A major challenge for business owners is to make an objective evaluation of where they stand in relation to competitors. The SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis offers an excellent tool to accomplish that.
To start, list your three major competitors and gather information about their products, price, selection, customer service and all other factors that your customers deem important. Generate a spreadsheet as shown in Fig 1. and list the topics vertically in column 1.
Competitive analysis worksheet
In column 2, rate the Importance to Customer (ITC) on a scale from 1 to 10. Then in column 3 rate your business, being as objective as possible. (Here is where 3rd parties who know your business can help out.) Next, multiply each rating in column 3 by the Importance To Customer (ITC) in column 2, with the result in column 4. Do the same for each competitor.
In the example shown, “My Business” and “Competitor A” ranked the same in the basic evaluation total (80), but when “Importance To Customer” is factored in fell short (454 vs 475). The shortfalls occur mainly at Products, Selection and Appearance.
Next list those issues identified from the Competitive Analysis as needing attention onto a similar form with columns labeled “Strengths”, “Weaknesses”, “Opportunities” and “Threats”. Then fill in the blanks. Here is where an appointment with a SCORE counselor is in order, to discuss how to turn “Ws” and “Ts” into “Ss” and “Os”.
For more on this and other business issues download the SCORE Marketing Cookbook at https://www.score.org/marketing-cookbook
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