How to choose the opportunities that give you the biggest advantage with SWOT

Note: this is one of the posts in series: How to conduct SWOT? (Previous entries can be found here).

Today we will focus on the second step of the process:


When you have collected and noted features in the four categories (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats), you are ready to move on to the next step, which is selecting important features. Let’s take another look at the whole process.

The five steps of the SWOT process
Why we need to do Selection?

We all have a finite amount of time, which we want to use effectively (especially now when time is money). That’s why we do SWOT, optimize processes, create goals, invest in our personal development and so on… We are all looking for methods to give us maximum results and do it in the time that we have (no matter if we talk about business or personal life). You have probably heard about the Pareto principle:

Roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

The idea of the technique is to find out: what are the most important 20 percent of things to focus on which provide 80 percent of the most important results.

A good example of this can be: items in every category of our SWOT. Let’s say you have 10 opportunities written down, but in reality accomplishing 2 (20%) of them will give the desired impact. The rest of the items are often much less important.

Think about the weaknesses that you wrote down and try to choose which ones if reduced or eliminated will make a big difference. Ask yourself: why is this feature most valuable? What would it be like, if I reduced this weakness? Apply this technique to every feature in every category.

Of course you may wonder, why even bother writing down all the features if only a small percentage of them are important? It is a valid question and the answer is quite simple. Writing down all features allows you to make a choice and does not limit you in thinking about the relevance from the very beginning. Think of identification of all features as a brainstorming task, the purpose of which is to give you a lot of input for selection.

After finishing your SWOT process with CayenneApps Tool,  you will discover which of the selected features have the biggest impact on your proposed strategy. You will have the opportunity to check if these selected features are part of this 20%. You might want to come back to this step and select other features and see how your strategy might change.

We encourage you to experiment, and take your time looking for different ways to achieve more in every field 🙂

Next step will be: Evaluation. There you will have to think about the rank of each selected feature: which features are most important and which ones are a little bit less important?


Read next: How to create ranking of your assets and liabilities (Evaluation step)

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