Southern First Bancshares, Inc. SWOT Analysis / Matrix

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SWOT analysis is a vital strategic planning tool that can be used by Southern First Bancshares, Inc. managers to do a situational analysis of the company . It is an important technique to analyze the present Strengths (S), Weakness (W), Opportunities (O) & Threats (T) Southern First Bancshares, Inc. is facing in its current business environment.

The Southern First Bancshares, Inc. is one of the leading organizatations in its industry. Southern First Bancshares, Inc. maintains its dominant position in market by critically analyzing and reviewing the SWOT analysis.  SWOT analysis a highly interactive process and requires effective coordination among various departments within the firm such as – marketing, finance, operations, management information systems and strategic planning.


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The SWOT Analysis framework enables an organization to identify the internal strategic factors such as -strengths and weaknesses, & external strategic factors such as - opportunities and threats. It leads to a 2X2 matrix – also known as SWOT Matrix.

The Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats (SWOT) Analysis / Matrix helps the managers of the Southern First Bancshares, Inc. to develop four types of strategies:

  • SO (strengths-opportunities) Strategies
  • WO (weaknesses-opportunities) Strategies
  • ST (strengths-threats) Strategies
  •  WT (weaknesses-threats) Strategies
Southern First Bancshares, Inc. swot analysis / matrix

SWOT Matrix Strategies Objective

The central purpose of SWOT matrix is to identify the strategies that a company can use to exploit external opportunities, counter threats, and build on & protect Southern First Bancshares, Inc. strengths, and eradicate its weaknesses.

Step by Step Guide to Southern First Bancshares, Inc. SWOT Analysis

Strengths of Southern First Bancshares, Inc. – Internal Strategic Factors


As one of the leading firms in its industry, Southern First Bancshares, Inc. has numerous strengths that help it to thrive in the market place. These strengths not only help it to protect the market share in existing markets but also help in penetrating new markets. Based on Fern Fort University extensive research – some of the strengths of Southern First Bancshares, Inc. are –


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  • Highly successful at Go To Market strategies for its products.
  • Successful track record of integrating complimentary firms through mergers & acquisition. It has successfully integrated number of technology companies in the past few years to streamline its operations and to build a reliable supply chain.
  • Highly skilled workforce through successful training and learning programs. Southern First Bancshares, Inc. is investing huge resources in training and development of its employees resulting in a workforce that is not only highly skilled but also motivated to achieve more.
  • Superb Performance in New Markets – Southern First Bancshares, Inc. has built expertise at entering new markets and making success of them. The expansion has helped the organization to build new revenue stream and diversify the economic cycle risk in the markets it operates in.
  • High level of customer satisfaction – the company with its dedicated customer relationship management department has able to achieve a high level of customer satisfaction among present customers and good brand equity among the potential customers.
  • Strong distribution network – Over the years Southern First Bancshares, Inc. has built a reliable distribution network that can reach majority of its potential market.
  • Successful track record of developing new products – product innovation.
  • Strong Free Cash Flow – Southern First Bancshares, Inc. has strong free cash flows that provide resources in the hand of the company to expand into new projects.


Weakness of Southern First Bancshares, Inc. – Internal Strategic Factors


Weakness are the areas where Southern First Bancshares, Inc. can improve upon. Strategy is about making choices and weakness are the areas where a firm can improve using SWOT analysis and build on its competitive advantage and strategic positioning.


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  • The profitability ratio and Net Contribution % of Southern First Bancshares, Inc. are below the industry average.
  • Days inventory is high compare to the competitors – making the company raise more capital to invest in the channel. This can impact the long term growth of Southern First Bancshares, Inc.
  • Limited success outside core business – Even though Southern First Bancshares, Inc. is one of the leading organizations in its industry it has faced challenges in moving to other product segments with its present culture.
  • There are gaps in the product range sold by the company. This lack of choice can give a new competitor a foothold in the market.
  • Not highly successful at integrating firms with different work culture. As mentioned earlier even though Southern First Bancshares, Inc. is successful at integrating small companies it has its share of failure to merge firms that have different work culture.
  • Not very good at product demand forecasting leading to higher rate of missed opportunities compare to its competitors. One of the reason why the days inventory is high compare to its competitors is that Southern First Bancshares, Inc. is not very good at demand forecasting thus end up keeping higher inventory both in-house and in channel.
  • The company has not being able to tackle the challenges present by the new entrants in the segment and has lost small market share in the niche categories. Southern First Bancshares, Inc. has to build internal feedback mechanism directly from sales team on ground to counter these challenges.

