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V. Marketing Plan Market research – Why? No matter how good your product and your service, the venture cannot succeed without effective marketing.

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V. Marketing PlanMarket research – Why?No matter how good your product and your service, the venture cannot succeedwithout effective marketing. And this begins with careful, systematic research. It is verydangerous to assume that you already know about your intended market. You need todo market research to make sure you’re on track. Use the business planning process asyour opportunity to uncover data and to question your marketing efforts. Your timewill be well spent.Market research – How?There are two kinds of market research: primary and secondary.Secondary research means using published information such as industry profiles, tradejournals, newspapers, magazines, census data, and demographic profiles. This type ofinformation is available in public libraries, industry associations, chambers ofcommerce, from vendors who sell to your industry, and from government agencies.Start with your local library. Most librarians are pleased to guide you through theirbusiness data collection. You will be amazed at what is there. There are more onlinesources than you could possibly use. Your chamber of commerce has good informationon the local area. Trade associations and trade publications often have excellentindustry-specific data.Primary research means gathering your own data. For example, you could do your owntraffic count at a proposed location, use the yellow pages to identify competitors, anddo surveys or focus-group interviews to learn about consumer preferences.Professional market research can be very costly, but there are many books that showsmall business owners how to do effective research themselves.In your marketing plan, be as specific as possible; give statistics, numbers, and sources.The marketing plan will be the basis, later on, of the all-important sales projection.EconomicsFacts about your industry:• What is the total size of your market?Page 8 of 31• What percent share of the market will you have? (This is important only if youthink you will be a major factor in the market.)• Current demand in target market.• Trends in target market—growth trends, trends in consumer preferences, andtrends in product development.• Growth potential and opportunity for a business of your size.• What barriers to entry do you face in entering this market with your newcompany? Some typical barriers are:o High capital costso High production costso High marketing costso Consumer acceptance and brand recognitiono Training and skillso Unique technology and patentso Unionso Shipping costso Tariff barriers and quotas• And of course, how will you overcome the barriers?• How could the following affect your company?o Change in technologyo Change in government regulationso Change in the economyo Change in your industryPage 9 of 31ProductIn the Products and Services section, you described your products and services as you seethem. Now describe them from your customers’ point of view.Features and BenefitsList all of your major products or services.For each product or service:• Describe the most important features. What is special about it?• Describe the benefits. That is, what will the product do for the customer?Note the difference between features and benefits, and think about them. For example,a house that gives shelter and lasts a long time is made with certain materials and to acertain design; those are its features. Its benefits include pride of ownership, financialsecurity, providing for the family, and inclusion in a neighborhood. You build featuresinto your product so that you can sell the benefits.What after-sale services will you give? Some examples are delivery, warranty, servicecontracts, support, follow-up, and refund policy.CustomersIdentify your targeted customers, their characteristics, and their geographic locations,otherwise known as their demographics.The description will be completely different depending on whether you plan to sell toother businesses or directly to consumers. If you sell a consumer product, but sell itthrough a channel of distributors, wholesalers, and retailers, you must carefully analyzeboth the end consumer and the middleman businesses to which you sell.You may have more than one customer group. Identify the most important groups.Then, for each customer group, construct what is called a demographic profile:• Age• Gender• LocationPage 10 of 31• Income level• Social class and occupation• Education• Other (specific to your industry)• Other (specific to your industry)For business customers, the demographic factors might be:• Industry (or portion of an industry)• Location• Size of firm• Quality, technology, and price preferences• Other (specific to your industry)• Other (specific to your industry)CompetitionWhat products and companies will compete with you?List your major competitors:(Names and addresses)Will they compete with you across the board, or just for certain products, certaincustomers, or in certain locations?Will you have important indirect competitors? (For example, video rental storescompete with theaters, although they are different types of businesses.)How will your products or services compare with the competition?Use the Competitive Analysis table below to compare your company with your twomost important competitors. In the first column are key competitive factors. Since thesevary from one industry to another, you may want to customize the list of factors.Page 11 of 31In the column labeled Me, state how you honestly think you will stack up in customers’minds. Then check whether you think this factor will be a strength or a weakness foryou. Sometimes it is hard to analyze our own weaknesses. Try to be very honest here.Better yet, get some disinterested strangers to assess you. This can be a real eye-opener.And remember that you cannot be all things to all people. In fact, trying to be causesmany business failures because efforts become scattered and diluted. You want anhonest assessment of your firm’s strong and weak points.Now analyze each major competitor. In a few words, state how you think they compare.In the final column, estimate the importance of each competitive factor to the customer.1 = critical; 5 = not very important.Table 1: Competitive AnalysisFactor Me Strength Weakness Competitor A Competitor B Importance toCustomerProductsPriceQualitySelectionServiceReliabilityStabilityExpertiseCompanyReputationLocationAppearancePage 12 of 31Factor Me Strength Weakness Competitor A Competitor B Importance toCustomerSales MethodCredit PoliciesAdvertisingImageNow, write a short paragraph stating your competitive advantages and disadvantages.NicheNow that you have systematically analyzed your industry, your product, yourcustomers, and the competition, you should have a clear picture of where yourcompany fits into the world.In one short paragraph, define your niche, your unique corner of the market.StrategyNow outline a marketing strategy that is consistent with your niche.PromotionHow will you get the word out to customers?Advertising: What media, why, and how often? Why this mix and not some other?Have you identified low-cost methods to get the most out of your promotional budget?Will you use methods other than paid advertising, such as trade shows, catalogs, dealerincentives, word of mouth (how will you stimulate it?), and network of friends orprofessionals?What image do you want to project? How do you want customers to see you?Page 13 of 31In addition to advertising, what plans do you have for graphic image support? Thisincludes things like logo design, cards and letterhead, brochures, signage, and interiordesign (if customers come to your place of business).Should you have a system to identify repeat customers and then systematically contactthem?Promotional BudgetHow much will you spend on the items listed above?Before startup? (These numbers will go into your startup budget.)Ongoing? (These numbers will go into your operating plan budget.)PricingExplain your method or methods of setting prices. For most small businesses, havingthe lowest price is not a good policy. It robs you of needed profit margin; customersmay not care as much about price as you think; and large competitors can under priceyou anyway. Usually you will do better to have average prices and compete on qualityand service.Does your pricing strategy fit with what was revealed in your competitive analysis?Compare your prices with those of the competition. Are they higher, lower, the same?Why?How important is price as a competitive factor? Do your intended customers reallymake their purchase decisions mostly on price?What will be your customer service and credit policies?Proposed LocationProbably you do not have a precise location picked out yet. This is the time to thinkabout what you want and need in a location. Many startups run successfully from homefor a while.You will describe your physical needs later, in the Operational Plan section. Here,analyze your location criteria as they will affect your customers.Page 14 of 31Is your location important to your customers? If yes, how?If customers come to your place of business:Is it convenient? Parking? Interior spaces? Not out of the way?Is it consistent with your image?Is it what customers want and expect?Where is the competition located? Is it better for you to be near them (like car dealers orfast food restaurants) or distant (like convenience food stores)?Distribution ChannelsHow do you sell your products or services?RetailDirect (mail order, Web, catalog)WholesaleYour own sales forceAgentsIndependent representativesBid on contractsSales ForecastNow that you have described your products, services, customers, markets, andmarketing plans in detail, it’s time to attach some numbers to your plan. Use a salesforecast spreadsheet to prepare a month-by-month projection. The forecast should bebased on your historical sales, the marketing strategies that you have just described,your market research, and industry data, if available.You may want to do two forecasts: 1) a “best guess”, which is what you really expect,and 2) a “worst case” low estimate that you are confident you can reach no matter whathappens.Page 15 of 31Remember to keep notes on your research and your assumptions as you build this salesforecast and all subsequent spreadsheets in the plan. This is critical if you are going topresent it to funding sources.

