In: Business and Management

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Industry analysis is a tool that facilitates a company's understanding of its position relative to other companies that produce similar products or services. Understanding the forces at work in the overall industry is an important component of effective strategic planning. Industry analysis enables small business owners to identify the threats and opportunities facing their businesses, and to focus their resources on developing unique capabilities that could lead to a competitive advantage.
"Many small business owners and executives consider themselves at worst victims, and at best observers of what goes on in their industry. They sometimes fail to perceive that understanding your industry directly impacts your ability to succeed. Understanding your industry and anticipating its future trends and directions gives you the knowledge you need to react and control your portion of that industry," Kenneth J. Cook wrote in his bookThe AMA Complete Guide to Strategic Planning for Small Business."However, your analysis of this is significant only in a relative sense. Since both you and your competitors are in the same industry, the key is in finding the differing abilities between you and the competition in dealing with the industry forces that impact you. If you can identify abilities you have that are superior to competitors, you can use that ability to establish a competitive advantage."
An industry analysis consists of three major elements: the underlying forces at work in the industry; the overall attractiveness of the industry; and the critical factors that determine a company's success within the industry. The premier model for analyzing the structure of industries was developed by Michael E. Porter in his classic 1980 bookCompetitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors.Porter's model shows that rivalry among firms in…...

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