SWOT analysis:

How and why?

A SWOT analysis (or SWOT matrix) is an important tool to be used as part of a structured marketing plan.  SWOT is an acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.  Regular review of the SWOT matrix for your business can help shape all of your future marketing activities.  As a small business owner it can often be useful to carry out the exercise at several levels, depending on the structure and size of your team. Any team members involved at this stage will feel more valued and this will work to reinforce internal relationships.


You can draw up a SWOT analysis easily by dividing a flipchart, whiteboard or large sheet of paper into 4 sections.  Alternatively you can download and print a template by clicking here.


If you are working with your team, encourage active participation and be conscious of everyone’s input.  If things are moving slowly, throw some starter ideas in yourself and let people gradually build up to it.  Remember to recognise the value in everyone’s contribution and that there are no wrong answers.  Some of the points raised may fit in more than one box!


Some starting points for each section:


What are your USPs?

What do you do better than your competitors?

What skills do you have?



What are the weak points in your customer journey / processes?

Where do mistakes happen?

What do customers want that you don’t offer?

What elements of your business take up lots of time or money?



What other sales channels could you use?

Is there another customer base you aren’t reaching?

Are there up-sells or add-on products or services you could offer?



Who are your competitors?

What can your competitors offer that you can’t?

What is happening in your industry?


What next? Once you’ve completed the SWOT analysis spend some time with your team looking at how you can raise awareness of your strengths, take advantage of opportunities and build defences or contingency plans to protect from threats.  Create action points for yourself and your team, with realistic deadlines, and schedule regular reviews.


Marketing for Independent Retailers

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