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Environmental Scans. Definition : An analysis and evaluation process that businesses use to understand their current environment . What environments do you scan???.

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environmental scans

Environmental Scans

Definition : An analysis and evaluation process that businesses use to understand their current environment

what environments do you scan
What environments do you scan???
  • The global environment refers to the macro-level which comprises industries, markets, companies, clients and competitors in general.
  • On the micro-level are other factors such as suppliers, vendors and local customers and competitors are analyzed within the industry analysis.

Why do one? The end product or nature of an environmental scan results in the identification of a number of broad factors and issues that will have a significant impact on businesses and their plans for the future.


The factors for businesses conducting environmental scans to identify are trends, gaps, events, developments, and issues that will impact the businesses, especially in their chosen areas.

what kind of questions should a business answer when conducting an environmental scan
What kind of questions shoulda business answer when conducting an environmental scan?
  • What is the current external environment (data and situations) of a business?
    • What are the implications of these issues for business?
  • What key forces in the business’s environment need to be addressed
    • andwhich ones are less important?

What trends and issues are affecting business?

    • What is the impact of the trends on business?
  • How might the environment change in the future?
    • How will businesses’ decisions and actions influence this environment?

How do customers, interest groups, community organizations, agencies or governments impact the environment?

    • Are there any events on the horizon to be dealt with?
  • What factors are within a business’s control and which are beyond its influence?
    • What could a business do to affect the impact of these factors?
An example of SCAN MethodologyPESTEL analysisThe six environmental factors of the PESTEL analysis are the following:
  • Political factors
    • Taxation Policy
    • Trade regulations
    • Governmental stability
    • Unemployment Policy etc.
  • Economical factors
    • Inflation rate
    • Growth in spending power
    • Rate of people in a pensionable age
    • Recession or Boom
    • Customer liquidations


    • age distribution.
    • education levels.
    • income level.
    • consumerism.
    • diet & nutrition.
    • population growth
    • life expectancies
    • Religion
  • Technological factors
    • Internet
    • E-commerce
    • Social Media

Environmental factors

    • Laws on
    • Waste disposal
    • Energy consumption
    • Pollution monitoring etc.
  • Legal factors
    • Unemployment law
    • Health and safety
    • Product safety
    • Advertising regulations
    • Product labeling
    • labor laws etc.
other factors for analysis
Other factors for analysis
  • Ecology
    • affects customer's buying habits.
    • affect the firm production process.
  • Potential supplies
    • labor supply
      • quantity of labor available.
      • quality of labor available.
    • material suppliers.
      • delivery delay.
      • level of competition to suppliers,
    • service provider.
      • special requirement.
identify possible sources students might access in conducting an environmental scan
Identify possible sources students might access in conducting an environmental scan


  • Interviews with business officers, owners, managers
  • Comments made by business officers, owners, managers
  • National and local newspapers
  • Trade publications
  • Business magazines
  • Websites: Hoover’s, Morningstar, brokerage firms, credible financial sites
  • Personal Observations
  • Research findings (county demographic & census information and state records.)
  • Input from professional organizations
the importance of environmental scanning in decision making
The importance of environmental scanning in decision making.
  • Aids in anticipating changes
  • Answers the question, “Where are we now?”
  • Provides a starting point for businesses’ planning of goals, objectives, and actions that answer the question, “Where do we want to be?”
how to start
How to Start
  • Search for local demographic and census information to find out the general age, income, educational and employment factors for the area.
  • Check out various resources for any new building or economics changes coming. This can be personal interviews or news searches.
  • Have there been any new votes or laws passed that will change business in the area?
  • Look for trends in population such as aging or new growing families for the area
next focus on your business
Next focus on YOUR business
  • Create a list of potential / available customer groups. (both major and minor.)
  • Create a list of direct competitors (both major and minor.)
  • Next create a list of businesses competing for the same customer dollars but not necessarily the same business.