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SWOT Analysis: A tool for making better business decisions

SWOT Analysis PDF Guide Free Download

What’s a SWOT analysis?

A SWOT analysis is a tool that helps you evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) involved in any business enterprise — including farms and ranches. A SWOT analysis can help you gain insights into the past and think of possible solutions to existing or potential problems — either for an existing business or a new venture.

For a SWOT analysis to work well, every member of your team (your family and/or employees, lawyer, accountant, and insurance agent) should be involved in the process. After you read this overview, you will find a description of a sample farm and have a chance to go through a SWOT analysis for it. This exercise should help prepare you for doing your own SWOT analysis.

you in this venture. You may lack qualified employees, or perhaps your business will not support full-time employees. If you identify these as weaknesses, don’t worry because existing businesses may have similar weaknesses.


Opportunities are considered mostly external. What opportunities are available for your business? You may be able to take advantage of low-interest loan packages for start-ups or grants for feasibility studies. You may have an idea that has not been tried in your area and know there is a demand for the product you plan to produce. Be aware that people with potential businesses tend to be much more optimistic than those with existing operations.


Threats are also considered mostly external. Threats from outside of your business will directly affect you, but you may have very little control over them. If you are starting a new business, there may be local regulations that negatively impact your business.

Unforeseen competition (local or foreign), dissolution of markets, and adverse weather may also have a negative effect on your new business. Many of these threats will also negatively affect an existing business. Rising interest rates may have a greater impact on existing businesses than on start-ups.


Strengths are considered mostly internal. For example, what do you and your family, employees, and management team bring to the business? If you are planning to start a business, you or an employee or family member may have previous experience in that industry. If not, this may be viewed as a weakness. If you already know where to go to find the help you need, this would be considered a strength for this analysis.


Weaknesses are also generally considered internal and are the factors you will need to address to run a successful business. For a start-up business, an example might be a lack of experience in the selected industry. Another example may be that your family members do not completely support.

What is SWOT? Definition, Examples, and How to Do a SWOT Analysis


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