The Strength

The Strength

Strength Weakness Opportunity Threat

For the next four weeks, we’ll review SWOT analysis and how it can be a useful tool for you to help both you and your clients understand their business. Keep in mind, SWOT cannot and should not replace the initial client needs analysis. A needs analysis helps you and your client understand IF there is a need that you can provide a solution for. Once it has been determined if the need to work together exists, only then can SWOT can help you and your client understand where their business is today and where it could be in the future. It’s at that point that you can start selling them on how you plan to help them get to that next step through effective and consistent advertising.

Before we get started, there are five simple rules of SWOT that must be kept in mind:

1.      SWOT is absolutely subjective

2.      SWOT is most effective when your clients are realistic about their strengths and weaknesses

3.      SWOT should be short and simple. Avoid complexity and over analysis.

4.      SWOT should always be specific. Avoid grey areas.

5.      SWOT analysis is in relation to your client’s competitors (better than or worse than, something they offer that their competitors don’t.)

Strengths are “internal” factors – things that a business CAN control. I’ll guess that many of newspaper advertising salespeople work with a majority of retail accounts. For the purpose of this summary, let’s assume that we’re sitting down with one of our retail clients with the goal of identifying their current strengths. You simply want to make a list – be realistic and specific. From a retail perspective, here is a snapshot of items you and your client (“we”) may come up with:

–        We sell an innovative product

–        We offer a high quality product

–        We have multiple retail locations

–        We have a highly skilled and long tenured staff

–        We have excellent name/brand recognition within the market

–        We are currently in a solid financial position / carry little debt

–        We own our buildings / no rent expenses

–        We have very few competitors in our market

This list would be a terrific start to the SWOT analysis. It’s generated from an internal perspective, but also considers the point of view of your client’s customers and people/businesses within their market. Most importantly, the strengths listed are in relation to the competition; for example, if all of the competitors in the market provide high quality products, then a high quality product is not a strength in your client’s business, it’s a necessity!

Next week in The Sales Cycle, we’ll look a look at Weaknesses that your client’s businesses may have. Like strengths, weaknesses are “internal” factors that can be controlled – and with a strategic plan put into place can often be transformed into future strengths.

Have a terrific week,

If there are specific topics you’d like to see discussed in a future issue of The Sales Cycle, please contact me at 612-278-0223 or