The SWOT and TOWS Analysis Matrices

The SWOT and TOWS Analysis Matrices

Just a short review of your management course, TOWS and SWOT are acronyms for words Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, with a different arrangement of the words for TOWS.

When you do the SWOT Analysis, you analyze your company’s external environment (threats and opportunities), and your internal environment (weaknesses and strengths).

TOWS Analysis is the next level of the classic business tool, SWOT Analysis. This tool is used to facilitate the development of strategic options from an internal and external analysis of your business.

SWOT Analysis

Below is a sample of the SWOT Matrix.


In listing the strengths of your company or organization, think of all the positive tangible and intangible attributes. “Strengths” are internal to your organization and within your control.


These are the factors that are within an organization’s control. The “weaknesses” hinder your company to attain the desired goals and objectives. You can think further by identifying various areas that your organization need to improve on.


Opportunities refer to various attractive external factors that represent the reason for a company to exist and develop further.


Threats are external factors that put the organization’s operation at risk. These are factors that are mostly beyond your control. Companies can make themselves ready by formulating contingency plans.

TOWS Analysis

Identifying Strategic Options

Assuming that you have already done the SWOT Analysis using the given matrix, you then start to think about various strategic options open to you. Always remember that formulating strategies is the art of determining creative choices to succeed in your business.

Below is the TOWS matric which you can use for drawing out several strategic options.

Guide Questions for the TOWS Analysis

(S-O /Maxi-Maxi Strategies) Internal Strengths and External Opportunities – How can you use the strengths to maximize from the external opportunities?
(S-T /Maxi-Mini Strategies) Internal Strengths and External Threats – How can you benefit from the strengths to avoid or minimize potential external threats?
(W-O/Mini-Max Strategies) Internal Weaknesses and External Opportunities -How can you use opportunities to overcome the company/ organization’s internal weaknesses?
(W-T/Mini-Mini Strategies) Internal Weaknesses and External Threats -How can you minimize organizational inadequacies to avoid potential threats?

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