Many firms review their market using the opportunities and threats framework. This will work if you filter out the red herrings, leaving the important issues.
Be strict and concentrate on those with the greatest effect on your business.
Use these questions to identify what is important:
- What are the big changes in the external environment for the next three to five years?
- Which parts of government policy will influence what you do or what you advise upon?
- How will they affect your business?
- Which ones worry you most?
- Are there any show-stoppers that could prevent you from trading?
- How certain are you that these changes will happen?
- If the picture is unclear, what is your working assumption?
- Where are the greatest opportunities?
Make sure you include:
- Economic changes, both national and international
- Political change – particularly policies influencing the advice market
- Social trends. These are often long term but shape market direction including ageing population, inheritance monies, attitude to investing
- Regulatory and legal change. This always presents both opportunities and threats and will always be significant
- Technological change including client use of technology, the affect upon competitors and operational productivity
- Competitors – both now and in the future
David Shelton is the author of “The Business of Advice” book and website www.businessofadvice.co.uk