SWOT is an ancronym used for Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats. A SWOT analysis can be used for a number of different purposes including business start-ups, key decision points for all sizes of businesses and also in management situations.
Done well, it can provide helpful information that can be used to formulate SMART (Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-based) goals. These goals, categorized by a GIDA analysis (see below) can help you define the direction you need to take.
The Small Business Information section on about.com provides a good summary of the questions to ask yourself in each quadrant of the SWOT matrix:
From the SWOT analysis, it is then easy to formulate a GIDA Analysis and identify actions to:
1. Go for strengths and opportunities
2. Improve upon weaknesses and opportunities
3. Defend strengths and threats from competitors
4. Avoid weaknesses and threats
Look out for my eBook about to be launched soon, with a detailed example of a SWOT analysis I did for Zest eBiz!