Be a SWOT – Do you know your own strength(s) – and weaknessess, opportunities and threats?

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When did you last do a SWOT analysis for your golf club?
It always amazes me how many clubs never do this. I’ve come across several clubs who don’t even know what one is. Even those that do know, and do them, rarely review them at any point, but an annual SWOT analysis is a good habit for golf clubs to get into. As we are rapidly approaching September, this can be a start point to kick off the planning for 2019.

Things are always changing, such as:

  • A nearby club may have closed
  • New housing estate
  • Aggressive marketing from a competitor
  • Reviews of your club are improving
  • More members than usual left last year

All of these events represent a change in position for a golf club. Even if this type of thing hasn’t happened near you, a few hours creating an annual SWOT analysis is a great start point for planning and prioritisation of resources – and not just from a marketing perspective.

So, what is a SWOT analysis?

A SWOT analysis is a simple yet powerful exercise to ensure your golf club’s marketing strategy is on track. It is all about the why rather than the how at this stage. This exercise done properly will allow you to look in depth at your golf club and what it has to offer. It will also enable you to get feedback from other customers.

A SWOT analysis is one of the most commonly used business planning and decision-making tools. It helps you:

  • Build on strengths (S)
  • Recognise and minimise weaknesses (W)
  • Seize opportunities (O)
  • Counteract threats (T)

It can help you understand your golf club and work out what areas need improving. By understanding your market place, including your competitors, you can start to implement changes to make sure your golf club continues to be successful. As mentioned, a robust SWOT analysis is a particularly useful step in your marketing planning process.

Who does the SWOT analysis?

Any top-level analysis should be conducted by the committee of the golf club, preferably with someone facilitating the exercise for you. It is wise to have an independent viewpoint to keep things on track and not get too emotive. You can start by giving each member of the committee a blank template and letting them come back with their various ideas and thoughts. Then you can start to refine them.

However, discussion always helps, so hold a SWOT evening where you can.

What’s the best way to do one?

Follow six simple steps.

  1. Decide on the objective of your SWOT analysis. It may be the very first one you have done at the golf club; therefore, it will be a wider overview of the golf club, probably to support your business planning. However, it may also have a specific marketing objective to support your strategy. For example, should you introduce a new flexible membership category?
  2. It may sound obvious but try and be aware of as many facts around your business as you can. Your offer, the competition, local area, demographics, etc. All information gathered will help. A business and marketing audit will help and will ensure you are making informed decisions around your SWOT analysis rather than wild guesses
  3. List your strengths. Start with positives. At this stage, the list does not need to be definitive. All ideas and thoughts should be encouraged
  4. List your weaknesses. It is important to know where others may have an advantage over you in the marketplace so be as honest as you can
  5. List opportunities. What don’t you currently do that you could do, or not have that you could benefit from. This could be things like a membership type or technology e.g. tee booking system
  6. List potential threats to your golf club. What could cause problems for your golf club? Increased competition, etc.

Don’t just make it a paper exercise

Once you have completed this section of the SWOT analysis it is important to assign priorities. Whatever you find out about your golf club through this exercise it will not be possible to do everything at once. Make sure you focus on the most important aspects first.

After establishing what the priorities are then you need to work out how to address these. Focus on 4 key things:

  1. Use of strengths to take advantage of opportunities
  2. Use these strengths to minimise threats identified
  3. Overcome weaknesses to take advantage of opportunities
  4. Minimise weaknesses to overcome threats

Your SWOT analysis can now help develop strategies for achieving your business goals.

For more ideas, go to the golf club marketing resource website.

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