SWOT Analysis for Marketing

hand holding pie chart graphic

An essential strategic management tool

By Stephan Mackell, MS

SWOT is an acronym that stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It is a strategic management tool that can be used in any aspect of business management and can be instrumental in growing your private practice.

A SWOT analysis can be extremely valuable for a practice owner and their management team to analyze current factors within your practice, as well as potential factors from the outside affecting your business. A SWOT analysis can be completed from various business angles including growth opportunities, financial investments, and staffing, to name a few. One area that is helpful to perform a SWOT analysis is marketing.

It is critical for owners to step outside of their practice and analyze internal and external strategic factors that impact their business. Sometimes practice owners themselves have blinders on about their own strengths and weaknesses, so it is crucial to involve a team when completing a SWOT analysis. Once completed, the team can evaluate the analysis, develop plans and strategies for improvement, and then execute.

Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors in your organization. Strengths are assets that are currently working well and are solid in development and action. Weaknesses are issues within your practice that require organization, planning, and action. Consider these questions:

Strengths Weaknesses
What are you doing well in your practice? Do you have a marketing program for your practice?
What makes your practice stand out amongst your competition? Have you not invested time and money into a marketing strategy?
What do your patients and community say about your practice? Have you addressed any negative reviews about your practice?
What marketing efforts and deliverables are currently working well for you? How has a lack of available resources affected your marketing strategies?

Opportunities and threats are external elements that affect your business. These factors can affect your practice both directly and indirectly.

Opportunities Threats
What needs does your community have that you can meet? How much does your competition impact your referrals?
Are there referral sources that don’t know about your practice? Have you seen a decrease in referrals? If so, why?
Are there trends or techniques that you can take advantage of? Has a large hospital system or corporate entity taken over in your area?
Are there program gaps within your community that your practice can fill by providing needed services? Have physician or chiropractic owned physical therapy businesses impacted your business?

When completing your own analysis, it is important to look at each category honestly and openminded. Once you have completed your SWOT analysis, you and your team can develop goals, plans and strategies to improve your marketing and referrals and then execute! Be sure to repeat this analysis at least annually, as each area will change often depending on your practice growth, referral source changes, changes in competition and contracts, staffing, etc. 

Stephan Mackell, MS

Stephan Mackell, MS, owner of MPMC, LLC, is a business management consultant who assists business owners in operating, managing, and growing their therapy practices. He was also the chief operating officer for the Theraplay Family of Companies before retiring in 2020. He can be reached at s_mackell@outlook.com.

Copyright © 2018, Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association. All Rights Reserved.

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