Businesses do not operate in a vacuum; they operate in an environment. In this lesson, you’ll learn about the business environment, including what makes it up. A short quiz follows the lesson.
Business Environment Defined
Business environment is the sum total of all external and internal factors that influence a business. You should keep in mind that external factors and internal factors can influence each other and work together to affect a business. For example, a health and safety regulation is an external factor that influences the internal environment of business operations. Additionally, some external factors are beyond your control. These factors are often called external constraints. Let’s take a look at some key environmental factors.
Political factors are governmental activities and political conditions that may affect your business. Examples include laws, regulations, tariffs and other trade barriers, war, and social unrest.
Macroeconomic factors are factors that affect the entire economy, not just your business. Examples include things like interest rates, unemployment rates, currency exchange rates, consumer confidence, consumer discretionary income, consumer savings rates, recessions, and depressions.
Microeconomic factors are factors that can affect your business, such as market size, demand, supply, relationships with suppliers and your distribution chain, such as retail stores that sell your products, and the number and strength of your competition.
Social factors are basically sociological factors related to general society and social relations that affect your business. Social factors include social movements, such as environmental movements, as well as changes in fashion and consumer preferences. For example, clothing fashions change with the season, and there is a current trend towards green construction and organic foods.
Technological factors are technological innovations that can either benefit or hurt your business. Some technological innovations can increase your productivity and profit margins, such as computer software and automated production. On the other hand, some technological innovations pose an existential threat to a business, such as Internet streaming challenging the DVD rental business.
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