                                                                                          This is my paper so far

Table of Contents

Table of Contents. 1

1.0 Executive Summary.. 3

2.1 General company description.. 3

3.0                                                       Product services. 4

4.0     SWOT Analysis. 7

Strengths. 7

Weaknesses. 8

Threats. 9

5.0 Marketing plan.. 9

5.1 Industry Environmental Scan. 9

5.2.1 iSqFT. 10

5.2.2 PlanGrid. 11

5.2.3 BuilderTREND.. 11

5.2.4 Xactimate. 12

6.0 Operating Plans. 12

6.1 Operations Strategy. 13

6.2 Professional management in the Entrepreneurial Firm. 13

6.3.1 Major Benefits. 14

6.4 Risk Analysis. 15

6.5 Process value analysis (Outsourcing) 15

6.6 Key assumptions and options analysis. 16

6.7 On-going Operations. 17

6.8 Personnel. 17

Recruitment selection. 17

6.9 training and development 18

6.10 promotions. 19

6.11 legal environment 20

7.0     Management and Organization.. 20

7.1     Leadership Style. 20

7.2 Organization Chart. 21

7.3     IT Governance Plan. 21

8.0     Personal Financial Statement.. 22

Revenues and Costs. 22

Risk Analysis. 23

Sensitivity Analysis. 23

9.0     Startup expenses. 23

7.2 ROI (Return on Investment) 25

7.3 Profit and Loss Statement. 25

11.0        Conclusion.. 28

Appendices. 32

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