Reporting Software For Today’s Business Environment

One of the latest tools that has become available for today’s business managers is what is commonly referred to a reporting software. So, what exactly is reporting software and what does it do? Also, while it may be applicable to other businesses is it in fact applicable to yours?

Many Variations of Reporting Software

The fact, is that reporting software is available in several variations and is used for any of a number of purposes. In short, what it does is take raw data and convert it into an easy to comprehend format. At the same time it simplifies or refines this same data to make it far more easy to use.

Growth Brings Increased Potential for Losses

Unfortunately, as a business grows the financing of its operations can tend to spiderweb out in several directions. It’s just something that has become to be expected and accepted. Thus the margin for losses also tends to expand as well with growth.

Detecting Theft and Fraud

Reporting software allows a business to keep a tighter grip on their expenditures during these periods of growth, thus minimizing these expected losses. For instance, losses through theft or fraud can be far more easily and quickly detected with today’s modern reporting software.

Piles of Data Instantly Converted into Visual Format

One of the main reasons that reporting software makes managing a businesses expenses so much easier is that it instantly converts raw numbers and data into easy to understand charts and graphs. This is turn makes side by side comparisons a snap. Of course this in turn can make relevant correlations so much easier to see.

Quicker and Easier Information Management

No need for an accountant to crunch numbers and explain irregularities when they can be plainly seen on a simple bar chart. Also, subtle trends become not so subtle when they are laid out in plain sight on a line graph. In today’s business environment information is power and reporting software makes processing and managing information much quicker and easier.

Management Rights – A Combination of Home and Business Environment

What are Management Rights?

This is simply defined as having a home with an income, at least, that is the simplest way to define it. There are definitely other more complicated definitions than this, but they are difficult to comprehend, as yours truly found out too late.

For the sake of simplicity, the home becomes an investment, not a dead asset. It is the combining of investment funds return, a mixed home and business environment as well as making it easier for someone to achieve a certain level of lifestyle. People have opted for this business opportunity when they find themselves caught in between retiring and wanting to stay active and at the same time gaining an income. This type of lifestyle/income generating opportunity that is great for those who want to stay at home in a location that is both beautiful and relaxing.

How it Works…

This is an occupation that can give the homeowner of a property, that is, within a community building complex, the opportunity to become a custodian (or a property management job) and to engage a leasing or rental business with units amidst the property for the sake of the non-resident proprietors. (There are some states that require licensing or certifications before any applications can be considered.) They can live as a resident within the complex, be a caretaker of the common property, be a rental agent for either a permanent rent or a short term rent.

Management Rights for sale can be purchased. The contracts are different from one building to the next, but there are times when all the rights are within one contract. There are other cases where the caretaking and the leasing/renting are carried on separately. Upon purchase, the individual takes a transfer or an assignment of the rights under the agreements from the developer or from the outgoing caretaker. They usually get a manager’s unit, the right to use an office space that is not within the manager’s unit, and they get the instruments and tools needed to run the business and do the caretaking tasks.

The position of the manager is the most significant within the complex and yet they are also the ‘retainer,’ should be in regular communication with the other tenants and owners, on-site most of the time and exercise the leadership qualities that should benefit the complex and everyone in a positive way.

The Importance Of A Disaster Recovery Plan In Business Environments

A disaster recovery plan is a detailed plan that is designed to outline how a business will recover from an unexpected event that causes costly losses. By developing an effective plan, businesses can restore the business’s ability to operate by recovering from the initial loss and resuming normal operations. While a business owner hopes that a disaster or catastrophic loss never happens to them, everyone should have a plan in force in case it does. US Department of Labor studies show that virtually 40 percent of all businesses who experience a disaster never re-open. Do not become a part of this statistic and understand the importance of a disaster recovery plan in business environments.

Crises and disasters that can affect your business operations can include theft, fire, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, power failure, Internet failure, hazardous material leaks and spills, security breaches, terrorist attacks, and computer hacker attacks. While the severity of each of these risks will vary, each exposure can close your business doors for good if you do not have an effective and comprehensive recovery and resumption plan in force. While not all of these risks can affect your business, you must plan for each risk you are vulnerable to.

