Strategic Question #5: What are your limiting factors?

(This post is a continuation of our detailed look into the 13 strategic marketing questions that every marketer must answer.)

What are your company’s limiting factors?

Marketing Strategy LimitationsWhat’s holding your business back? What are the distractions and limitations preventing you from reaching your goals?

Okay, this one’s pretty straightforward. But that doesn’t mean thinking this through will be easy. Identifying your company’s limitations takes energy. Focus. And most importantly, being completely clear-eyed and objective.

No company is without shortcomings or weaknesses. And your limitations must be considered when crafting your marketing strategy.

Consider the following limiting factors:

  • Long product purchase cycle
  • Shortfalls in knowledge or expertise
  • Financial troubles or concerns
  • Limited market size or growth potential
  • Poor location
  • Inconvenient hours-of-operation
  • Inadequate staffing
  • Insufficient systems and procedures

In the town in which I live, there’s a popular restaurant and bar that overcame its major limiting factor: the lack of growth potential due to it’s tiny little size.

A few years back, the restaurant owner purchased the adjacent building, knocked down a few walls, renovated, and added seating. His business boomed as a result. In fact, the restaurant quickly filled to capacity.

Eager to grow even more, the crafty restaurant owner purchased the building’s upper floor, added some stairs, and opened a second floor that doubles as a party rental hall.

Not bad, eh?

But before you start tackling your limiting factors, keep in mind that not all weaknesses are worth strengthening. Every investment you make is a trade-off, carrying with it an opportunity cost. That said, your time might be better spent fortifying your strengths, not your weaknesses.

Harvard Business School professor, Youngme Moon says, “Ten years ago, Volvo was a brand known for its practicality and safety, whereas Audi was a brand known for its sportiness; nowadays Audi outperforms Volvo in safety tests, whereas Volvo advertisements work to assure customers that its cars are fun to drive.”

Safety gave Volvo a solid point of differentiation. Yes, the styling of its cars was a weakness, especially when compared to Audi. But that’s okay. At least Volvo stood for something. Sadly, the car company improved its styling — a perceived vulnerability — at the expense of safety, its core strength. As a result, Volvo weakened it’s position in the marketplace.

Take Action:

Determine your company’s limitations. How far you go and how fast you get there will largely be determined by your ability to overcome the things holding you back.

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One Response to “Strategic Question #5: What are your limiting factors?”

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  1. Mary Bean says:

    I have been looking for this topic. I’m really grateful that I found it here. Thank you for posting! I’ll share this with my friends!
    Business Catalyst

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