We have talked about some of the important ingredients of a business plan, now it is time to get to the nitty gritty and start looking at the important sections of the business plan.
While you may vary your business plan depending on the type of business you are trying to start, you will want to make sure the basics are in your plan. The first of the basics is the market analysis.
The first part of the marketing analysis is the industry description and outlook. This is where you discuss the type of business that you plan to start. You will want to be very specific in all the details. If you are opening a retail store, what kind of retail store? Is it going to sell model trains, be a tourist shop, are you going to build something? Answer these questions. Then you will want to mention what the market is doing. Using the model train analogy you will want to mention that the market for model trains is going down due to market maturity and what the long term trends look like. If you’re opening a tourist shop what is the long term outlook for tourist in the area? Will a new tourist attraction open soon? Once again be very detailed.
Next you will want to identify your target market. How are you planning to sell to? How big is the market you are going after in your location? What characteristics does your market have? Are there needs already being met but you will offer something new and innovative? Once again the more detailed the better.
From the research you have done, why you will be able to sell to this market. How will you gain market share over your competitors. How much market share will gain from your geographical area and what is the market growth potential.
You also need to detail how the market is changing. If you were looking to start building computers you would need detailed information on how the computer industry has changed over the last 10 years and how you would stay ahead of the curve.
How did you come up with your marketing data? Potential investors will want to know the resources you used such as Chamber of Commerce data, census information, media outlets, trade groups and any other information you were able to find.
You will also want to detail any marketing tests you preformed and the data that was brought forth.
What will be the lead times? If you are building computers, how much time from the moment of customer order till the customer receives their product?
The next subject would be your competitive analysis. Who are your competitors and what advantages will you have over them? You will want to provide what you will be able to do well and what will be your weaknesses. While we don’t like to point out the negatives, you will have some disadvantages and you will want to spell them out otherwise your potential investors will feel that you are trying to sugar coat everything.
Finally you will want to discuss any regulatory hurdles you will have jump to start the business. You will want specifics on cost of applications, what you have to accomplish, legal fees, and time costs.Once again I have to stress that you need to have everything in the marketing plan to be very detail and specific. The more detail the better.For more information look at the Small Business Administration Website.