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TOWS Analysis is a variant of the classic business tool, SWOT Analysis.

TOWS and SWOT are acronyms for different arrangements of the words Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. By analyzing the external environment (threats and opportunities), and your internal environment (weaknesses and strengths), you can use these techniques to think about the strategy of your whole organization, a department or a team. You can also use them to think about a process, a marketing campaign, or even your own skills and experience. Our article on SWOT Analysis helps you perform a thorough SWOT/TOWS Analysis. At a practical level, the only difference between TOWS and SWOT is that TOWS emphasizes the external environment whilst SWOT emphasizes the internal environment. In both cases, this analysis results in a SWOT (or TOWS) Matrix like the one shown below:

Strengths Opportunities

Weaknesses Threats

In this article, we look at how you can extend your use of SWOT and TOWS to think in detail about the strategic options open to you. While

4. 4. helps you think about the options that you could pursue. . (Remember that "strategy" is the art of determining how you'll "win" in business and life. and answer. External Threats (T) 1. as illustrated in the matrix below: TOWS Strategic Alternatives Matrix External Opportunities (O) 1. usually associated with the externally-focused TOWS Matrix. Identifying Strategic Options SWOT or TOWS analysis helps you get a better understanding of the strategic choices that you face. 3. To do this you match external opportunities and threats with your internal strengths and weaknesses.) It helps you ask. the following questions: How do you: • • • • Make the most of your strengths? Circumvent your weaknesses? Capitalize on your opportunities? Manage your threats? A next step of analysis. 3. it's most often associated with TOWS. 2.this approach can be used just as well with SWOT as TOWS. 2.

WT "Mini-Mini" Strategy Strategies that minimize weaknesses and avoid threats. 3. SO "Maxi-Maxi" Strategy Strategies that use strengths to maximize opportunities . This helps you identify strategic alternatives that address the following additional questions: Strengths and Opportunities (SO) – How can you use your strengths to take advantage of the opportunities? • Strengths and Threats (ST) – How can you take advantage of your strengths to avoid real and potential threats? • . 3. WO "Mini-Maxi" Strategy Strategies that minimize weaknesses by taking advantage of opportunities . 2. 4. 4. 2. ST "Maxi-Mini" Strategy Strategies that use strengths to minimize threats. Internal Weaknesses (W) 1.Internal Strengths (S) 1.

Step 2: Print off our free TOWS Strategic Options Worksheet. and copy the key conclusions from the SWOT Worksheet into the area provided (shaded in blue). recording your findings in the space provided. consider how you can use them to create good strategic options: Strengths and Opportunities (SO) – How can you use your strengths to take advantage of these opportunities? • Strengths and Threats (ST) – How can you take advantage of your strengths to avoid real and potential threats? • . Step 3: For each combination of internal and external environmental factors.Weaknesses and Opportunities (WO) – How can you use your opportunities to overcome the weaknesses you are experiencing? • Weaknesses and Threats (WT) – How can you minimize your weaknesses and avoid threats? Using the Tool • Step 1: Print off our free SWOT Worksheet and perform a TOWS/SWOT analysis. This helps you understand what your strengths and weaknesses are. as well as identifying the opportunities and threats that you should be looking at.

SO Matrix O1 O2 O3 O4 S1 S2 S3 S4 . it may be helpful to construct a matrix to match individual strengths and weaknesses to the individual opportunities and threats you've identified. To do this. WO. however don't rely on them to create success. • The options you identify are your strategic alternatives. Tip: When you have many factors to consider. and WT). you can construct a matrix such as the one below for each quadrant (SO. and these can be listed in the appropriate quadrant of the TOWS worksheet. Put these into place to protect yourself from loss.Weaknesses and Opportunities (WO) – How can you use your opportunities to overcome the weaknesses you are experiencing? • Weaknesses and Threats (WT) – How can you minimize your weaknesses and avoid threats? Note: The WT quadrant – weaknesses and threats – is concerned with defensive strategies. ST.

This helps you analyze in more depth options that hold the greatest promise. and that best achieve the mission and vision of your organization. Note any new alternatives you identify on the TOWS Strategic Alternatives worksheet. and identify the ones that give the greatest benefit. Step 4: Evaluate the options you've generated. Add these to the other strategic options that you're considering. .