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Market Share in a Business Plan

… so our market share should be …

To illustrate suppose the served available market (SAM) is 4.5 million and we expect to obtain 1% of this market. In this case the serviceable obtainable market (SOM) is calculated as follows.

Market Share in a Business Plan

The SOM is not normally calculated using a bottom up approach. However, it is a useful exercise to perform the calculation to see whether the business is able to operate at a level indicated by the estimated market share.

To illustrate suppose we have market size estimates for SAM of 4.5 million in year one rising to 7.59 million in year five. Additionally based on available resources (staff, equipment, funding etc.), the business estimates that it can deal with 300 customers in year one and 1600 customers in year five. Assuming an average value per customer of 150, we can calculate a bottom up market share as follows.

Using its available resources the business can support the market share calculated above. Consequently if the top down estimate of SOM is much larger than this the business need to rethink its plan to ensure compatibility with resources available.

Market Share Presentation

market share

The investor will view the SOM as the short term target for the business. They will be looking for this to be achieved without too many problems to show that the business idea has potential. If the business can achieve the SOM then with further investment, it should be able to penetrate the SAM even further.

This is part of the financial projections and Contents of a Business Plan Guide . The guide is a series of posts on what each section of a simple business plan should include. The next post in this series sets out details of the marketing strategy which the business intends to use to win its share of the market.

About the Author

Chartered accountant Michael Brown is the founder and CEO of Plan Projections. He has worked as an accountant and consultant for more than 25 years and has built financial models for all types of industries. He has been the CFO or controller of both small and medium sized companies and has run small businesses of his own. He has been a manager and an auditor with Deloitte, a big 4 accountancy firm, and holds a degree from Loughborough University.

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How to Write a Market Analysis for a Business Plan

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A lot of preparation goes into starting a business before you can open your doors to the public or launch your online store. One of your first steps should be to write a business plan . A business plan will serve as your roadmap when building your business.

Within your business plan, there’s an important section you should pay careful attention to: your market analysis. Your market analysis helps you understand your target market and how you can thrive within it.

Simply put, your market analysis shows that you’ve done your research. It also contributes to your marketing strategy by defining your target customer and researching their buying habits. Overall, a market analysis will yield invaluable data if you have limited knowledge about your market, the market has fierce competition, and if you require a business loan. In this guide, we'll explore how to conduct your own market analysis.

How to conduct a market analysis: A step-by-step guide

In your market analysis, you can expect to cover the following:

Industry outlook

Target market

Market value

Competition

Barriers to entry

Let’s dive into an in-depth look into each section:

Step 1: Define your objective

Before you begin your market analysis, it’s important to define your objective for writing a market analysis. Are you writing it for internal purposes or for external purposes?

If you were doing a market analysis for internal purposes, you might be brainstorming new products to launch or adjusting your marketing tactics. An example of an external purpose might be that you need a market analysis to get approved for a business loan .

The comprehensiveness of your market analysis will depend on your objective. If you’re preparing for a new product launch, you might focus more heavily on researching the competition. A market analysis for a loan approval would require heavy data and research into market size and growth, share potential, and pricing.

Step 2: Provide an industry outlook

An industry outlook is a general direction of where your industry is heading. Lenders want to know whether you’re targeting a growing industry or declining industry. For example, if you’re looking to sell VCRs in 2020, it’s unlikely that your business will succeed.

Starting your market analysis with an industry outlook offers a preliminary view of the market and what to expect in your market analysis. When writing this section, you'll want to include:

Market size

Are you chasing big markets or are you targeting very niche markets? If you’re targeting a niche market, are there enough customers to support your business and buy your product?

Product life cycle

If you develop a product, what will its life cycle look like? Lenders want an overview of how your product will come into fruition after it’s developed and launched. In this section, you can discuss your product’s:

Research and development

Projected growth

How do you see your company performing over time? Calculating your year-over-year growth will help you and lenders see how your business has grown thus far. Calculating your projected growth shows how your business will fare in future projected market conditions.

Step 3: Determine your target market

This section of your market analysis is dedicated to your potential customer. Who is your ideal target customer? How can you cater your product to serve them specifically?

