You may have heard of a SWOT analysis, which serves as an analytical tool to assess your company's business strategy. The SWOT acronym stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. This simple tool can be used to assess a project, product, person, or place and test for viability and other factors.
SWOT Analysis Example for Delightful Dog Grooming
Purpose: to create a marketing action plan.
The first step is to populate the four categories of the analysis with descriptive statements about the item being analyzed.
Note that this SWOT analysis example is specifically focused on the marketing of this small business. While a SWOT analysis may be conducted as an overview of a business, it's particularly useful for planning purposes when it's focused on a specific aspect of a business's operations or as an aid for making decisions—in this case, decisions about how best to market a fictional dog grooming business.
For your own business, you would work through each category of the SWOT by brainstorming alone or with your team to come up with real, insightful statements for each category that ring true for your business, such as in the following example.
- Business has many return customers
- Customer satisfaction—customers do say they like the service and give positive word of mouth by recommending grooming services to others
- Do get some walk-in business
- Mobile grooming van has eye-catching logo and gives some exposure when performing on-site services
- Don't pay much attention to marketing—dependent on word-of-mouth and website
- Website purely informational and static
- Don't have a marketing plan
- Don't have much of a marketing budget
- Take advantage of the increasing popularity of dogs
- Increasing use of social media—place some social media ads
- Increase the amount of walk-in traffic
- Local annual Pet Fair
- Kennel clubs, rescue societies, local SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)
- Other dog grooming businesses in town, competition is increasing
- One dog grooming business has a series of radio ads running and is also running newspaper ads once a week
- Another competitor has partnered with the local SPCA to host a dog washing and grooming day every few months (by donation to the SPCA)
- Expense of running media ads
Working Through the SWOT Analysis
Once the four categories are populated, it's time to start asking some questions that can help develop a plan for moving the business forward. Following are some questions you might ask yourself about the business under study. In this case, the questions pertain to the fictional dog grooming business example.
Do Strengths Open Any Opportunities?
- Since customers say they like services and are willing to recommend them, could create some type of referral reward program to actively encourage referrals.
- A loyalty program for repeat customers could be developed.
- Could try to increase walk-ins by having an eye-catching window display.
- Consider relocating business to a location that would get more walk-in traffic.
- Look into setting up a booth at the local annual Pet Fair.
- See if kennel clubs, rescue societies, etc. are interested in partnerships.
- Increase the use of social media and investigate other low-cost ways of promoting the business.
How Can We Convert Weaknesses to Strengths?
Looking at opportunities and listed weaknesses, looks like social media could be a real marketing opportunity. Instead of just having an informational website, our business could put up a Facebook page and open a Twitter account to try and reach out to old (and new) customers. (Because dogs are so popular, might be helpful to tweet as a dog, e.g. ""Rover" could talk about how regular grooming makes him happy and healthy"). Pinterest or Instagram might also be good options - pictures of cute pets are very popular. Could also pursue setting up ads on various social media platforms.
What Do We Have to Do to Use Opportunities?
- Set up social media business accounts/pages. (Am already familiar with Facebook and Twitter through personal accounts.) Set aside time or assign staff person to update Facebook/ Twitter accounts. Set up a Pinterest and/or Instagram account, purchase a camera, and train a staff person to take photos of animals and post images.
- Learn details about social media advertising, and start regular advertising campaigns.
- Canvas staff for Facebook contest ideas.
- Find out details of annual Pet Fair, such as when it runs and how much a booth/table would cost there. (Remember will also have cost/logistics of manning the booth or table, too.)
- Scout out some possible new business locations. Contact a realtor and ask about a more centralized business location where many people walk their pets.
- And/or use mobile grooming van strategically - take it out on weekends to popular dog walking trail locations and park it for the afternoon to advertise and attract business.
- Canvas kennel clubs and dog rescue groups for possible partnership opportunities.
- Contact window artists for quotes on a window display.
- Decide on referral discount and customer loyalty schemes and notify existing customers.
How Do We Best Neutralize Threats?
Without a bigger marketing budget, we can’t run competing radio and newspaper ad campaigns. Might be able to off-set the competition's newspaper and radio campaigns through developing our online presence as above and running marketing campaigns on social media.
Results of the SWOT Analysis Example
As you may have seen above, this SWOT analysis has created the seeds of an action marketing plan, providing clear direction for how this small business can counter their competitions' marketing efforts and increase their own customer base.
SWOT Analysis Matrix
|Positive Factors||Negative Factors|