While developing a recovery plan make take a lot of time and effort, once you have developed a successful plan you will ensure the continuity of leadership throughout the organization by relocating or repairing the damage that has been done in a reasonable time frame. You should outline realistic time frames on when facilities, records, assets, records and computer systems should be restored so that you know you are on track for business resumption. While some of the common disasters that occur today are preventable, it is important to develop a plan for every uncertainty.

The three primary goals of all disaster recovery plans that should include reducing the potential for injuries and physical damage to properties and records; stabilizing the effects of the disaster by beginning recovery efforts; and implementing the right procedures depending on the type of disaster that has occurred. While business insurance will pay for damages and loss to the corporation, re-opening your business and resuming operations requires planning. Assign individuals and committees responsible for implementing and following the recovery plan. Also, it is important to be sure that your business is not permanently closed because you failed to plan ahead of time for unexpected losses.

Changing Business Environments Require Organizational Change

Who Needs Who?

Many long-accepted concepts by which people still manage their businesses and their careers died several decades ago. These concepts live on as myths. Those of us who continue to live by them can hurt themselves and their interests very seriously. The micro-case which follows will help clarify the point I want to make.

Says the young ambitious professional to the boss: “I am not sure it is the best approach to solving this particular problem.”

Says the boss to the young professional: “Remember that I own this company. If you don’t like the way I do things, you can go elsewhere.”

Young Professional: “I don’t mean to offend, but I thought I was fully responsible for this project. I have been researching it for the past year and have also been working on different applications.”

Boss: “Fine, fine, I know that you are working and all that, but now there is something much more urgent for you to attend to.”

Young professional: “But…”

Boss: “No buts about it! I just told you what is expected of you!”

This dialog demonstrates several levels of dysfunction:

Neither of the speakers really listens to the other.
Each of them sticks to an agenda regardless of the input from the other side.
Each speaker assumes an invincible position: “I have the upper hand and can’t be beaten.”
The young professional assumes that his project is an end in itself.
The boss assumes that he knows best.
Both accept seniority and patriarchy as a measure of relative status.
Both underestimate the impact of constant and continuous change on business development.

Let us look at each point in turn. Although the speakers have heard and understood the meaning of the words uttered by the other neither of them has heard the underlying and most important message being communicated by the other. The boss is saying that something new has changed in the circumstances and rapid adjustments are called for. The young professional is saying that he has become so attached to what he is doing that he would hate to do anything different. Neither recognizes the other’s needs for support and understanding.

Each of the speakers has a unique vantage point. From that particular perspective their individual positions seem to be fully justified in their own minds. Neither of them has communicated to the other the rationale for changing or not changing the present course of action. Such an exchange of views could have resulted in one party being convinced of the other’s point of view or the emergence of a completely different solution resulting from a synthesis of views. In such a case both sides would feel less hostile about the necessary change in action.

Each of the speakers addresses the other as if he/she is in a superior position. Surely the boss has privileged information that it may not always be appropriate to disclose completely. However the boss can speak to the young professional in a tone and manner that recognizes the professional as an adult who is making a significant contribution to company development. The young professional speaks with the arrogance of someone who feels that his/her expertise is somehow indispensable. The truth is that they both need each other: the boss provides resources that the professional may not have been able to access independently and the professional provides expertise that the boss may not possess.

The young professional acts as if the project at hand is the most important thing to the company. It may be important, but such an attitude reveals a perspective limited to immediate operations and disconnected from the larger environmental picture or the strategic considerations for long-term survival.

The boss assumes he/she knows best. That may be so, but people get very much further with young professionals if enough information is shared to demonstrate the more global vision of conditions and expertise in making business judgments. Such behavior would enable the boss to lead through credibility instead of coercion.