Don’t make the mistake of wanting to sell your product to everybody. Your target customer should be specific. For example, if you’re selling mittens, you wouldn’t want to market to warmer climates like Hawaii. You should target customers who live in colder regions. The more nuanced your target market is, the more information you’ll have to inform your business and marketing strategy.

With that in mind, your target market section should include the following points:

Demographics

This is where you leave nothing to mystery about your ideal customer. You want to know every aspect of your customer so you can best serve them. Dedicate time to researching the following demographics:

Income level

Create a customer persona

Creating a customer persona can help you better understand your customer. It can be easier to market to a person than data on paper. You can give this persona a name, background, and job. Mold this persona into your target customer.

What are your customer’s pain points? How do these pain points influence how they buy products? What matters most to them? Why do they choose one brand over another?

Research and supporting material

Information without data are just claims. To add credibility to your market analysis, you need to include data. Some methods for collecting data include:

Target group surveys

Focus groups

Reading reviews

Feedback surveys

You can also consult resources online. For example, the U.S. Census Bureau can help you find demographics in calculating your market share. The U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Small Business Administration also offer general data that can help you research your target industry.

Step 4: Calculate market value

You can use either top-down analysis or bottom-up analysis to calculate an estimate of your market value.

A top-down analysis tends to be the easier option of the two. It requires for you to calculate the entire market and then estimate how much of a share you expect your business to get. For example, let’s assume your target market consists of 100,000 people. If you’re optimistic and manage to get 1% of that market, you can expect to make 1,000 sales.

A bottom-up analysis is more data-driven and requires more research. You calculate the individual factors of your business and then estimate how high you can scale them to arrive at a projected market share. Some factors to consider when doing a bottom-up analysis include:

Where products are sold

Who your competition is

The price per unit

How many consumers you expect to reach

The average amount a customer would buy over time

While a bottom-up analysis requires more data than a top-down analysis, you can usually arrive at a more accurate calculation.

Step 5: Get to know your competition

Before you start a business, you need to research the level of competition within your market. Are there certain companies getting the lion’s share of the market? How can you position yourself to stand out from the competition?

There are two types of competitors that you should be aware of: direct competitors and indirect competitors.

Direct competitors are other businesses who sell the same product as you. If you and the company across town both sell apples, you are direct competitors.

An indirect competitor sells a different but similar product to yours. If that company across town sells oranges instead, they are an indirect competitor. Apples and oranges are different but they still target a similar market: people who eat fruits.

Also, here are some questions you want to answer when writing this section of your market analysis:

What are your competitor’s strengths?

What are your competitor’s weaknesses?

How can you cover your competitor’s weaknesses in your own business?

How can you solve the same problems better or differently than your competitors?

How can you leverage technology to better serve your customers?

How big of a threat are your competitors if you open your business?

Step 6: Identify your barriers

Writing a market analysis can help you identify some glaring barriers to starting your business. Researching these barriers will help you avoid any costly legal or business mistakes down the line. Some entry barriers to address in your marketing analysis include:

Technology: How rapid is technology advancing and can it render your product obsolete within the next five years?

Branding: You need to establish your brand identity to stand out in a saturated market.

Cost of entry: Startup costs, like renting a space and hiring employees, are expensive. Also, specialty equipment often comes with hefty price tags. (Consider researching equipment financing to help finance these purchases.)

Location: You need to secure a prime location if you’re opening a physical store.

Competition: A market with fierce competition can be a steep uphill battle (like attempting to go toe-to-toe with Apple or Amazon).

Step 7: Know the regulations

When starting a business, it’s your responsibility to research governmental and state business regulations within your market. Some regulations to keep in mind include (but aren’t limited to):

Employment and labor laws

Advertising

Environmental regulations

If you’re a newer entrepreneur and this is your first business, this part can be daunting so you might want to consult with a business attorney. A legal professional will help you identify the legal requirements specific to your business. You can also check online legal help sites like LegalZoom or Rocket Lawyer.

Tips when writing your market analysis

We wouldn’t be surprised if you feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information needed in a market analysis. Keep in mind, though, this research is key to launching a successful business. You don’t want to cut corners, but here are a few tips to help you out when writing your market analysis:

Use visual aids

Nobody likes 30 pages of nothing but text. Using visual aids can break up those text blocks, making your market analysis more visually appealing. When discussing statistics and metrics, charts and graphs will help you better communicate your data.

