Briefly, SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Strengths and weaknesses are considered internal aspects. Both of these refer to things that you have complete control over in your small business. Opportunities and Threats are both external factors. They involve things that can greatly impact how you market your small business but you don't have control over them.
The way to think about strengths is to finish the statement; "I believe our biggest internal strengths are€¦". Strengths are not just core competencies. In order to leverage strengths for marketing your small business they should be a unique or particular advantage that your small business has vs. your competition.
As you might anticipate, weaknesses should be explored with the following concept; "I believe our bigger internal weaknesses are€¦". Weaknesses are not just things that you don't think you do well. In terms of marketing your small business, weaknesses are internal factors that your competition could exploit f they knew about them.
Opportunities can be described with the following; "I believe our biggest external opportunities are€¦". By definition, opportunities that you see for marketing your small business must match some of your strengths. If the opportunities don't align with your strengths then its not a real opportunity for consideration in SWOT analysis. It may be a real market opportunity but if it doesn't align with your small business strengths then its not a real opportunity for you.
Finally, you need to be wary of threats. Threats are explored with the statement; "I think our biggest external threats are€¦" Threats are typically a combination of a weakness that you have combined with the strength of a competitor. This is particularly true if that competitor's strength is aligned with a real market opportunity. It is critical to try and minimize threats when marketing your small business.
To successfully market your small business you must understand your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It is also important to understand how they relate to each other. Strengths can lead to opportunities if they are aligned correctly. On the other hand weaknesses can expose you to threats. However, strengths don't necessarily lead to opportunities and weaknesses don't always lead to threats. Try and see how these market forces align for your small business.
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