Marketing a small business takes time, energy and money in varying degrees. Before you spend any of the three, it’s essential to first gain an understanding of what you have going for you – and against you.
A S.W.O.T analysis is a marketing must that serves as a business reality check and can help guide you in crafting your marketing messages. S.W.O.T. might seem like marketing jargon, but don’t be put off – or be intimidated – by the term. S.W.O.T. doesn’t have to be overblown or overcomplicated – and you can do it on your own provided that you keep an open and realistic mind while you’re working through the process.
What do you and your business do well? What qualities give you an edge over the competition? Why would anyone want to do business with you? Be realistic, and be objective!
When determining your strengths, consider things like…
On the flip side, what aren’t you doing quite as well as you should be? Be honest! Though it won’t be fun to think about how you fall short, as a business owner, it’s critical to your survival. Think of weaknesses in terms of things like…
What’s happening in your industry and in your market that indicates opportunities for your business to survive and grow?
What’s happening in your industry and in your market that might adversely affect your business?
By thinking through your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, you’ll gain clarity on what features and benefits you should put first and foremost in your marketing messages. You’ll also know what not to mention in your efforts to promote your products and services. For example, if your turn-around time on projects isn’t as fast as that of your primary competitor, you wouldn’t want to focus on the ability to meet aggressive deadlines.
Your S.W.O.T. will help you keep your marketing honest, so that you’re genuinely putting your business’s best foot forward rather than getting off on the wrong foot by making promises you’re currently unable to keep.