The Vermont Teddy Bear Co
Making decisions is certainly the most important task of a manager and it is often a very difficult one. This article offers a decision making procedure for solving complex problems step by step. It presents the decision-analysis process for both public and private decision-making, using different decision criteria, different types of information, and information of varying quality. It describes the elements in the analysis of decision alternatives and choices, as well as the goals and objectives that guide decision-making. The key issues related to a decision-maker's preferences regarding alternatives, criteria for choice, and choice modes, together with the risk assessment tools are also presented. SWOT is an abbreviation for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. SWOT analysis is an important tool for auditing the overall strategic position of a business and its environment. Once key strategic issues have been identified, they feed into business objectives, particularly marketing objectives. SWOT analysis can be used in conjunction with other tools for audit and analysis, such as PEST analysis and Porter's Five-Forces analysis. It is also a very popular tool with business and marketing students because it is quick and easy to learn. The Key Distinction - Internal and External Issues
Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors. For example, strength could be your specialist marketing expertise. A weakness could be the lack of a new product. Opportunities and threats are external factors. For example, an opportunity could be a developing distribution channel such as the Internet, or changing consumer lifestyles that potentially increase demand for a company's products. A threat could be a new competitor in an important existing market or a technological change that makes existing products potentially obsolete. It is worth pointing out that SWOT analysis can be very subjective - two people rarely come-up with the same version of a SWOT analysis even when given the same information about the same business and its environment. Accordingly, SWOT analysis is best used as a guide and not a prescription. Adding and weighting criteria to each factor increases the validity of the analysis. Areas to Consider
Some of the key areas to consider when identifying and evaluating Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats are listed in the example SWOT analysis below: INTERNAL FACTORS
What does your practice do best?
Employee Training & Loyalty
Customer Intimacy and Product Quality
Where are the opportunities in your area?
Economic development of Asia and other developing countries
Future trend of consumer increases in gifting.
Demographics favoring consumerism and the industry in which Vermont is operating!
Opening up through WTO
Using Internet as a virtual online store and using it to increase its reach.
What part of your practice needs improvement?
Increasing government regulations
Strong regional competition
Technological changes and emergence of virtual stores like amazon.com.
Foreign government trade hindrances on future investments.
Culture diversities in foreign countries.
Lower Priced Competition.
What is happening in your area that could threaten your practice?
Lack of effective online model
The Vermont Teddy Bear provides our customer with a tangible expression of their best feelings for their families, friends, and associates. We facilitate, communicate, and therefore participate in caring events and special occasions that celebrate and enrich our customers' life experiences. Our products will represent unmatchable craftsmanship balanced with optimal quality and value. We will strive to wholesomely entertain our guests while consistently exceeding our external and internal customer service...
References: AGS Practice Management Toolkit. Strategic Planning and Market Analysis. Copyright 2004 American Geriatrics Society. Retrieved January 4, 2006. http://www.frycomm.com/ags/toolkit/chapter4.shtml#swotanalysis
Morrison, J. Wilson, I. (1996). The strategic Management Response to the Challenge of Global Change. By permission of the World Future Society. Retrieved January 4, 2006.
NetMBA Business Knowledge Center, SWOT Analysis, Internet Center for Management and Business Administration, Inc. Copyright 2002-2005. Retrieved January 4, 2006.
NetMBA Business Knowledge Center, SWOT Analysis, Internet Center for Management and Business Administration, Inc. Copyright 2002-2005. Retrieved January 4, 2006
Wheelen, T. Hunger, J. (2006). Strategic Management and Business Policy; Tenth Edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
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