An analysis of the framework around your business is essential if you are not to be blindsided by changes. Cobblers and whip makers in the horse and cart days, and camera and film manufacturers before digital cameras are just some examples from the 20th and 21st centuries of rapid change destroying whole industries.

Other changes have been more gradual - but change itself is the one constant in our world. While change can destroy some businesses, it can also create new opportunities. Of course, early adopters can also be bitten. Many people today may not recall the VHS vs Betamax struggles in the video industry - another industry now relegated to history, but those caught with Betamax equipment are likely to remember it well.

Business is always about people. The technology to meet their expectations may change, but top service never disappoints.

We have given just one example in each area to start you thinking about your business environment.

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Are there opportunities for you to gain more market share?

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Do you have a clear competitive advantage (like a lower cost structure or a clearly differentiated offering)?

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Is there a significant cost in keeping up with technological developments in the industry?

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Are changes in consumer preferences moving customers toward or away from your business?

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What is the financial strength of the family/shareholders, i.e. is there ability and willingness to fund any business growth?

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Are there any impending changes in laws, regulations, or controls that will impact your business?


These will help you develop a good understanding of the external environment. Go through the process each year and you'll be able to see how things have changed, so you can modify your plans accordingly.