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What Is a SWOT Analysis? Evaluating your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats will help you gain a competitive edge with your marketing efforts.

Q: What is a SWOTanalysis, and how can it help me?

A: Marketing isprobably the most fun aspect of small-business management. Itinvolves direct communication with your customers and clients andallows you the opportunity to share what you bring to themarketplace in a creative way. Unlike most other elements of yourbusiness, marketing does not have rigid boundaries. You can be asformal as you like by mapping out marketing plans and strategies,or you can practice grassroots/guerrilla marketing as your budgetallows. But before you begin any marketing campaign, you shouldperform a SWOT analysis of your business. This acronym stands forstrengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

At the foundation of your marketing plan are the products andservices you offer, along with the personal talents and abilitiesthat you possess. If your products or services have features thatare unique to the market, you offer unparalleled customer service,you have lower prices, or you have specialized education ortraining that your competitors do not, then these things would beattributed to your business's strengths. Make sure that each ofthese elements is pointed out in your marketing pieces and youconvey these strengths to both current and potential customers inyour marketing pieces.

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