Getting Down to Business

Read this section learn about internal and external factors that affect the success of businesses. Pay particular attention to Figure 1.2 to gain an understanding of where each of these factors falls.

External Forces that Influence Business Activities

Apple and other businesses don't operate in a vacuum: they're influenced by a number of external factors. These include the economy, government, consumer trends, and public pressure to act as good corporate citizens. Figure 1.2 "Business and Its Environment" sums up the relationship among the participants in a business, its functional areas, and the external forces that influence its activities. One industry that's clearly affected by all these factors is the fast-food industry. A strong economy means people have more money to eat out at places where food standards are monitored by a government agency, the Food and Drug Administration. Preferences for certain types of foods are influenced by consumer trends (eating fried foods might be OK one year and out the next). Finally, a number of decisions made by the industry result from its desire to be a good corporate citizen. For example, several fast-food chains have responded to environmental concerns by eliminating Styrofoam containers. As you move through this text, you'll learn more about these external influences on business. (Section 1.3 "What Is Economics?" will introduce in detail one of these external factors – the economy.)