PEST Analysis

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As part of the process of developing or establishing a social enterprise it is worthwhile carrying out a PEST analysis (Political, Economic, Social, and Technology) as early as possible.  A PEST analysis is used to help assess the market for a business or project.  It is best used for business and strategic planning, marketing planning, and business and product development.  As a PEST analysis is generally concerned with external factors, a PEST will ordinarily be carried out before a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) which is more concerned with factors within the organisation.  In general it is worth carrying out a PEST analysis with a cross section of the organisation’s stakeholders.  Below are some prompts that could be used:-


  • Is there any new legislation that could affect you?
  • Are there any government policies that could affect you?
  • Are there any new grants or funding policies of relevance?
  • Could you be affected by any pressure groups?
  • What environmental factors could affect you?


  • How is the economy affecting us?
  • Could you be affected by international economic changes?
  • How will you be affected by taxation changes?
  • Are there any market trends or cycles affecting your work?
  • Are there any changes happening within your industry?


  • What attitudes might affect your customers?
  • Is there any relevant media coverage?
  • Are there any role models or trends that are making differences to your customers?
  • Are there any key events scheduled?
  • Are there any issues arising that are specific to your customers?


  • Are there any technology changes or upcoming trends that could be relevant?
  • Are consumers affected by new technology in such a way that they could buy or use our products/service?
  • Are there any intellectual property issues you need to be aware of?
  • Is there any potential innovation?

PEST or SWOT - ?

PEST Analysis is generally used for assessing the market and is normally carried out before a SWOT.

SWOT is generally used for assessing the business or proposal and is normally carried out after a PEST.