The Threats-Opportunities-Weaknesses-Strengths (TOWS Matrix) is also referred to as SWOT Analysis. The threats, opportunities, strengths & weaknesses involved in a business venture, project or any other situation that needs a decision, are evaluated with the help of strategic planning tool of TOWS analysis.
For the purpose of formulation of strategy, TOWS analysis is an important tool. Four kinds of strategies are developed by the managers with the help of matching tool of (Threats-Opportunities-Weaknesses-Strengths) TOWS matrix of marketing. On the basis of this analysis, you may easily develop a successful strategies for your business after seeing and analyzing your competitors deeply.
Strategies Developed by TOWS Matrix
- SO Strategies (Strengths-Opportunities)
- WO Strategies (Weakness-Opportunities)
- ST Strategies (Strengths-Threats)
- WT Strategies (Weakness-Threats)
The matching of internal & external factors is the most difficult part of TOWS Matrix. When the objectives are identified, then the TOWS are ascertained & listed. Following is the precisely definition of the TOWS.
Strengths: Those attributes of the business that are supportive in the accomplishment of the objectives are regarded as strengths.
Weaknesses: Those attributes of the business which are harmful for the accomplishment of the objectives of the organization are regarded as weaknesses.
Opportunities: Those external conditions which are supportive to the accomplishment of the objectives of the organization are regarded as opportunities.
Threats: Those external conditions which are harmful to the accomplishment of the objectives of the organization are considered to be as threats.
The Strengths & Weaknesses are internal factors of the organization like high production capacity, lack of variety of products etc. On the other hand Opportunities & Threats are external factors for the organization like increase in demand of certain product due to change in the lifestyle of customers etc.
The Threats-Opportunities-Weaknesses-Strengths (TOWS Matrix) analysis can be much subjective in nature. It is very difficult that two person finds the same kind of results in the TOWS analysis even when they are provided with similar type of information about the business organization along with its environment. The TOWS matrix is regarded as a guide instead of any prescription. The validity of the analysis is enhanced when each factor is added & weighted under some criteria.
- SO Strategies:
It is the desire of every organization that it get benefit from its resources but the only way to accomplish that desire is to use the potential strength in the availing of the external opportunity. The opportunity for external resources is obtained from the internal strength of the business organization which is in the shape of assets. For example when an organization has sound financial position then it become strength of the business organization which is used to availed the external opportunity of expanding the business. This matching strategy of the strength of strong financial position with the external opportunity of expanding the business is referred to as SO strategy.
- WO Strategies:
The matching combination of weaknesses of the business organization with the external opportunities is included in the WO strategies. When the organization try to overcome the internal weakness with the help of the external opportunity WO strategy become useful. For example, when an organization is facing severe financial crisis then it becomes a weakness which is matched with the external opportunity of merger with the multinational company.
- ST Strategies:
The external threats can be overcome with the help of effective ST Strategies. It is not necessary that the organization should always faces the external environment threats front to front basis. Different colleges adopt ST strategy by opening new branches so that the competitive threat can be overcome. Porter Model also explains such kinds of threats.
- WT Strategies:
It is desire of every organization that it can overcome its weakness and reduce the threats. WT strategy is applied to remove the weaknesses which will overcome the external threats. It is hard to pursue WT strategy. For example when an organization holds weak distribution channels then it results in creation of many problems for the organization. All these external problems can be removed by making the distribution network of the organization strong enough.
Steps for Developing Strategies:
A Threats-Opportunities-Weaknesses-Strengths (TOWS Matrix) is constructed in the following eight steps.
- Ranking of external opportunities
- Ranking of external threats
- Ranking of internal strengths
- Ranking of internal weaknesses
- Matching of internal strengths with the external opportunities & specification of the results in the cell of SO strategies
- Matching of the internal weaknesses with the external opportunities & specification of the results in the cell of WO strategies
- Matching of internal strengths with the external threats & specification of the results in the cell of ST strategies
- Matching of the internal weaknesses with the external threats & specification of the results in the cell of WT strategies