The Opportunity

The Opportunity

Strength Weakness Opportunity Threat

Note: This is week #3 in a series of five weeks that reviews 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.

Opportunities are “external” factors – things that a business might be able to capitalize on based on what is happening outside of corporate walls. External factors may include macroeconomic matters, technological change, government legislation, cultural changes (trends), and changes in the marketplace (competitive position.) Opportunities exist for everyone in a market – a business cannot control access to an opportunity.

When creating a list of opportunities, make sure to look at a client’s list of strengths. How can a client leverage a strength to create an opportunity? How well does an opportunity make their core competency and strengths? For the past two weeks we’ve used a “typical newspaper retail client” as our SWOT subject. Once again, using this example let’s create a list of opportunities that would be effective in creating a SWOT analysis:

(Note: I’m including the “external factor” that is being considered in parenthesis to illustrate how and why the opportunity is being identified)

–        We should expand our retail footprint and open a location in the city of ABC

(Because the competition has no presence in this area)

–         We should launch a virtual retail showroom on eBay  

(Because technology allows this to be done easily and cost effectively)

–        We should increase our offering of products in category XYZ

(Because recent trends show that demographic ABC is spending more money in this category)

–        We should buy a booth and sell products at the local county fair

(Because this is a new event that was just created and we want to support it and make a connection to the community)

–        We should remodel and update our existing retail locations

(Because our local government wants to encourage local business and is offering short-term low-interest small business loans)

–        We should develop a social media marketing campaign

(Because our competition is slow to embrace emerging technologies)

We have now helped our client create a list of Strengths and Weaknesses (internal factors) andOpportunities (an external factor) taking into consideration how they directly relate to their competitors. Next week we’ll create our fourth and final list – Threats. Once complete, I’ll discuss how you take these four lists and use the findings to create a tactical marketing proposal for your clients – one that will allow your clients to capitalize on their best opportunities using a strategic communication plan provided through the products and services your newspaper offers.

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