Turning your analysis on its head …

When I discuss business models with my clients, they all look at me with a blank face. Why on Earth would they want to do that, what use is it to their business? They’ve got far better things to do with their time …

TOWS goes beyond SWOT and turns your analysis on its head …

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So many business owners believe that they understand what a SWOT analysis is and place little value on it. Perhaps that is because they may have omitted to carry out an in-depth analysis, but more likely, they have never realised the positive return on the time invested because they have never converted it to a TOWS matrix.


“Last week, I introduced PESTLE and the results of that exercise should feed directly into a SWOT analysis!”


Like so many business models, a SWOT analysis is an absolute waste of time completing just for the sake of it. There has to be a strategic outcome that you can apply to your business in order to reap the benefits.

So what exactly is a TOWS Matrix then?

Well, it’s where we take the results of a SWOT analysis and turn them on their head, translating into a working document and business plan.

Often, a criticism of a SWOT analysis is that it doesn’t show the relationships between the different factors. As an example, a specific threat might show a weakness as much more significant.

Whereas a TOWS analysis will look to match internal and external factors to help identify strategic ideas an organisation could pursue. It helps you to see how it can take advantage of opportunities, reduce threats, overcome weaknesses and exploit any strengths.

Once you’ve listed your ideas in each inner quadrant, evaluate the options you’ve generated and identify the ones that give the greatest benefit and best achieve your goals.

This helps you identify strategic alternatives that address the following additional questions:

  • Strengths and Opportunities (SO) – How can you use strengths to take advantage of opportunities?

  • Strengths and Threats (ST) – How can you benefit from strengths to avoid threats?

  • Weaknesses and Opportunities (WO) – How can you use opportunities to overcome weaknesses?

  • Weaknesses and Threats (WT) – How can you minimise weaknesses and avoid threats?

Evaluate any options you’ve generated and identify any that give your business the greatest benefit, and that will best achieve the mission and vision of your organisation. Add these to the other strategic options that you’re considering.


“You can find a copy of both the SWOT and TOWS matrices on my website!”


For assistance with either TOWS or SWOT, and in creating the perfect plan for your business, do call me on 01280 700405 or click here to send me an email enquiry and let’s see how I can help you.

Until next time …




If you’re looking for a partner to help grow your business, visit www.4pbusinessdevelopment.co.uk to discover how 4P Business Development can help you!