Situation Analysis

Situation analysis helps inform a company’s decision-making process by looking at the external and internal factors impacting its overall success. Performing a situation analysis is essential to every project planning process as it helps identify a company’s strengths, weaknesses, and growth opportunities.

What Is Situation Analysis?

Situation analysis refers to a phase of strategic planning in which a company uses analytical tools to assess the current state of a business environment. A business will often perform a situation analysis before embarking on a new initiative, marketing strategy, or business plan. Common situation analysis tools include SWOT analysis, PESTLE analysis, 5C analysis, VRIO analysis, and Porter’s Five Forces. These tools help companies assess the internal and external factors impacting the business at a given time. Including consumer demands, economic trends, government policies, the market environment, competitors, environmental factors (factors outside a company’s control), and capabilities.

Why Is Situation Analysis Important?

Analyzing the current situation of their business and industry helps companies make informed decisions at critical junctures. Here are some benefits of performing a situation analysis.

  • Helps determine competitive advantage: A competitive advantage is an attribute that gives a company a leg-up on its competitors. Performing a situation analysis requires identifying a company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities for growth, and the obstacles that could be standing in its way. As a result, companies can identify a business aspect, such as exemplary customer service or supply chain management. Which gives them an advantage over their competitors.
  • Helps identify areas of potential growth: Every business has room for improvement. Situation analysis can help clarify those areas and provide a framework for setting and achieving goals.
  • Can improve efficiency and reduce waste: Conducting a situation analysis ensures that initiatives, plans, and strategies stay focused on areas. That add value to the company and reduces the likelihood of redundancies or unproductive tangents.

4 Components of Situation Analysis

Although there are several methods of performing situational analysis, every analysis involves the following components:

  1. Competitor analysis: Examining the competition can help companies make decisions regarding factors like pricing, marketing, and organization.
  2. Environmental factors: There will always be factors outside of a company’s control that impact its internal or external success. Internal environmental factors include human resources, finances, and value propositions. External environmental factors include climate change, government policies, legal restrictions, and economic changes.
  3. Products: Every situation analysis involves understanding the company’s current products and how they meet the needs of its existing customers, including services outside of a business’s primary product line, such as customer service.
  4. Supply chain: Analyzing a company’s distribution situation involves examining its relationship with its distributors, suppliers, and retailers and can help identify ways to improve strategic partnerships.

5 Situation Analysis Tools

There are several effective tools for performing situation analysis. Here are five of the most common.

PESTLE analysis

A PESTLE analysis focuses on the six primary external factors that can impact a business: political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental. These PESTLE factors contribute to a holistic assessment of an organization’s external environment. Learn more about the PESTLE framework.

Porter’s Five Forces

Porter’s Five Forces analysis was designed to help businesses evaluate the competitive forces at play in their industry and engage in strategic planning that accounts for the specifics of their industry structure and the relative power of suppliers and buyers. Also Porter’s Five Forces looks at the five forces that determine a given market’s competitive intensity: competitive rivalry, supplier power, buyer power, the threat of substitution, and the threat of new entrants.

SWOT analysis

A SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis is a four-point analysis that businesses use to evaluate internal and external positives and negatives. The first two components of this analysis—strengths and weaknesses—refer to internal factors within an organization. The latter two components of a SWOT analysis—opportunities and threats—represent external factors that might affect the organization. SWOT analysis is a great way to involve key stakeholders. It’s particularly effective when team members create SWOT matrices independently and then come together to discuss their results in a group brainstorming session.

5C analysis

This situation analysis template looks at five key areas to help business owners put together an effective marketing plan. The five C’s are customers (key demographics, target market), competitors (market segments, potential customers), company (team members and competitive advantage), collaborators (supply chain, partnerships, and distributors), and climate (environmental factors).

VRIO analysis

A VRIO (value, rareness, imitability, and organization) analysis is an effective tool for taking a deeper look at a company’s resources and competitive advantages. It considers factors such as financial resources, human resources, intellectual property, and material goods.