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TOWS analysis
TOWS analysis is a tool which is used to generate, compare
and select strategies. Strictly speaking it is not the same as
SWOT analysis, and it is certainly not a SWOT analysis which
focuses on threats and opportunities.
TOWS is a tool for strategy generation and selection; SWOT
analysis is a tool for audit and analysis. One would use a
SWOT at the beginning of the planning process, and a TOWS
later as you decide upon ways forward.
The TOWS Matrix is aimed at developing strategic options
from an external-internal analysis and is a practical tool,
particularly in the fields of business administration and
TOWS analysis
In analysing a situation, it is often a good idea to start with an estimation of
the threats to a plan and the opportunities available at the time. TOWS can
be used when you discover your competition has expanded its product line,
for example, and you want to develop a response. It is particularly useful in
evaluating the potential impact of sudden events or developments. It is an
action tool.

SWOT analysis
In business, SWOT analysis is usually employed in evaluating a company, a
business plan, a product line, a marketing strategy or other existing, defined
element or concept. Starting your analysis with a listing of strengths and
weaknesses allows you to analyse the value of various opportunities and the
potential impact of threats. SWOT analysis is a planning tool rather than an
action tool.
Commonly used TOWS analysis format
Strategic options
The TOWS Matrix helps businesses to identify their strategic
options. An organisation gets the opportunity to make the
most of its strengths and get around its internal weaknesses
and learn to deal with them properly. Externally, an
organisation learns to carefully look for market opportunities
and recognise possibilities.
The TOWS Matrix can also help with brainstorming and
developing great ideas to generate effective marketing
strategies and tactics. The model goes beyond merely finding
out the strengths and weaknesses within an organisation and
what opportunities and threats there are in its environment.
It forces organisations to really think about how they can
improve themselves, how they can guard against threats and
become more aware of their expertise and potential
Four TOWS analysis strategies
• Strength/Opportunity (SO). Here you would use your
strengths to exploit opportunities.

• Weakness/Opportunity (WO). Indicates that you would find

options that overcome weaknesses, and then take advantage
of opportunities. So, you mitigate weaknesses, to exploit

• Strength/Threat (ST). One would exploit strengths to

overcome any potential threats.

• Weakness/Threat (WT). With WT strategies,one is attempting

to minimise any weaknesses to avoid possible threat.
TOWS strategies