How to Succeed in Business: How to Write a Good Business Plan? (Part IV)
The Business Plan is the road map for operating one’s business. The business plan is made up of a set of objectives and goals to implement so that you can start and operate a business. The Business Plan can be used as a management tool to measure your progress once the business is started.
The main components of the Business Plan are:
- Description of your business.
- The Marketing Plan.
- The Management Plan.
- The Financial Management Plan.
The most important sections of the business plan to complete first are the mission statement, values statement, and goals for the business. The second most important part of the business plan to complete is the Marketing Plan.
The Marketing Plan answers the following questions concerning your “potential” business:
- Is the business idea feasible or realistic?
- What is the particular product or service your business will be offering?
- What are the industry trends in your field of business?
- Who are your competitors and what sets you apart from these competitors?
- Who is your targeted customer?
- How will you promote and advertise your products and services to get new customers?
The next section of the Marketing Plan that you need to focus on is your “target market” or “ideal customer”. Your “target market” is made up of the customers or businesses you will focus your sales and marketing effort on. These individuals or businesses will most likely purchase your services or products. It is okay to have more than one “ideal customer” group, but you should always prioritize which group you will put the most effort into. You will prioritize your efforts depending on how many resources your have at the moment (money and time).
Here are a few questions you need to do research on when determining your “ideal customer” or “target market”:
- Who would want to buy your services or products?
- Why would your “ideal customer” want to buy your services or products?
- How does the market research, you have completed, show that anyone would want your services or products?
- What is the size of your “target market”?
- Where is this “target market” located and what are the latest trends for this group?
- Are there are any strategic opportunities, which no other business is providing, in the target market?
- What strategic opportunities are there available for you to take advantage of?
Here are some similar characteristics that target markets of potential consumers share:
- Age; and
- Income Level.
These are considered the demographics of the target market you are aiming to get as customers. Another important characteristic of “ideal customers” to consider are their lifestyles and business styles. It is also good to look at the “psychographics” of your “target market” which are the psychological factors that influence and determine their purchasing decisions. It is good to know the size of your “target market”, as well, because this will determine if your business can be sustained. Deciding if the market is big enough for your service or product is determined by doing plenty of research and basic instinct on your part. It is always good to know the trends that may affect your market in later years.
Knowing your “ideal customer” or “target market” requires a lot of time and effort in doing research. The best methods to use when researching your “target market” are:
- Conducting surveys on what types of services or products “ideal customers” are looking for.
- Complete a list of the traits that you believe your “ideal customers” have.
- Do an evaluation on the market trends, location, and size of your “target market”.
- Do an evaluation on the purchasing habits of your “target market”.
- Do market research on your “ideal customers”.
Doing some research on your “target market”, will give you the factors and tools needed to determine how you will sell or market your products and services to your “ideal customers”.
In the next article in the “How to Write a Good Business Plan” series, we will discuss the following sections of the Marketing Plan: marketing research and competitor analysis.
Donya Zimmerman is a business consultant, mediator, and legal professional with over ten years of experience. Donya is also a public speaker and aspiring author. She has a few books in the works that will be published and released in the latter part of 2015. The books will focus on entrepreneurship, small business, and daily devotionals. She is owner of Family & Community Mediation and Business Consulting (FACMBC) based in Baltimore, Maryland and has been in business since 2013. Services provided by FACMBC: Mediation and Conflict Resolution Services; Business Registration Assistance (Limited Liability Company, Corporation, S-Corp, Limited Liability Partnership, etc.); Business Plan Drafting Assistance; Business Certification Assistance (MBE, WOSB, 8A, 501(c) (3), Hub Zone, etc.); and Business Organization Assistance. She is also a contributing writer to the Maryland Daily Examiner Newspaper. Donya Zimmerman has made article contributions to the Simply Inspirational Women in Business Journal for 2014 published by Dr. Cheryl Cottle. Contact information: firstname.lastname@example.org; www.facebook.com/FACMBC; www.twitter.com/FACMBC; https://dzimmerman36.wordpress.com; http://www.linkedin.com/in/dzbusconsultantandmediator