Strategic planning should be a key priority for any business. Choosing an effective business strategy will maximise the probability that corporate goals will be achieved.
SWOT analysis, looking at the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, is a process that more and more companies are using to test whether they have adopted the strongest strategy available to them.
Strengths and Weaknesses versus the key competitors is an obvious questioning process that forces harsh reality on starry-eyed entrepreneurs. Opportunities created by the evolving changes in economies and societies is an up-beat topic and requires more insightful thinking. Finally threats are perhaps the most psychologically difficult factor for an optimistic businessperson to handle. It requires a friendly Devil’s Advocate or perhaps one of those De Bono black hats to get into a pessimistic frame of mind.
These dark thoughts came to mind on seeing yesterday’s Montreal Gazette business headline “Newsprint Sales Dive Disastrously‘. Robert Gibbens notes that US consumption of newsprint is now running 25 per cent below the 2000 level. The article mentions the excess capacity both in the West and in China. However there is no mention of why this is happening. Post 9/11 recession is mentioned as one factor. However there is silence about the biggest threat. That is of course the Internet.
The Internet is dramatically changing the way things are done. For some businesses it brings glorious opportunities. However for others it is a life-threatening factor. For the last two or three years, newspaper publishers have been laying off journalists. People are turning more and more to the Internet to get their news and commentaries. Clearly less journalists means less column-inches and thus less newsprint to display those column-inches. Hopefully those newspaper proprietors are doing their SWOT analysis.
If they think the Internet has been a threat already, they’ve not seen anything yet. The Mobile Internet gives people information whenever and wherever they need it. The Mobile Internet is growing much faster than the traditional Internet. The traditional Internet has already sliced away a disastrous part of their livelihood. The worst is yet to come.