Case Study – conducting an external analysis


PEST/SLEPT/STEEPLE – Summary – Conducting a detailed, thorough external analysis can reveal potential opportunities and threats to the strategic business plan.

A business invited me in to help draft their business growth plan. They asked me to assess what was happening outside of the business and if it might impact in their growth plans. They wanted a fresh pair of eyes to examine what was happening and what the impact on the business might be.

They were a B2B service company whose target audience was suppliers of equipment to care homes for the elderly.

The external analysis in detail

I undertook a desk base research programme supplemented by phone calls to key clients and thought leaders within the industry. I used the findings to support recommendations made in the strategic business plan.

The mnemonic used varies from PEST to STEEPLE. But as they all use the same initials then we can use STEEPLE as it is the most complete. Here are the findings from the external analysis. I labelled them Positive where we deemed the findings could lead to business growth.

Societal – Population ageing and living longer – Positive
Technological – More medical equipment needed as population are more frail as they age – Positive
Economic – Ageing population have the finances to pay for extra support – Positive
Environmental – none identified
Political – Ageing population is a large political constituency. Politicians need them on side – Positive
Legal – None identified
Ethical – Looking after the elderly is ethically important – Positive


The external analysis suggested strongly that there was an opportunity to grow the business. Their service offering was well defined and accepted by the market. The competition were focusing their attention in other areas. It was all systems go for implementing the business growth plan