Business Plan Research
For a successful market research and analysis business plan, you will need answers to many critical market research questions. What demographic is your product or service most likely to appeal to? What is the forecast for the industry you are in? How have other products or services similar to your own done over time? What are your competitors doing right or wrong and how can you capitalize on any market openings?
All these questions have to be addressed to have a strong Market Analysis section within the business plan. If not, when it comes time to deliver your business plan to a potential investor, they will quickly spot the lack of factual data to back up your business promises and they will most likely walk away. To get a strong Market Analysis section, make sure to do your homework and include relevant data, graphs, and charts to make your case.
How to Get Started with Market Research
First, you need to gather your resources and collect data to get the numbers right. Let’s go over how you can do market research for a variety of topics included in your Market Analysis section. They are:
- Demographics – If you have been managing a website, you already know a bit about the demographics your niche attracts. Using Google Analytics or Quantcast.com you can find out not only your own demographics, but those of your top competitors. This can help you find ways to create different sales channels and campaigns to target different demographics from income level and age to other important factors.
- Industry Forecast – There is no better place to go to get the scoop on the market research for specific industries than the Bureau of Labor Statistics at bls.gov. They can give you information on specific areas, on demographics, and employment in industries online. This will help you to build a picture of what future trends might be like in specific industries.
- Product or Service Review – The product or service lifecycle will need to be reviewed to make sure you are not trying to promote a product or service in an over-saturated market. You can look at product sales on different websites that specialize in specific industries. For instance, if you’re thinking of promoting a new electronic device, you can obtain market research on product sales information from the Consumer Electronics organization at CE.org.
- Competitors Analysis – You will have to visit your competitor’s websites and do analytical research for traffic, sales, and niche to make sure you can compete successfully. You can also get valuable insights on how well their business is doing by simply adding your name to a marketing list so that they will send you their news more often.
- Risks and Opportunities – This will take a bit of thinking to determine how you can best exploit your competitors weaknesses and emphasize your strengths in the marketplace. You will want to differentiate your offering enough from your competitors so that your target audience has a clear choice. Never compete solely on price as that is a failing strategy that ends up with the lowest price driving everyone out of business. Instead, look at the features and services your competitor offers and improve upon them and/or find a way to widen your market share geographically in ways that they cannot, for whatever reason.
A business plan is not a document written once and then forgotten. Economic and market forces in your day-to-day operations will cause you to review the document every year to see where you have met your objectives, where you haven’t, and how to revise the business plan when you find out more about the market conditions. New market conditions will also impact how you proceed and will need to be included in a newer version of your business plan so that your business stays nimble and is flexible enough to meet new challenges with clearer insights than before. This will ensure the survival of your business in the short-term and provide a good basis for long-term prosperity.