Both speakers act as if seniority and patriarchy are the norm for defining relative status. The boss is not shy about displaying his power and the young professional acknowledges this power by retreating into a more conciliatory mode of communication when he/she hears the uncompromising tone of the boss.

Finally, both underestimate the need for a high level of flexibility in today’s business management approach. Whether we like it or not, contemporary business is driven by technology, by massive amounts of specialized knowledge, by high-speed global information transfer and by gigantic financial conglomerates and economic alliances which supersede government and political constraints. The days of the slow-moving, bureaucratic hierarchy are long gone. Today’s businesses have to be lean, responsive, collaborative, dynamic and supremely flexible.

To sum up, I will point out a number of changes that will affect both employers and employees. The business environment has become so complex that there is no room for an “I know best” attitude. Sound business decisions are the work of dynamic multi-disciplinary management teams. Seniority is important only from the perspective of mature judgment and credibility.

The accumulation of knowledge and experience are valuable only if they are combined with continuous learning and development because of the high degree of obsolescence in the knowledge-base and technology of so many fields. No one can afford to be comfortable in a life-time job or area of specialization. The pace of innovation and global competition imposes a stance of unceasing proactivity and creativity.

Collaboration and team work are the hallmarks of the future because there will be so much information that needs to be shared and exchanged in order to make sound decisions, develop new ideas and compete effectively on global markets. The power of human intelligence and creativity, multiplied to the utmost by the synergy of team work to produce innovative solutions to a steady stream of new and constantly evolving circumstances is going to be the most important competitive advantage in the coming decades. We need radical changes in our attitudes to business relationships, ownership and the significance of wealth if we are to emerge as successful business leaders in the years to come.

Who needs who? The days of the one-man show are numbered. Only dwarf-sized businesses can be run on the basis of, “I am everything here.”

Fay Niewiadomski founded ICTN (International Consulting & Training Network) in 1993. ICTN provides complete management services to its clients who are among the leading regional and multinational players. Furthermore, she has worked with CEOs, Board Members, Presidents and Ministers of Government and other Leaders to help them meet the challenges of change within their organizations through creative problem solving, management interventions and powerful communication strategies. Prior to founding ICTN, she researched the subject of “Managing Change through Needs-Based Assessment’ in large Lebanese Organizations” for her doctoral work at the University of East Anglia in the UK. Additionally, she also held various university positions as a professor at AUB and LAU and as Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at NDU.

Changing Business Environments Require Organizational Change

Who Needs Who?

Many long-accepted concepts by which people still manage their businesses and their careers died several decades ago. These concepts live on as myths. Those of us who continue to live by them can hurt themselves and their interests very seriously. The micro-case which follows will help clarify the point I want to make.

Says the young ambitious professional to the boss: “I am not sure it is the best approach to solving this particular problem.”

Says the boss to the young professional: “Remember that I own this company. If you don’t like the way I do things, you can go elsewhere.”

Young Professional: “I don’t mean to offend, but I thought I was fully responsible for this project. I have been researching it for the past year and have also been working on different applications.”

Boss: “Fine, fine, I know that you are working and all that, but now there is something much more urgent for you to attend to.”

Young professional: “But…”

Boss: “No buts about it! I just told you what is expected of you!”

This dialog demonstrates several levels of dysfunction:

Neither of the speakers really listens to the other.
Each of them sticks to an agenda regardless of the input from the other side.
Each speaker assumes an invincible position: “I have the upper hand and can’t be beaten.”
The young professional assumes that his project is an end in itself.
The boss assumes that he knows best.
Both accept seniority and patriarchy as a measure of relative status.
Both underestimate the impact of constant and continuous change on business development.

Let us look at each point in turn. Although the speakers have heard and understood the meaning of the words uttered by the other neither of them has heard the underlying and most important message being communicated by the other. The boss is saying that something new has changed in the circumstances and rapid adjustments are called for. The young professional is saying that he has become so attached to what he is doing that he would hate to do anything different. Neither recognizes the other’s needs for support and understanding.

