I am an undergraduate in an intro management class. I have to work in a group and complete a SWOT analysis on a well known company. I understand the theory but how do you actually apply this? How do you figure out the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of a company you have no connection or experience with? I have no experience in business or management.
SWOT analysis from published data
Opportunities and threats are external. They are in the marketplace. Research the market for the sector your company is in.
Opportunities are, typically, unfulfilled customer needs.
Threats can come from not only competitors, but also from replacement products. For example, if you are a digital camera vendor, the threat didn't come from other digital camera vendors. It came from smart phones.
Strengths and weaknesses are internal to the company. You can get information about public companies from their Annual Reports. And you can get more information from research reports. Here is a list of websites with mostly free research reports.
Here is an article that can help you get started: SWOT analysis method and examples, with free SWOT template
The only answer is research. You gotta study the company, and you are limited to only those things that are public. But for every public company, there is tons of information out there. If you are having issues about where to begin the research, start with questions:
- What does the company produce?
- How does that product compare to its competitors, and how does that product differ from its competitors?
- What did the company make in profit last year, the year before, year before that, what is it forecasting for this year?
- How did the stock perform over the last five years?
- What is the company's market share?
- What is going on politically or globally that could affect the product and its performance?
Keep going from here. Once you have your list of questions, put them under each of the SWOT categories. You can have the same question under two or more of the categories.
Then go find the answers.