Portfolio analysis – where do you make your money?
Big Business
Portfolio analysis – where do you make your money?
Portfolio analysis – where do you make your money?
Sole Trader

Portfolio analysis – where do you make your money?
A well-used tool for analysing your products and/or services

The big idea

This tool offers two approaches to portfolio analysis. Portfolio analysis means looking at your mix of programming and/or products and/or services and the money they make for you, or not!

The first approach was created by the Boston Consulting Group (often known as the BCG or Boston Matrix). It suggests that, to ensure long-term success, a business needs products or services that have  potential but are in need of investment as well as established products or services that generate income. The portfolio is divided into four categories: stars, cash cows, question marks (or problem child) and dogs, depending on your market share and contribution. The tool assumes that long-term income generation is the main driver and relationships with existing customers are secondary.

An alternative approach is based on the Matrix Map (Bell et al., 2010), which looks at the portfolio from the basis of contribution to mission and financial impact. This is for creative and cultural organisations that do not work in immediately identifiable or homogeneous markets and for whom mission delivery is paramount.


This tool helps you look at your portfolio of activities – programming, products, services and so on – to determine the relative contribution each activity makes. The purpose of the analysis is to determine where best to invest resources in future. 

The Tool

Two templates are provided for you to complete, depending on whether you are a commercial business or non-profit-based. Work through the quadrants and decide where you would place your activities and why. This can be done on your own or with a group and the first brainstorming session should take one to two hours. You may then need to do further research to check your assumptions and develop an action plan.