Sample Expository Essay: The Cs You Need to Look at When Writing a SWOT Analysis

Business WritingSWOT Analysis
Feb 10, 2022

An expository essay is a type of essay whose purpose is to inform the audience on the topic through explanation, illustration, or some other method or combination of methods. While it is usually written in literature or composition classes, it is a versatile write-up that can be used in almost every academic area or professional discipline. In this sample expository essay, the author explains new business aspects known as the Cs that can be considered when conducting a SWOT analysis.

There are many analytical tools that businesses use to understand the nature of their operations, their industry and environment, and their customers. The knowledge that they gain from utilizing these tools are then used in the formulation and implementation of strategies. One of the most important and widely used tools is the SWOT analysis , which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. As shown in previous examples on global companies such as Zara and Toyota , the SWOT analysis generates guides for leveraging strengths, minimizing weaknesses, exploiting opportunities, and mitigating threats. But while this tool is extremely beneficial, using it can sometimes be tricky. Fortunately, analytical processes evolve alongside business practices. In particular, the emergence of the Cs has helped in refining the methods by which SWOT analysis is used. These Cs stand for customers, competitive advantage, costs, competition, collaborators, and company. They lend the analytical process clarity and focus, thus enabling a business to maximize the potential of the SWOT analysis to generate useful knowledge.

Why Look at the Cs?

Before discussing what these Cs are, it is important to first understand why it is relevant in the first place. As mentioned earlier, the SWOT analysis is a well-known and useful instrument. However, it is not without its flaws. For one, the broad scope of SWOT means that anyone who uses it will not be able to cover everything (Sarsby, 2016). There are just too many variables that make up a business and the environment it operates in, and all of these exert influence in varying degrees. Secondly, given the multitude of variables, there is the risk of looking at the wrong or tangential aspects and losing sight of the ones that actually matter (Reed, 2018). The variables that matter vary from business to business. For instance, whereas one business may be dependent on continuous technological innovation, another may rely more on the retention of traditional production methods. Failure to analyze the most important variables will lead to unreliable findings. In response to the flaws of the SWOT analysis, the Cs serve as a kind of lens that allows a business to perform SWOT analysis more effectively. It tells the business where to concentrate by asking the right questions (Motohashi, 2015). For example, the Cs prompt an organization to think about the aspects of the business that matter most to them. As will be shown in the next section, the Cs have a way of enabling focus and clarity.

What Are the Cs of Business Analysis?

There were originally just three Cs, namely, customer, competition, and company (Motohashi, 2015). But the number increased over time and there are now various numbers of Cs included in the tool depending on the source (Winter, 2019). The discussion below features six of the most commonly discussed Cs in business analysis.

Customer

Customer refers to the individuals, groups, or organizations that avail the business’s products and services (Project Management Institute [PMI], 2015). When conducting a SWOT analysis, it is important to determine not only who the customers are but also the nature of the relationship with them. Some of the questions that a business should be asking include the following: Who are my customers? What are their demographic profiles? What percentage do they constitute of the total industry market? What are their reasons for availing of our products and services? Are there customer segments that we have not tapped before? What will our customer segments be like in the future? Answering these questions will help a business determine if the makeup of their customers and the relationship are advantageous to the business or not. As shown by the example of Zara, the fast-fashion giant thoroughly understands who its customers are and what they want, thus allowing it to develop products that meet customers’ needs.

Competitive Advantage

Competitive advantage can be conventionally defined as factors that enable a business to be better in one or more areas of operations compared to competitors (Winter, 2019). For example, infrastructure that enables low production costs, exclusive access to resources, patented technologies, and highly skilled employees can all be considered as competitive advantages. Identifying what gives a company an edge over others and what it needs to improve on is especially crucial to assessing strengths and weaknesses. As the sample on Toyota shows, the car manufacturer’s lean management allows it to keep costs low, which in turn translates to more affordable vehicles for its customers. Meanwhile, its strong brand image can also be regarded as a competitive advantage as the high-quality relationship Toyota has fostered with its customers is difficult to replicate. However, its just-in-time inventory, while an asset in general, transforms into a weakness in certain situations such as the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic that has disrupted global supply chains.