Include a summary

If you’ve ever read an article from an academic journal, you’ll notice that writers include an abstract that offers the reader a preview.

Use this same tactic when writing your market analysis. It will prime the reader of your market highlights before they dive into the hard data.

Get to the point

It’s better to keep your market analysis concise than to stuff it with fluff and repetition. You’ll want to present your data, analyze it, and then tie it back into how your business can thrive within your target market.

Revisit your market analysis regularly

Markets are always changing and it's important that your business changes with your target market. Revisiting your market analysis ensures that your business operations align with changing market conditions. The best businesses are the ones that can adapt.

Why should you write a market analysis?

Your market analysis helps you look at factors within your market to determine if it’s a good fit for your business model. A market analysis will help you:

1. Learn how to analyze the market need

Markets are always shifting and it’s a good idea to identify current and projected market conditions. These trends will help you understand the size of your market and whether there are paying customers waiting for you. Doing a market analysis helps you confirm that your target market is a lucrative market.

2. Learn about your customers

The best way to serve your customer is to understand them. A market analysis will examine your customer’s buying habits, pain points, and desires. This information will aid you in developing a business that addresses those points.

3. Get approved for a business loan

Starting a business, especially if it’s your first one, requires startup funding. A good first step is to apply for a business loan with your bank or other financial institution.

A thorough market analysis shows that you’re professional, prepared, and worth the investment from lenders. This preparation inspires confidence within the lender that you can build a business and repay the loan.

4. Beat the competition

Your research will offer valuable insight and certain advantages that the competition might not have. For example, thoroughly understanding your customer’s pain points and desires will help you develop a superior product or service than your competitors. If your business is already up and running, an updated market analysis can upgrade your marketing strategy or help you launch a new product.

Final thoughts

There is a saying that the first step to cutting down a tree is to sharpen an axe. In other words, preparation is the key to success. In business, preparation increases the chances that your business will succeed, even in a competitive market.

The market analysis section of your business plan separates the entrepreneurs who have done their homework from those who haven’t. Now that you’ve learned how to write a market analysis, it’s time for you to sharpen your axe and grow a successful business. And keep in mind, if you need help crafting your business plan, you can always turn to business plan software or a free template to help you stay organized.

This article originally appeared on JustBusiness, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.

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How to Write the Market Analysis Section of a Business Plan

Written by Dave Lavinsky

industry description and target market analysis

What is the Market Analysis in a Business Plan?

The market analysis section of your business plan is where you discuss the size of the market in which you’re competing and market trends that might affect your future potential such as economic, political, social and/or technological shifts.

This helps you and readers understand if your market is big enough to support your business’ growth, and whether future conditions will help or hurt your business. For example, stating that your market size is $56 billion, has been growing by 10% for the last 10 years, and that trends are expected to further increase the market size bodes well for your company’s success.

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What Should a Market Analysis Include?

You’ll want to address these issues in your market analysis:

  • Size of Industry – How big is the overall industry?
  • Projected Growth Rate of Industry – Is the industry growing or shrinking? How fast?
  • Target Market – Who are you targeting with this product or service?
  • Competition – How many businesses are currently in the same industry?

Learn how to write the full market analysis below.

How to Write a Market Analysis

Here’s how to write the market analysis section of a business plan.

  • Describe each industry that you are competing in or will be targeting.
  • Identify direct competition, but don’t forget about indirect competition – this may include companies selling different products to the same potential customer segments.
  • Highlight strengths and weaknesses for both direct and indirect competitors, along with how your company stacks up against them based on what makes your company uniquely positioned to succeed.
  • Include specific data, statistics, graphs, or charts if possible to make the market analysis more convincing to investors or lenders.

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Industry overview.

In your industry overview, you will define the market in which you are competing (e.g., restaurant, medical devices, etc.).

You will then detail the sub-segment or niche of that market if applicable (e.g., within restaurants there are fast food restaurants, fine dining, etc.).

Next, you will describe the key characteristics of your industry. For example, discuss how big the market is in terms of units and revenues. Let the reader know if the market is growing or declining (and at what rate), and what key industry trends are facing your market.

