Scan the Environment with a PEST Analysis

"A number of checklists have been developed as ways of cataloguing the vast number of possible issues that might affect an industry. A PEST analysis is one of them that is merely a framework that categorizes environmental influences as political, economic, social and technological forces...The analysis examines the impact of each of these factors (and their interplay with each other) on the business. The results can then be used to take advantage of opportunities and to make contingency plans for threats when preparing business and strategic plans...

In conducting PEST analysis, it is required to consider each PEST factor as they all play a part in determining the overall business environment. Some examples of topics include the following:

Political: (includes legal and regulatory): elections, employment law, consumer protection, environmental regulations, industry-specific regulations, competitive regulations, inter-country relationships/attitudes, war, terrorism, political trends, governmental leadership, taxes, and government structures.

Economic: economic growth trends (various countries), taxation, government spending levels, disposable income, job growth/unemployment, exchange rates, tariffs, inflation, consumer confidence index, import/export ratios, and production levels.

Social: demographics (age, gender, race, family size, etc.), lifestyle changes, population shifts, education, trends, fads, diversity, immigration/emigration, health, living standards, housing trends, fashion, attitudes to work, leisure activities, occupations, and earning capacity.

Technological: inventions, new discoveries, research, energy uses/sources/fuels, communications, rates of obsolescence, health (pharmaceutical, equipment, etc.), manufacturing advances, information technology, internet, transportation, bio-tech, genetics, agri-tech, waste removal/recycling, and so on."

Read more in this article from coursework4you.co.uk, which is also a great example of an article that provides an excellent executive summary of its topic.

Additional information on this topic is available in this summary from marketingteacher.com and this article and free template from businessballs.com (another good example of an excellent executive summary).

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