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28 Examples of SWOT Weaknesses

 , October 11, 2018
In the context of SWOT analysis, weaknesses are competitive disadvantages in the current environment. This includes anything that can prevent you from reaching goals in the context of constraints and competition. The following are illustrative examples.


Missing skills and abilities such as an advertising team that lacks capabilities in digital advertising.


A lack of know-how such as a solar panel manufacturer that doesn't know how to make their products as durable as the competition.


Higher overhead or unit costs than the competition. For example, an organic farmer who produces apples for $8 a bushel when the average competitor achieves a cost of $7.


Prices and price structures that aren't as attractive as the competition. For example, a telecom company that charges for bandwidth when the competition offers attractive unlimited plans.

Supply Chain

Suppliers and supply chain competition. For example, an ecommerce company that requires at least 3 business days to deliver an order when a competitor can deliver in 24 hours.


Your ability to reach the customer to sell to them and deliver your obligations. For example, a sushi restaurant that is 4 blocks from a busy shopping street when a competitor has three locations on the street itself.


Poor brand recognition and brand image as compared to competitors. For example, an electronics manufacturer with a high quality product but a brand that the target market do not recognize such that they are hesitant to buy.

Customer Service

Customer service shortfalls such as a firm that doesn't measure customer satisfaction at the interaction level such that employees who consistently displease customers aren't detected as low performers.

Customer Relationships

Customer relationship issues such as a sales team that has seen significant turnover such that sales representatives are strangers to major accounts.


The quality of your products and services. For example, a non-alcoholic beer that tastes bad versus one that tastes good.

Customer Perceptions

Negative customer perceptions such as a technology brand that is associated with a legacy technology such that the brand sounds outdated to many customers in its target market.


The valuable uniqueness of your products relative to the competition. For example, an organic coffee product that has nothing special about it as compared to the other product's on the shelves of supermarkets.

Target Market

Competitive weaknesses related to your target market such as a demographic that is shrinking. For example, a sporting goods company that is heavily associated with a sport that is less popular with younger generations.


The productivity of your employees. For example, a graphics design shop that consumes an employee month to deliver a logo when a competitor delivers logos of similar value with less than a week of effort.


The efficiency of your operations. For example, a gold mine that consumes 25 kW·h of electricity used to produce a gram of gold when a competitor consumes only 5 kW·h of electricity per gram.


The systems and applications you use and their impact on things such as productivity, efficiency, customer satisfaction, cost and the turnaround time of processes. For example, an aging technology company that uses systems that are more costly to maintain and difficult to use than the competition.

Information Security

Information security vulnerabilities such as employees who are unaware of basic defensive computing techniques.


Infrastructure are basic services such as an internet connection or road. For example, a wholesaler located in a remote location on a road that is prone to traffic jams may have a competitive disadvantage to a wholesaler located near a major port with significant transportation infrastructure in the area.

Economic Bads

Economic bads are the negative impacts of your business on the environment and communities in which you operate or sell. For example, an industry that produces $4 billion in economic goods but costs society $400 billion in economic bads might reasonably expect that they will eventually be regulated or asked to pay these costs.

Organizational Culture

Organizational culture issues such as resistance to change.


The capability to change and to develop new value that is non-obvious. For example, a technology company that is often trying to copy the competition as opposed to doing anything that creates new types of products, markets and business models.


Weaknesses of partners or relationships with partners. For example, a manufacturer of air conditioning units has a large number of quality control failures due to low quality parts from a supplier.


The financial position of a business. For example, an electric car manufacturer with a large debt that will have difficulty refinancing this debt if financial conditions tighten.


Business processes that fall behind the competition. For example, a university that takes a minimum of 6 months to recruit a professor when the competition can do it in 2 months. This may lead to talent flowing to competing institutions.


Concentration risk such as a farmer who only produces one commodity crop such that they are vulnerable to price swings.

Barriers to Entry

A firm with a successful business model, product or service that is easily challenged by newcomers. For example, a small electric bus company that produces innovative vehicle models that are easily emulated by far larger competitors with more mature manufacturing capabilities.

Business Model

A flawed business model such as a company that is able to grow revenue but is not able to become profitable. This typically occurs because growth was fueled by the company offering value that exceeded price with no ability to obtain a price that's higher than cost.


A poor reputation due to factors such as leadership, ethics and quality.
Overview: Weaknesses (SWOT)
Competitive disadvantages in the current environment.
Related Concepts

SWOT Analysis

This is the complete list of articles we have written about swot analysis.
Business Swot
Competitive Factors
Economic Factors
External Factors
External SWOT
Internal Factors
Personal Swot
Political Factors
Product SWOT
Situation Analysis
Team Strengths
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