What are SWOT analysis strengths?
By way of background,
“SWOT – which stands for “strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats” – is a type of analysis that helps you develop your business strategy by comparing internal factors (strengths and weaknesses) against external factors (opportunities and threats).
“Examples of internal factors include things that you have control over and can change, like your staff or your intellectual property.
“External factors are things that you cannot control, like consumer trends or competitors.”Business.com
In a nutshell, they are the strengths upon which you can build your business success.
If you have never seriously identified the range and depth of your business strengths, you are probably limiting your ultimate success
SWOT Analysis For Service Businesses
Although service is an essential element of all businesses, for present purposes, the term service business to refer to self-employed service-providers (or service professionals) who provide either or both of personal and professional services.
From my experience, marketing and management are the two biggest challenges facing small service businesses and service professionals alike.
Typically, most service professionals are more interested in the services they deliver than the businesses that they run.
We tend to be as concerned about serving and making a difference in our clients’ lives, as we are about generating personal wealth and controlling an organization, however small it may be.
As a result, conventional business practices are more likely to be minimized or–even avoided–rather than embraced.
When diligently serving clients, who has the time, energy or interest to struggle with complicated business management theories and methodology?
Conducting a SWOT analysis is one of the simplest and most effective business tools available for small businesses and service professionals alike.
Authentic Marketing is about your Attitudes, Abilities and Action.
Just as a SWOT analysis represents the best tool for addressing business and marketing challenges, Authentic Marketing services as the ideal framework for the analysis.
Invariably, small service businesses reflect the unique personalities of their owners.
In effect, it is anything that we do to generate more business that is aligned with our true self, including our personal beliefs and values as well as our SWOT analysis strengths.
Instead of struggling to apply conventional and current approaches to their marketing, we can shift our focus to the relationship component.
Authentic marketing helps us communicate our marketing messages in such a way that they are aligned with our true selves, including our personal beliefs and values.
This in turn will achieve two positive results.
For a variety of reasons, current marketing and advertising seems to be marked more by exaggerated benefits and blatant lies than its accuracy and reliability.
As a result, the public is growing increasingly skeptical of self-generated communications distributed by both public and private sector organizations.
Consistent with the exaggerated benefits and blatant lies communication approach of large organizations is the overuse of self-serving advertising hype commonly found in the marketing of products and services.
This hype serves to exacerbate the cynicism of a public that is constantly bombarded with an increasing overload of marketing and sales messages.
By aligning your marketing messaging with your true authentic self, you can distinguish yourself and stand out from the competition in a crowded noisy marketplace.
This will help you attract more ideal clients.
Develop And Maintain Mutually Beneficial Relationships
Success in business is based upon developing and maintaining the sound, lasting relationships with potential and actual clients, contacts and others who contribute to our success.
The purpose of advertising, networking, content marketing or any kind of direct outreach is to identify potentially ideal clients with whom we can develop a mutually beneficial relationship.
Once these connections have been made, effective marketing helps not only maintain, but enhance these interpersonal relationships.
The bottom line on maintaining relationships, whether personal or business, is that the more authentic each party is, the better the relationship.
The Authentic Marketing Wheel
As illustrated by the Authentic Marketing Wheel, there are he eight essential elements of Authentic Marketing.
At the center is the authentic you: your physical, emotional and spiritual being.
It’s your DNA, your wiring and similar factor that define and distinguish you from very other human being.
The middle ring represents those personal attributes and characteristics that continue to shift and evolve on our personal journeys though life.
Typically, this shifting and evolution is the result of our interactions with others and the lessons we have learned, either consciously or indirectly.
The outer ring represents the marketing-focused actions that we take in order to generate more new business.
Starting with services, in the upper right-hand quadrant, this is what we sell to generate revenue.
Clients are those wonderful people who are prepared to pay us for what we sell.
Our brand is what distinguishes us from competitors who provide similar kinds of services to clients like ours.
Your story is all about how you and your services help clients. Its purpose is two-fold.
First, it will help strangers, including potentially ideal clients and network contacts understand how you help clients.
And second, but equally important, it will also remind contacts and clients of your help.
And the final marketing-focused actions include all those many marketing strategies that bring into play to connect with potentially ideal clients and continue to generate more new business for your service business.
By converting the Authentic Marketing Wheel into a list, you can create a checklist for identifying your SWOT analysis strengths and weaknesses.
And from there, you can identify potential opportunities and threats.
Your strengths are factors that are working well in your business.
Identify Your Strengths
What’s good about your business?
To identify your personal and business strengths, go through each of the eight essential elements of Authentic Marketing asking the following questions:
What’s working in your marketing?
What do you love about your marketing?
Not surprisingly, your SWOT analysis strengths play a key role in whatever actions you take to generate more new business for your business.
These strengths represent a valuable category of business assets.
Like all assets, in order to achieve their optimum value, it’s important to apply our strengths as effectively as possible to achieve our goals.
Cash hidden under the mattress will do little to help a business grow.
