A SOAR analysis is a technique that helps businesses at a strategic planning level to:
- Focus on what they are doing right.
- Determine which skills could be enhanced.
- Understand the desires and motivations of their stakeholders.
Understanding a SOAR analysis
The SOAR analysis is an acronym of Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations, and Results. The analysis is very much a positive evaluation, in the sense that a business focuses on what it is doing well and then takes steps to do more of it. In other words, they endeavor to build on strengths instead of correcting weaknesses.
The SOAR analysis can be created as a simple 2 x 2 matrix with the four resulting quadrants making up the acronym itself.
Let’s now have a more detailed look at each.
Strengths are what a business does exceedingly well. They may relate to important assets, capabilities, resources, or accomplishments. Strengths also relate to unique selling propositions and competitive advantage.
Opportunities are circumstances that a business can take advantage of to increase the odds of success – namely those relating to market share and profitability. What partnerships could a business create to enhance market share? What trends do they foresee and how might any threats be reframed as opportunities to thrive?
Aspirations are visions that build on the strengths identified earlier. They must be challenging, inspiring, and meaningful. That is, the business must be passionate about making a positive difference. The organizations that take the time to create aspirations are determining who they want to be and what they stand for.
Once aspirations have been qualified, it is time to quantify them with results. Results inform businesses on whether they have achieved success by helping them clarify their visions and aspirations into tangible outcomes.
Advantages and disadvantages of a SOAR analysis
- Forward-looking and strength-focused – especially compared to the similar SWOT Analysis which focuses more resources on rectifying weaknesses.
- Incorporates tangible goals with facts regarding the business and market, unlike many other strategic frameworks.
- Provides important guidance on the future direction of the business when strengths and aspirations are identified.
- For businesses that have already defined a mission statement, the aspirations quadrant may be superfluous.
- The strength-centric focus of the SOAR analysis does not take into account marketplace competition, potentially leading businesses to focus on what makes them uncompetitive. As a result, the organization may set and achieve goals (and define success) based on metrics that will result in them becoming very much unsuccessful.
- A SOAR analysis is an approach to strategic thinking where a business constructs its future through collaboration, understanding, and action.
- A SOAR analysis is visually represented by a 4 quadrant matrix containing the Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations, and Results of a business.
- The SOAR analysis is a forward-looking strategy that links somewhat intangible strengths and aspirations with a more tangible goal setting. However, the strength-centric nature of the analysis may blind the organization to external factors or give it an inaccurate view of success.
Connected strategic frameworks
Other related business frameworks:
- AIDA Model
- Ansoff Matrix
- Business Analysis
- Business Model Canvas
- Business Strategy Frameworks
- Blue Ocean Strategy
- VRIO Framework