- Writing a Business Plan
- Financial Statements
- Business Forecasting
- Business Checklist
B) Marketing and Industry Issues:
47. Who are your primary end consumers and target markets in terms of sex, age, education, life style, etc? Your goal is to develop a profile of your main customers.
47b. Are you familiar with the strategies on How to Grow a Business?
48. What problems or challenges will your product or service solve for your target audience?
49. Can you explain why your target market buys the product you have to offer? What is their motivating factor? If you can pinpoint the main reason for these purchases, you can exploit it through various promotional activities.
50. Define where your anticipated customers live. This is also known as your geographic service (target) area.
51. What is the size of your target market? (I.E. How many potential customers exist within your geographic service area?
52. What “consumer need” will your business, product or service satisfy?
53. What “after sale customer service” do you intend to implement?
54. What perceived image or position will your company and product have in the minds of customers?
55. You will need to know the background and current status of the industry you are entering. This discussion appears in the business plan under the section entitled “Industry Overview”.
56. What is the expected future growth of the industry?
57. Have there been recent growth trends within the industry? If so, be sure to highlight such trends in the body of the business plan?
58. Are there any significant barriers to enter the industry?
59. What major changes do you foresee within the industry?
60. What are the Key Success Factors of the industry?
61. What are the Driving Forces of the industry?
62. Do you intend to develop a questionnaire to survey your target market? If so, who will you distribute the questionnaire to? How many prospects within your target market will you survey? If you use a questionnaire to conduct market research, be sure your business plan provides the “results” and “findings” of the survey. An alternative is to hold of focus group to learn more about a specific group’s wants, needs, interests, and desires within your geographic service area.
63. Will you advertise in newspapers? If so, in which newspapers, how frequently, and how much will each newspaper ad cost?
64. Will you advertise on Radio Stations? If so, on what Radio Stations, how frequently, during what time frames, and how much will each ad cost?
65. Will you have a web page for your business? If so, you will need a domain name which is better known as a website address such as www.yourcompany.com. Be sure to choose a reliable company to host your website files. These days most use Blue Host since they are highly reliable and one of the least expensive hosting service available today. Blue Host also gives their clients a free website address when you use them as a hosting company. This reason alone is why they are so popular with people wanting to place their business on the internet. At any rate, if you plan to have a webpage for your business, be sure to do your homework and choose a reliable hosting company. Unless you are a large multi-national company, website hosting services shouldn’t cost you anymore than $9.95 per month. At the time of this publication, Blue Host charges only $6.95 per month and you get a free website address at the same time.
66. Do you plan to use email marketing to promote your business?
67. If you plan to use the internet and/or email marketing to promote your business, be sure you have an auto-responder established. Auto-responders automatically and instantly send pre-written responses (email messages) to those customers or prospects who send you an email inquiring about your products and services, for instance. It will save you a ton of time since you will NOT be required to respond to each email. Rather the auto-responder sends a prewritten message back to your customer or prospects.
68. Will you advertise in the phone book “Yellow Page” directory?
69. Do you need a pamphlet to promote your business, product and service? If so, who will design and print your pamphlet, how much will it cost.
70. Do you plan to promote to existing customers using direct mail?
71. Will personal selling form part of your promotions?
72. Do you plan to use business cards? If so, who will make them and how much will they cost? Few people know that you can get FREE Business Cards made for your business at www.vistaprint.ca.
73. Do you plan to promote your business through fliers? If so, what will your fliers say, when do you intend to distribute them, where will the fliers be distributed, and at what cost?
74. Do you plan to distribute fliers using the postal service (IE targeting specific geographic areas by zip code or postal code)? If so, how many fliers do you plan to send out each campaign and how much will it cost to send each flier/promotional item?
75. Will you attend trade shows? Provide the name, location, scheduled date and cost of each how.
76. Do you intend to hold contests for your customers?
77. Do you intend to join industry related membership networks and/or a Chambers of Commerce? The main purpose for joining memberships and associations is to network with prospective customers.
78. What other ways do you plan to advertise or promote your business in your first and second year in business? When do you intend to implement each type of promotion, how much will each cost and when is each payment due?
79. What is your overall plan to acquire and keep new customers? If you are having trouble developing your overall marketing plan, consider getting a copy of Marketing Plan Pro. It can help you easily solve all marketing challenges and headaches.
80. You will need to know the name, location, and number of years in business of each competitor.
81. What territories/geographic service areas does each competitor serve?
82. Do competitors identify specific markets or do they cater to the mass market?
83. Do competitor's products fully meet the needs, wants, interests, & desires of their customers?
84. What improvements can be made to competitor’s products or services? How can you capitalize on these improvements?
85. What benefits and features do your competitor’s products or services have?
86. What are the primary strengths & weaknesses of each competitor?
87. How do consumers perceive the products or services of competitors?
88. Do your competitors have a research & development (R&D) department?
89. Who is the strongest competitor in terms of financial and competitive strength?
90. How will your product or service be unique from all competitors in the marketplace?
91. What proof do you have that your uniqueness makes you better than competitors (testimonials, case studies, comparisons, etc)?
92. How do you intend to maintain your product's uniqueness as competitors react?
93. Will your prices be higher or lower than the competition?
94. What discounts, if any, do competitors offer their customers?
95. Do the competitors offer credit terms to their customers? If so, what terms are offered?
96. Where do your competitors advertise/promote their products/services?
97. Which method of promotions do you feel is the most effective for your competitors?
98. What competitive strategy have you chosen for your business?
99. What factors do you feel are the most important for the success of your business?
100. What distribution channels do you plan to have for your products?
101. What market research have you conducted that shows your business or proposed venture is feasible?