To gain a competitive advantage you need to take a good look at your company’s key strengths, weaknesses, potential opportunities and threats.
Use the SWOT Analysis technique so you can understand your Strengths and Weaknesses, and for identifying both the Opportunities open to you and the Threats your business faces.
As a local business owner you want to carve a sustainable niche in your market. A SWOT Analysis can help you do that.
You can also do a personal SWOT analysis on yourself/employees to help you develop your personal brand and also so you can take the best advantage individual talents, abilities and opportunities.
How to perform a SWOT Analysis
What advantages does your organization have?
What do you do better than anyone else?
What unique or lowest-cost resources/connections can you draw upon that others can’t?
What do people in your line of business see as your strengths?
What factors mean that you “get the sale”? Is it coupons, discounts, freebies or ?
Establish what makes your product or service unique – play these up in your marketing strategy.
What could you improve?
What should you avoid?
What are people in your line of business likely to see as weaknesses?
What factors lose you sales (price, poor service, bad reviews, bad location etc.)?
What good opportunities can you spot?
What interesting trends are you aware of?
Are there changes in technology (Pokemon Go) and social media that you can take advantage of?
Is there an upcoming government policy/regulation related to your field?
Changes in your neighborhood demographics? Gentrification, social patterns, population, lifestyle?
Is there a gap in the market for what you do? Are certain people being under served in some way?
If you have a brick and mortar store are there changes in traffic patterns are you getting more pedestrian traffic, more bike riders, Metro riders, Uber riders? How can you cater to them?
Are there local events you could be hosting, attending, or sponsoring?
Is there a local sporting, concert, rally or event that you could be running ads to target people going to these events?
Are you catering to tourists? Did you know that in 2015 – 8.3 millions visitors came to Santa Monica, 4 million of those came from outside of the United States. 1.84 billion dollars was generated by tourism to our local economy. 76.1% of hotel visitors did not use a car once they arrived in Santa Monica.
Is your site mobile friendly, do you come up in the local maps? Tourists to Santa Monica and Los Angeles search for local stuff to eat/do on their mobile phone more than locals will.
Are you in a Job Hub area? (Downtown Santa Monica, Los Angeles, and Culver City; the Santa Monica Water Garden & Colorado Center; Westwood; Playa Vista;) What is your business doing to reach out to those employees and businesses?
Are you close to a major hospital? What is your business doing to reach out to doctors, nurses, first responders, other staff, visitors, and patients (are you a florist or do you own a baby store think of all the new baby gifts).
Close to a college? (UCLA, Santa Monica College, West LA College, Loyola Marymount University, and LA Trade Tech College) – What incentives are you offering students and teachers?
Do you know any influencers? These are people who can spread the word about your business – bloggers, local celebrities, communities, fans, get them to check in and write about you in their social media, blog, write reviews on Yelp etc.
What obstacles do you face?
Do you have supply and demand issues?
Are quality standards or specifications for your job, products or services changing?
Is changing technology threatening your position?
Do you have bad debt or cash-flow problems?
Could any of your weaknesses seriously threaten your business?
What are your competitors doing? – Put your detective hat on and get to work on investigating and Understanding Your Competitors.
2. What products or services do they sell?
3. Are there pricing and rates lower than yours?
4. Do they offer coupons, clearance items and sales?
5. Do they have a better brick and mortar location? Parking?
6. What type of media are used to market their products or services? TV, billboards, print advertising, website, social media posts and ads, Google ads, Yelp ads?
7. What are each competitor’s strengths and weaknesses?
8. What potential threats do your competitors pose?
9. What potential opportunities do they make available for you?
10. Who is their target customer? Is is the same as yours? Young and hip or ?