The Weakness

The Weakness

Strength Weakness Opportunity Threat

Note: This is week #2 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.

Weaknesses (like Strengths) are “internal” factors. Weaknesses can be controlled and mitigated. When identifying the weaknesses of a client, remember to consider how things look from an external perspective. Do competitors of your client perceive things as weaknesses that your client does not? Are their competitors doing things better than your client, turning a possible strength into a glaring weakness?

When creating a list of weaknesses, you should start by reviewing a client’s list of strengths. Anything that you failed to include (or could not realistically include) as a strength is a potential weakness. Last week I listed numerous strengths a typical newspaper retail client might have. Let’s take the converse of a few of these strengths (while adding a few new items) to illustrate a list of weaknesses that would be effective in creative a SWOT analysis:

–        We sell an undifferentiated product

–        We only have one retail location

–        We have high staff turnover & are constantly training new employees

–        We lease a building in a high-rent district

–        We are highly leveraged financially and lack liquid operating capital

–        We have little market presence and lack a reputation

We have now helped our client create a list of Strengths and Weaknesses (both internal factors) taking into consideration how they directly relate to their competitors. During the next two weeks we’ll focus onOpportunities and Threats – external factors that are determined by the market, competition, trends, technology, etc.

SWOT Analysis is a simple and useful tool for identifying your client’s strengths and weaknesses, while understanding the opportunities and threats they face. As a trusted marketing consultant, this provides you with strategic business information to help you help your client position themselves for future success. Newspaper advertising allows businesses to tell their story, to create their brand, to connect with their community, to influence perception, and to drive sales. That is YOUR opportunity – can you take advantage? We’ll talk more about this next week.

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