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SWOT and PEST analysis

Plan to Succeed

When we come up with an idea, it is with the assumption that it will succeed. We put a lot of energy into what the idea can be. We may have a lot of fun coming up with how the idea will solve a problem at hand, and may be several others. It is an exciting time when we make these ideas. The time can be on a night out with friends, on a long train journey, or even a quiet time after a large meal. It gets more serious when someone actually starts to write some things down, but it can still be fun. That is because we talk from the point of view that it succeeds.

Other times, we may be having a session to come up with ideas to solve a specific need. This need may even be a crisis. The discussion has more stress to it, but when it gets to a point of a possible solution, the energy can be just as high. At some point, someone will start writing down the details of this new idea.

Analyse It

What do we do with this new idea? How do we make it work in practice? We plan. The initial session that came up with the idea would be the start of this planning process. Next, we need to check out its viability. Many look at this as a test to whether the idea will succeed or not. That is only part of the story. It is really a test on how to make it succeed.

The main difference to success and failure of an idea is planning. Some claimed their businesses failed for lack of money. At the same time, businesses with less money succeeded. The ones with less money planned carefully on how to spend their money, knowing they had to in order to succeed. The ones with more would work from an assumption that they could always get more money, until their investors had no more to give.

Google started by using inexpensive computers from the failures of other high-tech businesses around them. The investment they first received went into the bank and stayed there, until they worked out a sensible plan to use it.

This analysis might start with a simple list of things working for and against the idea. If the list of things against the idea becomes long, compared to the list of things for the idea, it would be easy to assume the idea would fail. That would be unfortunate, if it turned out that many of the items against are within the control of the people working on the idea. The idea might succeed quite well, with those items made into advantages.

Find a Way to Make It Work

So, how many of these items are under the business’s control? Are there mitigating circumstances to these items that, if corrected, allow the project to succeed? How exposed are these items to the outside (such as political, economic, social or technological)?

A project will have several factors, such as interest rates, market issues, sources of materials, and the availability of staff. Each of these will have characteristics, such as helpfulness, position of control (internal or external), outside exposure, and mitigating circumstances.

For example, the people working on the project may not know a new, but easy to learn, skill for the project. That they do not know it is a bad thing. That it is new and easy to learn make it easy to change. Once they learning it, it becomes a helpful unique selling point (a good thing).

We can find answers to these questions with a SWOT analysis and a PEST analysis.

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