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Entrepreneurship – from ideas to reality
Entrepreneurship – from ideas to reality

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1 An environmental scan

Image of burning meteor travelling towards Earth.
Figure 1 Are there challenges heading your way?

When starting an enterprise, it makes sense to firstly scan the external environment to see where there could be either forthcoming threats or opportunities that could impact on the timing of your decision to launch or whether to go into a market. You should also consider the nature of competition within markets and make an assessment of whether one market is more attractive than others.

One well-known example to help remember these environmental scans is through the acronym STEEPLE.

An image of building blocks spelling out the acronym STEEPLE
Figure 2 STEEPLE

When looking at these various elements, you should consider the factors within them that are the most dominant for your circumstances or, in other words, have the greatest potential to provide opportunities or represent threats. For example, social factors might include an ageing society or a low birth rate. Thinking back to Session 3, what implications would this have for SAGA – who target the older population – in the short and longer term? And what about for a baby food manufacturer?

Political factors might be policy changes, including nationalisation or large infrastructure projects. Under legal you might consider regulation and, for economic, trends in employment or perhaps a change in taxation. Environmental, technological and ethical factors are more self-explanatory. The main thing is to understand the rate of change and the extent of impact on your sector and market.