get your answers from than first-person testimonies? It doesn’t mean you will use them in your analysis. But it’s best to have the full picture and decide what’s necessary for the analysis.


SWOT analysis is beneficial, but only if you avoid the three mistakes we’ve highlighted above. Not sure how to get started with SWOT analysis? Learn more here.

Photo by Kaitlyn Baker on Unsplash