Two Strategic Analysis Tools

           The most common strategic analysis tool used by managers and leaders to evaluate the internal and external environment of a company is the SWOT analysis.  SWOT analysis allows you to perform a breakdown of an organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.  There are so many more strategic tools that can be used to help an organization be successful as well.  Two I have chosen to speak on are the USP analysis and the Cost Benefit analysis.  Both are very important tools in assisting in making the right decisions as to the proper route to take in any company or organization.  These are two of the best strategic analysis tools.

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           Let’s start with the USP analysis.  Known as the unique selling proposition or point analysis.  This tool basically offers something they have the competitors may not.  This could entail the lowest cost, first ever product offered, or the best quality.  Using USP Analysis is a good way to understand the current strengths of your business, and it can also help you spot any weaknesses when you see what it is that your competition does so well.  A company’s uniqueness is a great selling point and very critical when trying to sell a product.  Customers are already bombarded with a host of other options when it comes to the same product. So, it would be very beneficial for your company to stand out.  A manager and leader can utilize this tool just by practicing the four steps in the analysis. They are as followed: Finding out what their customers value the most, create and rankings list, picking out your company’s strengths, and defending your company’s turf.

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            Putting yourself in the customer’s shoes by asking yourself; What it is that customers in this space value when they look to make a purchase?  Are your customers motivated by price, quality, or both?   Then, rank yourself and your competition on all the important points that have been identified and stand out for your company.  The results of these rankings will tell you a lot about what you are trying to sell and what you need improving in.  From the rankings you have created for your company, pick out your strengths and highlight them as your unique selling propositions for your company.  You can then, work your way from there.  Most importantly, moving forward is to protect that proposition for your own because your competition will be soon following trying to see where you are in the selling of your marketing points and what they can steal as far as ideas. 

            The Cost Benefit analysis helps estimate your strengths and weaknesses of alternatives to determine options that provide the best approach to achieve benefits in an organization.  Cost Benefit analysis takes into consideration both quantitative and qualitative factors for analysis of the value for money for a project or investment opportunity.  A lot of company’s may utilize this tool in deciding whether to hire new team members, evaluating a new project or change initiative, and determining the feasibility of a capital purchase for a company.  A manager and leader may utilize this tool in several steps as well.  Some of these steps are brainstorming costs and benefits of a product, assigning a monetary value to the costs, assigning a monetary value to the benefits, and comparing all costs and benefits.  With the brainstorming portion, one can brainstorm all the costs associated with the project, and make a list of these, do the same for all the benefits of the project as well, thinking of any unexpected costs and are there benefits that you may not initially have anticipated?  Costs include the costs of physical resources needed, as well as the cost of the human effort involved in all phases of a project; therefore, it is very important to think about as many related costs as you can.  Thinking on monetary values of the company, you would think like what is the impact on the environment, employee satisfaction, or health and safety? What is the monetary value of that impact?  A few examples such as these are very important facts to think on.  Lastly, comparing the value of your costs to the value of your benefits, and use this analysis to decide your course of action. 

            A pro for utilizing the Cost Benefit analysis are determination of affordability right on the spot(today).  Depending on the business’s cash flow the demands from additional costs could spiral down the company’s cash flow position. Upon reviewing the costs required from the new project being analyzed, business owners can determine their ability to reallocate resources or conclude if they are capable of securing financing with their current financial situation.  A con with this would be if the variables are bias in this information given, conducting a cost-benefit analysis could be ineffective.  A pro for utilizing the USP Benefit analysis is improved revenue.  When you offer a unique selling proposition and your prospects clearly see it, your revenue will improve or exceed expectations.  Consumers will buy the product or service that best matches their needs and will offer the best combination of benefits and price.  A con to this tool would be being obsolescent.  You should always your eye on marketplace trends to determine if new technologies or other products might make your benefit unnecessary for consumers and if you’ll be able to redesign your product and retool your production methods to stay in business.

            In Finance, both the USP and the Cost Benefit tool could help me and my company.   The USP tool can give me my strengths in numbers where I lack to help build them up whereas the Cost Benefit tool will keep me aligned with the amount of money I can spend now and in the near future for my company.  Joy Gumz once stated, “Operations keeps the lights on, strategy provides a light at the end of the tunnel, but project management is the train engine that moves the organization forward (Project Auditors 2013). 

References

Project Auditors LLC (2013). Retrieved from https://www.projectauditors.com/Company/Project_Management_Quotes.php

Free Management eBooks. (2018). USP Analysis. Retrieved from http://www.free-management-ebooks.com/news/usp-analysis/

Mindtools, LTD. (2018). Cost Benefit Analysis. Retrieved from https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTED_08.htm

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Daniel Fortune

Daniel Fortune is a successful business professional, entrepreneur, father, and lover of travel.

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