Sure, the initialism is just SWOT backwards, but a TOWS analysis isn’t just a SWOT analysis that focuses on threats and opportunities first. A TOWS analysis helps you develop strategies and create an action plan.
To do a TOWS analysis, you’ll look at your highest-ranking strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, then ask yourself some questions. Asking and answering these questions will help you understand how to handle external forces.
Strength-based strategies help you capitalize on your strengths.
Strengths-opportunities (SO) strategies will use your strengths to take advantage of your opportunities. To figure out what your SO strategies are, ask yourself,
How can I use this strength to take advantage of this opportunity?
Strengths-threats (ST) strategies will use your strengths to overcome potential threats. To determine your ST strategies, ask yourself,
How can this strength reduce the probability of this threat?
Weakness-based strategies help you determine areas for growth and improvement in your small business.
Weaknesses-opportunities (WO) strategies will help minimize your weaknesses by taking advantage of opportunities. They could also help you improve upon your weaknesses, so they can turn into strengths. To determine your WO strategies, ask yourself,
How can I minimize this weakness by taking advantage of this opportunity?
Weaknesses-threats (WT) strategies work to minimize your weaknesses to avoid potential threats. To determine your WT strategies, ask yourself,
How can I minimize this weakness to avoid this potential threat?
Now that you have a list of potential strategies, determine which will be the most beneficial for your company. Make an action plan and put the steps on your calendar.