IntroductionThis essay will be exploring how pestle analysis provides an in-depth look at the macro environment in which applejacks operates in. This assignment will explore the business cycle which is a representation of the fluctuation of economic activity over a period time (Elvis Picardo, 2016). Also, the assignment will be discussing the development of technology and how it has drastically changed and challenged companies especially Applejack. The data used in the assignment has been collected from a variety of sources to reinforce the external impacts discussed alongside the threats it brings, opportunities it opens. It will mainly focus on the macro environment of the within the UK pertaining to applejacks. PoliticalIn order to understand the business environment that Applejacks operate in. It is imperative to understand the macro environment it operates coupled with how politics play a pivotal part in any business and the constant impact it has on the business world. A company like Applejacks needs to make sure that it understands the current political stance as it is an indicator of how their business will perform over their tenure (Brooks and Weatherston, 2000). One of the main challenges Applejacks faces as a company, is that the macro environment is unpredictable as it is constantly changing with new government policies which do in fact present many threats and opportunities. When David Cameroon became prime minister the current corporation tax was at 28% effectively eating into profits of businesses especially small ones such as apple jacks are a private limited company who operate in a niche market. For them, a constant reduction in corporation tax since 2010 till now has benefited them. The legislation passed by tory member George Osbourne has seen corporation tax drop from 28% (2010) to 19% (2016) with a view of 17% by the end of 2020 (Pickard, Houlder and Marriage, 2017). These political legislations will allow Applejack to be more profitable in the foreseeable future. Applejacks claim that their prices are at bargain prices when compared to other health outlets reason being is there is a correlation between the corporation tax cut and their prices, lowering the tax has given them the ability to lower prices marginally, but still be profitable.However current policies on income tax and the recent Brexit vote has lead to serious of threats, one being the depreciation of the value of the pound. The outcome of the referendum saw the value of the pound depreciate by 15% in 2016 (Hunt and Wheeler, 2018). Such unpredictability has caused a massive change in pricing effectively causing small business such Applejacks to increase some prices. This, of course, affects the supply chain for applejacks as the stagnating nature of the pound may force the price to increase along the supply chain from raw to a finished product, the value added will be the same but ultimately the price will reflect the extra burden of cost that applejacks will incur due the nature of Brexit. Analysts have forecasted that prices for food which applejack sell will see an increase in by 1.1%. EconomicalAnother factor that Applejacks needs to monitor, is the economic environment, as a company that relatively sells goods which range from medium to high prices, economic swings could affect the company (Powell, 2015).Furthermore, the economic activity is very important for companies. economic activity is the measurement of GDP; which can be called the business cycle. The graph illustrating the stages in which consumer spending happening. A clear indication of how certain phases effect business around. The four phases being; boom, recession, slump and recovery. Each phase outlining the physiological state of the economy from consumer spending to interest etc. All these are part of the macro environment which directly affect business behaviour (Powell, 2015)Ever since the 2008 recession the UK economy has been slowly recovering from the lowest GDP of -4.3% in 2009 to 1.8% in 2016 almost a double the UK GDP in 2000(Statista, 2016). Even though these figures look promising the press, (BBC News, 2017) indicated that the interest rate has been increased from 0.25% to 0.5%. this, of course, could be to counteract the falling pound. Again, such decision leads to people spending less and companies reluctant to invest as borrowing has become more expensive causing uncertainty within the UK economy. The bank of England had been tasked to keep inflation at 2% but current inflation has risen to 3% the highest since 2012 (Morris, 2018). With an increase in inflation alongside an increase in interest rates, there could be less spending and more saving done by the consumers as prices will continue to increase and increase cost for consumers who have taken credit cards and mortgages. Consumers often use there extra disposable income on goods on items they would not purchase frequently, this can be applied to applejacks who items are not something of a frequent purchase. So, this would affect them in the short term and long term. Money being withdrawn out the economy may lead to applejacks not turning over profit. This is especially problematic since applejacks have one outlet store and a very focused customer base. Losing regular customers could lead to closure in the future. Moreover, companies that surround them such as Waitrose who are part of the John Lewis group reported a 53% fall in profits since last year due to the difficult market, Richard Hyman a retail analyst has reported to the business insider that these signs are worrying especially companies such as John Lewis are our very best retailing brands (Williams-Grut, 2017). Socio-cultureWithin the UK there is a lot of cultural diversity and it plays a massive part in the economy. The diverse culture within the UK has had a massive impact on how business operates from production to marketing always making sure they appeal to the public by identifying trends, a mixture of culture creates opportunities for companies (Books, 2000).Over the last few years, there has been an increasing trend in healthy eating. When looking at contemporary trends within the market a lot of companies have seen a rise in health especially when it comes to dieting. According to Euromonitor global sales of healthy food product could reach the 1 trillion mark. This presents an opportunity for Applejacks, as a company whose product portfolio reflects the current social practice of healthy eating; its appeal to the current demographic will surely bring new a whole new customer base.it is particularly popular with young adults and teenagers. An argument can be made that healthy organic products may no longer be a niche market but a mass market as there is a global trend in eating healthy (Gagliardi, 2015). In addition, this presents a massive opportunity for applejacks to expand their business. A growth within the industry allows the company to think about future investment so that they can meet the growing demand for organic and healthy products. On the other hand, it creates a threat. Big companies such as Tesco, Morrison and Sainsbury have all started shelving healthy eating products at low prices creating more competition.Furthermore, there is a raising issue of an ageing populace within the UK. The UK population is getting older with 18% aged 65 and over (Hayter, 2017). Again, this key issue can be an obstacle by applejacks but it does have a silver lining. Its products range has remedies which can be used by older people who may suffer from certain pains or illnesses. For example, colax could help with people who have digestive problems making them desirable (Applejacks, 2017). Its online presence will allow the older population to order and have their goods delivered to them without having been at the store physically. TechnologicalThe rapid rise of technology has created avenues for business to explore allowing them a farther reach than ever before connecting them to customers using the internet.New developments within the tech industry have transformed the UK business environment. Making many goods and service accessible all over the country.Key development such as the internet has applejacks develop an online brick and mortar store. There has been a massive demand for e-commerce store effectively closing many high-street shops.Furthermore, the implementation of information systems within UK business such as applejacks has allowed the organisation to be more efficient in operation management. The infrastructure has allowed applejacks to make better business decision and give them a competitive advantage in the market. IS allows applejacks to keep a database of their all their products and the ability to track cash flow. This documentation and reports allow management to act accordingly (O’Brian and Marakas, 2011).LegalAny organisation that operates within the UK must adhere to the legal standards set by the country from human rights to wage structure.One of the key legislation that applejacks must comply to is the minimum wage structure set by the government which is £7.05 for ages 21 and over (Gov.UK, 2018). Having a set minimum wage does effect applejacks as they are not an international company so the legislative policy does affect their profits. One way applejacks can make a workaround is zero hour contracts allowing flexible working and eliminate high wage bill.Equally important to note that government stance on tax avoidance, due to companies such as Google, Apple and Starbucks avoiding taxes on large scales. This has led to government to take harsh stance on companies to be more transparent with their financial dealingsEnvironmentalThe environment that applejacks operate in is one of a very competitive nature when compared to other countries. When compared to other countries it can be safe to say the UK does not have harsh weathers compared to the likes of the united states. Hurricane Irma which swept through Florida destroying many local businesses in the process (BBC, 2017).Another factor firms must consider is the public perception of their company and the expectation that firms are held responsible for their practice when creating products that cause negative externalities. For applejacks to maintain customer loyalty. It is very important that their practices of farming products and organic products are morally correct and environmentally friendly so that they won’t face negative backlash which could cause the company to lose a lot of revenue as customers are the bloodline of any company. Recently the UK government has banned the manufacturing of products containing microbeads as it is considered harmful to the environment this decision will effectively stop manufactures of cosmetic and personal care products which apple jack operate in from adding in the tiny plastics material into their products (Khan, 2018). ConclusionThe Pestle Framework used to analysis the macro level environment has presented many possible conclusions. Applejacks biggest challenge will be the external factors which seem to be changing drastically making it very difficult to reply accordingly. Furthermore, the legislation being passed down are causing strains for the company especially with the increased interest rates, which will mean less investment from applejacks. Another factor is the stagnating economics growth which has caused uncertainty amongst consumers forcing spending to be slowed down. Moreover, the Pestle analysis framework also highlighted the opportunities that have arisen that would allow applejacks to reap its reward. The advancement of technology has allowed the company to benefit from an online platform as it allowed the organisation to connect to more customers throughout the UK, coupled with the fact there is a rising trend in healthy eating increasing demand. additionally, technology has implemented itself into each aspect of society making it easily accessible, increasing sale through e-commerce. So, it can be deduced that the external environment is out of