Each of the speakers has a unique vantage point. From that particular perspective their individual positions seem to be fully justified in their own minds. Neither of them has communicated to the other the rationale for changing or not changing the present course of action. Such an exchange of views could have resulted in one party being convinced of the other’s point of view or the emergence of a completely different solution resulting from a synthesis of views. In such a case both sides would feel less hostile about the necessary change in action.

Each of the speakers addresses the other as if he/she is in a superior position. Surely the boss has privileged information that it may not always be appropriate to disclose completely. However the boss can speak to the young professional in a tone and manner that recognizes the professional as an adult who is making a significant contribution to company development. The young professional speaks with the arrogance of someone who feels that his/her expertise is somehow indispensable. The truth is that they both need each other: the boss provides resources that the professional may not have been able to access independently and the professional provides expertise that the boss may not possess.

The young professional acts as if the project at hand is the most important thing to the company. It may be important, but such an attitude reveals a perspective limited to immediate operations and disconnected from the larger environmental picture or the strategic considerations for long-term survival.

The boss assumes he/she knows best. That may be so, but people get very much further with young professionals if enough information is shared to demonstrate the more global vision of conditions and expertise in making business judgments. Such behavior would enable the boss to lead through credibility instead of coercion.

Both speakers act as if seniority and patriarchy are the norm for defining relative status. The boss is not shy about displaying his power and the young professional acknowledges this power by retreating into a more conciliatory mode of communication when he/she hears the uncompromising tone of the boss.

Finally, both underestimate the need for a high level of flexibility in today’s business management approach. Whether we like it or not, contemporary business is driven by technology, by massive amounts of specialized knowledge, by high-speed global information transfer and by gigantic financial conglomerates and economic alliances which supersede government and political constraints. The days of the slow-moving, bureaucratic hierarchy are long gone. Today’s businesses have to be lean, responsive, collaborative, dynamic and supremely flexible.

To sum up, I will point out a number of changes that will affect both employers and employees. The business environment has become so complex that there is no room for an “I know best” attitude. Sound business decisions are the work of dynamic multi-disciplinary management teams. Seniority is important only from the perspective of mature judgment and credibility.

The accumulation of knowledge and experience are valuable only if they are combined with continuous learning and development because of the high degree of obsolescence in the knowledge-base and technology of so many fields. No one can afford to be comfortable in a life-time job or area of specialization. The pace of innovation and global competition imposes a stance of unceasing proactivity and creativity.

Collaboration and team work are the hallmarks of the future because there will be so much information that needs to be shared and exchanged in order to make sound decisions, develop new ideas and compete effectively on global markets. The power of human intelligence and creativity, multiplied to the utmost by the synergy of team work to produce innovative solutions to a steady stream of new and constantly evolving circumstances is going to be the most important competitive advantage in the coming decades. We need radical changes in our attitudes to business relationships, ownership and the significance of wealth if we are to emerge as successful business leaders in the years to come.

Who needs who? The days of the one-man show are numbered. Only dwarf-sized businesses can be run on the basis of, “I am everything here.”

Fay Niewiadomski founded ICTN (International Consulting & Training Network) in 1993. ICTN provides complete management services to its clients who are among the leading regional and multinational players. Furthermore, she has worked with CEOs, Board Members, Presidents and Ministers of Government and other Leaders to help them meet the challenges of change within their organizations through creative problem solving, management interventions and powerful communication strategies. Prior to founding ICTN, she researched the subject of “Managing Change through Needs-Based Assessment’ in large Lebanese Organizations” for her doctoral work at the University of East Anglia in the UK. Additionally, she also held various university positions as a professor at AUB and LAU and as Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at NDU.

Why Marketing And Consulting Go Hand In Hand In Today’s Business Environment

The Internet is rapidly changing the way business is done today. Even businesses that have relied on referrals and standard advertising practices are starting to make changes in how they run their business.

Today marketing and consulting are an extremely important part of the overall success equation. Let’s take a look at why marketing and consulting go hand in hand and suit how successful businesses are utilizing both.

