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ENT 5946 - Small Business Consulting: Internal & External Analysis

SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis

SWOT is an acronym used to describe the particular Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats that are strategic factors for a specific company. A SWOT analysis should not only result in the identification of a corporation’s core competencies, but also in the identification of opportunities that the firm is not currently able to take advantage of due to a lack of appropriate resources. (Wheelen, Hunger pg 107).

The Internal Analysis of strengths and weaknesses focuses on internal factors that give an organization certain advantages and disadvantages in meeting the needs of its target market.

The following area analyses are used to look at all internal factors effecting a company:

  • Resources: Profitability, sales, product quality brand associations, existing overall brand, relative cost of this new product, employee capability, product portfolio analysis
  • Capabilities: Goal: To identify internal strategic strengths, weaknesses, problems, constraints and uncertainties

The External Analysis examines opportunities and threats that exist in the environment.

The following area analyses are used to look at all external factors effecting a company:

  • Customer analysis: Segments, motivations, unmet needs
  • Competitive analysis: Identify completely, put in strategic groups, evaluate performance, image, their objectives, strategies, culture, cost structure, strengths, weakness
  • Market analysis: Overall size, projected growth, profitability, entry barriers, cost structure, distribution system, trends, key success factors
  • Environmental analysis: Technological, governmental, economic, cultural, demographic, scenarios, information-need areas Goal: To identify external opportunities, threats, trends, and strategic uncertainties.

    Consult the following databases for ready-made SWOT Analyses:

  • Marketline Business Information Center
  • Business Insights: Essentials  Detailed company and industry profiles including SWOT reports, market share reports, and financial reports
  • Business Source Premier
  • LexisNexis Academic
    Under "Get Company Info" select Company Profiles link in the right column of the home page.  1.  In the first box, type the name of your company.  For Example, McDonalds.  2.  Change the field designation to Company Name.  3. In the next box, type: swot  4.  click Search.  The results come fron global Markets Direct.  Scroll down until you find the report that includes "SWOT Analysis" in the title.

Porter's Five Competitive Forces

The state of competition in an industry depends on five basic competitive forces - buyer power, supplier power, threats of new entrants, threats of substitute products or services, and rivalry among existing firms.

Sources for ready-made analyses or partially made analyses for specific industries using Porter's Five Forces.

  • MarketLine AdvantageReady-made analyses for specific industries using Porter's Five Force.
  • ABI/INFORM Archive, Dateline, Global, Trade & Industry.  This database includes industry reports from First Research, a Dun & Bradstreet Company. Porters Forces are not explicitly stated but report includes Business Challenges (changing demographics, liabilities, competition, cash flow, etc.) and Trends and Opportunities.
  • IBISWorld. Comprehensive collection of Industry Market Research and Industry Risk Ratings.
  • Business Source Premier. Select the Enhanced Business Searching Interface and browse or search the Industry Profiles.  

PESTEL Analysis

PESTLE analysis, which is sometimes referred as PEST analysis, is a concept in marketing principles. Moreover, this concept is used as a tool by companies to track the environment they’re operating in or are planning to launch a new project/product/service etc.  The acronym stands for P for Political, E for Economic, S for Social, T for Technological, L for Legal and E for Environmental.

Suggested databases to use:

Business Source Premier, MarketLineLexisNexis Academic, ABI/INFORM, Business Insights, Academic Search Premier

Business Frameworks

3 C model - a framework for defining strategy.  The 3Cs are Company, Customer and Competitor.  The intersection of the three is a good strategy with the idea that the company's strength, the needs of the customer and the offerings of the competitors lies the opportunity.  Use the same databases suggested in this page to find the desired information. 

4 P model - sometimes known as the marketing mix is a framework used to help companies make marketing decisions.  The 4Ps are Product, Price, Promotion and Place (Distribution).