In a SWOT Analysis, weaknesses are written in the top right quadrant. They highlight the internal weaknesses that you or your organization need to address to meet your goals.
Examples of weaknesses for a SWOT analysis might include lack of motivation, lack of a clear vision, or poor time management skills.
SWOT Analysis Weakness Examples for Students and Individuals
Unmotivated, lacking goals, working in teams, leadership, writing skills.
- I can become unmotivated if I am not seeing success on a regular basis.
- I don’t really have any goals that I’m inspired by.
- I struggle to work in teams because I feel I need to have control over my projects in order to achieve success.
- I haven’t developed strong leadership skills so it will be hard to get people to follow my vision.
- I have poor writing skills that make it hard for me to meet this particular goal (e.g. a college goal).
Research skills, academic skills, shy, introverted, lacking energy.
- I have poor research skills which will make it really hard for me to figure out what I need in order to achieve my goals.
- I struggle with academic topics and prefer practical tasks, so this goal will be hard to meet for me.
- I am really shy and this goal will require me to step out of my comfort zone a lot.
- I am an introvert and I’ll need to talk to people to meet this goal. This will exhaust me.
- I can lack energy some days which sets me back on my timeline for meeting my goals.
Lacking confidence, easily distracted, talking on a phone, moody, low social capital.
- I lack confidence in myself so I’m not sure if I’ll succeed.
- I get easily distracted by nearby people, my phone, or other things that provide more instant gratification than the tasks I need to get done.
- I am bad at talking on the phone which fills me with anxiety. I’ll need to overcome this to achieve my goals.
- I can get into grumpy moods. I’ll need to be careful about this in order to complete these tasks professionally.
- I have low social capital (in other words, I don’t know many people who I could lean upon to help me achieve this goal).
Stubborn, disorganized, poor language skills, poor time management, unprepared.
- I am stubborn and probably don’t seek help enough. I will need to try to seek help from my supervisor when necessary to keep me on track.
- I can be disorganized at times which can get me into trouble. Sometimes I lose track of my notes.
- I think my English language skills are not strong and this can really get in the way of effective communication.
- I have poor time management skills and often find I’m rushed at the end of a job to get it done in time. I’ll need to create a series of milestones to keep myself on track.
- I feel unprepared to start working toward this goal because I’m not currently skilled enough or in the right headspace for this yet.
Struggle with change, not creative, not a scientific thinker, struggle with authority figures.
- I struggle to deal with change. It makes me anxious, uncomfortable, and irritable.
- I am not very creative and I think this task is going to require me to come up with some creative solutions.
- I am not very good at scientific thinking and this task will require some scientific knowledge. I may need to seek help.
- I struggle with authority figures who haven’t earned my respect. There is an authority figure I have to work with here who I may struggle with.
- I’m not very good at mathematics and I know I’ll need some math skills to meet my goals.
Fail to follow through, lack of resilience, lack of ambition, lack of enthusiasm.
- Historically, I have failed to follow through on goals I have set myself.
- I think resilience is a weakness of mine. I will give up too easily rather than persevering through the dip.
- I struggle to get started of a morning. I’m not a morning person and waste hours every day simply waking up.
- I lack ambition at the moment because I don’t know what I want and don’t have a clear vision.
- I’m not very enthusiastic about the goal I’ve set myself which may mean I’ll give up at some point before I succeed.
Worry, dishonesty, sensitivity, bad with technology, learning disability.
- I worry about making mistakes. This often prevents me from taking action.
- I struggle to be honest when it might hurt someone. This often means problems go unresolved. It may cause problems in team work situations.
- I am sensitive to feedback and can sometimes get defensive when people let me know I have done a bad job.
- I really struggle with technology and the technology requirements for completing my goals will be a challenge.
- I am aware of my learning disability and the fact it may slow down my progress in reaching my goals.
Poor prior knowledge, poor focus, flustered, lack of self-control.
- I don’t have much prior knowledge on this topic so I’m starting from a low base.
- I have very poor focus and am easily distracted by social media.
- I get flustered easily which makes me lose my focus on my tasks.
- I capitulate in the face of competition which could cause me to give up before reching this goal.
- I often lack self-control and end up giving up on tasks if I find them tedious.
Risk-taker, bad with money, shiny object syndrome, too many goals.
- I sometimes take unnecessary risks. This may cause setbacks.
- I am not good with money so may blow the budget I have assigned myself for this goal.
- I have shiny object syndrome and will give up on goals easily if another one looks more appealing.
- I have too many goals right now which divides my attention and may prevent me from meeting any goal.
- I find that social life takes over my work and study life a lot of the time which sets me back from reaching professional goals.
Bad support network, easily deterred, poor self-belief, fear of failure.
- I don’t have a support network to help me through when times get tough.
- I am easily deterred when people criticize me.
- I struggle with self-belief which often prevents me from taking action.
- I am afraid of failure and how people might think of me if I fail. This often prevents me from taking action.
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SWOT Analysis Weakness Examples for Businesses and Organizations
No business plan, unmotivated, high competition, lack of experience.
- Our team does not have a business plan or business strategy to help us achieve our goals yet.
- There are some members of the team that aren’t motivated. We will need to either help bring the team along on the journey more effectively or change the team.
- We are launching products into a crowded market with high competition.
- Our team is missing people with experience and expertise in a few key areas that could help us achieve success. We may need to hire people with that expertise.
- Lack of intellectual property and patents will mean competitors may swoop in to take market share before long.
- We are not yet an established brand with a reputation in this field. This means a lot of brand building is necessary.
Lack of expertise, lack of cultural diversity, team communication.
- We currently don’t have a clear plan for customer support and we have some bad reviews about our support right now.
- Our business has grown to a point that it is too large to pivot easily, unlike smaller competitors.
