Analyzing your Target Market using SWOT October 17, 2012 RICCentre By: Marilee Fehr Today, in a dynamically growing industry, a new business must hit the ground running. Market presence and market approach are two of the most critical challenges a successful business must overcome and continue to overcome throughout its lifetime. So how does a business go about analyzing their target market and how might one predict and properly meet future challenges? Once you have defined your market, a useful tool to turn to is the well-proven method of SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). This tool can help you define your market objective, set goals, prepare your business for possible challenges, and may also be applied as a brainstorming platform in an already established business. http://www.gliffy.com/examples/SWOT/ The SWOT tool can even be tailored depending on the type of market you are looking to enter. A social media SWOT analysis for example can help you assess your staffing techniques, client access, and channels of communication. During the analysis, some excellent questions to consider include: How do you leverage your strengths to benefit from opportunities and minimize the impact of threats? How do you ensure your weaknesses will decrease your opportunities or increase threats? During threat analysis, one of the most common mistakes entrepreneurs make, is assuming their product is one of a kind. Although your product may in fact be unique, there are often others out there which function in a similar way. Your competitor may not even be who you expect. Would you believe for example that one of Nike’s key competitors is a niche discount clothing chain called Steve & Barry’s? Luckily there are free services online like MaRS, which can help an entrepreneur in the early stages identify who their competitors may be. Whatever the method you choose, it is important to know your market in every way. Examine it under a magnifying glass and pick it apart. Understand every level, from the individual use and integration of your product into the lives of each consumer, to the big picture issues where your product will become an integral part of the evolving market. Marilee is a RIC Centre Intern, working in Market Research. She is currently finishing her last year of a BSc, in Biology for Health Sciences and Psychology at the University of Toronto in Mississauga. She is strongly interested in the application of marketing and psychology in the world of biology. The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.