One of the most challenging and time consuming tasks that one has to deal with before starting a business is to make a business plan. A lot of research, calculation, writing as well as planning are among some of the activities one has to work on. These are among the key issues that will determine the success of your business as a whole. Among the areas that have to be considered in this plan is the marketing area since it is very essential.
Details of all the marketing activities such as market research, trends as well as the size, limitations / barriers in entry of the market, economics among others are what one has to deal with when doing a market research plan. The customers’ characteristics, detailed information on the competitors are also to be considered. Also, one has to gather information on the activities that will aid in the promotion of their products and services so as to reach potential customers. Below is a detailed discussion on the key areas and steps to be followed:
Regardless of the excellent quality of your product or service, effective marketing has to be done in order to ensure the success of you venture. This simply starts with a research that is systematic in nature and that is done with a lot of caution. The worst thing that one can ever do is to take assumption that they already know a lot about the intended market without doing proper research. One has to research on the market so as to be sure that everything is in the right track.
Note that there are two types of market research i.e. the primary and the secondary research.
The use of already publicized magazines, demographic profiles etc. is what is referred to as secondary research. One could obtain such information from public libraries, commerce chambers, company associations, vendors and also from the government agencies. You can gather information from any or even all of the above institutions and you will be surprised with what you will get. You will even find out that most of the people you will meet e.g. a librarian will be very willing to show you business data that has been collected over time and you will be pleased with the information you will get. Online can also be a good source of information that you can use. Information about the local area can also be collected from the chamber of commerce. With the trade associations and publications one can obtain industry specific data.
Primary research on the other hand involves gathering one’s own data as an individual such as; doing surveys or interviews so as to learn about the consumer preferences etc.
This process can be costly especially if you conduct it using professionals but if you can do it yourself effectively, the better.
Remember to specific by giving statistics, numbers as well as the sources.
This is another point that you have to consider in order to come up with an excellent market research template. Here you have to state the actual facts as far as your industry is concerned. Some of the things that have to be considered include:
- The average size of your market.
- The percentage market size you intend to have.
- The demand that is currently in the market you are targeting.
- Trends in the market (that include trends in growth, consumer preference as well as in the product development).
- Barriers to entry into the market (such could include the capital costs, production costs & brand recognition, technology patterns, government regulations, unions etc.).Try to find out how you will be able to overcome the above barriers bearing in mind the effects that it will have on your company.
Product and services
Here, you have a list of your main products and services, their important features as well as their benefits (i.e. how a customer will benefit from the product).
Also indicate the special services that you may offer for example the delivery services, warranty and support as well as follow ups.
Identify the customers that you are targeting that includes their characteristics and geographic locations. If selling through distributors you also have to consider the middlemen and the end consumer. In the customer demographic profile indicate the age levels, occupation, education, preferences etc.
This is where you have to consider the products and companies that will be in competition with you. List them together with their names and addresses. Indicate whether the competition will be entire or it will be with some specific products or locations only; how your products will compare with those of the competitors. List your advantages as well as the disadvantages that will result from the competition.
After all the above steps decide on where your company will best fit then define your niche i.e. your unique corner in the market.
The next step is to come up with a clear outline of your marketing strategy that is in line with your niche. Consider factors such as promotions, advertising, pricing, location, distribution channels, contracts as well as their budgets.
With the help of a sales forecast spreadsheet prepare a monthly projection. This is based on historical sale, marketing strategies, research, etc.
Having a good marketing plan is one way of ensuring the success of your business. Without it you may not be able to successfully overcome the challenges that will result from the lack of planning. Go ahead make a plan and you can be sure your business will be a success.
Author Bio: Amy Lawson is a content writer. She is a parent of two kids. Her interests are Films, Travel & Technology and Eco Living. She is a professional blogger from London and have written many articles on Entertainment, Finance and Health categories. Now she is doing research on working tax credits contact etc.