Doing strategic analysis with

Every good strategy starts with a sound strategic analysis.

The usual place to start your strategy is by understanding:

  • your strengths and weaknesses,
  • the opportunities and threats you face, and
  • your competitive environment. contains a large number of tools to help you to do this. They're all included in the Analysis quadrant of the Strategy Board.

These include:

  • Business Model Canvas: identify and describe the key elements that make your business work. This is a great starting point for more detailed analysis. (Learn more)
  • SWOT: a quick, easy and almost universally recognised way to summarise your Strengths and Weaknesses, and the Opportunities and Threats you face. (Learn more)
  • McKinsey 7-S analysis: a more comprehensive way to identify your strengths and weaknesses as well as any inconsistencies in your capability across the 7 key dimensions of Shared Values, Structure, Systems, Style, Staff, Skills and Strategy. (Learn more)
  • PESTEL analysis: identify the Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental and Legal forces your business faces. (Learn more)
  • 5 Forces analysis: understand the attractiveness of your industry and how to position yourself in it for maximum profitability. (Learn more)
  • Strategy Canvas: analyse your Competitors. Then analyse how they stack up against the Competitive Factors your customers take into consideration when choosing your product or service. Pull all of this information together in an attractive visual Strategy Canvas. This will show how you differentiate your offering from that of your competitors. (Learn more)
  • BCG Matrix: understand the different strategies most appropriate for each of the different products or services in your portfolio. (Learn more)
  • Pareto Analysis: analyse how different products or services contribute to your profit margins. (Learn more)
  • Value Chain: analyse exactly how your business creates value using this familiar framework. (Learn more)

Of course, you don't need to use them all. Some will be more useful for your particular needs than others. is repository-based. This enables you to build links between the different models, making your analysis more holistic. To create links between the models:

  1. Click on a card in one of the models.
  2. Scroll down the screen to where it says "Do Next".
  3. Select the type of content you want to link to.
  4. Start typing. The system will do an automatic lookup of any existing content to link to. Or you can press Enter to create new content.

If you're not sure how to start your strategic analysis, we suggest that you follow these steps:

  1. Start with the Business Model Canvas.
  2. Once you completed it, click on each element on the Business Model Canvas in turn.
  3. Scroll down to where it says "Do Next" and select "Add related insights".
  4. Capture any known or suspected insights. These could be Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities or Threats related to that element on the Business Model Canvas.
  5. Then click on each of the insights you've just created. Enter as much detail about them as you can. Don't forget to the various fields for:
    • Internal versus external
    • Positive versus negative
    • Any other categorisations which are shown (these will be context-dependant).
  6. Once you're done, the system will have created some of the other models for you. Visit each of the SWOT, McKinsey 7S, PESTEL and Porter 5 Forces to double-check that everything makes sense. Fill in any missing insights.
  7. Identify your competitors and/or competitor categories.
  8. Identify the competitive factors which your customers use to choose between you and your competitors.
  9. Bring these together on a Business Model Canvas.
  10. Complete the Value Chain being particularly careful to highlight what is unique to your business.

We've presented these as a series of steps to follow in order. But don't be afraid to jump backwards and forwards through the process if you need to.

See also:

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