How to create a SWOT Analysis

How to create a SWOT Analysis

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats

What is a SWOT Analysis?

A SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) Analysis is a framework used to evaluate a company’s competitive position and to develop strategic planning. SWOT Analysis assesses internal and external factors, as well as current and future potential. It is designed to facilitate a realistic, fact-based, data-driven look at the strengths and weaknesses of an organization, initiatives, or within its industry. The organization needs to keep the analysis accurate by avoiding pre-conceived beliefs or grey areas and instead focusing on real-life contexts.

A SWOT Analysis allows organisations to make unbiased evaluations on:

  • Your organisation or brand
  • Your organisation’s market positioning
  • A new project, product or initiative
  • A specific campaign or route to market

Steps suggested to create a strong SWOT Analysis

  1. Arrange each section to a table with four individual quadrants dedicated to Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats.
  2. Identify your objective – what do you wish to analyse? Be specific and have a goal, otherwise your SWOT may be too broad. By identifying your objective you will be able to use the analysis create valuable actions for you and/or your staff to complete.
  3. List strengths – Your strengths can be defined as what your organisation is currently doing well and gives you a competitive edge on your competition or alternatives.
  4. List weaknesses – Your weaknesses are the roadblocks hindering you from reaching your goals and what competitors or alternatives may be doing better than your organisation. This section may be critical to see what obstacles could hinder your organisations success.
  5. List opportunities – Your opportunities can often be the potential channels or new lead generation that can help grow or improve your business. The opportunities category goes hand-in-hand with the weaknesses category. Once you’ve made a list of weaknesses, it should be easy to create a list of potential opportunities that could arise if you eliminate your weaknesses.
  6. List threats – Your threats may be real, immediate or in the future. Writing them down helps your organisation to evaluate them objectively.

When you have created your SWOT Analysis you should discuss it with your team and create action points that can be included in your upcoming strategy and business planes. Remember as well as using a SWOT Analysis to review your organisation in general, you can also use them to evaluate how particular products or services may perform in the marketplace.

Quick Hits to Prepare for Brexit in less than 30 Days

Quick Hits to Prepare for Brexit in less than 30 Days


Brexit in less than 30 Days

With less than 30 days to go for Brexit, Irish companies who trade with the United Kingdom can prepare by following some simple guidelines we will list here:

EORI Number

All Irish companies who import and export goods to/from the UK should register to have an EORI (Economic Operators Registration & Identification) Number. Any business or individual established in the EU needs to obtain an EORI number from their national customs authority before commencing customs activities in the EU.

Negotiate Euro Based Contracts with UK Customers

Irish companies should try to negotiate Euro based sales contracts rather than Sterling based with their UK and Northern Ireland based customers. This could protect the business from large potential exchange rate fluctuations between the Euro and Sterling post January 1st 2021.

Plan for Supply Chain Delays

Irish firms should be prepared for delays in importing/exporting goods to/from the UK post Brexit. Experts are saying to add an additional 3-4 days to existing shipping times to/from the UK to allow for additional customs checks. This would also hold true for products coming from mainland Europe that use the UK as a ‘landbridge’ to transport goods to Ireland. An alternative may be the new shipping service between Dunkirk and Rosslare that is due to come into operation early next year.


Customs Commodity Codes

Businesses will need to know the customs commodity codes of the products they are importing/exporting for customs declarations. A list of Customs Commodity Codes can be referenced here TARIC Consultation (

In-house Vs. External Customs Agents

Businesss need to decide if they have the in-house skill sets and resources to deal with customs declarations and tariffs or if they should outsource to a specialised customs agent. There are some customs declaration software solutions currently on the market, an example being BH Assoviates in Shannon, Co. Clare  Home – BH Associates 

VAT on Imports from the UK

From January 1st 2021 Irish companies will have to pay Irish VAT on point of entry on goods sourced from UK suppliers. They will need to allow for this on their cashflow resources. The current EU VAT Directive which allows a VAT waiver will no longer apply with UK suppliers post Brexit.

Attend a Customs Workshop

Attend a Brexit and Customs workshop run by Enterprise Ireland and Local Enterprise Office

Steps to help bring your business online

Steps to help bring your business online

Bring Business Online

To survive, move forward and grow your business, many company owners have realised that they need an online presence to promote, educate and sell their products or solutions online. But how do you move your traditional on-premises, person to person business to the virtual world? Here are a number of steps to help bring your business online:

Research Government Supports

Contact your Local Enterprise Office (LEO) to learn about grants, training events and mentoring support that your business may qualify for, in particular, the Trading Online Voucher (TOV) which offers grants to companies of up to €2,500 to help them trade online.