Use third-party market research as much as possible to validate the discussion of your industry.

Here is a list of additional items you may analyze for a complete industry overview:

  • An overview of the current state of the industry . How big is it, how much does it produce or sell? What are its key differentiators from competitors? What is its target customer base like – demographic information and psychographics? How has the industry performed over time (global, domestic)?
  • Analyze the macro-economic factors impacting your industry . This includes items such as economic growth opportunities, inflation, exchange rates, interest rates, labor market trends, and technological improvements. You want to make sure that all of these are trending in a positive direction for you while also being realistic about them. For example, if the economy is in shambles you might want to wait before entering the particular market.
  • Analyze the political factors impacting your industry . This is an often-overlooked section of any business plan, but it can be important depending on what type of company you are starting. If you’re in a highly regulated industry (such as medical devices), this is something that you’ll want to include.
  • Analyze the social factors impacting your industry . This includes analyzing society’s interest in your product or service, historical trends in buying patterns in your industry, and any effects on the industry due to changes in culture. For example, if there is a growing counter-culture trend against big oil companies you might want to position yourself differently than a company in this industry.
  • Analyze the technological factors impacting your industry . This includes analyzing new technologies being developed in software, hardware, or applications that can be used to improve your product or service. It also includes emerging consumer trends and will be highly dependent on your business type. In a technology-related venture, you would analyze how these changes are impacting consumers. For an educational-related venture, you would analyze how these changes are impacting students, teachers, and/or administrators.

For each of these items, you want to provide some detail about them including their current state as well as what external factors have played a role in the recent past. You can also include many other important factors if they apply to your business including demographic trends, legal issues, environmental concerns, and sustainability issues.

When you are done analyzing all of these factors, wrap it up by summing them up in a statement that includes your view on the future of the industry. This should be positive to attract investors, potential customers, and partners.

If you’re having trouble thinking about all of these factors then it might be helpful to first develop a SWOT analysis for your business.

Once you have an understanding of the market, you’ll need to think about how you will position yourself within that potential market.

Picking Your Niche

You want to think about how large your market is for this venture. You also want to consider whether you’d like to pick a niche within the overall industry or launch yourself into the mainstream.

If you have an innovative product it can be easier to enter the mainstream market – but at the same time, you might face some additional competition if there are similar products available.

You can choose to specialize in a niche market where you’ll face less competition – but might be able to sell your services at a higher price point (this could make it easier for you to get potential customers).

Of course, if your product or service is unique then there should be no competition. But, what happens if it isn’t unique? Will you be able to differentiate yourself enough to create a competitive advantage or edge?

If you are planning on entering the mainstream market, think about whether there are different sub-niches within your specific market. For example, within the technology industry, you can choose to specialize in laptops or smartphones or tablets, or other categories. While it will be more difficult to be unique in a mainstream market, you will still be able to focus on one type or category of products.

How Will You Stand Out?

Many companies are able to stand out – whether by offering a product that is unique or by marketing their products in a way that consumers notice. For example, Steve Jobs was able to take a business idea like the iPhone and make it into something that people talked about (while competitors struggled to play catch up).

You want your venture to stand out – whether with an innovative product or service or through marketing strategies. This might include a unique brand, name, or logo. It might also include packaging that stands out from competitors.

Write down how you will achieve this goal of standing out in the marketplace. If it’s a product, then what features do you have that other products don’t? If it’s a service, then what is it about this service that will make people want to use your company rather than your competition?

You also need to think about marketing. How are you going to promote yourself or sell your product or service? You’ll need a marketing plan for this – which might include writing copy, creating an advertisement, setting up a website, and several other activities. This should include a description of each of these strategies.

If you’re struggling with the details of any of these sections, it might be helpful to research what other companies in your market are doing and how they’ve been successful. You can use this business information to inform your own strategies and plans.

Relevant Market Size & Competition

In the second stage of your analysis, you must determine the size and competition in your specific market.

Target Market Section

Your company’s relevant market size is the amount of money it could make each year if it owned a complete market share.

It’s simple.

To begin, estimate how many consumers you expect to be interested in purchasing your products or services each year.

