Completing a SWOT analysis as part of your marketing plan is a powerful way to evaluate your business or project and give you a crystal-clear picture of your current position. And knowing your current business state means you can take the best measure to drive your business and marketing efforts towards their full potential. Let’s take a closer look at all things SWOT.

What is a SWOT analysis?

You’re probably wondering what on earth a SWOT analysis is – and no, it’s not the teacher’s pet! SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats and is used as an analytical tool to determine and define these characteristics.

Strengths and weaknesses would be considered internal factors, while opportunities and threats are external factors. The aim is to turn the weaknesses into strengths, and the threats into opportunities.

How to carry out a SWOT analysis

The easier way to begin filling out each quadrant (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) is to answer a series of questions about your business. We’re going to be sharing a few, but try to focus on the ones which are most relevant to your business.

Strengths

Think about your strengths from an internal perspective and from the point of view of your target customer. If you find it tricky to identify your strengths, write down a list of your business’s characteristics – hopefully, some of these will be strengths.

You should also think about your strengths in relation to your current competitors and market. For example, if all your competitors provide low prices, then low prices aren’t a strength of your specific business – but rather, a necessity. Consider the following questions:

What do you do well?
What is unique about the business?
What expertise do you have?
How much experience do you have?
What do you do better than anyone else?
What do people in your market see as your strengths?
What is your business’s USP (unique selling proposition)?

Weaknesses

Now it’s time for the weaknesses and some critical self-awareness. These should be negative factors of your company which are also under your control. Don’t lie to yourself and be honest! Here are some questions to ask yourself:

Which areas of your business do you need to improve?
What do people in your market see as your weakness?
What resources are you lacking?
What costs you time or money?
Which parts of the business aren’t very profitable?
Where do you need further experience or education?

Opportunities

Next is opportunities. These are external factors which are beyond your control but could end up positively impacting your business. For example, an increase in popularity for a vegetarian lifestyle is an opportunity for a business who sells vegetarian products. Questions you could ask yourself for the opportunities of your business include:

What interesting trends are you aware of?
Are there new target audiences you could reach?
How can you use technology to enhance your business?
Are there any changes in lifestyle that may favour your business?
Are there any changes in government regulation or policies that could favour your business?

Threats

The final quadrant of your SWOT is threats. This includes everything that could pose a risk to your company and the likelihood of growth. They are the negative aspects which you have no control over. Threats could be anything from potential competitors to a shift in consumer behaviour.

What obstacles do you face?
What are the biggest strengths of your competitors?
What’s going on in the economy?
Do you have cash-flow problems?
Could any of your weaknesses seriously threaten your business?

Develop a strategy to address issues from your SWOT

Lastly, it’s important to review your SWOT by asking yourself the following four questions.

How can you use your strengths to take advantage of opportunities?
How can you use your strengths to overcome threats?
What do you need to do to overcome the weaknesses to take advantage of the opportunities?
How will you minimise your weaknesses to overcome the identified threats?

Completing a SWOT analysis will help you to strategise and plan effectively to ensure the success of your business. If you need further advice or help on how to market your business, 3twelve can help. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation quote.

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