Opportunities for Southern First Bancshares, Inc. – External Strategic Factors


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  • Economic uptick and increase in customer spending, after years of recession and slow growth rate in the industry, is an opportunity for Southern First Bancshares, Inc. to capture new customers and increase its market share.
  • Government green drive also opens an opportunity for procurement of Southern First Bancshares, Inc. products by the state as well as federal government contractors.
  • New trends in the consumer behavior can open up new market for the Southern First Bancshares, Inc. . It provides a great opportunity for the organization to build new revenue streams and diversify into new product categories too.
  • The market development will lead to dilution of competitor’s advantage and enable Southern First Bancshares, Inc. to increase its competitiveness compare to the other competitors.
  • The new technology provides an opportunity to Southern First Bancshares, Inc. to practices differentiated pricing strategy in the new market. It will enable the firm to maintain its loyal customers with great service and lure new customers through other value oriented propositions.
  • Stable free cash flow provides opportunities to invest in adjacent product segments. With more cash in bank the company can invest in new technologies as well as in new products segments. This should open a window of opportunity for Southern First Bancshares, Inc. in other product categories.
  • New customers from online channel – Over the past few years the company has invested vast sum of money into the online platform. This investment has opened new sales channel for Southern First Bancshares, Inc.. In the next few years the company can leverage this opportunity by knowing its customer better and serving their needs using big data analytics.
  • Opening up of new markets because of government agreement – the adoption of new technology standard and government free trade agreement has provided Southern First Bancshares, Inc. an opportunity to enter a new emerging market.

Threats Southern First Bancshares, Inc. Facing - External Strategic Factors

  • Rising pay level especially movements such as $15 an hour and increasing prices in the China can lead to serious pressure on profitability of Southern First Bancshares, Inc.
  • As the company is operating in numerous countries it is exposed to currency fluctuations especially given the volatile political climate in number of markets across the world.
  • Changing consumer buying behavior from online channel could be a threat to the existing physical infrastructure driven supply chain model.
  • Intense competition – Stable profitability has increased the number of players in the industry over last two years which has put downward pressure on not only profitability but also on overall sales.
  • Shortage of skilled workforce in certain global market represents a threat to steady growth of profits for Southern First Bancshares, Inc.   in those markets.
  • Imitation of the counterfeit and low quality product is also a threat to Southern First Bancshares, Inc.’s product especially in the emerging markets and low income markets.
  • Rising raw material can pose a threat to the Southern First Bancshares, Inc. profitability.
  • Liability laws in different countries are different and Southern First Bancshares, Inc. may be exposed to various liability claims given change in policies in those markets.

Limitations of SWOT Analysis for Southern First Bancshares, Inc.

Although the SWOT analysis is widely used as a strategic planning tool, the analysis does have its share of limitations.

  • Certain capabilities or factors of an organization can be both a strength and weakness at the same time. This is one of the major limitations of SWOT analysis . For example changing environmental regulations can be both a threat to company it can also be an opportunity in a sense that it will enable the company to be on a level playing field or at advantage to competitors if it able to develop the products faster than the competitors.
  • SWOT does not show how to achieve a competitive advantage, so it must not be an end in itself.
  • The matrix is only a starting point for a discussion on how proposed strategies could be implemented. It provided an evaluation window but not an implementation plan based on strategic competitiveness of Southern First Bancshares, Inc.
  • SWOT is a static assessment - analysis of status quo with few prospective changes. As circumstances, capabilities, threats, and strategies change, the dynamics of a competitive environment may not be revealed in a single matrix.
  • SWOT analysis may lead the firm to overemphasize a single internal or external factor in formulating strategies. There are interrelationships among the key internal and external factors that SWOT does not reveal that may be important in devising strategies.

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Weighted SWOT Analysis of Southern First Bancshares, Inc.

In light of the above mentioned limitations of the SWOT analysis / matrix, corporate managers decided to provide weightage to each internal strength and weakness of the firm. Organizations also assess the likelihood of events taking place in the coming future and how strong their impact could be on company's performance.

This method is called Weighted SWOT analysis. It is better than doing simplistic SWOT analysis because with Weighted SWOT Analysis Southern First Bancshares, Inc. managers can focus on the most critical factors and discount the non-important one. It also solves the long list problem where organizations ends up making a long list but none of the factors deemed too critical.

Limitation of Weighted SWOT analysis of Southern First Bancshares, Inc.

This approach also suffers from one major drawback - it focus on individual importance of factor rather than how they are collectively important and impact the business holistically.

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Example of Weighted SWOT Analysis

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SWOT Worksheet & Template

If you like to do your own SWOT analysis or want to make your own Weighted SWOT SWOT matrix then feel free to download Fern Fort University SWOT Analysis Template.


References / Citations & Bibliography

  • M. E. Porter, Competitive Strategy(New York: Free Press, 1980)
  • A. D. Chandler, Strategy and Structure (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1962)
  • O. E. Williamson, Markets and Hierarchies(New York: Free Press, 1975);
  • L. Wrigley, Divisional Autonomy and Diversification (PhD, Harvard Business School, 1970)
  • R. E. White, Generic Business Strategies, Organizational Context and Performance: An Empirical Investigation, Strategic Management Journal7 (1986)