To generate a more precise estimate, enter the monetary amount these potential customers may be ready to spend on your goods or services each year.

The size of your market is the product of these two figures. Calculate this market value here so that your readers can see how big your market opportunity is (particularly if you are seeking debt or equity funding).

You’ll also want to include an analysis of your market conditions. Is this a growing or declining market? How fast is it growing (or declining)? What are the general trends in the market? How has your market shifted over time?

Include all of this information in your own business plan to give your readers a clear understanding of the market landscape you’re competing in.

The Competition

Next, you’ll need to create a comprehensive list of the competitors in your market. This competitive analysis includes:

  • Direct Competitors – Companies that offer a similar product or service
  • Indirect Competitors – Companies that sell products or services that are complementary to yours but not directly related

To show how large each competitor is, you can use metrics such as revenue, employees, number of locations, etc. If you have limited information about the company on hand then you may want to do some additional research or contact them directly for more information. You should also include their website so readers can learn more if they desire (along with social media profiles).

Once you complete this list, take a step back and try to determine how much market share each competitor has. You can use different methods to do this such as market research, surveys, or conduct focus groups or interviews with target customers.

You should also take into account the barriers to entry that exist in your market. What would it take for a new company to enter the market and start competing with you? This could be anything from capital requirements to licensing and permits.

When you have all of this information, you’ll want to create a table like the one below:

Once you have this data, you can start developing strategies to compete with the other companies which will be used again later to help you develop your marketing strategy and plan. 

Writing a Market Analysis Tips

  • Include an explanation of how you determined the size of the market and how much share competitors have.
  • Include tables like the one above that show competitor size, barriers to entry, etc.
  • Decide where you’re going to place this section in your business plan – before or after your SWOT analysis. You can use other sections as well such as your company summary or product/service description. Make sure you consider which information should come first for the reader to make the most sense.
  • Brainstorm how you’re going to stand out in this competitive market.

Formatting the Market Analysis Section of Your Business Plan

Now that you understand the different components of the market analysis, let’s take a look at how you should structure this section in your business plan.

Your market analysis should be divided into two sections: the industry overview and market size & competition.

Each section should include detailed information about the topic and supporting evidence to back up your claims.

You’ll also want to make sure that all of your data is up-to-date. Be sure to include the date of the analysis in your business plan so readers know when it was conducted and if there have been any major changes since then.

In addition, you should also provide a short summary of what this section covers at the beginning of each paragraph or page. You can do this by using a title such as “Industry Overview” or another descriptive phrase that is easy to follow.

As with all sections in a business plan, make sure your market analysis is concise and includes only the most relevant information to keep your audience engaged until they reach your conclusion.

A strong market analysis can give your company a competitive edge over other businesses in its industry, which is why it’s essential to include this section in your business plan. By providing detailed information about the market you’re competing in, you can show your readers that you understand the industry and know how to capitalize on current and future trends.

Business Plan Market Analysis Examples

The following are examples of how to write the market analysis section of a business plan:

Business Plan Market Analysis Example #1 – Hosmer Sunglasses, a sunglasses manufacturer based in California

According to the Sunglass Association of America, the retail sales volume of Plano (non-prescription) sunglasses, clip-on sunglasses, and children’s sunglasses (hereinafter collectively referred to as “Sunwear”) totaled $2.9 billion last year. Premium-priced sunglasses are driving the Plano Sunwear market. Plano sunglasses priced at $100 or more accounted for more than 49% of all Sunwear sales among independent retail locations last year. 

The Sunglass Association of America has projected that the dollar volume for retail sales of Plano Sunwear will grow 1.7% next year. Plano sunglass vendors are also bullish about sales in this year and beyond as a result of the growth of technology, particularly the growth of laser surgery and e-commerce.

Business Plan Market Analysis Example #2 – Nailed It!, a family-owned restaurant in Omaha, NE

According to the Nebraska Restaurant Association, last year total restaurant sales in Nebraska grew by 4.3%, reaching a record high of $2.8 billion. Sales at full-service restaurants were particularly strong, growing 7% over 2012 figures. This steady increase is being driven by population growth throughout the state. The Average Annual Growth Rate (AGR) since 2009 is 2.89%.

