When making strategic decisions, there are a lot of factors to consider. It is easy to become overwhelmed by related circumstances, options, and data. A SWOT analysis, or SWOT matrix, is a decision-making framework for focusing on strategically important elements in this jumble. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. These four categories describe whether an aspect of the decision is negative or positive, and whether it is external or internal to the organization. A thorough SWOT analysis can be the backbone of sound strategic planning.