Business Policy Module 4 - Introduction to Macro-environment Analysis (P.E.S.T. Analysis)

Understanding the macro-environment is an essential part of performing a solid external audit as part of a strategic analysis. Also known as PEST analysis, it looks at the Political/Legal, Economic, Socio-cultural and Technological domains. (Some scholars might refer to this as P.E.S.T.L.E. analysis-Political, Economic, Socio-cultural, Technological, Legal, Environmental.)

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    PEST Analysis - Overview 1

    Identifying "Big Picture" Opportunities and Threats Changes in your business environment can create great opportunities for your organization - and cause significant threats. For example, opportunities can come from new technologies that help you reach new customers, from new funding streams that allow you to invest in better equipment, and from changed government policies that open up new markets.

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    PEST Analysis

    Political, Economic, Social, and Technological components of the macro-environment.

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    PESTLE Analysis - An Expansion of PEST

    PESTLE Analysis takes the PEST components and adds Legal and Environment (natural).

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    List of 16 Major Leading & Lagging Economic Indicators

    This is a list of major factors for you to research in putting together the economic portion of your PEST analysis. This is only a list--you will need to research the indicators as to how they affect your firm.

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    Bureau of Labor Demographics Page

    A great collection of demographic data by the Bureau of Labor. Also includes: geographic profile, consumer spending and time use data. Demographic categories used by BLS include sex, age, race, and ethnic origin.

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    ZIPskinny - Get the Skinny on that ZIP (demographics by ZIP Code)

    What a great tool! This site compares demographics of ZIP codes in your area. Look at unemployment, education, marriage rates, poverty, etc.

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    Great app for aggregating and interpreting Census data.

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    U.S. Census Bureau Map

    Interactive map to access 2010 Census and business data. Great launching point for the entire set of Census tools.

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    This is an excellent article about what comprises psychographics. Note that this area and demographics are related but not the same thing.

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    What Are the Government Regulations for a Small Business?

    All businesses in the U.S. must comply with state and federal regulations set in motion by governing bodies. This is a brief listing of the laws that apply to most businesses.

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    5 New Laws Affecting Businesses

    With so much on their plates, it can be hard for small business owners to keep abreast of how new laws affect them. Paychex, Inc., a provider of payroll, human resource, insurance and benefits solutions for small- and medium-size businesses, believes there are five key regulatory issues entrepreneurs should be aware of this summer: health care reform, immigration reform, the Defense of Marriage Act, online sales tax and employment regulation.

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