What is a Marketing SWOT Analysis?

Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats

Marketing 101: SWOT analysis is a method for competitive analysis which helps you get to know a business and the industry in which it operates. A brand SWOT analysis evaluates the company and the market from a promotional and marketing viewpoints.

Draw it out
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Ready? Here we go! 

Defining your strengths on paper will empower you to validate and connect your decisions with what you do the strongest. It can be uncomfortable for some to write down strengths, but don't let that uneasy feeling stop you. Often I begin with a broad list of 10-12 strengths and match it down to the 4-6 strengths my company identifies. Remember, it is your company's strengths and should be internally focused. 

Examples taking from our client the Barber Mechanic include:

  • Experience- Over 10 years of experience from working with barber equipment.
  • Focus- Target niche to sharpen their tools for barbers, hairstylists, animal groomers, etc. 
  • Connection- Large audience of clients that do not know they can get their tools sharpened instead of buying new ones. And generating new leads on social media platforms, the number one source of videos explaining his process.
  • Education- Taught at a Barber College for years and built an audience. Teaching about hairstylist products, equipment, and services.
  • Creativity- In the industry of hairstylist-groomer, the customer has the creative idea of what they would like, but the art comes from the stylist who performs. They also need to have their tools cleaned and sharpened to perform.

This may be frustrating to write down the weaknesses, but I believe this is one of the most important aspects of this method. Understanding what you're missing lets you make smart choices and guarantees you 're not falling down the rabbit holes that can destroy your company. Please do not be too soft on your evaluation, try to think of outside of the box weaknesses that others might see of your internal struggles. This could lead to fixing your problems, before someone notices.

Barber Mechanic examples for weaknesses:

  • Staffing- As a one-man operation, having more staff on board could bring in more money for the brand.
  • Unknown entity- Only known locally in Bakersfield, CA, and now expanding outside of Kern County. 
  • Missing Roles in place- As a one-man operation, taking care of booking, contacting, doing service, and working on barber equipment takes a lot of time.
  • Time in variables- Different projects take different times instead of having a special operation for processing.
  • Travel- Having to take the time and expense to travel to the destination for services, instead of mailing or come to my location only. Could also be an opportunity for clients' loyalty/relationship.

Every opportunity would be a positive promise to achieve. Understand, the opportunities will rely on the company's external factors. It is not a "to-do list" or a list of objectives, but instead a list of variables that can be unlocked if events occur. Think Strategically.

List of opportunities for the Barber Mechanic:

  • Cross Promoting- In the Hairstylist industry, we could link up with manufacturing companies or stores that sell clippers, shears, and other products that we recommend using anyway. Here is the product and here is where you could purchase it with our discount code or referral.
  • Customer mails in their tools- Mailing in tools to get serviced would be great they can get on a national level of clients. These tools are rather expensive and would have some liabilities of there was a mistake by the postal company, which can be a potential threat.
  • Social Media- The best tool today to draw attention to you, but you must have the correct post that has value to others. Using trends to grow an audience, without selling your companies soul or destroying your brand. Personal vs Business.
  • Rebranding- We were given a chance to rebrand the Barber Mechanic and it has been working great. Rebranding could be expensive, but it gives you a fresh start to new prospects.

The threats section can be one of the most challenging sections to wrap their head around. I like to think about it this way: What could happen in another organization that would most impact my business. Consider the government, location, suppliers, partners, pandemics, insurance, competitors, and how your company could be influenced by their decisions.

Last one about the Barber Mechanic threats:

  • Pandemics- The State of California has been giving the hairstylist industry obstacle after obstacle at the fault of either party. Locations have been shut down, most of the industry as the State have been laid off due to Covid-19. Traveling has been recommended to stop with the shelter in place by emergency management.
  • Clients changing careers- Taking part in being listed as non-essential by the government, even though they have drawn and obtained customers daily. Some hairstylist has been torn by the law and looks to change careers into a different industry.
  • Travel- Obstacles while on the road could change at any time, depending on traffic or car issues. Also, could be a large expense on gas depending on where you are from.

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Put your SWOT Analyst to work

Sketch it on a paper, online, or whiteboard it in your office, placing your thoughts down on paper is a perfect first step in knowing your business and focusing your time and effort where. This is important for all businesses but crucially relevant for small businesses with minimal time and money. Thank you for reading and put your plan to work for you!