SWOT

Your market research should have created a picture of both the competition and marketplace.

Against that background, you can now create a framework under these headings, from both yours and your client's viewpoint, of the key strengths and weaknesses your company has, as well as threats or opportunities. This overview will summarise the key elements of your marketing strategy, enabling you to adaot either your offering or marketing or both.

By listing only elements that will have a substantial impact on your company's position, a clear overview should develop quite quickly from this process. Being realistic about your weaknesses and threats at this stage will enable you to strengthen those areas or perhaps even change direction at an early stage. Try to keep a positive mindset while defining these two elements as you may be able to minimise or eliminate disadvantages, or even turn a negative aspect into a positive.

Carrying out a SWOT analysis is not just for new companies; those entering a new market will find equal benefit and a regular SWOT analysis could form part of annual 'health check' of your company.

The SWOT framework

  • Strengths - what you do well and what are the positive aspects of your product? What makes you or your product better than other offerings in the marketplace?
  • Weaknesses - what lets your business down? How can you reduce or eliminate these?
  • Opportunities - are there any new openings in the market? How much time or resources would it take to open these areas?
  • Threats - what factors could harm your business?

Every freelancer has different key strengths and weaknesses, but examples might be:

Strengths

  • Proficient in a specialised skill
  • Your Unique Selling Point
  • Innovative in some way
  • Can service client remotely from home
  • Superior quality/added value service
  • Latest technology/software
  • Any accreditations/qualifications

Weaknesses

  • Lack of reputation
  • No prospect contact list
  • Limited in service you can offer in some way
  • Lack of 'in-house' facilities or technology

Opportunities

  • New trends/developments in the marketplace
  • Competitor vulnerabilities
  • Seasonal: Christmas or other seasonal occasions 
  • New business park occupants

Threats

  • Legislative changes
  • Competitor innovation/advancement
  • Lack of market demand
  • Skill training/prohibitive software costs

More on sales and marketing for freelancers.

                             

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