What is a PEST analysis?
A PEST analysis is a strategic business tool used by organizations to discover, evaluate, organize, and track macro-economic factors which can impact on their business now and in the future.
The framework examines opportunities and threats due to Political, Economic, Social, and Technological forces. Outputs from the analysis inform strategic planning processes and contribute to market research.
There are many variations of this framework, which look at different external factors, depending on which industry or market the organization operates in. Examples include PESTLE, STEEPLE, STEER, and STEEP.
Why do a PEST analysis?
- Helps to evaluate how your strategy fits into the broader environment and encourages strategic thinking
- Provides an overview of all the crucial external influences on the organization
- Supports more decisive and knowledgeable decision making
- Assists planning, marketing, organizational change initiatives, business and product development, project management, and research papers
Who should use a PEST analysis?
A PEST analysis is useful for any organization that needs to gauge current and future markets. Predominantly, this is conducted by senior management, C-levels for strategic planning purposes. External agencies, bodies, stakeholders and decision makers who may have perspectives as well as consultants and parters can also offer valuable insights into the PEST analysis.
The significance of each area in PEST Analysis will vary for different industry sectors. For example, there is likely to be a different emphasis on the technology element for IT organizations compared with those involved in health, tourism, mining, defense, and banking.
PEST analysis template
Government policy, political stability or instability, bureaucracy, corruption, competition regulation, foreign trade policy, tax policy, trade restrictions, labor/environmental/copyright/consumer protection laws, funding grants & initiatives, etc.
Questions to ask:
- What government policies or political groups could be beneficial or detrimental to our success?
- Is the political environment stable or likely to change?
Attitudes and shared beliefs about a range of factors including money, customer service, imports, religion, cultural taboos, health, work, leisure, the environment; population growth and demographics, immigration/emigration, family size/structure, lifestyle trends, etc.
Questions to ask
- How do our customer’s beliefs and values influence their buying habits?
- How do cultural trends and human behavior play a role in our business?
Economic trends, growth rates, industry growth, seasonal factors, international exchange rates, International trade, labor costs, consumer disposable income, unemployment rates, taxation, inflation, interest rates, availability of credit, monetary policies, raw material costs, etc.
Questions to ask:
- What economic factors will affect us moving forward?
- How does the performance of the economy affect us at the moment?
- How are our pricing, revenues, and costs impacted by each economic factor?
Technology and communications infrastructure, legislation around technology, consumer access to technology, competitor technology and development, emerging technologies, automation, research and innovation, intellectual property regulation, technology incentives, etc.
Questions to ask:
- What technological advancements and innovations are available on the horizon?
- How will this technology impact on our operations?
How to do a PEST analysis
Tip To get the most from the PEST technique, gather input from the participants with different perspectives. When you’re working with a large or distributed team, getting everyone together at the same time can be difficult, inconvenient, and costly. Using different technologies like video conferencing, online forms, and collaborative brainstorming software such as GroupMap can help overcome these challenges.
Brainstorm ideas for each area of the PEST analysis template
Review responses, and collate ideas.
Rate the ideas according to likely impact on the organization.
Share the outcomes of the session to relevant stakeholders.
Brainstorm ideas related to the four PEST factors – Political, Economic, Social, and Technological. You can do the initial brainstorming as one large group or break out into smaller units and then merge the contributions to get an overview.
Online collaboration tools like GroupMap significantly reduce the amount of resources required to combine independent lists. They also make organizing and prioritizing the ideas faster and more straightforward, thus providing savings in time and effort over traditional brainstorming tools such as a whiteboard or post-it notes.
Save effort, time and money with GroupMap
Whether you have your best minds together in the same room, or distributed around the world, GroupMap’s unique technology allows groups of up to 2000 to submit ideas independently at separate times, from different places, in different timezones. Prevent dominant personalities swaying the group, drowning out the opinions of others – GroupMap allows everyone to brainstorm independently then effortlessly combines that information to reveal the full spectrum of ideas. GroupMap templates keep the objective front and center throughout the session, keeping everyone on task. This ensures the activity identifies actionable issues rather than becoming just a discussion on ideas. GroupMap gives you all the group decision making tools you need to prioritize, decide and take action.
Create your first map and invite people in to start sharing their thoughts right NOW. Experience the power of GroupMap with our 14-day, no risk, FREE trial. You don’t even need to provide your credit card details to access to all of our features, including the entire suite of templates, for a full 14 days.