Most business owners do not really understand how Internet marketing works. This is where a good consultant can make a huge difference in their business.

Marketing a business on the Internet is different than marketing in the newspaper or on the radio. Although the goals are the same, how you get to them is different. For example here is a few things that you must have today that a consultant can help you with marketing your business online.

1. Your own company website. Every business should have one of these if nothing else because there is a good chance their competitors already have one. Without a website you stand to lose existing customers and potential ones as well.

2. A lead capture form leading to an autoresponder. An autoresponder is an automatic way to send e-mail. It is also an excellent place to store customer contact information for quick follow-up.

3. A company newsletter. The days of mailing your newsletter out via snail mail are over. Your autoresponder now makes it easy to quickly send out a newsletter with the click of one button. And you can customize it with your logo to really make a fantastic impression.

4. Search engine optimization based around longtail keyword phrases. You can localize your phrases to include the type of business that you have, where you are located, and so on.

5. Many pages of fresh content. Your content is added based around the specific longtail phrases that you target.

6. Possibly even a blog to keep your customers current on what is going on with your business.

Most business owners do not have the time or the knowledge to handle these sorts of things. This is especially true for small business owners who are the jack of all trades and the masters of none.

When you throw in words like search engine optimization and autoresponder they are immediately looking for someone to help them. This is where a consulting and marketing expert can really pay dividends.

This should give you a few ideas on why marketing and consulting to go hand-in-hand in today’s business environment. Nobody can handle everything on their own today.

How to Improve the Business Environment

The concept of social legitimacy is based on the premise that business relationships between a company and a particular stakeholder will not irresponsibly damage the legitimate interests of other stakeholders. Legitimate is used in a broader sense than legal. It implies an entitlement which is recognized by others as correct.

Justification

Justification means that the action is acceptable to both affected and interested parties. Very often the affected party is being overlooked.

Confidentiality

Despite the need for openness, in some areas, such as customer data, employee data, citizen data and others, confidentiality is crucial. It is a source of added value to these groups.

Sincerity

Sincerity excludes pretending and leads to doing what is right, not only is what dutiful. It covers also honesty, respect for others and adherence to promises.

The importance of the above mentioned pillars is interrelated and changing in different situations. Within the democratic and market reforms in post-totalitarian countries, these pillars themselves are being built / re-built. In the transition and adjustment periods, there may be tensions or even conflicts among individuals pillars. The most problematic relations are between legality, legitimacy and justification. We may assume that the reconstruction of the entire legal system and functioning of courts is at the core of this disharmony.

Responsibility (accountability) is another related concept which needs further specification. In the context of building the national integrity system we are not concerned with the so called causal responsibility which may be characterized as a relation between one event and another when the former causes or helps cause the latter. We should focus on moral (personal or collective) responsibility when ones role is defined by virtue of moral, legal or some other sort of rules. In business ethics debate, a considerable attention has been paid to the problem whether collectives such as nations or formal organizations may bear responsibility. There are some very influential critiques of collective/corporate responsibility arguing that corporations and other formal organizations are at best legal but not moral entities. They can be held legally liable, but only human beings have moral responsibility. Among the main arguments for the existence of corporate responsibilities the following ones can be mentioned: A firm (an organization) is qualitatively different from an individual and other entity such as community or country. Since the organization makes decisions and takes actions, it can be qualified as an actor. Its actions affect people, and these actions can be evaluated from a moral point of view. A company or organization is capable of moral behaviour and, therefore, has a moral responsibility.

The Federal Sentencing Guidelines adopted in the U.S. A. in 1991 represent an important input into this debate and especially in the cultivation of business practices. This model of good corporate citizenship is designed on the basis of compliance approach and stresses the concept of due diligence. It requires companies set up compliance standards to be followed (communicated, trained, enforced sanctioned).