Develop a website

Contact experienced web development companies such as Agile Digital Strategy and Acton Web to discuss your website, online payments and SEO/digital marketing needs.

Develop a Google My Business Profile

Now that you have your website, the next thing you want to do is set up your Google My Business profile. This is the business profile that allows you to show up in Google Maps for keywords relevant to your business. This is a must-have from the very beginning, and the sooner you create it, the faster you can start building up reviews, social proof, and online awareness for your business.


Online Directories

Add your business and web address (URL) to as many local business directories as possible. Directories include Yelp, Foursquare, Golden Pages, Chamber of Commerce and Professional Business Associations. Ensuring your business is listed on these directories will allow you to get more visits to your website and ultimately more qualified leads and sales.

Social Media

Setup business accounts on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.. It is important that you make your social handles (business name) uniform across all platforms. The reason for this is to ensure your brand is consistent across all platforms, making your brand easy for customers to find. Find out more here on which social media platforms work best for business

 You can also bring your business online by offering simple ‘click & collect’ or ‘call & collect’ services to your customers.

Calling all Entrepreneurs, Dreamers and Future Technology Disruptors to Ireland’s Mid-West Region.

Calling all Entrepreneurs, Dreamers and Future Technology Disruptors to Ireland’s Mid-West Region.

Tech Disrupt 4.0, LEO, Industry 4.0, Local Enterprise Office, €25,000

Local Enterprise Offices of Clare and Limerick Launch Tech Disrupt 4.0

Up to 25,000 funding vouchers available from Local Enterprise Offices Clare & Limerick

 for developers of Industry 4.0related solutions.


Industry 4.0 …The 4th Industrial Revolution

Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) Clare and Limerick have announced the launch of Tech Disrupt 4.0, an exciting pilot project where participants can secure up to €25,000 in funding vouchers to help create and launch solutions that align with the principles of Industry 4.0.
The Tech Disrupt 4.0 pilot project aims to encourage cutting edge technology, innovation and software development in counties Clare and Limerick. Managed by the LEOs of Clare and Limerick, the project through a competitive structure, will support individuals and businesses that develop solutions that will deliver automation and smarter decision-making tools to manufacturers and associated industries. The project is open to individuals and businesses who are located or domiciled in counties Clare and Limerick.
Confirm, SFI, LEO, Industry 4.0, Padraic McElwee, Mike Cantwell, Conor McCarthy, Eoin Hinchy
After a series of online events and ideation workshops, interested parties will be encouraged to make a presentation of their proposed Industry 4.0 aligned solution. 6 entries will be chosen to receive up to €25,000 of funding vouchers to help create and develop a viable business solution.
Solutions aligned to Industry 4.0 include, but are not limited to:
  • Big Data and Data Analysis
  • 3D Printing
  • Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML)
  • Blockchain
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Robotics and Automation
  • FinTech
  • Life Sciences
  • Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR & AR)
€25,000 Funding Vouchers, LEO, Tech Disrupt 4.0
The Mayor of Clare, Cllr Mary Howard, said: “Innovation has never been more important than it is at the present time, so I am pleased to see supports such as this that encourage and facilitate great ideas to flourish. Our businesses and communities have a track record of tremendous adaptability, and I have no doubt we will see exciting technological developments in response to the challenges of the future.”
Padraic McElwee, Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office Clare adds, “Ireland’s Mid-West region has always been an innovator and disruptor, from Shannon Airport and Shannon Free Zone to inventing Duty Free Shopping and Irish Coffee. The region is home to some of the world’s leading technology, automotive and med-tech companies such as Dell, Intel, General Motors, Jaguar Landrover, Edward Lifesciences, Stryker, EI Electronics, Uber, Analog Devices and Johnson & Johnson. The Tech Disrupt 4.0 pilot project aims to encourage technological innovation and development in the region by providing the funding and supports necessary to bring an entrepreneurs dream to a reality.”
Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Michael Collins said: “Innovation is the key to success. We cannot stand still when it comes to business and enterprise. We need to be focused on the next steps and how best we can innovate to succeed. This joint project will place Limerick businesses at the forefront of using smart technologies in order to grow and compete on an international scale. It shows the edge that we have as a region to work together to achieve a competitive advantage by embracing new technologies and harnessing the innovative ecosystem we have to create results.”
Mike Cantwell, Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office Limerick, adds “In the long term we envisage that some of the participants of the Tech Disrupt 4.0 pilot project may progress to be leaders in their fields and help the Mid-West region to become a leading location for innovators, disruptors and software developers aligned to the principles and applications of Industry 4.0.”
To find out more and to register your interest in the Clare and Limerick LEOs Tech Disrupt 4.0 pilot project please visit the Local Enterprise Office website
5 Steps to Improve your Google Adwords PPC campaign

5 Steps to Improve your Google Adwords PPC campaign

Google was launched in the late nineteen nineties to help internet users navigate this wonderful, yet daunting, phenomenon called the world wide web (www). However, from its simple humble beginnings, Google has now grown to become the world’s largest and dare I say most important advertising platform. In 2015 a staggering 97% of Google’s $73 billion sales revenue came from the Adwords Pay-Per-Click (PPC) service.

