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External Environment: Firm, Customers, Suppliers, Distributors, Competitors, Society

To run the business successfully, it is necessary to understand the environment with in which the business operates. Business environment j is a set of external factors that affects the business decisions.

The environment, which lies outside the organization, is known as external | environment. External factors are unpredictable and uncontrollable. They are beyond the control of the company.

According to William Glueck and Jauck, “In environment there are several factors which constantly bring opportunities and threats to the business firm. It includes social, economic, technological and political conditions”.

  1. Firm

The plans and policies of the firm should be properly framed taking into consideration the objectives and resources of the firm. Proper plans and policies help the firm to accomplish its objectives.

The higher authority must analyze the internal environment to foresee the changes and frame appropriate policies well in time.

For example: the personnel policy in respect of promotion should be based on merit rather than seniority.

The survival and success of the firm largely depends on the quality of human resources. The social behaviour of the employees greatly affects the working of the business. The characteristics of human resource like skill, quality, morale, commitment can contribute to the success of the organization

Capital is the lifeblood of every business. Finance relates to money. A firm needs adequate funds to meet its working capital and fixed capital requirements. There is a need to have proper management of working capital and fixed capital.

A firm should develop, maintain and enhance a good corporate image in the minds of employees, investors, customers etc. Poor corporate image is a weakness of the firm.

  1. Customer

Consumer is the king of the market. They are the centers of the business. They are one of the most important factors in the external environment. Customer satisfaction has become more challenging due to globalization.

Nowadays, consumer expectations are high. Therefore the firm must keep in mind the customer’s expectations, their requirements and accordingly make market decisions. The success of the business depends upon identifying the needs, wants, likes and dislikes of the customers and meeting with their satisfaction.

Businesses have different classes of customers like wholesale customers, retail customers, industrial customer’s foreign customers etc. To enhance growth, it is necessary for the business firm to identify the needs of these customers and should undertake research and developmental activities.

  1. Suppliers

Suppliers supply raw material, machines, equipment’s and other supplies. The company has to keep a watch over prices and quality of materials and machines supplied. It also has to maintain good relations with the suppliers.

It is necessary to have reliable source of supply for the smooth working of the firm. Uncertain supplies compel the firm to maintain high inventories resulting into increase in the cost. The business should not only rely on the single supplier but also have relations with multiple suppliers.

  1. Distributors

Distributors include agents and brokers who help the business firm to find the customers. They help the firm to promote and distribute the goods to the final consumers.

They are the link between the firm and the final customers. Market intermediaries include wholesalers, retailers, advertising firm, media, transport agencies, banks, financial institutions etc. They assist the company in promoting and targeting its product to the right market.

  1. Competitors

The company has to identify its competitor’s activities. Information must be collected about competitors in respect of their prices, products, and promotion and distribution strategies. World is becoming a global market.

Business firm has to face tremendous competition not only from Indian business firm but also from foreign firms. To achieve growth and success they have to monitor various activities of their competitors.

Liberalization, privatization and globalization have promoted competition that has created threats to domestic units. The business must understand the strategies framed by the competitors to respond in an effective manner.

  1. Society

Society affects company’s decisions. The expectation of the society from the business is increasing. Therefore the business firm maintains public relations department to handle complaints, grievances and suggestions from general public. The members of the society include:

(i) Financial institutions

(ii) Shareholders

(iii) Government

(iv) Employees

(v) General public

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