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Successful Businesses Use This Tool to Predict the Future and Get Ahead of Their Competitors

Successful Businesses Use This Tool to Predict the Future and Get Ahead of Their Competitors

There are many factors that can affect the success of your business and determine which direction you will have to take next. According to research conducted by the Small Business Administration (SBA), one of the reasons 22% of start-ups fail within the first five years of launching is due to poor management.[1]

While there are many management skills for us to acquire, the ability to foresee the future is unquestionably the number one ability everyone longs to possess. Fortunately, it’s not some inherent talent only available to an elite few. With the right tools and resources, you too can make accurate business projections.

What Is PEST Analysis and How It Can Help You Predict the Future

One of the best tools to use is the PEST analysis. A PEST analysis is centered around the political, economic, social and technological factors of a business. These are part of the macro environment. The macro environment is about external influences and factors that can heavily influence a business whether they choose it or not. We will break down the PEST analysis into 4 major factors so you have a better understanding before applying it to your business:

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Political Factor

What it means: This is about regulations and laws that are put in place in your place of residence/ town/ country that have a significant on your business. The issues around politics are, tax, political stability, trade regulations, affirmative actions and so forth.

Why it is important: This is important when planning your finances, hiring policies and training of staff. Some companies have quotas around hiring minorities and previously disadvantaged groups. Some industries require you to train staff on first aid and healthy safety.

How to use it: When you are planning the overall growth it’s important to keep in mind what these requirements are when you reach a certain turnover or head count of staff. This puts you ahead of the curve and you have no surprises when you do reach a certain threshold as implementation and planning can be very costly.

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Economic Factor

What it means: This include factors such as inflation, currency strength, interest rates, trading power and foreign investments to name a few.

Why it is important: This helps if you want to get funding for your business, financing, loans from the banks. The economic environment also gives you insight regarding un-employment rates, pay rates and other financial aspect re your business.

How to use it: This is great for when you’re making financial projections. For example, if you have a long term loan out against your company, factoring in interest rates of the bank ensures that you do not come short on your budgeting. If you wish to hire someone with certain experience and expertise, knowing what the market rate is for such professional can help you in terms of your hiring plan and how to factor in that salary when you’re budgeting

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Social Factor

What it means: The social environment deals with demographics, location, culture, lifestyle and the likes. Having a know how about your environment is paramount to how you establish your business. For example, there is not use going to sell feminine products in an industrial area dominated by men. Or selling fur coats in a place where animal rights are of high importance to the culture. Different cultures like different things so you need to know how to accommodate them.

Why it is important: When the community feel that the business caters to their needs and understands them, you gain more loyal customers and that gives you competitive advantage.

How to use it: It is also very important for organizations to be involved in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) – most people think CSR is expensive and is only applicable to big corporations but it’s a social responsibility every company has. You can choose to devote your time to helping repair roofs in a school. You can get employees involved in helping at charities or you can give contribution to a cause. It doesn’t have to be millions but the little can go a long way.

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Technological Factor

What it means: The technological aspect of the PEST is something that is new to this analysis. But in today’s world, it is almost detrimental to your business to ignore technology.

Why it is important: How does technology affect the business you do? The world of retail was transformed significantly when e-commerce was introduced. If your organization deals with everyday mundane and monotonous tasks, how does technology affect your growth. There are some systems that are automated to help eradicate the human error. There are computers that can do a job that easily required 4 people.

How to use it: Knowing what kind of technology is out there and how it either threatens/assists your business, will help you derive a better vision and makes your more flexible and you won’t be so susceptible to change.

The PEST analysis can also be extended to a PESTEL Analysis, which deals with the environment issues like animal rights, carbon footprints, pollution and the likes as well as legal matters such as discriminations laws, harassment, minimum wages and other compliance issues.

If you have the desire to grow and expand your business to be sustainable, the PEST analysis is a tool that can best give you a guideline to take the necessary steps.

