Keep An Eye On The Big Picture

 “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so
regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us. “ Alexander Graham Bell

 World and local events can rapidly change the way we do things. War, political changes, weather and technology are all events that can change the way we live as individuals and families. The same applies to how we work and operate our businesses.

History can show us what has happened in the past and how these events have changed our lives, both personally and professionally.

Years ago, print media was one of the largest marketing tools that entrepreneurs used to promote and publicize their products and services.  With technological advances, we now see more and more electronic marketing initiatives replacing print advertising   Many newspapers are now dying a slow death.  If we were operating a newspaper 10 or 15 years ago, we would have needed to identify how technology would impact our business in the future.  Some newspaper publishers did just that and are fighting back by offering more compelling content and attractive advertising options, both online and offline, and some have not.

Many products come and go due to external factors. Remember the answering machine?  When did you last see one?  Perhaps in a museum.  Voicemail has made the answering machine obsolete.

When looking at the big picture, remember to factor in external forces.  These will impact our businesses, some negatively and some positively.

This is where a PEST analysis of our business steps in.

P = Political 

  • Changes in the seats of power both domestically and foreign could have an impact on what we can do.

E = Economic

  • Global and domestic finances, such as interest rates, foreign currency rates, etc., will certainly impact our lives.

S = Sociological

  • How do we associate with each other?  What has changed, what new trends are afoot.  When was the last time you actually talked to someone on the phone?

T = Technological

  • Do you sell answering machines?  Do you need to change your market due to changes in technology?  Before word processors and computers were the norm we used “white out” to correct typing errors.  We used to use typewriters.  Both products are now obsolete.  What new technologies are emerging?  How can we utilize them or develop new products/services with them?

PEST analysis is quite easy when looking back historically with 20/20 hindsight.  The challenge for us as business owners is to look forward.  How does one do this?

Keep abreast of world events in the four arenas mentioned.  First look at these from a local perspective, then nationally, then internationally.  Patterns will develop.  We don’t have a crystal ball, however, we can get a good idea of what may happen in the future and be prepared to change with the changes. To do otherwise would be to end up like a bottle of “white out,” with no typewritten pages to correct.

Looking at the big picture may uncover a new opportunities.. For every door that closes, a new one opens.  Just remember to look for it!

The Halton Region’s Small Business Centre is here to help you. For more information about Halton Region’s Small Business Centre resources and services, and how we can help direct you to the right resources, contact us at 1-866-442-5866,, or visit us at 1151 Bronte Road, Oakville.

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