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When you are planning strategically with any company--online or offline--it is useful to complete an analysis that takes into account not only your own business, but your competitor's businesses and the current business environment as well. A SWOT is one such analysis.
Completing a SWOT analysis helps you identify ways to minimize the effect of weaknesses in your business while maximizing your strengths.
Ideally, you will match your strengths against market opportunities that result from your competitors’ weaknesses or voids.
You can develop a basic SWOT analysis in a brainstorming session with members of your company, or by yourself if you are a one-person shop. To begin a basic SWOT analysis create a four-cell grid or four lists, one for each SWOT component:
Then, begin filling in the lists.
A more in-depth SWOT analysis can help you better understand your company's competitive situation. One way to improve upon the basic SWOT is to include more detailed competitor information in the analysis.
Note Internet-related activities such as trade organization participation, search engine inclusion, and outside links to the sites. This will better help you spot opportunities for and threats to your company.
You can also take a closer look at the business environment. Often, opportunities arise as a result of a changing business environment.
Some examples are:
You can also enhance a SWOT analysis through surveys. You can learn more about your own as well as competitor sites and businesses. Areas you can research include 1) customer awareness, interest, trial, and usage levels; 2) brand, site, and/or company image; 3) importance of different site or product attributes to your customers; and 4) product and/or site performance.
Whether using a basic or more advanced approach to SWOT analysis, you are sure to come away with newfound insights. Use these to increase your company's effectiveness and as input into your business or marketing plan.
Bobette Kyle is creator of WebSiteMarketingPlan.com and author of the marketing plan guide "How Much for Just the Spider? Strategic Web Site Marketing."
How to write a good proposal
The consulting proposal is a necessary evil. A great proposal can be decisive in winning a project; a poor one can cause you to lose a project, even if everything else in the sales process has gone flawlessly. Use these guidelines to a write a killer proposal every time.MarketingProfs.com
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