Reference

[1] Office of Advocacy: Frequently Asked Questions

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Kayiba Mpoyi

Writer by birth

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Last Updated on March 31, 2020

How To Break the Procrastination Cycle

How To Break the Procrastination Cycle

How often do you find yourself procrastinating? Do you wish you could procrastinate less? We all know how debilitating procrastination can make us feel, and it seems to be a challenge we all share. Procrastination is one of the biggest hindrances to moving forward and doing the things that we want to in life.

There are many reasons why you might be procrastinating, and sometimes, it is really difficult to pinpoint why. You might be procrastinating because of something related to the past, present, or future (they are all intertwined), or it could be as simple as biological factors. Whatever the reason, most of us follow a cycle when we procrastinate, from the moment we decide to do something to actually getting it done, or in this case, not getting it done.

The Vicious Procrastination Cycle

For some reason, it helps to understand that we all go through the same thing, even though we often feel like the only person in the world who struggles with this. Do you resonate with the cycle below?

1. Feeling Eager and Energized

This is when you commit to taking a new action or getting something done. You are feeling confident and optimistic that, this time round, you will do it!

2. Apprehension Starts to Come Up

The beginning stages of optimism are starting to fade. There is still time, but you haven’t done anything yet, and you start to feel uneasy. You realize that you actually have to do something to get it done, and that good intentions are not enough.

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3. Still No Action

More time has passed. You still haven’t taken any action and probably have a lot of excuses why. You start to panic a little and wish you had started sooner. Your panic starts to turn into frustration and perhaps even irritability.

4. Flicker of Hope Left

You can still make it; there is a little time left and you ponder how you are going to get it done. The rush you get from leaving your task until the last minute gives you a flicker of hope. There is still time; you can do this!

5. Fading Quickly

Your hope starts to quickly fade as you try desperately to understand why you just can’t do this. You may feel desperate and have thoughts like, “What is wrong with me?” and “Why do I ALWAYS do this?” You feel discouraged, or perhaps angry and resentful at yourself.

6. Vow to Yourself

Once the feeling of anger or disappointment disappears, you most likely swear to yourself that this will never happen again; that this was the last time and next time will be different.

Does this sound like you? Is the next time different? I understand the devastating effect that procrastination has on many lives, and for some, it is a really serious problem. You also have, on the other hand, those who procrastinate but it doesn’t affect them in any way. You know whether it is affecting you or not and whether it undermines your results.

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How to Break the Procrastination Cycle

Unless you break the cycle, you will keep reinforcing it!

To break the cycle, you need to change the sequence of events. Here is my suggestion on how you can effectively break the vicious cycle you are in!

1. Feeling Eager and Energized

This is when you commit to taking a new action or getting something done. You are feeling confident and optimistic that, this time round, you will do it! The first stage is always the same.

2. Plan

Thinking alone will not help; you need to plan your actions. I always put my deadlines one or two days in advance because you know Murphy’s Law! Take into consideration everything that you need to do, how long it will take you, and what you will need to get it done, then plan the individual steps.

3. Resistance

Just because you planned doesn’t mean that this time is guaranteed to be different. You will most likely still feel the resistance so expect this. This stage is key to identifying why you are procrastinating, so when you feel the resistance, try to identify it immediately.

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What is causing you to hesitate in this moment? What do you feel?  Write them down if it helps.

4. Confront Those Feelings

Once you have identified what could possibly be holding you back, for example, fear of failure, lack of motivation, etc. You need to work on lessening the resistance.

Ask yourself, “What do I need to do to move forward? What would make it easier?” If you find that you fear something, overcoming that fear is not something that will happen overnight — keep this in mind.

5. Put Results Before Comfort

You need to keep moving forward and put results before comfort. Take action, even if it is only for 10 minutes. The key is to break the cycle and not reinforce it. You have more control that you think.

6. Repeat

Repeat steps 3-5 until you achieve what you first set out to do.

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Final Thoughts

Change doesn’t happen overnight, and if you have some deeper underlying reasons why you procrastinate, it may take longer to finally break the cycle.

If procrastination is holding you back in life, it is better to deal with it now than to deal with the negative consequences later on. It is not a question of comfort anymore; it is a question of results. What is more important to you?

Learn more about how to stop procrastinating here: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

Featured photo credit: Luke Chesser via unsplash.com

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