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Strategically Smarter Business – The SWOT Analysis

August 27th, 2020 admin

Albert S. Humphrey is credited to have invented the SWOT analysis (1). It is a structured planning method that allows individuals, businesses and organizations to evaluate their internal and external factors to achieving a particular objective. In the specifics of a marketing strategy a SWOT analysis allows a business to identify their core competencies and use them as the foundation of their competitive advantage.

SWOT stands for:

  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Opportunities
  • Threats

It is my opinion that building a business that doesn’t display the owners strength is indeed a mistake. In my professional experience, businesses that rely solely on the hard work of employees, must likely will have a very difficult time competing against businesses of people that have an incredible passion for what they do. An example of this very thing is the last five years of Apple versus Microsoft. Apple was losing the battle of the personal computer until Steve Jobs went back to its “baby”. And one man, Steve Jobs, was capable of injecting so much passion into the entire organization that Apple became the most valuable company in the world. In the meantime, Microsoft had an incredible amount of very talented and hard working people. The competitive advantage came by the focus that Steve Jobs brought through his passion. Imagine how difficult it would’ve been for Steve Jobs to make other companies succeed, for example his other venture Next.

The Swot analysis has two parts. The internal factors: Strengths and Weaknesses and the external factors: The opportunities and Threats.

Internal Factors

The internal aspects deal with those items that the organization already has or doesn’t. For example a specific business may have a great tech support team, an incredible manufacturing facility or a well refined process. In terms of weaknesses, the organization may be too young, or it may be that the business has only one person that knows the intricacies of the product development and therefore it has a bottleneck, etc.

The importance of recognizing the strengths is that the focus of the business should be to compete in those areas. Offering services and products that highlight what makes you strong, will increasingly provide value to your audience because not everybody is as strong as you are.

On the other hand, identifying the weaknesses shouldn’t be just an exercise just to try to eliminate them, also it should provide feedback on the ways in which the business shouldn’t compete. For example, my perception of Hyundai cars doesn’t tend to luxury vehicles. And in the past, Hyundai has demonstrated that their strength lies in competing for low cost vehicles. Now, Hyundai is developing new cars that are “designed” to compete with the luxury market. In my opinion, strategically this is a mistake. Why? Because they can’t do a great job in both. The company can’t be as strong if they focus in both creating low cost vehicles and high cost vehicles. By focusing on both it takes away focus and resources from one or the other. Ultimately, it is in their best interest to choose whichever segment they are stronger at and compete there.

External Factors

Externally you find the opportunities and the threats. Opportunities describe those aspects of the environment that could be exploited in the future for additional advantage. And threats indicate the potential risks that the environment may present that would undermine the competitive position that the company enjoys.

External factors are more difficult to determine since they involve a great deal of speculation. However, planning for unexpected events may prove beneficial in the long term.

The Most Important Part of SWOT

In my opinion, the most important aspect of a SWOT analysis is to identify your strengths. You should devote the vast majority of the analysis in the “S” part. Once you identify what you are really good at – you’ll be in a better position to compete online. In my experience, most people that offer their products or services online have trouble identifying what is it that they do better than the competition. Sometimes they don’t even know their competitors and when they do, very rarely can they put into words what the competitors do better than them and vice versa. The reason this is important, is because whether you like it or not, you are competing. Your audience will either buy your product or they will find somebody else to fill their need. It is a competition. So it is important to treat it like one. As it is unacceptable for an athlete to show up unprepared to the track, so its unacceptable for a business to not do their homework on their competition and most importantly on themselves. Make sure that you know what are you good at. This should give you a better idea on how to focus your business to become the best it can be.
1. Identify the strengths and the weaknesses of your internet business. Questions that may help you do that:
a. Do you have a larger promotion budget than your competitors?
b. Is your product or service significantly better than your competitors? Why is it better?
c. What attributes do you offer that your competitors are not offering?
d. Do you see any clear weaknesses that your competitors have that you can exploit with your strengths?
e. Do you see any clear weaknesses in your business?

2. Identify the opportunities and threats of your internet business. Questions that may help:
a. Are there any significant trends that seem to be affecting your business environment?
b. Do you see any patterns of language in your industry or among your competitors?
c. Do you foresee any actions that your competitors, your industry or your government are taking that may lead to significant changes in the way that you do business?

1. Humphrey, Albert (December 2005). “SWOT Analysis for Management Consulting”. SRI Alumni Newsletter (SRI International).

The Perfect Intro – 6 Steps to a Persuasive Elevator Pitch

August 29th, 2019 admin

There are many books in marketing that talk about the elevator pitch. So why is it that the elevator pitch is actually something valuable in online marketing?

Elevator Pitch Intro
In my opinion it has to do with the fact that it allows the business owner (or the marketer) to become clear about what he is offering to the target market. In my experience, I have seen many examples of business owners that have an incredibly difficult time explaining what is the exact problem that they solve. Not to mention, that when they do explain it, its different every time.

When I help business owners come up with their elevator pitch, I have a set routine that I make them go through so that the result is a memorable (something they can memorize) paragraph that they can share with the world.