Personal, as well as collective, responsibility requires two conditions: freedom and intention (awareness of the moral character of an action). Basically, responsibility involves three components: the subject who bears responsibility that cannot be completely determined by rules and laws; for what the subject is responsible (the spheres of responsibility); and the authority to whom the subject is accountable. We have to go further and try to evaluate the degree of responsibility or the kind of the ethical challenge involved. It is suggested in the business ethics literature to distinguish between minimal ethical requirements, positive obligations beyond the minimum, and aspirations for ethical ideals. The first degree includes basic ethical norms such as do not kill, not rob, not exploit, etc. Going further means that it is becoming more and more difficult to find consensus than in the first case. Here is a broad space of freedom and inspiration companies (acting with integrity) can use to define their mission, build their culture and reputation.

From a very vague concept of social responsibility of the whole system, where it was hard to find concrete bearers of this responsibility, and to define their responsibility in a totalitarian regime (the condition of freedom was not fulfilled), which by its behavior in fact discredited the idea of social responsibility, at present we find ourselves in a very different environment. With democratization of our societies and market of the economies, new actors have emerged. They play various roles in the economy, and have also various interests. Consequently, companies and other organizations in this new system have to deal with various new stakeholders (mainly shareholders, management, employees, competitors, suppliers, creditors, local community where the business operates, global community). What is their responsibility towards the stakeholders? This is a crucial question which is being raised by businesses all around the developed world, and also by the academic sphere. Neither business, nor academics have fully answered this question. Moreover, there is not a consensus on the stakeholders’ model itself (in some perceptions, only shareholders are important). I would like to even broaden this problem and to interpret it in the political and economic context of emerging market economies. The identification of various responsibilities from both sides could help to improve the business environment and even to clarify some basic concepts or categories of the market system.

Non Slip Flooring in the Business Environment

Having a grand tiled entrance hall can certainly provide your business with a level of sophistication. The only problem is that this type of flooring can often be slippery even without water spills. To avoid accidents from happening you need to know about non slip flooring in the business environment.

The sad reality is that people will sue for almost anything these days. Protecting your business from law suits needs to be one of your main priorities. If you have not taken the precautionary measures to provide a safe working environment for both your employees and clients you could face some problems. The best way to avoid accidents from small slips to major falls, while still having the flooring of your choice is to understand about non slip solutions. There are a variety of different options that will not make you give up on the aesthetics you want for your building.

At first non slip flooring was associated to laminated or vinyl tiling. These types of flooring were able to provide safe and slip free surfaces but were not always the most attractive. As businesses evolved to take more care in the way in which they presented themselves, interior design became important. Laminated or vinyl tiling would not always give off the right impression and was considered to look cheap by some people. Therefore, it was necessary to find a new solution to create slip free surfaces without using these options. This is where the non slip solution comes in. This solution was developed so that you were able to have the floor of your dreams without compromising on your interior design choices. The solution can be placed on almost all materials, including a number of different tiles. You can easily have the grand granite or marble tiled entrance hall for your business without worrying about people slipping and falling. You will be able to avoid law suits and the risk of getting sued for negligence by simply putting this system in place.

How does the non slip solution work? There are two options when choosing the non slip solution, DIY or hire the professionals. The DIY solution is better for smaller areas and is applied in the same manner as the normal solution. If you need a wide area covered than it is best to hire the professionals. The solution will be applied as quickly as possible, it dries completely clear which is why it is possible to put it on a number of different surfaces. It does not leave any residue and will provide you with non slip surfaces for a minimum of 5 years. With the careful maintenance of the floor and the correct product you can guarantee perfect surfaces for your business.

Business Environment and the Entrepreneurship

Everywhere you turn nowadays, you always hear about venturing into entrepreneurship. But what is entrepreneurship exactly? It is actually defined as the process wherein a group or an individual makes an effort to pursue opportunities to satisfy needs and wants through uniqueness and innovation. Some people have the misconception that entrepreneurs are gamblers in the sense that they take risks and invest in industries that have no record of success. However, the truth is, these entrepreneurs take calculated risks that have the potential to provide them with huge returns.

