The Tribe Undertakes a SWOT Analysis

Last week, the Fire Enterprises, Inc. (FEI) tribe defined and examined each stage of the Product Life Cycle. This week, the group undertakes a SWOT analysis in order to determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing the business today. Remember, fire = print.

Standing in front of Numo, Zoot and Org in the conference room, Lucy drew a box on the whiteboard and split it into four quadrants: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. “A strategic SWOT analysis should be used to guide any business initiative we undertake, such as new product development and creation,” Lucy explained.

“Swat what?” Zoot quipped.

“Very funny,” Lucy said sarcastically. “Let’s fill out each quadrant. Remember that company innovation and competition should also be figured into SWOT calculations.”

“Opportunity: Line extension,” Org began.

“Weakness: Our prices are perceived as too high,” contirbuted Numo.

“Threat: FlintStone continues to innovate,” Zoot observed.

“Opportunity: Matches,” Org added.

“Strength: Experience,” Numo said

“Weakness: Experience,” Org fired back.

“Right!” said Lucy. “I like that. Our industry experience and legacy gives us credibility, yet could make us appear like an old dog in today’s market. It’s important to recognize that the FEI legacy works for and against us.”

The tribe threw out dozens of suggestions, finally arriving at a chart that looked like this:

Historical importance Higher prices
Most experience in industry Over reliance on original fire service
Extensive network of runners Low barrier to entry in core business
Marketing/promotional expertise Reluctance to cannibalize core service
Good customer feedback Overconfidence in rank and file
Easy to attract talent Difficulty attracting younger customers


Matches Flintstone improve technology
B2B Pyro recruiting fastest runners
Line extension Government regulation/potential utility
Fireputers/online purchases Proposed taxes for fire services
Markets beyond Olympus Core service becoming a commodity?
Distribution partnerships Increasing do-it-yourself mentality

“A good SWOT analysis identifies the internal and external factors that are favorable and unfavorable to achieve the objective—in our case, creating and developing new products,” Lucy said. “SWOT analysis should also differentiate between where our company is today, and where it could be in the future. Since our SWOT analysis accomplishes both of these objectives, I’d say this has been a success, wouldn’t you, tribe?”

T.J. Tedesco is a sales growth, business strategy, marketing and PR consultant operating at the intersection of clear vision, compelling content and effective outreach practices. For nearly two decades, T.J. has been an independent consultant and sales growth team leader. Previously, he sold commercial printing, graphic arts machinery and supplies, and finishing and bindery services. T.J. helps North American companies with content development, Web and print design leadership, nurture marketing programs, sales coaching, sales team alignment and business strategy. Since 1996, T.J. has worked with more than 100 clients on retainer, 80 percent in the graphic arts industry. T.J. is author of "Win Top-of-Mind Positioning," "Playbook for Selling Success in the Graphic Arts Industry," "Fire! How Marketing Got Hot," "Direct Mail Pal" and four more books published by PIA. He can be reached at (301) 404-2244 or
Related Content