Business communication: writing a SWOT analysis
Business communication: writing a SWOT analysis

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Business communication: writing a SWOT analysis

9.1 Arranging the report into paragraphs

You will read Michael’s SWOT analysis of the Brompton article, and make observations about the way it is written.

Activity 16

Read Michael’s analysis, and firstly try to identify what the purpose of each paragraph is.

SWOT analysis

Brompton Bicycle is the biggest bicycle manufacturer in Britain. The company is well-known for the high quality of its niche product, a folding bicycle popular with commuters. This report will analyse the current internal and external environment for Brompton, using the SWOT framework and provide recommendations for future actions.

Brompton’s strengths include the fact that the company is debt free and is seen as having the best folding bike on the market which is viewed by customers as a quality product. The refined manufacturing processes, engineering focus and attention to detail within Brompton has allowed the company to create a niche product. Another strength Brompton possesses is the aftercare revenue it is able to generate though spares and servicing; this ensures quality control and continues to keep a strong relationship with its customers post sale. Because Brompton’s customers are responsible for word of mouth marketing, the relationship with their customers is one of their key strengths and one which Brompton can rely on for promoting and providing increased credibility of the brand.

Although Brompton has many strengths, it also has weaknesses. The main weakness is that the company is not growing in line with the rest of the market. The market has grown 20 – 25% year on year and Brompton has been unable to match this rise. This growth has been constrained by inefficient production methods and the inability to produce enough bikes to meet consumer demand. Being based in London makes production more expensive as staff costs are high here and, as Brompton is unwilling to relocate, this will continue to be a weakness in future. Finally, the issue of patent expiry has not been addressed and there appears to be little research and development into future products and services taking place. Brompton relies on traditional engineering methods and is not looking to the future with how it can innovate further to develop products to meet the demands of customers and improvements to its production methods.

Although Brompton has weaknesses, there are opportunities for this company. Growth in international markets provides a real opportunity to expand Brompton’s sales overseas where already 70% of the firm’s revenue is generated. Currently Brompton’s enthusiasts provide a good source of word of mouth advertising, however, if this were channelled into a more structured approach the brand could reach a much wider audience.

Brompton must also consider its threats. Competition from many other bike manufacturers threatens Brompton’s existing market share and future growth potential. Competitors are investing heavily in research and development and their products are improving all the time, which means that there is the threat that not only could another manufacturer undercut Brompton on price, but they could also design a product that is of equal quality. As Brompton only sells bicycle products, it is impacted by seasonal demand and this is a threat as revenue is not consistent throughout the year.

In conclusion, Brompton needs to take advantage of the opportunities in front of it. There is an opportunity for international growth, however, this needs to be managed correctly. With this in mind, it would be prudent to recruit the experience of a director for international growth to help focus and manage this expansion. Brompton needs to agree a research and development budget to improve quality and further refine manufacturing processes. Developing an online presence through blogs and web sites could help increase Brompton’s marketing ability and provide a conduit for sales through ecommerce.

References:

Smith, P. (2008) ‘Bike maker prepares to step up a gear: Brompton wants to keep up with the competition without its folding bicycles losing their uniqueness’, The Daily Telegraph, 1 April, p. 11.

(The Open University, 2008)

Answer

Constructing your text using paragraphs in a structured, logical way helps you to organise and group your thoughts and will help your reader to understand the information in the text. Generally a paragraph should express one main idea, which is expanded and developed within the paragraph. In this case, the following notes are relevant:

  1. There are six paragraphs in total.
  2. The purpose of each paragraph is:
Paragraph 1 Introduction
Paragraph 2 Summary of strengths
Paragraph 3 Summary of weaknesses
Paragraph 4 Summary of opportunities
Paragraph 5 Summary of threats
Paragraph 6 Recommendations and conclusion

A note on referencing

Michael has written one reference at the end of his text. This is because all of his information comes from one source: the Smith article from The Daily Telegraph.

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