Pimp Your SWOT: 2 Steps To A Customer-Focused Strategy
On a consultancy assignment in Denmark last year my team gave the company’s directors a shock; a good shock. Our findings helped form a great strategy for the company and drive it to further success. Here’s the team.
SWOT’s are pretty misaligned, they’re seen as a chore, most of them are done badly and most people mistakenly think they’re easy. However, they can be very usefuI; here’s an example and a top tip, which will make you look good and give you a much-improved strategy.
Completed your SWOT? Now check with your customers.
On your next strategy review, once you’ve completed your SWOT, ring a few of the firm’s customers, it’ll only take a few minutes and see if they agree with your findings. If they don’t; review and improve it.
On the Danish consultancy project, having spent many hours with our client thrashing out a SWOT, we decided to call the firm’s customers. This was a truly eye-opening moment. Astonishingly, the customers had a markedly different view of the firm’s strengths, weaknesses opportunities and threats. For instance, the customers were unaware that the firm offered consultancy and project management of R&D projects, with a distinctive competency in the pure bio energy context. This was a unique competitive advantage of the company and yet their customers were unaware of it.
Companies need a customer-focused SWOT
The customer’s responses helped us create a much improved business plan and identify new revenue streams. In addition, the customers were delighted to hear from the company and valued the interaction. Once again this goes to show that companies need to be customer centric. As the management guru Drucker wrote “[…] it is the customer who determines what a business is, what it produces, and whether it will prosper” (Drucker 1954)”. Unfortunately, far too often as Jack Welch noted “everyone has their face toward the CEO and their ass toward the customer”.
It’s pretty simple really: before taking action on your SWOT, it’s a good idea to speak to your customers.
Denning, S., (2011) “The Alternative To Top-Down Is Outside-In” Forbes, 2/13/2011 (Online) Available: http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2011/02/13/the-alternative-to-top-down-is-outside-in/ [Accessed: 18/10/2011]
Drucker, P. (1954). “The Practice of Management”. New York, NY, HarperCollins.
Ellis, W. (2011) “9 Reasons To Harness The Power Of Testimonials” williamellis.org (Online) Available: http://wp.me/p1RUDq-1k [Accessed 18/10/2011]