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Conducting a SWOT Analysis of your Export

An analysis of your company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) can  assist  you  in  developing  your  export strategy. Strengths and weaknesses apply to the internal aspects of your  operations  whereas opportunities  and  threats make reference to external  factors. In  essence,  your company's strengths are its competitive  advantages  that will  give  it  an  edge  in  export  markets.  The strengths  also  typically  describe  the  activities that you perform well and  which may set you above and beyond   your   competitors.  Your weaknesses  refer to your constraints or the areas in which your company  need to improve in order to remain competitive. Your opportunities  consist of the situations in your external  environment which you can exploit to your advantage. Your threats on the other hand refer to those  situations  which  exist  in  the external  environment  which  are  beyond  your ability  to   control  to  your  advantage. Your SWOT analysis should:

(i)    Be specific and  realistic about the strengths and weaknesses of your business;
(ii)    Distinguish between where your company is today and  where  you wish to take it in the future; and
(iii)    Be done with your competitor in mind.


  • Favourable access to distribution networks
  • Brand recognition
  • Good reputation among customers
  • Low costs
  •  Access to the latest technology
  • Patent and trademark protected
  • Sufficient funds
  • Ability to deliver on time


  • Undeveloped distribution networks
  • Weak brand
  • Poor reputation among customers
  • High costs
  • Poor technology
  • Lack of patent and trademark protection
  • Lack of funds
  • Unable to deliver on time


  • Removal  of  trade  barriers  in  the  export market
  • New product technology developed
  • Consumer desire for the product
  • Identifying and targeting a new market


  • Increased  trade   barriers   in  the  export market
  • Introduction of substitute products
  • Change in consumer tastes
  • Market saturation
  • Inflation
  • Currency fluctuations