Completing the Environmental Scan and Preparing a Strategic Direction

The environmental scan is the least expensive stage and consists two distinct components. The first component (the industry overview) requires a comprehensive analysis of the industry. The second component (the business) assessment requires thorough assessment of the internal capabilities of your business. 

Industry Overview

The environmental scan begins with an analysis of the industry. Strategists refer to the industry as the external environment. An understanding of the external environment is critical to the development of a successful new product strategy. The external environment is the source of the powerful competitive forces that shape the industry and provide the opportunities for new products as well as the source of threats to industry participants. These competitive forces constrain the businesses ability to grow, and to ultimately generate decent profits. The presence of these forces require that new product strategy be crafted from the "outside - in". A failure to complete a thorough industry analysis therefore ultimately results in the development of 'fuzzy' strategy, and is one of the major reasons why new product strategies fail. 

Review the information in the Industry Overview listed on the menu to learn more about completing an analysis of the external environment.  The checklists provided under the Industry Overview heading will help you conduct a proper industry review. 

Business Overview

Strategists refer to the business as the 'internal environment'. You must complete a thorough analysis the businesses internal resource strengths and weaknesses in order to understand how well positioned the business is to deal with the competitive forces acting upon it and its ability to execute an effective new product strategy. Key business weaknesses such as management gaps, inadequate capital, etc. should be identified at this point so that strategy can be developed to address them.  

Review the information in the Business Overview listed on the menu to learn more about completing an analysis of the internal environment.  The checklists provided under the Business Overview heading will help you conduct a proper industry review. 

Strategic Direction 

After you have completed your environmental scan you are ready to craft your Vision, Mission and Values, and your business level strategy. The business level strategy includes your generic business strategy, as well as your strategy to achieve a competitive advantage for your new product. Ultimately you will want to develop strategy that gives you a sustainable competitive advantage.

Review the information in the Strategic Direction listed on the menu to learn more about how to craft business level strategy.