Most people in business are familiar with a SWOT Analysis. You list the internal Strengths and Weaknesses of your company, as well as the external Opportunities and Threats. It’s a useful tool in planning. However, it’s sometimes used in place of planning. Try this modified version to develop a more actionable plan.

  1. Identify 2 direct competitors and 1 substitute (A substitute isn’t within your product category, but consumers could use as a solution instead of your type of product, e.g. a substitute to a video game could be playing paintball).
  2. List 3-5 of their top Strengths and 3-5 of their top Weaknesses.
  3. For each Strength of your competitors and substitute, identify potential Treats to your business. How do their strengths undermine your offering?
  4. For each Weakness, identify potential Opportunities for your business. How can you exploit their weaknesses to your advantages?
  5. Select the top 3 Opportunities and develop specific plans to take advantage of them.
  6. Select the top 3 Threats and develop an action plan on how to adjust your offering to make up for their advantages.