Complete a Situation Assessment to Inform Your Plan

The fundamental purpose of this tool is to assess what's going on with your customers, collaborators, capabilities, competitors, and conditions (5Cs) and put that into a SWOT analysis so you can figure out your key leverage points and business issues.

The 5Cs

Customers: First line, customer chain, end users, influencers.

Collaborators: Suppliers, allies, government/community leaders.

Capabilities: Human, operational, financial, technical, key assets.

Competitors: Direct, indirect, potential.

Conditions: Social/demographic, political/government/regulatory, economic, market.


Customers include the people your business sells to—direct customers who actually give you money. It also includes their customers, their customers' customers, and so on down the line. Eventually, there are end users or consumers of whatever the output of that chain is. Finally, there are the people who influence your various customers' purchase decisions. Take all of these into account.

Federal Express sells overnight delivery services to corporate purchasing departments that contract those services on behalf of business managers. But the real decision makers are those managers' administrative assistants. So, Federal Express targets its marketing efforts not at the people who write the checks, not at the managers, but at the core influencers. They aim advertising and media at those influencers and have their drivers pick up the packages ...

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