This fast growth has also encouraged the opening of new restaurants, with 3,035 operating statewide as of this year. The restaurant industry employs more than 41,000 workers in Nebraska and contributes nearly $3 billion to the state economy every year.

Nebraska’s population continues to increase – reaching 1.9 million in 2012, a 1.5% growth rate. In addition to population, the state has experienced record low unemployment every year since 2009 – with an average of 4.7% in 2013 and 2014.

Business Plan Market Analysis Example #3 – American Insurance Company (AIC), a chain of insurance agencies in Maine

American Insurance Company (AIC) offers high-quality insurance at low prices through its chain of retail outlets in the state of Maine. Since its inception, AIC has created an extensive network of agents and brokers across the country with expanding online, call center and retail business operations.

AIC is entering a market that will more than double in size over the next 50 years according to some industry forecasts. The insurance industry is enjoying low inflation rates, steady income growth, and improving standards of living for most Americans during what has been a difficult period for much of American business. This makes this a good time to enter the insurance industry as it enjoys higher margins because customers are purchasing more coverage due to increased costs from medical care and higher liability claims.

American Insurance Company provides affordable homeowners, auto, and business insurance through high-quality fulfillment centers across America that have earned a reputation for top-notch customer service.

AIC will face significant competition from both direct and indirect competitors. The indirect competition will come from a variety of businesses, including banks, other insurance companies, and online retailers. The direct competition will come from other well-funded start-ups as well as incumbents in the industry. AIC’s competitive advantages include its low prices, high quality, and excellent customer service.

AIC plans to grow at a rate that is above average for the industry as a whole. The company has identified a market that is expected to grow by more than 100% in the next decade. This growth is due to several factors: the increase in the number of two-income households, the aging population, and the impending retirement of many baby boomers will lead to an increase in the number of people who are purchasing insurance.

AIC projects revenues of $20M in year one, which is equivalent to 100% growth over the previous year. AIC forecasts revenue growth of 40%-60% each year on average for 10 years. After that, revenue growth is expected to slow down significantly due to market saturation.

The following table illustrates these projections:

Competitive Landscape

Direct Competition: P&C Insurance Market Leaders

Indirect Competition: Banks, Other Insurance Companies, Retailers

Market Analysis Conclusion

When writing the market analysis section, it is important to provide specific data and forecasts about the industry that your company operates in. This information can help make your business plan more convincing to potential investors.

If it’s helpful, you should also discuss how your company stacks up against its competitors based on what makes it unique. In addition, you can identify any strengths or weaknesses that your company has compared to its competitors.

Based on this data, provide projections for how much revenue your company expects to generate over the next few years. Providing this information early on in the business plan will help convince investors that you know what you are talking about and your company is well-positioned to succeed.  

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Other Resources for Writing Your Business Plan

How to Write a Great Business Plan Executive Summary How to Expertly Write the Company Description in Your Business Plan The Customer Analysis Section of Your Business Plan Completing the Competitive Analysis Section of Your Business Plan The Management Team Section of Your Business Plan Financial Assumptions and Your Business Plan How to Create Financial Projections for Your Business Plan Everything You Need to Know about the Business Plan Appendix Best Business Plan Software Business Plan Conclusion: Summary & Recap  

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Business Plan Market Analysis The Full Guide

Business Plan Market Analysis - Your Road Map to Success

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the business plan market analysis section of a business plan. Market Analysis is a key part of any good business plan, which will help you better assess and understand your market. ‍ The business plan market analysis section is the heart and soul of your strategy, impacting everything from marketing to operations to the financial forecast. The market analysis helps you understand your position within the industry, the potential size of your market, the competitive landscape, and most importantly, it assists in identifying your target customers. In this blog post, we'll take you through the essentials of market analysis: what it is, why it's crucial, and the components it comprises.

Table of Contents

Business Plan Market Analysis - What Is It?

