How a SWOT Analysis Can Help Independent Agents Grow Their Business

Even if a SWOT Analysis sounds a bit technical, this exercise can actually be a lot of fun whether it’s done individually or in a group setting! A thorough SWOT analysis conducted internally can reveal insights into your business, industry, clients, prospects, competitors and other factors that many companies pay big money to have an outsider uncover. “SWOT” is an acronym that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats, and, when done right, a SWOT analysis almost always provides meaningful, actionable data. The SWOT Analysis is a powerful, tried-and-true marketing exercise that can assist agents and agencies with branding, rebranding, identifying new opportunities, positioning within a market, marketing strategy in general or even restructuring internal processes. While the ways in which you apply your completed SWOT to growing your business are up to you, knowing the ins and outs of how to properly conduct and analyze one is the best place to start.

Strengths. Start your SWOT analysis by listing the assets, services, business locations, partnerships, resources, experience, etc. that set you apart from the competition. What drives business to you and makes customers want to stay with you? These items can be as general as always having a positive attitude or being conveniently located; or they can be very specific such as an ability to fulfill the particular needs of a niche market. The goal of this section of the SWOT is to identify the strengths that differentiate your business in the market.

Weaknesses. Next, list the areas in which you or your agency can improve. Being honest here might be painful, however an honest assessment is what leads to this exercise producing significant results.

Opportunities. Now that we’ve identified internal aspects, let’s move forward with listing the external factors that affect our business, starting with opportunities. What opportunities present the most growth potential? Are you able to provide a new product or service? Can you expand your selling area? What new technologies can improve your operation? What steps can you take to improve relations with existing customers in order to generate referrals? How can you make strides to improve networking efforts? It never hurts to list as many opportunities as you can identify; you can always pare the list down later.

Threats. This is where you generally take a close, hard look at the competition, though threats can be internal or market-driven too. In team settings, it’s always interesting and often valuable to see who different group members identify as the competitors that pose the greatest threat and why. This is also the section to address future concerns. For example, how will your agency adjust to seniors conducting more business online or by phone?

Analysis & Strategy. Because a SWOT analysis is so individualized, there’s no one-size-fits-all formula for analyzing a SWOT. There are, however, a number of original ways of looking at a SWOT that can reveal keen insights and inform your strategy moving forward. A great place to start is by making direct connections between two quadrants of your analysis. Look to see how you can use internal strengths to take advantage of opportunities or to minimize threats; or evaluate how you can eliminate weaknesses to avoid threats or improve on weaknesses in order to open new opportunities. Another approach is to identify any weaknesses that can be turned into strengths, or any threats that can evolve into opportunities. For example, agents or agencies who classified their digital presence as a weakness in the months or years prior to the pandemic, and who then worked to improve this shortcoming, may very well be listing that as a strength today (even if improvement is needed).

Whether you’re an individual agent looking to develop a tagline for your business or a large agency wanting to map the growth potential of your organization, a SWOT Analysis can be a cost-effective method for developing the path forward. Considering all the changes 2020 has thrown at us, now could be the right time to identify any unknown aspects of your business or the industry, provide clarity and a sense of direction to fellow team members, and get everyone aligned with the same strategic goals. And who’s to say doing so can’t be fun? Give it a try and let us know if you need any advice. We’re here to help!

As an independent insurance agent, we understand you must generate leads in order to grow your business. That’s why we work one-on-one with each agent or agency partner as requested to develop a comprehensive SWOT Analysis that leads to actionable data. Contact us today at 888-745-2320 or marketing@berwickinsurance.com to receive the hands-on marketing support that can help take your business to the next level.

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