If you’ve been following this series of blog entries
, you know that we’re working our way through a set of questions that will help you write strategic brand positioning messages for your business. Answering these SWOT-based questions will also help you write a powerful marketing plan for your business.
You've already listed your business’s Strengths. Opportunities represent the patterns and trends happening out there in the marketplace that you can leverage with your strengths to grow your business.
I like to encourage people to step back and examine the question first from a macro perspective. Start by locating the most relevant industry association online. You can usually find a lot of information within a few clicks on your favorite search engine.
Imagine, for example, that you are opening up a neighborhood pet supply store. According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA)
, 62% of U.S. households own a pet, which equates to 72.9 million homes. APPA surveys indicate that total spending on pets in the U.S. is projected to exceed $51 billion in 2011, and the pet supply segment of the market will exceed $11 billion in 2011. That is an impressive, potentially lucrative opportunity. Some industry analysts describe the pet supply market as “recession proof,” which is certainly a nice thing to consider in these times.
But just because the national trends are impressive doesn't mean that your pet supply business is bound to succeed. Once you've examined the macro opportunity, also take time to consider what is happening at the local level.
Identifying local trends, patterns, and statistics is more difficult and may require you to conduct your own first-person research by taking a walk around your neighborhood. Count the number of pet supply stores. Or, stand on the corner for a few hours on a Saturday afternoon and count the number people walking dogs. You might even conduct your own survey by politely stopping people and asking them if they own a pet and learning where they currently purchase their pet supplies. Ask them if they are happy with their current pet supply purveyors.
Another way to think about opportunities is to take a look at your strengths to see if you can convert some of your strengths into opportunities.
Imagine, for example, that you want to open up a pet supply store in San Francisco. Imagine further that you are one of only a handful of people in Northern California certified to teach pet CPR (a nice strength indeed). There may be an opportunity for you to teach a weekly pet CPR class on Saturday mornings to lure new customers into your store. You might also offer to teach a pet CPR class to members of the local Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT
). These tactics will enable you to leverage your strength (pet-CPR) in a very authentic way to create or leverage a potentially lucrative market opportunity (pet owners who are concerned about how to take care of their pets in case of a disaster).
Please take the time to focus on the both the macro opportunities AND the local or direct market opportunities as they apply to your business.
Feel free to e-mail me with any questions.