Strategy. Focus on what you can control, not on what you can’t. Right?
Not so fast. There are critical factors you can’t control that you still need to be concerned with. The STEEP factors. STEEP stands for the social, technological, economic, environmental and political factors that can kill your business just as dead as running out of cash.
Here are the types of questions you should ask:
How is the demographic shift to Millennials in the workforce (a social factor) influencing your ability to recruit and retain employees?
What opportunities does technology now provide to better connect with and gain information about your customers?
How are the ripple effects from Europe’s economic struggles likely to impact your business?
How could this year’s drought (an environmental factor) directly or indirectly affect your business?
How would it affect you if the Republicans were to win the presidency and both houses (political factors) in the upcoming U.S. elections?
You can’t control any of these factors. Yet you can – and undeniably should – anticipate them so you exploit or mitigate their effects. The goal is not to perfectly predict or control the future. The goal is to identify the most likely scenarios, think through their implications, and then take the necessary actions.