applejacks control but growing trends show that there is an increasing amount of opportunity that applejacks can exploit if the right investment is made by the management team. Reflective EssayDr Stepanie Sandland presented a lecture about “Maintaining a business in a changing environment”. The topic was based on her business she started. Dr Sandland discussed few topics which included her vision of the company and the current market sector, also she discussed the changes that took place within her environment over a ten-year period and how she responded to those changes.Dr Stephanie sand land set up a wedding cake business and her core vision for her business were to create the “perfect elegant cake”. Her path to achieve her goal saw her suffer many setbacks and she had to overcome many different obstacles within the microenvironment. The wedding cake market is very saturated and naturally, she was pressed back by the amount of competition she faced, but her vision of a perfect cake was a unique selling point allowing her to stand out compared to her rivals. One way she stood out was adapting to the ever-changing environment by attending networking events such a wedding fairs which allowed her to research and gain knowledge about new designs to implement. She also attended Cake decorating competitions, this allowed her to keep up to date and a close eye on her competitors.For Stephanie, it was very important that she paid close attention to new and upcoming trends so that she could position her business better and not fall behind. Also, she realised staying ahead of the curve meant she could exploit upcoming opportunities in the market.Moving on, during the 1990 recession Stephanie faced many challenges especially economic challenges. When the recession hit the economy, consumer spending came to a halt as disposable income for families fell, also the fact that her cake service was elastic, so depreciation in peoples income meant fewer cakes where demanded which caused profits to fall.Another challenge she faced was an increase cost of raw material and goods. She had to find the way to deliver high-quality cakes while keeping cost down which she found to be very difficult. Reason being is due to buying her good and products from various outlets. Affecting her costs in the long run. This business method meant that she suffered from an elevated level of business cost causing her to see a massive reduction in profits and just break even. To counteract the negative impact the recession had on her, she made sure to network extensively through different avenues such as wedding fairs and competitions. This allowed her to network and make connections with different cake suppliers who were able to offer her better and competitive prices for her company, allowing her to overcome the obstacle she faced when it came to prices regarding ingredients and equipment for her cake.The technical factor she faced during those ten years was the constant nature of change within the industry from new methodologies on cake design and fashion. This proved to be another obstacle but in the grand scheme of things a massive opportunity. Her goal was still the same to stick to her core philosophy and vision of an “elegant cake” whilst also pivoting to other ideas. She managed to facilitate the changes in fashion and taste whilst staying true to her business practices. Moreover, with the constant change within the industry, she faced legal issues concerning health and safety. New legislative laws meant that she had to implement new rules for business, one being new tiles which had to be impervious additionally new rules on keeping pets around the vicinity. She no longer could keep her pet on the premises. All these new legislative laws meant she would need to undertake further training to keep up with current affairs within the industry.The lessons that I have picked up from the event is that the external environment is ever changing and unpredictable. New legislation will always be passed as certain macro factors have knock-on effects which cause prompt reaction from the government. Furthermore, I have learnt that the pace in which the environment changes; you need to be quick to react and need to analyse the current market so that you don’t fall behind, it is highly important that as an individual you analyse the environment so that you can exploit the opportunities as quickly as possible but also having the ability to outreach and network so that you can stay innovative and fresh within the industry. Being up to date with the latest news and trends will keep you one step ahead of your competitors and peers while at the same time protect you from strategic plot holes when it comes to building a business. What’s more, the ability to assess complicated situations and come up with innovative plans on how to turn bad situations into a good one and reap its rewards.I plan on using these innovative ideas to help me in my pursuit of a rewarding career. I believe networking is highly important as it always opens new doors and paths which are highly important as it is an avenue for success. Having the ability to network will allow me to enhance my own skill sets as Dr Sandford showed being multi-skilled is an asset to any company as it allows fresh thinking Furthermore, having the ability analyse trends within the industry. Taking the time to look at trends will allow you to prepare better and not get caught out. Making sure to update your skill set by attending extra courses as they will be invaluable to you in the future coupled with the ability to position yourself for change, this will keep an individual grounded within the business environment. Using tools such as the pestle framework to assess current threats and opportunities will allow one not to be blindsided but rather prepared. Having the resources to act promptly in a changing environment is key to being successful and gives you the upper hand when it comes to exploiting opportunities within the environment.