But cash wisely spent or invested can make a significant contribution to the achievement of your goals.
Similarly, forgotten or ignored strengths will contribute little to the achievement of your goals.
Once identified and effectively applied, our strengths can play a role in the success of our service businesses.
This role is even more powerful when our strengths are applied to the other three components of a SWOT analysis.
Address Your Weaknesses
Weaknesses include those aspects of your business operation and services that currently, or might, interfere with your journey to success.
These are internal factors that limit the effectiveness of your SWOT analysis strengths.
As internal considerations, they are elements that you can control.
Perhaps you are lacking the skills and resources to attract, serve and satisfy ideal clients as effectively as you would like.
Or maybe your business is not operating as efficiently and profitably as you believe it could.
Once you have identified your weaknesses, instead of wringing your hands and stressing yourself out about these issues, do something to address them.
Consider how you can apply your strengths to minimize, if not totally eliminate, your weaknesses.
If for whatever reason you are unable to identify appropriate solutions, apply your networking strengths to find helpful resources.
The bottom line on weaknesses: what can you improve to increase the likelihood of your ultimate success?
Optimize New Opportunities
Continuous growth and development!
New opportunities present themselves in the form external conditions that can help you achieve existing goals and set new ones.
When you have a good track record of serving and satisfying ideal clients, you can probably attract more like them.
What unmet needs and want of current clients could you meet with new services?
Maybe you could enhance or upgrade existing services to provide more help to current and potential clients.
The effective use of information products such as eBooks, audio and video content allows us to expand our service offering at minimal cost.
In a constantly shifting and evolving marketplace there is no shortage of new opportunities to serve clients.
What market trends and developments make it possible for you to do more for existing and potential clients?
As regards both your business operation and service delivery, there is no shortage of new technology to help make things better all round.
Perhaps the time is right to expand your business.
Actual or strategic partnerships, new hires, mergers and acquisitions all represent exciting new opportunities.
Just as strengths can be applied to minimize weaknesses, they can be applied maximize new and exciting opportunities.
Minimize Potential Threats
Like opportunities, threats are external conditions.
Unlike opportunities, threats could damage your business.
Our competition is the most obvious external threat.
What do your competitors do very well, or at the least, better than you?
Unless your professional services and client service is at least as good as the competition, it’s going to be even more very difficult to attract more new clients.
Obviously, it’s important to monitor the monitor your competitors to ensure that the competitive advantage tips in your favor.
Closely aligned with your competition are other external factors such as your target audience, industry and the overall economy.
As dynamic and inter-related elements, these factors continue to shift and evolve.
Changes in the overall economy, such as the COVID pandemic, impact virtually all businesses, everywhere.
Similarly, changes in a specific service industry also trigger dramatic changes in how service-providers manage their businesses and serve clients
Even though we cannot control potential threats to our well-being and that of our businesses, we can and should control our responses.
Invariably, when effectively applied, our SWOT analysis strengths can help minimize, if not totally eliminate damage from potential threats.
Beyond Authentic Marketing
Although compatible with and closely aligned to Authentic Marketing, a SWOT analysis can be equally effective in all business functions.
Instead of using the Authentic Marketing Wheel to create a checklist of specific elements to address, develop a checklist that details specific that outlines specific elements of the business function to be analyzed.
If for example, you wanted to analyze the effectiveness of your financial management practices, your checklist would address the following components in as much detail as necessary:
1. Sales forecasting
Sales forecasting is the foundation for growth goals, such as improving sales by 25%.
(To learn about setting S.M.A.R.T. goals, see The Essential Elements Of Your Professional Services Brand Strategy.)
2. Expense outlay
This category includes ongoing, expected future expenses and associated expenses.
Associated expenses are the projected costs of new initiatives
Cash flow measures the inflow and outflow of cash.
Ideally, the inflow of fee revenue is sufficient to meet expenses as they occur.
Information from this section will help determine both the amount of fees and time frame for payment.
4. Break-even analysis
This section analyzes fixed costs relative to the profit earned by each service that you provide.
This component identifies and clarifies specific roles required to operate your business.
Ideally, it also includes such details output volumes and relative effectiveness of each employee.
These individual components would be customized to reflect your situation.
Once complete, the checklist will guide you through a financial management SWOT analysis.
Applying the following question to the items on your check list will help you identify SWOT analysis strengths of your financial management:
What’s working in your marketing?
What do you love about your marketing?
- What’s working in your financial management?
- What do you love about your financial management?
As is the case with a marketing-focused SWOT analysis, these strengths will help you:
- Address your financial management weaknesses
- Optimize new financial opportunities
- Minimize existing & potential financial threats
A couple of final points about the SWOT analysis process.
First, the process can be modified for use in virtually any function in your business.
The actual form of the process is not important: the true value lies in the information generated and the decisions made on the basis of this information.
And second, apply a SWOT analysis as needed.
Ideally, and for best results, incorporate a SWOT analysis into your annual planning.
To learn more about identifying and building upon your strengths, see Leverage Your Strengths, Grow Your Business.