Unemployment rate, disposable income, wage rates, currency exchange rates, inflation rate, etc. Political stability at home and abroad, military strife, effects of administration changes, etc. Changing legislation (state / Federal), regulations (both FDA and EPA), court cases, etc. Social and political issues regarding environmental concerns (raw materials, production, waste, etc.). Technological developments, availability of raw materials, barriers to entry/exit, economies of scale/scope, market growth/contraction, etc. Social trends and issues involving the products themselves, generational issues (i.e. old consumers vs. younger, demands consumers put on businesses, demand changes due to consumer preferences, etc..
3. Using this information, create a list of Opportunities and Threats (numbered O1, O2, O3, etc. and T1, T2, T3, etc.) that would apply to the majority of the companies in your firm’s industry. (note: If you provide an opportunity that is worded to include a something a competitor or the industry can do, your answer is completely incorrect and you will just have to do it over. Just because a company says that something is an opportunity for them does not make it an opportunity. Many companies often get this incorrect. Also, don’t use the words “Opportunity” or “Threat” to describe an opportunity or threat!) Opportunities and Threats ALWAYS meet the following criteria: a. They represent phenomena or trends that currently exist and are not past or hypothetical future problems unless there is strong and sufficient evidence that suggests that the phenomena will PROBABLY exist (and your evidence must be clear and strong, in the present tense, with solid sources to back it up). b. They represent phenomena or trends, NOT ACTIONS that a competitor or the industry might do about them (again, this is an automatic show-stopper). Read each one aloud and ask yourself if you are saying that a company can do something. If yes, then I stop grading here. If no, then possibly okay. c. They apply to the environment in which the industry operates, not just to one or a few companies in the industry. Remember, your focus is on the environment in which the industry operates, not the industry competitors. d. They are not under the control or direct influence of only one or a few competitors. e. They do NOT describe things that are ALWAYS true (i.e., “Companies must follow government regulations”, or “When unemployment goes up, people have less money to spend”). f. They are written in complete and grammatically correct sentences. g. They are all in the present tense (not past or future tense).

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