Scanning the Business environment for opportunities


Small scale industries can be characterized with the special feature of adopting the labor intensive approach for commodity production. As these industries lack capital, so they utilize the labor power for the production of goods. The main advantage of such a process lies in the absorption of the surplus amount of labor in the economy who were not being absorbed by the large and capital intensive industries. This, in turn, helps the system in scaling down the extent of unemployment as well as poverty.

It has been empirically proved all over the world that Small Scale Industries are adept in distributing national income in more efficient and equitable manner among the various participants in the process of good production than their medium or larger counterparts.

Small Scale Industries help the economy in promoting balanced development of industries across all the regions of the economy.

This industry helps the various sections of the society to hone their skills required for entrepreneurship. Small Scale Industries act as an essential medium for the efficient utilization of the skills as well as resources available locally.

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Small Scale Industries enjoy a lot of help and encouragement from the government through protecting these industries from the direct competition of the large scale ones, provision of subsidies in the form of capital, lenient tax structure for this industry and many more. 

The small scale sector has played a very important role in the socio-economic development of the country during the past 50 years. It has significantly contributed to the overall growth in terms of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employment generation and exports. The performance of the small scale sector, therefore, has a direct impact on the growth of the overall economy. The performance of the small scale sector in terms of parameters like number of units (both registered and unregistered), production, employment and exports is given in During the one year period i.e., 2000-01 over 1999-2000, the number of SSI units is estimated to have increased by 1,58,000, production at current prices by Rs. 72,609 crore and at constant prices by Rs. 33,714 crore. Employment increased by 7, 14,000 persons, while exports were higher by Rs. 5,778 crores. 7.67 According to projections made by the Ministry of Small Scale Industries during 2000-01, the SSI sector recorded growth in production of 8.09 per cent over the previous year. The small scale industries sector has recorded higher growth rate than the industrial sector as a whole (4.9 per cent during 2000-01). It contributed about 40 per cent towards the industrial production as a whole and 35 per cent of direct exports from the country.

Small scale industrial units are those engaged in the manufacture, processing or preservation of goods and whose investment in plant and machinery (original cost) does not exceed Rs.1 crore. These would, inter alia, include units engaged in mining or quarrying, servicing and repairing of machinery. In the case of ancillary units, the investment in plant and machinery (original cost) should also not exceed Rs. 1 crore to be classified under small-scale industry.

In generating the 1988-91 Cornell Cooperative Extension plan of work, a central and recurring theme said that scanning the external environment was an absolutely essential stage in planning. This scanning confirmed hunches and examined what was really happening in the lives of people as well as determined what they wanted for the future. By assessing potential competitive niches, an organization examines what it can do, what it could do, and then what it wants to do.

Scanning Process

Scanning the environment involved faculty, administrators, agents, and association volunteers who serve on association program committees and Boards of Directors. The size and diversity of the system were considered. Association (county) autonomy encouraged planners to suggest alternatives so that both the associations and the system might benefit. Quantitative and qualitative information collected and analyzed served as the basis for determining priorities, identifying strengths, and establishing competitive niches.

Statewide committees composed of agents, faculty, and administrators developed trend and outlook statements based on research results, demographic data and projections, and other forecasts for the future.

Materials were developed to help county management teams, consisting of county coordinators and program leaders from each of the program areas, provide leadership for the scanning process in each of the 57 associations (counties) and New York City.

These materials focused on examining six environmental elements:

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Social. Age, mobility patterns, educational attainment, socioeconomic status, gender, and race.

Economic. Employment opportunities, allocation of public dollars, and economic health of the food and agriculture system.

Cultural. Lifestyles, worker expectations, consumer preferences, and social structure of the communities.

Technological. New technologies, use of technology, potential of technology, and the innovations.

Environment. Natural resource issues, housing and the near environment, aesthetic values, and health choices.

Political. Identification of local decision makers and their goals for the community, how the community is adjusting to shrinking federal funds, and how political decisions are made.

In-service education provided ideas for developing a strategy to scan the local environment for the association leadership team of the county coordinator and program leaders. Since association program committees and Boards of Directors have decision-making responsibilities, they relied on the leadership team to determine which options to use for "scanning the environment." The procedural options included:

Community Hearings. Community leaders would be invited to present to the program committees and staff their vision of opportunities and issues important to target groups within the county.

Content Analysis of News Media. News media would be analyzed for message themes for a period of time.

Analysis of Other Educational Programming. Educational offerings provided by agencies, organizations, business and industry, and others would be obtained and analyzed. What was the League of Women Voters studying? What was the community college offering? What was Agway or John Deere providing?

Card Sort. Cards with one specific issue each from the trend and outlook statements, such as contaminated water supply, low-weight babies, and markets for crops, would be given to individuals who would sort them into groups and establish priorities.