The key factors you need to remember about entrepreneurship are opportunities, innovation, and growth. An entrepreneur sees opportunities in environmental trends and changes that nobody has seen before and pursues this opportunity with whatever resources he has at hand. The second theme in entrepreneurship is innovation which involves transforming and revolutionizing existing products or services to cope up with the changing global environment.
The third theme is growth; this involves the continual efforts of an entrepreneur to expand his business locally and internationally. An entrepreneur is on the constant look out on how to create new approaches to make his business grow and become a huge success.

These themes are the key factors which businesses are founded upon. The largest corporations you find today did not start out big, rather they started out as small enterprises by visionaries who want more than what is offered to them. You can see from the history of some of the most successful business today that the founders of these businesses have taken great leaps of faith and incredible amounts of risks in order to be what they are today. Wherever you turn, you see the results of entrepreneurship. But it is most obvious in internet commerce because this is a new industry. People that were unheard of before are becoming some of the riches names in the world and it is all because they have taken risks and have succeeded. So whether we realize it or not, it is the entrepreneurs who drive the global environment nowadays. They are the ones who are always seeking out opportunities and taking risks to improve our world and profit from it in return.

The business environment and even the technological advancements that are available today would not have been possible if these entrepreneurs did not come out of their comfort zone to invest in the development of these businesses. As you can see, having the entrepreneurial spirit is definitely necessary for businesses to reach greater heights and provide better and faster products and services to their clients. It is no wonder then that a lot of business enterprises are hiring young and dynamic individuals with a vision and who are not afraid to take calculated risks to ensure the survival of the business tomorrow.

To find the best home based business ideas and opportunities so you can work at home visit:

Strategy and the Business Environment

Understanding the business environment is an important concept for managers. It encapsulates many different influences and the difficulty is making sense of this complexity, which arises because many of the separate issues are interconnected. For example, think of a technological development such as IT, which changes the nature of work. This in turn, changes lifestyles which then alters consumer behaviour and purchasing patterns for many goods and services.

The macro-environment consists of broad environmental factors that impact to a greater or lesser degree on organisations. Having identified the key drivers of change from the broad data, possible scenarios can be drawn which will help the organisation to draw up its strategy.

The next layer is called an industry or sector. This is a group of organisations producing the same products or services. A useful framework for analysing an industry is Porter’s Five Forces Framework.

The layer adjacent to the organisation itself is its competitors and markets. Within most industries or sectors, there will be many different organisations with different characteristics and competing on different bases. The concept of strategic groups can help with the identification of both direct and indirect competitors. Competitor analysis allows companies to identify and understand its competitors. Furthermore, customers’ expectations are not all the same. They have a range of different requirements, which can be understood through the use of market segments and critical success factors.

The PESTEL framework is a useful tool to identify how future trends in the political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal environments might affect organisations. Examples of such influences are shown below.

· Legal:

o Competition law

o Employment law

o Health and safety

o Product safety

· Political:

o Government stability

o Taxation policy

o Foreign trade regulations

o Social welfare policies

o BREXIT

· Economic factors:

o Business cycles

o GNP trends

o Interest rates

o Money supply

o Inflation

o Unemployment

o Disposable income

· Sociocultural factors:

o Population demographics

o Income distribution

o Social mobility

o Lifestyle changes

o Attitudes to work and leisure

o Consumerism

o Levels of education

· Technological:

o Government spending on research

o Government and industry focus on technological effort

o New discoveries/developments

o Speed of technology transfer

o Rates of obsolescence

· Environmental:

o Environmental protection laws

o Waste disposal

o Energy consumption

Understanding how such factors might impact on and drive change in general is only the starting point. Managers need to understand the key drivers of change and also the differential impact of these external influences and drivers on particular industries, markets and individual organisations. It is worthwhile assessing which factors are the most important at the present time and which will be over the coming years. It is particularly important that the future impact is assessed and fully understood.

Innovation for Growth is a UK business consultancy firm which specialises in business advice in the following areas: strategy; innovation; business plans; business research; business planning; and PowerPoint slide preparation.