Allow me to share this routine with you. Read the rest of this entry »

3 Ways to get better Search Engine Positioning Today

April 12th, 2012 admin

In this video, Alex Centeno MBA., creative director at Merkados™, explains three ways to gain better search engine positioning. Most of the time, when you hire a professional advisor, they will give you a comprehensive list that can help you increase your indexing and rankings. Of course, this can be overwhelming. So here are three simple easy ways to start in the right path.
Read the rest of this entry »

Using Teasers Effectively in Online Marketing

December 23rd, 2011 admin

The concept of a teaser

A teaser is a perfect way of presenting your information without giving away all of it. With the rise of interactive marketing the concept of teasers has become more and more utilized. With the amount of information that you can find online it’s difficult to prove your value to anybody these days. With a teaser people learn about your products and at the same time allow you an opportunity to explain why should they care. But wait, can the wrong teaser harm your business?  Read the rest of this entry »

Do you want higher rankings in major search engines? It is easy: think.

November 14th, 2011 admin

“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is the probable reason why so few engage in it.” Henry Ford.

As an internet marketing consultant, I get the same question over and over again: how can I rank in the top 10 in Google for a very broad term? The answer is probably going to sound simple, but it is truth in my experience.

Read the rest of this entry »

Online marketing shaped by the need to become

November 14th, 2011 admin

One thing every online marketing specialist has to understand is that no matter what he does he always is dealing with individual persons. Once you get involved with analytics the first problem is to start thinking that since you can track behavior as a group of users, all of them are the same. It is very important to understand that in the marketing business you assume that a market has similar needs and desires, and that they want to fill them with great intensity. The more they wait to fill their desires the more stress they receive, until they release the tension by fulfilling the desires. Read the rest of this entry »

The Google Analytics Cheat Sheet

September 14th, 2011 admin

Hi again everybody. This link is probably the most important of links for people out there doing more than the basics with Google Analytics. In other words, if you are just installing the code and then looking at reports and interpreting the information, this link is of little to no value for you. However, if you are looking into trying some custom segmentation, adding search engines, linking domains and sub-domains and advanced profiling Read the rest of this entry »

403 forbidden error after Update with Drush

May 15th, 2011 admin


Ok, so if you decide to use Drush (4) and decide to upgrade your installation of Drupal (6.2x) then perhaps you’ll experience a little problem. This problem has happened to me quite a few times now and that is why I am writing this post. I don’t want this to happen either to me or to anybody in the future. If it happens, then here are the instructions on how to fix it.
Let’s start by saying what doesn’t work:
1. My first thought was to check for the error log to see if it gave me better clues at what was happening with the Drupal site after the drush update command (drush up). Now, before we continue, remember that before you hit ENTER on that command, make a copy of your htaccess file and of your robots.txt. Believe me, this will make it easier on you.

2. I checked the error log and it basically told me the following:
“[Date [crit] [client address)] (13)Permission denied: /home/user/public_html/.htaccess pcfg_openfile: unable to check htaccess file, ensure it is readable”.

3. I thought then that it had to do with the permissions of the htaccess file (chmod). However that is not what causes the problem.
4. When I tried that it didn’t work.
5. Then I changed the ownership of the files recursively on the entire root and sure enough it didn’t work either. Simply because the problem happens because the public_html folder alone has to have the group ownership set to “nobody”. Can you believe that? How do you do that? With the command “chown” (Change Ownership) the first parameter is the username, the second one is the group. So for example if you say chown alex:nobody myfolder/ , then you are assigning the ownership of myfolder/ to user alex and group “nobody”.

Why does it happen in the first place?

First the problem happens because you are logged it with a different user with SSH into your server. That alone is going to make the Drush calls from that user. So if you call the drush commands without changing your user, of course you are going to end you changing your ownership of the files.

Merkados’ Recommended Solution

So here are the changes that need to happen:

/*Comment of Code*/
#chown -R ftp_username:ftp_username path_to_drupal_home_folder
#chown ftp_username:nobody path_to_drupal_home_folder
/*End of Code*/


1. The chown command is used to change the ownership of the files. In the first line you are changing ownership recursively of all the drupal files and assigning it to the user with ftp access and group with the same name.

2. The second line makes the change to the home folder. Please note that the group is set to “nobody” and please also note that it is not recursive so don’t use the -R!

That’s it. If you follow this instructions you will be avoiding those 403 forbidden notices and doing more work. Don’t worry about the fact that the error logs instruct you about lack of read-access to .htaccess. Obviously this problem is generated by the ownership problem described here. Once you fix the problem with the ownership, then you won’t have the error with your htaccess file.

Please don’t hesitate to contact Merkados for your strategic interactive media needs.

Cpmove Account Move from One server to another in Cpanel 3

November 9th, 2010 admin


Move your cpanel accounts from one server to another fast. Here is how

Login into your whm and navigate to Main -> Transfers -> Copy multiple accounts/packages from another server

Read the rest of this entry »

Need to Export Mailman’s eMails for Backup?

November 5th, 2010 admin

Oh yeah. So let’s say that you want to backup your mailman’s email addresses. Here is how:

  1. Log into your account via SSH.
  2. Navigate to your Mailman folder with command:
  3. (cd /usr/local/cpanel/3rdparty/mailman/bin)
  4. Execute  command:
  5.  ./list_members NAMELIST_DOMAIN.tld > ./list.txt
    // (NAMELIST is the name of your subscriber list, DOMAIN is the domain, and TLD is the top level domain).
  6. Copy the file to an accesible place with command:
  7. cp list.txt /home/ACCOUNT/www/
  8. That’s it