We know what you’re thinking: “Not another thing I need to invest in…”
And we get it. You’ve got to invest in infrastructure, talent, materials, tools, physical locations, marketing, and a hundred other things. The last thing you need is one more thing demanding your money.
But the truth is simple: Investing in your internal brand is one of the best ways to get the most bang for your buck. That investment in things like your internal process, training, and customer service programs can completely change your approach to your business, making each dollar you invest go farther and improving your returns.
So where do you start with your internal investment?
Develop a SWOT Analysis
No, this doesn’t mean a strategic analysis involving a SWAT team.
Body armor and assault rifles are probably not a good internal investment.
We’re talking about this:
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. SWOT analysis has been around since the 60s, but that doesn’t mean it’s outdated. People have been tweaking and improving the analysis process for decades, so it’s really much better to call it “time-tested.”
SWOT analysis breaks down into internal and external groups of plusses and minuses. When you’re looking at your internal factors, you’re going to be focusing on your strengths and weaknesses.
The analysis gives you a basic game plan: Refocus your investments to build on your strengths, and redistribute your investments to fix your weaknesses.
Defining Your Differentiators
A word like differentiator sounds complicated, and possibly mathematical, but don’t worry. There’s no algebra here.
So if you slept through math class, you’re in the clear.
This six-syllable mouthful can be boiled down to a simple idea:
What makes your company different? What are those special things that make you stand out in a crowded marketplace?
Externally, your marketing should focus on highlighting those unique factors about your business. Internally, your investments should build up these differentiators to help your company. The more you become a specialist, the more you become the go-to source in your industry.
Analyzing Your Competitors
No matter how awesome your business is, you can still learn from your competitors. After all, they’ve got their own differentiators that make them stand out from your company.
Go over their strengths and figure out if you can add them to your business. And no, we don’t mean that you steal their ideas. What we’re talking about is market analysis. See what they’re bringing to the table, and then invest in your business to create your own version.
So Then What?
Once your internal investment gets up to speed, the right external investment, such as marketing, can exponentially improve what you get out of it.
But that’s a subject for another blog post. Right now, focus on identifying and building up your internal strengths.