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III. Business Analysis
The purpose of this section is to guide you through the process of analyzing your business as compared to the competition. In Section II, you discussed why you are in business. This section should discuss “How to get there.”

A. SWOT Analysis
In order to compare your business to the competition, you must analyze the business internally and externally. You must determine your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

Strengths are positive internal factors a company might possess that can be used to help accomplish the overall mission, goals, and objectives. Examples include a strong sales force, specialized skills or knowledge, etc.

Weaknesses are negative internal factors that might interfere with the accomplishment of the overall mission, goals, or objectives. Examples might include a weak sales force, lack of capital, poor management skills, and lack of knowledge.

Opportunities are positive external forces that can help a company’s ability to achieve its mission, goals, and objectives. Examples include a niche in the market, trends in the market, etc.

Threats are negative external forces that interfere with a company’s ability to achieve its mission, goals, and objectives. Examples include an economic recession, rising interest rates, government regulations, etc.

B. Marketing Positioning and Image
Briefly describe the company’s position in the overall market place. In other words, determine how your business will capture its place in the market and compete effectively. Some things to consider might be price and quality. This section should also describe the image your company plans to project. Will you be a low cost, discount store, a high-end upscale store, or somewhere in the middle?

C. Business Strategy
This section describes how a business will gain a competitive edge in the market place, and what distinguishes the business from the competition. In other words, determine what will make you unique according to your potential customers. This section should also describe “How” to obtain the goals and objectives described in Section II. For example, if one of your goals is to be a low cost leader with your specific product or business, this section should describe how you are going to reach that goal.