From time-to-time, it’s beneficial to reassess your marketing. One way to do so is through a methodical SWOT analysis of your business.
SWOT—an acronym for strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities—requires an honest, close-up reassessment of you and your business. This in-depth approach is an excellent tool for strategic planning. A thorough SWOT can also help restate your value proposition and is a must before attempting any kind of competitor analysis. After all, you can’t measure the effectiveness of another agency if you don’t know the strengths and limitations of your own.
Here are the questions you should ask yourself, along with a single sample answer:
Questioning Your Strengths: What attributes do you and your business have that will help you reach your goals?
Q: What makes you qualified?
A: Have a solid understanding of the local market
Q: What are your unique skills?
A: Well-respected in the community with many important connections
Q: What expert or specialized knowledge do you have?
A: I have developed a strong niche of servicing first-time home buyers.
Q: What experience sets you apart?
A: I have been in business for 20 plus years.
Q: What do you do better than your competitors and where are you most profitable?
A: The small size of organization makes it easy to keep costs down.
Identifying Your Weaknesses: What attributes do you and your business possess that could prevent you from reaching your goals?
Q: What are the areas where you need to improve?
A: I need to improve my computer skills.
Q: What costs you time and/or money?
A: I would like automate many processes which are currently manually completed.
Q: What tools or resources do you lack?
A: I could save time by outsourcing some of my marketing work.
Q: Are their parts of your business that are not profitable?
A: Currently too much time is spent with administrative tasks.
Q: Are there areas where you require more knowledge or experience?
A: I would like to develop a better knowledge of VA loans to better assist local veterans.
What Are Your Threats: What are the external conditions that do or could impact your ability to reach your goals?
Q: What obstacles do you face?
A: With increased competition we’ve been experiencing cash flow problems.
Q: What are the strengths of your biggest competitors?
A: Competition has more agents working in the community.
Q: What are your competitors doing that you’re not?
A: They’re ahead in utilizing online channels.
Q: What’s going on in the economy?
A: A shortage of affordable housing in the area.
Q: What’s going on in the industry?
A: Increasing interest rates.
What Are Your Opportunities: What are some of the external conditions that could help you reach your objectives and goals?
Q: What are the business goals you are currently working towards?
A: Currently focused on hiring to increase our presence in the community
Q: How can you do more for your existing customers or clients?
A: We have a strong nurture program for future business and referrals.
Q: How can you use technology to enhance your business?
A: We have a new website with mobile capabilities, which is just about ready to launch.
Q: Are there new target audiences you have the potential to reach?
A: We are reaching out to contractors and builders as a new source of housing inventory.
Q: Are there related products and services that provide an opportunity for your business?
A: We are considering a possible merger or acquisition of an existing real estate firm.
Once you have worked through your SWOT, you’ll want to build a concrete plan of action to:
- Utilize strengths
- Minimize, mitigate, or eliminate weakness
- Take advantage of opportunities identified
- Neutralize threats
Your first thorough SWOT analysis is bound to take time. However, going forward you’ll find it much easier to fine tune your business by modifying and refining your SWOT on an annual basis.