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A SWOT. So what?

October 5, 2010

By Tom Burgum, Lancaster SCORE


In our ‘Marketing 101’ workshops at SCORE, we focus our entrepreneurs relentlessly on identifying and prioritizing the benefits that create customer value. No amount of business planning or financial planning will overcome lack of clarity — and reality – re: creation of customer value.  Benefits create value: features don’t.

One of the tools we use is the SWOT template … and we use it two different ways.  First, we encourage our clients to do a SWOT for their own business – to identify and analyze their key internal strengths and weaknesses, and the key external threats and opportunities. The benefit is a disciplined, realistic analysis of their assets and liabilities [not just financial!] as part of the business planning process. This is both an ‘inside out’ and ‘outside in’ perspective.

The second application for SWOT is competitive analysis.  We encourage our entrepreneurs to do a SWOT analysis of each key competitor.  The benefits are market/competitor intelligence.  If they don’t know who their competitors are, and what they’re good at, creating compelling customer value may be wishful thinking.



Lots of SWOT templates are available.  Here’s one (A SWOT) that we use … and when we use it one-on-one with a client, it helps both us of gauge the client’s readiness to move ahead with the planning process.



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