SWOT Analysis

When you are trying to nail down a marketing strategy or narrow your scope of focus there are many tools you can employ.  My favorite first step is the SWOT analysis.  SWOT stands for Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats.  If you have never sat down and wrote one out I encourage you to try it.  This tool not only can uncover hidden threats but also uncover great opportunities.  I like to use them as a warm up to strategy sessions.  As you consider each question in the matrix you can begin brainstorming.  Once you have exhausted your responses you can start to weed out the responses that do not fit.  Here are some helpful questions when starting this exercise:

Strengths

What separates your company from all other ones?

What do you do best?

What would your customers say you strengths are?  Do they match what you have down?

What are your competitors afraid of?

Weaknesses

What activities should you stop doing?

What activities or processes currently need to be changed?

What areas do think need the most attention?

Opportunities

What opportunities are out there that you have not considered?

Are there any trends in your market that you need to be aware of?

Are there local events or groups that you should be involved with?  National?  International?

Threats

Who is your biggest competition?

What challenges do you face now?  What are the roadblocks?

Are any internal or external processes threatening your business?

Taking the time to plan will save you hours of headache.  I look at SWOT analysis as a point of discovery of your business and an opportunity to solidify your brand.  SWOT analysis is can help you lay the foundation of your business.  From this ground floor vantage point you have the unique view to begin building your empire.  Taking the time to plan is invaluable and can take your business to a new level.