soar-analysis

What Is A SOAR Analysis And How To Use It

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

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

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

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. 

Results

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

Advantages

  • 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.

Disadvantages

  • 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.

Key takeaways

  • 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

PESTEL Analysis

pestel-analysis
The PESTEL analysis is a framework that can help marketers assess whether macro-economic factors are affecting an organization. This is a critical step that helps organizations identify potential threats and weaknesses that can be used in other frameworks such as SWOT or to gain a broader and better understanding of the overall marketing environment.

SWOT Analysis

swot-analysis
A SWOT Analysis is a framework used for evaluating the business‘s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It can aid in identifying the problematic areas of your business so that you can maximize your opportunities. It will also alert you to the challenges your organization might face in the future.

Porter’s Five Forces

porter-five-forces
Porter’s Five Forces is a model that helps organizations to gain a better understanding of their industries and competition. Published for the first time by Professor Michael Porter in his book “Competitive Strategy” in the 1980s. The model breaks down industries and markets by analyzing them through five forces

Growth-Share Matrix

bcg-matrix
In the 1970s, Bruce D. Henderson, founder of the Boston Consulting Group, came up with The Product Portfolio (aka BCG Matrix, or Growth-share Matrix), which would look at a successful business product portfolio based on potential growth and market shares. It divided products into four main categories: cash cows, pets (dogs), question marks, and stars.

Root Cause Analysis

5-whys-method
The 5 Whys method is an interrogative problem-solving technique that seeks to understand cause-and-effect relationships. At its core, the technique is used to identify the root cause of a problem by asking the question of why five times. This might unlock new ways to think about a problem and therefore devise a creative solution to solve it.

Other related business frameworks:

Additional resources:

Published by

Gennaro Cuofano

Gennaro is the creator of FourWeekMBA which target is to reach over two million business students, executives, and aspiring entrepreneurs in 2020 alone | He is also Head of Business Development for a high-tech startup, which he helped grow at double-digit rate | Gennaro earned an International MBA with emphasis on Corporate Finance and Business Strategy | Visit The FourWeekMBA BizSchool | Or Get in touch with Gennaro here