When developing strategic plans, the one thing too many businesses forget to take into consideration is their threats. Unfortunately, your threats probably aren’t going to have a big flashing “DANGER” sign warning you to change up your tactics. That’s why it’s important for you to be able to recognize the two types of business threats standing between your current position and where you want to end up: external threats and internal threats.
When identifying your external threats, it’s important to think about what outside factors have an influence on your business operations or profits. Knowing what’s going on in the world around you and communicating with peers and customers can help you to see threats you didn’t know were there.
- Economy: No matter how hard your company works or how good your products/services are, economic conditions will dictate your profit and success. Be sure to stay up to date on any economic shifts or changes.
- Competition. Unless you’re the first business to enter into an untapped market, competitors are always going to be a threat. If you are selling a similar product or service and drop or raise their prices, you’ll have to adjust in order to compete.
- Weather/Environment. If you’re in the horticulture, agriculture, or other types of natural resources industries, weather patterns can greatly impact your success.
- Political. Political decisions have the ability to completely change the way a business operates through budget cuts, deficits, or even new tax regulations.
- New Technology. The technological field is always advancing. While it can give you a competitive edge, if you don’t adopt tech as a strategic resource, you’re running the risk of being outcompeted.
While external threats are the things that you have absolutely zero control over, internal threats can be addressed and changed if caught ahead of time. They’re often things that are happening right under your nose that could’ve been prevented with proper maintenance, reporting, and training.
“We have met the enemy and the enemy is us.”
- Employees. Almost every internal threat can be traced back to your employees. They are, after all, the people handling the ins-and-outs of business operations. Knowing who you take on as an employee is vital to keeping your business safe. Conduct background checks and be sure you know someone before hiring them.
- Improper Training. A lack of continuous training can play a huge factor in any downward trends in your business. Training keeps your employees up to date on any technologies or process implemented in operations. If they don’t know how to use it properly, they won’t be producing reliable results.
- Data Sharing. Even though we use technology to store and wade through all of our data, there’s always going to be a human behind the data manipulation. There’s always the possibility that an employee is either intentionally or unintentionally sharing or leaking classified data to the wrong people. That’s why it’s so important to train, screen, and maintain employee practices carefully.
At Afterburner, we ask people to identify their internal and external threats, but we also break those threats down to those that are controllable versus those that are uncontrollable for a deeper understanding. If you’re unsure of what threats are looming over your business, we can help!