In the post-industrial age, sustainability has gone on to mean environmental protection and stability in the face of everyday activities. However, having a business that is successful when you’re not actively involved in it can also point to sustainability.
These two definitions do not have to be mutually exclusive.
Businesses and nations are interdependent entities that can never do without each other. Your business or startup idea contributes to the economic strength of your country and your country can also influence the strength of your business. I say country because such geographic definition of resources is easier to measure in impact as opposed to on a global scale.
Companies like Dangote, Vodacom, Jumia, Netflix, ShopRite, IrokoTV among many others contribute to the GDP of the countries of operations. They also contribute to socio-economic development through the employment of citizens, payment of taxes and levies, corporate social responsibilities, and environmental upliftment.
According to the 1987 definition of sustainable development by the United Nations, for a business to be termed sustainable, it has to meet the needs of present generations without compromising the needs of future generations. This fits both scenarios of our opening paragraph and is usually what today’s entrepreneurs strive to achieve.
Business sustainability is ensuring that there is a management of environmental factors for ongoing success through numerous generations.
In business management, analyses like SWOT, PESTLE, and MOST are popular and effectively used by business analysts. The one closest to assessing environmental factors with, however, is PESTLE.
PESTLE stands for Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, and Environmental factors. This analysis provides you with a reasonable picture of what affects your business or industry.
How does this apply to you? What does PESTLE mean for your business? Here’s a fun exercise to assess your knowledge of your business using PESTLE;
For every question you know the answer to, give yourself one point.
You don’t have to spell the answer to each of the questions out; all you need to do is give yourself one point if you can answer each question.
Are you ready?
1 How does political stability affect your business?
2 What are the foreign trade policies in your country?
3 Do they have at your business in any way?
4 What are the tax policies that affect your business?
5 What are the interest rates of one of the financial institutions your company/business uses?
6 What has been the percentage of economic growth of your country in the past 12 months?
7 What has been your country’s inflation rate in the past 12 months?
8 How much is the cost of hiring and retaining staff in your company for one fiscal year?
9 How many businesses have opened in your industry within your locality in the past 6 months?
10 What has been your country’s population growth since the start of your business?
11 What is the age distribution of your country’s population currently?
12 What is the projected age distribution of your country’s population in the next 5 to 20 years?
13 What are the common cultural views that affect your business or have affected it in the past?
14 What do your customers think about your products or services?
15 How do your staff behave at work?
16 How often do you change your staff?
17 What new technologies exist that can improve your business?
18 What technologies have been futile in your business before now?
19 What products in your business name copyright and/or patent?
20 How best can your products be produced, marketed, and distributed?
21 Is there any research being done in the area of your business?
22 What employment laws do you know?
23 What regulation laws protect your customers?
24 How do weather and climate affect your business?
25 What affects the availability of your raw materials?
How many of these could you answer without Google?
If you scored 20-25 points, you have crossed the first step to building a sustainable business – Knowing your business like the back of your hand
If you scored 10-19 points, there is room for a better understanding of your business environment.
If you are between 0-9 points, you may not know as much as you thought about your business. What can you do differently?
Ask questions, carry out research, take polls from your customers and staff, review your various reports and apply these to your business.
Many people may think that Strategy is farfetched and can only be carried out by a certain set of people, but the strategy is readily at our fingertips if we know where to look.
Strategic thinking is often the first step to executing strategies that can help a business maintain success.
The questions above are not all-encompassing; they can however provide you with insights as to gauge your business for the success you desire of it.
Knowing the definition of your business’ success and working towards that success is what we hope to help you achieve with this article, and the others we will be bringing your way.