Focus Groups. Interviews with groups would be conducted to gain information, gather a range of opinions, and develop insights into reasons why people think or feel the way they do.


Each of the 57 associations and New York City submitted qualitative information gathered from the scanning process used in each association. Statewide demographic data, research results, and forecasts were analyzed along with the scanning data. By identifying major themes and highlights, an initial category system was established. An inductive content analysis yielded a set of categories that served as a framework for establishing statewide issues. A draft summary of the statewide issues was shared with representative agents, faculty, and administrators. After reviewing the information, these individuals found the summary accurate and credible.

Six issues were identified in August 1986 to provide the system wide framework for programs during 1988-91. These issues were:

Developing human potential.

Enhancing the environment.

Increasing agricultural profitability.

Improving nutrition and health.

Increasing economic development.

Strengthening individual, family, and community resources.

These issues were introduced system wide in September 1986. They were challenged in December 1986 when a Commission Report1 draft that was shared throughout the system identified a different, but related list of issues. Based on verbal and written comments presented to its panel of experts, the commission subsequently modified its list of issues to be consistent with those identified by Extension through the scanning process.

Some of the scanning information represented different or emerging themes. For example, at least six counties suggested that solid waste be discussed because landfill sites were becoming increasingly scarce. Today, solid waste disposal is on the agenda of all county and city governments. The identified issues served as the basis for situation statements to be used in the next stages of program development.

Benefits from Scanning the Environment

The issues identified from the scanning process became the guiding force behind program decisions. They have served as foci when discussing the program, identifying goals for the system, developing staffing options, and considering the organization of association program committees. A statewide marketing effort has emphasized these issues and they're used when communicating with other faculty, public and private leaders, and targeted audiences.

Preliminary evidence suggests that the identified issues represent the top priorities of New York's counties. When Nassau County government recently identified six issues from their planning process, four were consistent with those identified by Cornell Cooperative Extension. Staff from the Cornell Cooperative Extension-Nassau County was invited to join countywide task forces that are addressing the issues.


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(Amtrak Parallel Alternative), including the Build Alternative's associated passenger stations and other required facilities.

Along the Amtrak Parallel Alternative corridor, horizontal (east to west) and vertical (at-grade to elevated) shifts in the alignment were examined by the engineers and planners in an effort to minimize effects on resources. In some cases, complete avoidance of a resource was achieved by a horizontal or vertical shift. In those cases, that design option was then selected as the new "baseline" alignment.

However, in the cases where many resources, such as homes, wetlands, parks, and historic sites, are all in close proximity to one another, the planners often had to choose an option that would minimize the overall project effect on all, but not necessarily fully avoid any one resource.

In order to quantify the environmental consequences of the Build Alternative, the guide way construction footprint was generally assumed to be 30 meters [m] (100 feet [ft]) wide. This includes the typical width of 19 m (62 ft) that is physically needed for a dual guide way to operate, the additional approximately 11 m (38 ft) space for construction and equipment access, and room for construction of noise berms or walls, landscaping treatments, and various wayside features, such as switching stations, and emergency and auxiliary stopping areas. Therefore, except where otherwise noted, impacts were calculated using a 30 m (100 ft) band or swath, presenting a worst-case, but realistic impact quantification. The impact measurements do not assume the restoration and replanting of areas within the 30 m (100 ft) swath disturbed during construction. In particularly sensitive areas, the limits of the

Maglev "footprint" could be closer to the 19 m (62 ft) minimum operating width, if the site-specific final engineering design studies determine that is feasible.

To allow for the convenient assessment and presentation of the effects of the Build Alternative, the Amtrak Parallel Alternative was divided into three color-coded sections based on the locations of alignment options. In addition to the guide way and the passenger stations, one maintenance facility and two substations (one at the southern end and the other at the northern end of the alignment)


Competence and the demands of modern life

Key competencies are not determined by arbitrary decisions about what personal qualities and cognitive skills are desirable, but by careful consideration of the psychosocial prerequisites for a successful life and a well-functioning society. What demands does today's society place on its citizens? The answer needs to be rooted in a coherent concept of what constitutes key competencies. This demand-led approach asks what individuals need in order to function well in society as they find it. What competencies do they need to find and to hold down a job? What kind of adaptive qualities are required to cope with changing technology?

However, competence is also an important factor in the ways that individuals help to shape the world, not just to cope with it. Thus, as well as relating to key features and demands of modern life, competencies are also determined by the nature of our goals, both as individuals and as a society.

The framework described here relates to individual competencies, rather than to the collective capacities of organisations or groups. However, as illustrated in the diagram below, the sum of individual competencies also affects the ability to achieve shared goals.

