What is the difference between SWOT and TOWS analysis?
What is TOWS?
TOWS Analysis is a variant of the classic business tool — SWOT Analysis, created by Heinz Weihrich. Find out what is SWOT. Both TOWS and SWOT have the same acronyms for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, and in reverse order of the words. What is the difference between SWOT and TOWS analysis?
So, what is the difference between SWOT and TOWS analysis? The main difference between them is that TOWS analysis focuses on external elements first. The idea is that we should start with analyzing the external forces and environment and then consider this in context to our internal capabilities.
In this way, a TOWS provides something that a SWOT doesn’t. In brief, TOWS analysis extends a SWOT analysis.
From SWOT to TOWS analysis
At first, it might seem that it is as simple as reversing the order of positive and negative columns of the 2×2 matrix of a SWOT. But it is much more than that. TOWS examines a company’s external opportunities and threats and compares them to the firm’s strengths and weaknesses. This analysis forms the basis to develop TOWS strategies and to create actionable tactics.
What is the difference between SWOT and TOWS analysis? SWOT matrix is a planning tool, whereas TOWS matrix is an action tool. In a SWOT analysis, you identify all strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. To create a TOWS analysis, you need to think of each point as a single perspective. A TOWS matrix shows the relationships between external and internal factors and chooses strategies based on these. It is essential to realize that strengths and weaknesses are concepts that do not make much sense if you do not place them in a context, an environment.
Four TOWS strategies
TOWS analysis matches internal factors with external factors and, on this basis, identifies an appropriate strategy for action. By juxtaposing the opportunities and threats coming from the company’s environment with the strengths and weaknesses of the organization, we can identify four basic strategies. This allows the company to exploit opportunities, reduce threats, overcome weaknesses and build on strengths. What about difference between SWOT and TOWS?
Consider all strengths one by one listed in the SWOT Analysis with each opportunity to determine how each internal strength can help you capitalize on each external opportunity.
Consider all strengths one by one listed in the SWOT Analysis with each threat to determine how each internal strength can help you avoid every external danger.
Consider all weaknesses one by one listed in the SWOT Analysis with each opportunity to determine how each internal disadvantage can be eliminated by using each external option.
Consider all weaknesses one by one listed in the SWOT Analysis with each threat to determine both can be avoided.
SWOT vs TOWS analysis – summary
The rationale of a TOWS analysis is to help you better understand the strategic choices available and what options you could pursue. You can lay out what options you have to maximize strengths to capitalize on opportunities while minimizing weaknesses to avoid threats. However, before you can create a TOWS matrix, you will have to do a SWOT.
TOWS vs SWOT? What is better? Both analyzes are closely related to each other. None of them is worse. If you ever use SWOT analysis in your work, do not forget about the additional potential hidden in this analysis. This TOWS variant will give you a better view of the analyzed situation of your company.