What Are Your Plans for the Future?

What Are Your Plans for the Future?
December is often a time when businesses start to look to the next year and to think about their plans and what they want to achieve. The New Year in January often brings new plans and goals. If your financial year actually ends sometime in the middle of the year, then you might spend time focusing on future plans as you approach that time, rather than at the end of calendar year. Whenever you do it, it is essential for the success of your business that you do spend time thinking about the future of your business and in particular, what you might need to do differently.

However, while thinking about the future and setting some goals can be a pleasant distraction, without a context, it can also be a waste of your time. Do you have a sound grasp of what the future might hold for your business and your services? What changes might you have to face in the next 12 months? What changes might you have to make in order to create growth and sustainable success for your business?

How Do You Look to the Future?
There are many tools that you can use to look at what the future holds for your business. PEST Analysis is just one of them and it is useful as it encourages you to look at the external factors that will influence your business and that you need to plan for. PEST looks at four areas – Political, Economic, Socio-Cultural and Technological factors.

Political Factors to Consider:
• Could a change in government or regional policy after your business? Will Brexit have a major affect on your company or your clients next year?
• Could any pending legislation or taxation changes affect your business, either positively or negatively?
• What is the likely timescale of proposed legislative changes?

Economic Factors to Consider:
• How stable is the current economy? Is it growing, stagnating or declining?
• Are your customers’ levels of disposable income rising or falling? How is this likely to change in the next few years?
• What is the unemployment rate? Will it be easy to build a skilled workforce or will it be expensive to hire skilled labour?

Socio-Cultural Factors to Consider:
• What is the population’s growth rate and age profile? How is this likely to change?
• Are generational shifts in attitude likely to affect what you’re doing?
• What employment patterns, job market trends and attitudes toward work can you see? Are these different for different age groups?

Technological Factors to Consider:
• Are there any new technologies that you could be using? Or new technologies on the horizon that could radically affect your work or your industry?
• Do any of your competitors have access to new technologies that could redefine their products and make them better than yours?
• How have infrastructure changes affected work patterns, e.g. for example, levels of remote working?

PEST Analysis encourages you to look at many factors that affect the future of your business, which you need to be aware of and plan for. There are some variations of PEST Analysis that bring other factors into consideration, adding Legal, Environmental, International, Environmental, Demographic and Ethical factors. Choose the ones that are right for your business.

PEST Analysis is useful for four main reasons:

1. It helps you to spot business opportunities and it gives you advanced warning of significant threats
2. It reveals the direction of change within your business environment. This helps you shape what you’re doing, so that you work with change, rather than against it
3. It helps you avoid starting projects that are likely to fail, for reasons beyond your control
4. It can help you break free of unconscious assumptions when you enter a new country, region, or market, because it helps you develop an objective view of this new environment.

Take the time to think about the future of your business and how ready it is for situations that might arise in the next 12 months. If this sounds too daunting and you’d like some help, get in touch and we can guide you through the process of creating plans for the future success of your business. Call Jonathan Lane on 07503 891 331 or Patrick Doyle on 07425 150 238, or click here to email us to find out how we can help you.

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