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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 August 16, 2018

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

How about a unique spin on things?

These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

1. Empty your mind.

It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

2. Keep certain days clear.

Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

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This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

3. Prioritize your work.

Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

4. Chop up your time.

Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

5. Have a thinking position.

Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

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Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

7. Don’t try to do too much.

OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

8. Have a daily action plan.

Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

9. Do your most dreaded project first.

Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

11. Have a place devoted to work.

If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

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Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

12. Find your golden hour.

You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

14. Never stop.

Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

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Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

15. Be in tune with your body.

Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

16. Try different methods.

Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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