One of the most important business skills is being able to ask good questions. Asking the right questions will lead you down a useful exploration of thought and research, while asking the wrong questions will lead to conclusions that are either false or irrelevant.
Frameworks are excellent starting points for asking the right questions. Why? Because frameworks are built to make business decision-making easier by focusing attention on common key areas. Additionally, in the process of filling out a framework, you will inevitably answer questions you would have otherwise not have thought to ask.
Here are three frameworks that will help you answer the right questions.
SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. You can use a SWOT analysis on just about anything from a product or person to a business or process. However, listing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats only identifies key issues but does not show what actions need to be taken. Therefore it is good to turn your SWOT into a TOWs, which uses the SWOT analysis to create a grid of strategies by matching strengths and weaknesses against opportunities and threats.
The 7 P’s model covers the main areas that need attention for selling a product or service:
1) Product: making sure that the product is something that is actually wanted
2) Price: positioning the product as high-end or low-end and ensuring profitability
3) Place: being clear on the location and time
4) Promotion: getting the word out through various means
5) People: making sure the people customers interact with are top notch
6) Process: ensuring the customers have a pain free purchasing experience
7) Proof: validating the credibility of the product in the customer’s’ eyes
If you answer these questions, you will have a good understanding of what steps need to be taken to successfully launch or sell your product or service.
SOSTAC is a framework that is used for developing marketing plans. The value of this model is that it provides a clear set of actions to be taken with associated timeframes, details, and reasoning behind those actions. Furthermore, SWOT and 7 P’s are usually incorporated within the SOSTAC process, which is composed of six steps:
1) Situation: Where are we now?
2) Objectives: Where do we want to be?
3) Strategy: How do we get there?
4) Tactics: How exactly do we get there?
5) Actions: The details of tactics: who does what and when?
6) Control: How do we monitor performance?
A complete SOSTAC provides you and your team a reliable manual for running a campaign, especially when combined with other frameworks as it is meant to do. Check out this video to learn more about the model.
Regardless of what frameworks you use, remember that they exist not to confuse or complicate, but to get you to think about what the right questions are so that you can formulate ways to solve any problems you will face in your business.