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How to write PEST analysis

It is crucial to describe the subject for the PEST analysis clearly so that people, contributing to the analysis, and those interpreting the results from PEST analysis, could understand the purpose of the PEST assessment and its implications (Jan, 2002).

In conducting PEST analysis, it is required to consider each PEST factor as they all play a part in determining the overall business environment. After the key trends have been identified, one can follow the steps mentioned below to construct a good PEST analysis :
  1. Decide how the information is to be collected and by whom (often a team approach is much more powerful than one person’s view).


    Check first how much of the information needed has already been collected or is available within the organisation in reports, memos and planning documents. In the context of a large organisation it may be wise to consult those with expertise in specific areas and delegate the collection of some categories of information to them.
  2. Identify appropriate sources of information.


    Hard factual information, such as employment figures, inflation and interest rates, and demographics, is often easily available from official statistical sources and reference books. A wide range of additional sources, such as newspapers, magazines, trade journals, research reports, web sites, discussion boards and email newsletters, will be needed for softer information such as consumer attitudes and public perceptions. You may also wish to consult consultants, researchers and known experts in the relevant fields to supplement published material.

  1. Gather the information


    It is useful to use a template as the basis for exploring the factors and recording the information. An example of such a practical and ready-to-use template created to accompany this factsheet can be found on the RapidBI website.
  1. Analyse the findings.


    Assess the rate of change in each area--which changes are of minor and major importance; which are likely to have positive or negative implications. It is possible that some trends will have both positive and negative effects and it will be necessary to weigh these against each other. Avoid an over-emphasis on events with a negative effect and try to identify positive opportunities which may open up. Although a PEST analysis often focuses on anticipating changes in the environment, it is also important to consider areas where little or no change is expected.
  2. Identify the most important issues.


    The usefulness of the analysis will depend not so much on the quantity of information collected, but on its relevance. Consider which factors are most likely to have an impact on the performance of the organisation, taking into account the business it is in and the fields where it is active or may be active in the future. Local and national factors will be most important for small businesses but larger companies will need to consider the environment in any countries in which they do business, as well as the global scene. Information on current and potential changes in the environment should be included.
  3. Identify strategic options.


    Consider which strategies have the best chances of success and what actions could or should be taken to minimise the threats and maximise the opportunities mendations for action should also be included.
  4. Disseminate the findings.


    The results of a PEST analysis will be useful to those in the organisation who are responsible for decision making and strategy formulation.
  5. Decide which trends should be monitored on an ongoing basis.


    Trends and patterns will have emerged from the research and it may be clear that an ongoing review of developments in these areas will be needed. Alternatively, further evidence may be required to support hunches or hypotheses which have been formed in the course of the analysis.

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