The Definition and Selection of Key Competencies

• Individual competencies

• Institutional competencies

• Application of individual competencies to contribute

Success for society to collective goals


• Economic productivity

• Democratic processes

• Social cohesion, equity and

Human rights

• Ecological sustainability

Success for individuals


• Gainful employment, income

• Personal health, safety

• Political participation

• Social networks


Individual and global challenges

Individuals need to draw on key competencies that allow them to adapt to a world characterized by change, complexity and interdependence. These competencies need to be appropriate for a world where:

Technology is changing rapidly and continuously, and learning to deal with it requires not just one-off mastery of processes but also adaptability.

Societies are becoming more diverse and compartmentalized, with interpersonal relationships therefore requiring more contact with those who are different from oneself.

Globalization is creating new forms of interdependence, and actions are subject both to influences (such as economic competition) and consequences (such as pollution) that stretch well beyond an individual's local or national community.

Common values as an anchor

Insofar as competencies are needed to help accomplish collective goals, the selection of key competencies needs to some extent to be informed by an understanding of shared values. The competency framework is thus anchored in such values at a general level. All OECD societies agree on the importance of democratic values and achieving sustainable development. These values imply both that individuals should be able to achieve their potential and that they should respect others and contribute to producing an equitable society. This complementarily of individual and collective goals needs to be reflected in a framework of competencies that acknowledges both individuals' autonomous development and their interaction with others.

Selecting key competencies

The above demands place varied requirements on individuals in different places and different situations. However, as set out above, key competencies are those of particular value, that have multiple areas of usefulness and that are needed by everyone.

The first of these conditions, that competencies should be valued, applies in relation to measurable benefits for both economic and social purposes. Recent research reinforces the view that human capital not only plays a critical role in economic performance, but also brings key individual and social benefits such as better health, improved well being, better parenting, and increased social and political engagement.

The second condition, that competencies should bring benefits in a wide spectrum of contexts, means that they should apply to multiple areas of life. Thus, certain areas of competence are needed not only in the labour market but also in private relationships, in political engagement and so on, and it is these transversal competencies that are defined as key. The third condition, that key competencies should be important for all individuals, deemphasizes those competencies that are of use only in a specific trade, occupation or walk of life. Emphasis is given to transversal competencies that everyone should aspire to develop and maintain.

Core Competency and Expansion of a business

The first thing I want to talk about is a company's core competency. If your company sells a product that is totally new to the market and rely on a particular peripheral, the question for the team is whether the company should produce the peripheral. Without drawing the examples from the business plan competition, I will illustrate using the key and lock analogy (or hypothetical example of a technology product I dream up with). Suppose I have come up with a technology for a lock that can allow my mobile phone to open the door to my house, the question to ask is whether I should make the key for the house by creating a new mobile phone. Let me squeeze the analogy down further. Suppose your lock requires a chip to be inserted to every mobile phone, the question is whether you should create a new mobile phone.

Most young entrepreneurs will take up the most naive position of trying to be "Bill Gates" and try to create both the lock and the mobile phone (which is the key). I will attempt to convince you that you should not make a mobile phone for your lock and just focus on making the lock work seamlessly. In addition, I will suggest to you to license the chip to all mobile phone makers (Samsung, LG and Nokia). The naive entrepreneur will ask, "But if I sell the lock only, I can't enter into the mobile phone market later." I will tell the entrepreneur that there is no point in getting investment to manufacture a new mobile phone. It is a waste of resources and all the other mobile phone makers out there will beat your company to it. The way to get around this mentality is to focus on selling the locks and make sure that every phone has that functionality. Your company can focus the energy in selling more locks and innovating upon the lock and chip. The naive entrepreneur will counter that the company will be forever stuck in that phase of just building the lock.

Here is the part which most people don't grasp and I am going to explain why some people succeed and some people don't. The key to success in this hypothetical example is to sell as many locks as possible and then earn enough revenue to acquire a mobile phone manufacturer.

Then you can inherit the expertise of the company without the need of re-inventing the wheel. The moral of the story is to always focus on your core competency, keep the expansion in mind, and till you accumulate enough capital, then acquire without the need to reinvent the wheel.

Self Assessment Questions 1

1) Retailers cannot just take their global retailing formats and try to transpose them

onto the India scenario.

2) Profession needs certificate of practice.

5.3 Summary:

Scanning the environment involved faculty, administrators, agents, and association volunteers who serve on association program committees and Boards of Directors. The issues identified from the scanning process became the guiding force behind program decisions Key competencies are not determined by arbitrary decisions about what personal qualities and cognitive skills are desirable, but by careful consideration of the psychosocial prerequisites for a successful life and a well-functioning society..

5.4 Question & assignment

1) Write a note on business opportunities ?

2) Explain about evaluation of alternative personal competent?

5.5 Answer to Self Assessment Questions & TQ's:

Self Assessment Questions 1



Answer to Terminal Questions

Refer to 5.1

Refer to 5.2

Refer to 5.2