Strengths: Your Competitive Advantage

A SWOT analysis is an exercise designed to provide a unique big picture of your business. For an accurate analysis, you must be honest. If you find this hard, you might hire a consultant to provide an outside perspective. A less costly method for discovering not only strengths, but the other three elements of a SWOT analysis (weaknesses, opportunities and threats) is to ask both customers and employees to answer the same questions.

Top Ten Questions

These are some of the many questions to help you dig deeper in your search for company strengths:
  1. What is your specialty?
  2. Is your location an advantage (or a weakness)?
  3. Are your products or services competitively priced?
  4. Does your firm deliver quality products or services?
  5. How do your company’s offerings compare to those of your competition?
  6. Are you strong financially?
  7. Are you and your employees well trained and skilled?
  8. Are your key executives and your workforce experienced?
  9. Do you have the technology necessary to compete and grow?
  10. Does your company have a unique selling proposition, one another company can’t match?

Game Plan

  • In addition to brainstorming with partners and employees, ask each one to fill out a SWOT analysis. This method is more likely to yield the most honest answers.
  • If you survey customers or prospects, consider hiring a marketing research firm. Greenbook has an extensive directory of firms.
  • If you’re like many business owners, you may think your company has more strengths than it does. Look for an outside perspective by finding a consultant through the Institute of Management Consultants USA by industry.
  • Another way to find a consulting or survey firm that meets your needs is to canvass your local Chamber of Commerce. Better yet, look for help through your affinity association directory. Many affiliate members are service providers.
  • Pay particular attention to your firm’s strengths when they are another company’s weaknesses, and exploit these opportunities.
  • Incorporate your strengths into your marketing plan. Be sure to detail actionable steps that can help you build on your market presence. For more information, read What Is Marketing.
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