Using Google’s PPC service can help your organisation boost your online presence, increase brand awareness, generate more leads and ultimately close more sales. CPC costs can vary significantly from a few cents per click to over $40 depending on the popularity of the word or words required. As the costs of your CPC keywords greatly increases, you could end up with quite a sizeable bill adding to the overall revenues of Google’s Platinum Towers.

To make sure that you get the most from your Google PPC campaign, The Marketing Centre recommends you take the following steps:

Conduct In-Depth Keyword Research

Keyword research is the cornerstone of any PPC campaign, and finding the best performing keywords is essential to winning clicks and conversions. Too many businesses start piling money behind the name of their business or the industry they’re in, only to find a crowded market and money wasted. Consider a business selling cupcake boxes to bakeries. It may be tempting to include the phrases ‘bakery consumables’, ‘cake boxes’ or even ‘cupcakes’ in their campaign. But these are imprecise keywords that are both very general and very popular, with huge bids required for the business to appear on the first page of Google for each search, let alone position one. Instead, by building a campaign around the phrase ‘cupcake boxes’, only customers with that specific need are going to see the ad. Adding further precise terms such as ‘windowed cupcake boxes’ or ‘pink cupcake boxes’ is going to pick up very specific needs, with the ads generating fewer wasted clicks and facing less competition from more generic rivals.

Have a well designed Landing Page for Google Adwords PPC

It’s possible to design the most beautiful sign for a shop, but if customers get inside and it’s full of knock off brands and second-hand shoes, they’re going to be disappointed. So it goes with PPC. The ad will drive traffic your way, but what the visitor does when they get there is solely down to you. And so much of that comes down to the landing page. The most insidious enemy of any PPC campaign is a high bounce rate. In simple terms, a ‘bounce’ is a visitor who lands on a website (possibly from a PPC ad) and leaves within seconds, without interacting with the website or its content. What makes bounces such a drain on PPC budgets is that while a business has paid for the user’s click, they’ve got nothing to show for it. If a customer arrives at a landing and sees that it doesn’t contain the content they expected, they will quickly move on. The only reason you wouldn’t focus on bounce rate is if your call to action in on the landing page itself.

Have a compelling Call To Action (CTA)

The key is to have a call to action which inspires engagement; a reason for your ad. If you have an ebook to peddle or an enticing sale, PPC will get eyes on your offering. A ‘contact us’ form is not a compelling call to action. If your landing page contains an e-commerce element, or a contact form or some other kind of direct call to action, then the bounce rate point becomes moot; you should instead look at goal completions as a key metric. This is the number of visits for which all points of a defined goal were completed.

Go for Instant Results not Long Term Leads

Unlike many marketing tools, PPC has a very short lead time. With the right keywords and landing page, it’s possible to have a PPC campaign up within hours, following Google’s approval. After that, campaigns can be changed within minutes. And while we would not suggest jumping straight into Adwords without some prior research, this agility means that you’ll see results immediately unlike, say, content marketing, which is a much longer marketing play. PPC’s speed is also beneficial once a campaign has been set up. New products can be launched quickly while allowing opportunities for keyword research in the run-up. By monitoring the analytics for keywords related to a new product before its introduction, it’s possible to ensure that a campaign is on-point at launch, while also capturing interest in the lead-up. The point is, if you need to see results immediately, PPC will make sure you appear on Google’s front page—a magnet for clicks—and you’ll see an immediate uplift in traffic to the site. Of course, you need to know what they’re doing when they get there.

Prepare for Voice Search

Although still in its infancy, voice activated search is growing strong. According to Search Engine Journal, one in five mobile searches in 2017 were made by voice. To be prepared for voice searches, marketers should consider the following:
• Voice search queries are typically longer, usually with a minimum of 5 to 6 words used.
• Voice searches are usually in the form of a question, How, What, Why, When?
• Voice searches have high local worth, e.g. ‘What restaurants/pubs/cafes are near me?’

Done right PPC delivers, but it is not a stand-alone tool. To get the most from your PPC campaigns it must work alongside and often in conjunction with your other marketing channels.

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