The external section of your strategic plan should include five subsections(title each section clearly):
- Describe the economic characteristics of the industry. For example, you may address the followings (focus on the industry):
- Identify the client’s industry (start with a NAICS code- is it accurate? If not, how do you want to define the industry? Check the Hillsborough County Business Directory for classifications).
- Market size (sales)
- Sales growth rate
- Stage of the life cycle (of the industry)
- Types of products sold (highly differentiated, weakly differentiated or very similar products)
- Scope of rivalry (local, regional, national, international, global)
- Key competitors in the industry (who are key competitors? where are they? What size are they? Is competition fragmented or consolidated?
- Identify the key success factors (KSF) for the industry.
- What are the critical factors that determine whether a firm will be successful in this industry?
- What must a firm deliver to be successful?
- Identify 3-5 factors that are unique to being successful in this industry and give examples of companies that illustrate each key success factor.
- Be specific on how you know these factors are important to be successful.
- What differentiates the successful and not so successful companies?
- Identify and discuss driving forces or macro environmental trends (economic, social, demographic, legal/regulatory, ecological, and technology) that are creating opportunities or threats tothe industry.
- Focus on the trends that are impacting the industry.
- Conclude the section with a summary of the opportunities and threats.
- Include all opportunities and threats you have identified and discussed throughout this section (i.e. in the KSF, Five Forces Analysis or in the Trend Analysis).
- The list should not contain any opportunities that you did not include in your analyses of KSF, Porter’s 5 forces or trend analysis (but it should include all that you did discuss!).
- Develop and listthe opportunities and threats that you have identified (maybe in bullet forms).
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