Monday, 20 December 2010

Santa's SWOT Analysis

It's that time of year when everyone is in a rush. That may mean rushing to finish Christmas shopping or rushing to finish business deals before the end of the year... well, why not sit back, relax and take a light hearted look at Santa's Business Plan for 2011!

One of the world’s best known employers has turned to one of Darlington and County Durham’s longest-established law firms, Latimer Hinks, to help gauge the health of his business.

Santa Claus, a global manufacturer and distributor of gifts, employs a team of elves at his North Pole delivery centre, and is currently approaching his peak season of activity.

The owner-managed business has asked Mark Gardner, of Latimer Hinks Solicitors, to help establish a SWOT analysis, a strategic planning method used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a project or in a company.

Mark said: “Not only did Mr Claus come to Latimer Hinks for his advice, in a festive act of giving to the business community, he has agreed that we can release the findings of the SWOT analysis to give other owners an insight into the benefits that such activity can offer.

“By looking at a business as it stands, its future opportunities for growth and the challenges which it will face in the future, owners can pull together a more informed plan for development and, hopefully, success.

“As one year ends and another approaches, this is an ideal time to be looking to the future in this way.”

Mr Claus’ SWOT analysis is:

·        The business benefits from falling outside of competition laws within the Christian community, allowing it to monopolise the market in reindeer and magic-powered Christmas gift deliveries.
·        As the sole owner of a magical sleigh capable of delivering around the world within one night, Mr Claus is also in prime position to fend off any competitors which may arise.

·        Mr Claus relies on a single team of reindeer and only one sleigh. As magical sleighs are no longer in production, a mechanical problem could prove fatal to the business. Rumours that a new eco-friendly hybrid sleigh is in secret tests could provide a resolution, but the lack of current alternatives is a weakness.
·        The business is threatened by longer standing customers becoming disenfranchised. Despite centuries of successful service to his global client base, some customers have expressed lack of faith, particularly around ten to 13 years into the supplier/client relationship.

·        Perpetual growth in the world population allows for continued expansion in the distribution business. This allows Mr Claus to re-train some of the elves affected by the decline in the manufacturing operation (see “Threats” below).
·        Growing demand for larger quantities of gifts, particularly from the customer group known as the “advertising overload” or “want that one” generation is a source of growth for the distribution business.

·        A growth in the volume and popularity of children’s toys being manufactured across the world is a threat to Mr Claus’ own manufacturing business. Such lines as spinning tops and skipping ropes have all but shut down at the North Pole, with more expected to follow.
·        The business is currently considering its long-term plans for the location of its premises, due to the threat of global warming. The North Pole location is synonymous with Mr Claus’ corporate identity, while relocation costs for the elves and their families, along with a wardrobe allowance to cope with the more temperate climate likely to come with a move, are costs which will detract from the core business.

Mark said: “Once an analysis is done, we can start to look at aiding and advising on the various elements. These might include working on an exclusive research and development agreement with the hybrid sleigh manufacturer, client retention and satisfaction, or employment law as the workforce grows – notably in this case anti-discrimination legislation to bring non-elves into the company. Other areas of assistance could include establishing franchising opportunities, delivery contracts, new commercial leases and alternative ways of holding property, all of which would help to tackle the W, O and T of the SWOT.”

Latimer Hinks wish you all a Merry Christmas!

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