Costs

Costs pertain to the expenditures that are incurred in the course of operating the business (Information Resources Management Association [IRMA], 2019). Expenditures vary depending on the nature of the business. However, what is crucial is to ensure that resources are going where they should and that they are being spent wisely. A business should therefore know cost-related considerations such as if the costs are being covered by revenues, if there are areas of the operations that can be streamlined or eliminated to lower expenditures, and if there are sunk costs that should be let go. It must be noted that costs themselves are not the problem. For instance, a sizable investment in new technologies is a wise decision if it enables a company to save a lot in the future. Costs become a burden when they are not yielding value to the organization. The sample on Zara shows how cost-efficiency through economies of scale can be considered as a strength.

Collaborators

No business ever operates on its own. Even among the most successful companies that have integrated vertically and horizontally, many still rely on other entities to develop and deliver products and services. Entities with whom a business interacts as part of its operations are called collaborators (PMI, 2015). Similar to the assessment of customers, looking at collaborators should involve identifying who they are and what the nature of the relationship with them is to determine whether they are strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, or threats. For example, absolute dependence on a single supplier can be considered as a weakness since that gives the supplier strong bargaining power. Meanwhile, strong and harmonious relationships with other collaborators can be seen as a strength. In the case of Zara, the company’s reliance on contractors and subcontractors that are involved in unethical labor practices in developing countries is a weakness, since the nature of the collaborators poses risks on Zara’s brand image and reputation.

Competition

Competition refers to the entities that offer similar products and services to the same markets (Winter, 2019). Competitors exert a lot of influence on a company, especially since vying for limited markets means constantly strategizing to prevent competitors from getting the upper hand. For instance, the case of Zara illustrates the highly competitive fast fashion industry. Even though Zara dominates the market, it could easily lose its customers to other companies such as H&M, Shein, and even smaller but increasingly popular brands. Competition, therefore, is an important C to look at when analyzing the external environment. Comparing practices is also a good way to identify strengths and weaknesses. Note, however, that existing competitors are not always the only threats. Competition can also come from emerging and yet-to-emerge entities.

Company

Finally, company refers to the business itself as it exists within the public sphere. There is an existential side to this C since it requires the business to examine its own motivations, purposes or reasons for existence, and its future (Motohashi, 2015). In other words, analyzing this aspect requires self-reflection. A strong and well-articulated philosophy is a strength as it will guide operations towards established goals. Toyota is an excellent example of this. Apart from knowing that it exists to provide reliable and affordable vehicles to its customers, its keen awareness of its place in the world allows it to develop in such a way that it will remain relevant in the future while continuously meeting the needs of its customers. For example, Toyota has been continuously improving its line of sustainable and environmentally friendly cars to meet the needs of the triple bottom line.

Conclusion

As the samples for Zara and Toyota show, the SWOT analysis is an important tool in analyzing the business environment and forming strategies. But because this tool casts a wide net, utilizing it carries the risk of overlooking the most important factors or variables affecting a business. This is where the Cs of the SWOT analysis come in. Examining customers, competitive advantages, costs, collaborators, competition, and company aids a business in focusing on the most essential aspects, thus optimizing the SWOT analysis as an instrument. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.

This sample shows just how many writing projects students are required to produce. Apart from expository essays, students need to write composition pieces such as argumentative essays, persuasive essays, and narrative essays. Meanwhile, business students also need to create analytical projects such as marketing plan, marketing mix, PESTLE analysis, Porter’s Five Forces, and business model canvas among others. Getting all this done may prove to be impossible. Luckily, professional writers from CustomEssayMeister are here to help you out.


References

Information Resources Management Association. (2019). Sustainable business: Concepts, methodologies, tools, and applications. IGI Global.

Motohashi, K. (2015). Global business strategy: Multinational corporations venturing into emerging markets. Springer.

Project Management Institute. (2015). Business analysis for practitioners: A practice guide. Project Management Institute.

Reed, A. (2018). Business analyst: Careers in business analysis. BCS.

Sarsby, A. (2016). SWOT analysis. Lulu.com.

Winter, H. (2019). The business analysis handbook: Techniques and questions to deliver better business outcomes. Kogan Page Publishers.

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