- We lack technical expertise within our team. Some training days are required.
- There is a lack of cultural diversity in the team. A diverse team might be able to bring a broader range of perspectives when generating business ideas.
- Our communication between teams needs to be improved. We may need new communication channels.
Too much bureaucracy, low social capital, low profit margins, stagnant business.
- There is a lack of SOPs (standard operating procedures) which may be beneficial for streamlining, speeding up, and standardizing our operations.
- Our business has too much bureaucracy (for example, every change has too many checks and balances) which slows everything down.
- We have low social capital (meaning we don’t have good relationships with people in our industry who could open doors for us).
- We struggle with low profit margins which means we may be at risk of having quarters with negative revenue.
- We have suffered from stagnant business growth in recent quarters which may be a sign that our business is losing steam.
Unreliable supply chain, lack of product diversity, product quality, staff training.
- We have an unreliable supply chain without good contracts with suppliers. This may cause delays in providing goods and services to the market.
- We have low product diversification meaning that we rely on only one or two products to generate revenue.
- We don’t have a consumer loyalty program and we don’t have enough returning customers.
- We believe our product quality needs to improve with future iterations to keep up with competitors.
- Our staff training is not up to date in several areas. We will need training days targeted at skills required to meet our goals.
Lack of financial resources, no marketing plan, no social media presence, no email list.
- We suffer from a lack of financial resources due to recent loss of several investors. This will slow down growth.
- We don’t have a clear marketing plan. We need to identify ways to appeal to a wider market of potential buyers.
- We do not have a strong social media presence. Our social media strategy needs improvement in order to grow our pool of buyers.
- Our SEO presence is poor. Our website does not rank well on search engines like Google and Bing.
- We do not have a customer email list to promote to. We need to build our email list so we can email customers when new product lines are available.
Low market share, poor company culture, no full-time staff, language barriers.
- We suffer from low market share compared to major competitors. Being a smaller company, we need a more agile marketing program to get the attention of our competitors’ loyal customers.
- We would like to see a stronger company culture to show our potential customers and employees what we stand for. We may need to prosecute a campaign around environmentalism or another cultural issue that we care about.
- We lack full-time staff due to funding shortages. This means many members of our team are divided between several part-time jobs.
- Several members of our team have language barriers that prevent communication. Training on English language communication skills can help.
How to Make a SWOT Analysis
SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and costs. They are four categories you need to reflect on to evaluate your current situation and what’s needed to meet your goals.
- Strengths are internal factors about you that could be helpful in achieving your goals. If your SWOT analysis is for a product or business, it’s the strengths of the product or business. If it’s for a person, it’s your personal strengths.
- Weaknesses are internal factors that might get in the way of you achieving your goals. Knowing your weaknesses can help you work on ways to improve.
- Opportunities are external factors that might help you to meet your goals. An example is a new technology or training opportunity you can take advantage of.
- Threats are external factors that might hinder your goals. Foreseeing external threats can help you avoid them and prepare for them.
Related: Threats examples for a SWOT Analysis
SWOT Analysis Template
Goal: Write down what your goal is.
– What do you do well (in relation to your goal)?
– What study skills do you currently have?
– What academic writing and research skills do you currently have?
– What workforce skills do you currently have?
– What soft skills do you currently have?
– What hard skills do you currently have?
– What do you think you’re not very good at (in relation to your goal)?
– What do you struggle with when studying?
– What are your weaknesses in regards to academic writing and researching?
– What workforce readiness skills do you lack?
– What soft skills do you lack?
– What hard skills do you lack?
– Are there upcoming seminars, classes, or lectures that can help you improve?
– Do you have access to resources to help you improve?
– Do you have access to people or friends who can help you out?
– What contextual factors might get in the way of your goals?
– What obstacles can you predict that might interfere with your plans?
– What factors out of your direct control might interfere with your plans?
– What resources do you lack that might cause problems?
Example SWOT Analysis for a Team
Goal: To complete our team project and get the best grade in the class.
– Each team member brings unique skills. We have a technology person, a good researcher, and a good writer.
– We all have a good understanding of the project requirements.
– Several of us have worked together successfully in the past.
– Several of us don’t feel confident with the topic.
– Some team members don’t know one another.
– One team member does not have access to a computer at all times.
– We are able to secure space in the library to meet up.
– All of us agree that this is a great chance to build our teamwork competencies.
– Disagreements on how to proceed may come up.
– It will be hard to find time to meet up.
Example SWOT Analysis for Coca-Cola
Goal: To deliver long-term growth and dividends for investors.
– One of the most recognizable brand names in the world.
– Strong market share worldwide.
– Excellent capital investment.
– Complex and reliable international supply chain.
– Concerns about the high sugar contents could deter consumers.
– There are not many more markets to expand into as the brand is already transnational.
– New flavors could be developed.
– The brand could acquire competitors or branch out to other types of beverages.
– International tax treaties could raise costs.
– New government regulations could cause supply chain issues.
– Inflation my cause product prices to increase.
When was the SWOT Analysis Created?
The SWOT analysis was invented in the 1960s by Albert Humphrey from the Stanford Research Institute. Humphrey created the SWOT analysis as a brainstorming tool to help people to reflect on the best ways to achieve goals while avoiding problems. The matrix looks at positives and negatives in the following four categories:
- Strengths: Internal factors + Positives
- Weaknesses: Internal factors + Negatives
- Opportunities: External factors + Positives
- Threats: External factors + Negatives
Use the SWOT analysis template to brainstorm and reflect on how to achieve your goals. When thinking about weaknesses in a SWOT analysis, focus on things you know you are not too good at. These could be personal traits including both soft skills and hard skills that you know you’ll need to improve upon to meet your goals.
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]