“Analysis is the Critical Starting Point of Strategic Thinking”
– Kenichi Ohmae (Japanese theorist, management consultant)
In building a strong Strategic Marketing Plan, analysis is where it begins. Understanding where you are currently will help identify how and where you will be going.
All companies must identify and understand their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT). If you have experienced a SWOT Analysis project in the past, you know it can be a daunting process. Our SWOT Analysis Tool helps guide you through the process and sets the foundation for what your business will have to overcome to be successful, grow, and thrive.
There are many areas to examine when you dive deep into the internal and current happenings of your company. Many areas dictate how you will progress toward your goals for success.
- Will you overcome a huge obstacle that is currently affecting your bottom line?
- Will you be able to grow at a rate that is desired?
- Do you have the right resources in place to grow / succeed?
Let’s Get Into It
Your SWOT will focus on your company’s current situation, identify what areas need to be improved to move forward, and identify any hazards that may hinder you in the future.
Let’s examine the external factors pertaining to what you have, how you can reduce the chances of failure, identify what / where you are lacking, and evaluate the speed bumps that could throw you off course.
An opportunity is simply circumstances making it possible to do something. They don’t have to be huge business-altering ideas. Identifying opportunities where your company can increase / improve upon itself can be a game-changer.
If you take a few moments, I bet you can think of a few opportunities right now that could alter your business. Look at a new trend and seek a way to build that into your company’s processes. Just know that every shiny new object may not be a good fit within the strategy you’ve built for your company.
There is a good chance by locating an opportunity that is aligned with your company’s strategic goals that you’ll be ready to grab the bull by the horns and go! These aren’t the big hairy audacious goals; they are the opportunities that could catapult your business into another dimension.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Does your company have someone keeping an eye on futuristic changes that may affect your business? (Tech advances is a great place to start)
- Are government regulations changing your company’s processes?
- What are the basic initiatives that we aren’t diving into deeply enough?
The differences you find and the opportunities you identify will ensure you are able to compete and take the lead in your marketplace.
Threats to your business are imminent. Who would have guessed an international pandemic would cause us to change the way we all live and work?
Threats are external factors that you cannot control; however, you can be knowledgeable and forward-thinking to prepare for these disruptions on your business activities.
There are a lot of obstacles in business, if you think of a company’s startup process, even the most basic task can cause disruption to your daily activities. Whether government / regulatory, personnel issue, supply / demand change, technology, or what about the weather? You should be prepared for the worst and hope for the best.
Related to marketing specifically, our technology is the constant challenge. Am I keeping up, managing or falling behind? I’d say all three! There are plenty of apps to utilize today that weren’t existent 10 years ago and it can be overwhelming to keep up. Researching, adjusting, and investing in today’s technologies will keep the online security threats at a minimum, but having an unlimited budget to tackle those may be an obstacle.
As with the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities, be sure to consider what your competition thinks of your company and know they are thinking of ways to disrupt your business.
- What if a merger / acquisition of nationally-knowledgeable resources joined your largest competitor?
- What would happen if a tornado, hurricane or other natural disaster hit your offices?
- What if your largest client shuts down?
Obviously these are a few scenarios, but think about it, would you have thought we’d all have to learn within a week how to work virtually?
As with any SWOT analysis project, consider the areas of highest priority to your company’s growth. Consider should you be changing the way your company meets the challenges that arise. Being exposed to external threats without a plan isn’t a good idea, consider major threats and prepare a basic reaction to the minor ones that arise.
A SWOT Analysis isn’t a tool that you do once and put it on the shelf. It is a part of your overall marketing / company strategic plan to utilize when something changes or could change the way you do business. By understanding the four categories: strengths, weaknesses (EXTERNAL), opportunities and threats (INTERNAL), you are already ahead of many companies.