marketing matters header 3 8 18 swotHave you heard of the marketing term called SWOT? This is a process to evaluate your company based on identifying your internal strengths and weaknesses and the external environment where opportunities and threats exist. It is so important to be able to define your core competencies. This is because through being able to properly identify what you know the most about and can do better than anyone else, you can potentially find a sustainable competitive advantage. A starting point to being able to identify your competitive advantage and core competencies is through completing a comprehensive SWOT analysis on your own company, then you might want to do the same on your competitors so you know where you stand in comparison. Let's answer these questions What can or do I do better than anyone else? Where are my biggest threats and what opportunities exist? How do I capitalize on this?

" SWOT: Internal Environmental Analysis to determine strengths and weaknesses that may come from any of these areas:
o Factors relating to product offerings, pricing, costs, performance, quality, people/resources, skills, adaptability, reputation, competitive advantage, infrastructure, customer service, experience, accreditations, qualifications, vulnerabilities
" SWOT: External Environmental Analysis to determine opportunities and threats that may come from any of these areas:
o Business expansion geographically or with product offerings and presentation/delivery of those offerings-product development, market development, diversification, market penetration, threats from competition (direct and indirect), economic, political, social (reference groups, opinion leaders, family influences), technological, psychographic and cultural (demographics, motivation, culture, values, and changing consumer preferences), environmental changes, supply and demand, and more

Every few months an objective SWOT analysis should be done on your business-always working to maintain a "fit" with the market. Even if something seems to be working, with changes happening in the marketplace every day, constant evaluation and adaptation is needed. A SWOT is a start to identifying your "fit", areas of strength, weakness, opportunities, and threats. Actually "writing" the SWOT is far more effective than simply saying to yourself, I already know all these answers in my mind. Just try writing it down and spend a couple of hours on the project and the return will be far greater than you might realize. (Then ask someone else in your business to create one. You might be surprised how different the analysis might be that can lead you to a better, more realistic evaluation of the internal and external environments affecting your business).

Read next week for more insights by Sabrina Pack-Professional Marketing Consultant

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