  • Key Components
  • How To Implement

Tips and Best Practices

  • Market Analysis Case Study

Wrapping It All Up

Market analysis is a comprehensive examination of the dynamics, trends, and competitive landscape of the business environment within which a company operates. It is a vital component of a business plan as it allows entrepreneurs and business owners to understand their industry and market better, enabling them to make well-informed decisions. The business plan market analysis section has two main benefits. Firstly, it Allows you to Identify key opportunities in the market. By studying the market, a business can identify gaps, trends, or customer needs that aren't currently being met and then plan to cater to them effectively. Secondly, it also allows you to recognise potential threats and competition. By understanding your competitors, their offerings, strategies, strengths, and weaknesses, you can position yourself better against their position in the marketplace. Overall the role of market analysis in a business plan cannot be understated. It serves as the foundation upon which the marketing and sales strategies are built. In the following sections, we will take a deep dive into the key components of market analysis and how to conduct it effectively. 

Remember, the opening of your Executive Summary sets the tone for the entire document. Make it memorable and compelling to encourage the reader to continue exploring.

Business Plan Market Analysis Allows You To Analyse Your Competitors

What Are The Key Components of Market Analysis?

Understanding the key components of a market analysis is crucial to conducting one effectively. Each element contributes a unique insight into your market, providing a comprehensive overview of the environment in which your business will operate. Here are the key components:

  • Industry Description and Outlook: This involves describing the industry within which your business will operate. Look to identify the key trends influencing it and the outlook of the future of the industry based on reliable industry forecasts.
  • Target Market: It's vital to identify and understand your ideal customers. This involves defining the demographics (age, gender, income, etc.), psychographics (interests, values, behaviours, etc.), and geographic location of the customers your business aims to target. Furthermore, it's important to understand their needs, preferences, and buying habits.
  • Market Size and Trends: Here, you need to determine the total size of your target market. This involves quantifying the number of potential customers, the total sales volume, or the total market value. Furthermore, it's crucial to identify key market trends, which may include changes in customer behaviour, new technologies, or shifting regulatory environments.
  • Market Segmentation: This involves dividing your target market into distinct groups (segments) based on certain characteristics. These might include age, location, buying habits, or customer needs. By taking the time to segment your customers you can develop better targeting strategies for your marketing campaigns.
  • Competitive Analysis: This component involves identifying your key competitors and analysing their products, sales strategies, market share, strengths, and weaknesses. A competitive analysis will help your business identify its unique selling proposition (USP) and differentiate itself from competitors.
  • SWOT Analysis: Finally, conducting a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis will allow your business to identify its internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as external opportunities and threats in the market. This can help your business leverage its strengths, address its weaknesses, capitalise on opportunities, and prepare for potential threats.

Business Plan Market Analysis - How to Implement 

Conducting a business plan market analysis might seem like a daunting task, but you can make it more achievable by breaking it down into key tasks.

  • Industry Description and Outlook: Start by gathering data on your industry. This can include industry reports, market research data, news articles, and government statistics. Remember to cite your sources to add credibility to your analysis.
  • Target Market: Identifying your target market requires an understanding of who is most likely to buy your product or service. You can conduct surveys, interviews, or focus groups to gather data on potential customers. If you already have a customer database, try to delve into this further by conducting post-purchase interviews with customers. Try to identify demographic, geographic, and psychographic characteristics, as well as buying habits and needs. The aim is to create a clear and specific profile of your ideal customer. You will aim to use this data to generate customer segments to target with your marketing campaigns.
  • Market Size and Trends: Estimating market size can be challenging but can be done by looking at industry reports, government data, and market research studies. You can also look at the sales of competitors or analogous products. Identify key market trends by examining changes in customer behaviour, technological advances, and regulatory changes.
  • Competitive Analysis: Identify your key competitors and analyse their offerings. Look at their products, pricing, marketing strategies, and market share. Try to understand their strengths and weaknesses. You can gather this information from their websites, customer reviews, and industry reports. Use this analysis to identify opportunities for your business to differentiate itself.
  • SWOT Analysis: You can consolidate all of your initial research into a SWOT analysis which will help synthesise your learning and make it easier to develop strategies from your research.

Remember, conducting a market analysis isn't a one-time task. Markets are dynamic, with customer preferences, competition, and external factors continually changing. Your aim should be to continually update your business plan market analysis periodically. Here at Action Planr we have a full guide on how to conduct a SWOT Analysis for more detailed information on the full process.

Business Plan Market Analysis Size Up Your Competition

Successfully conducting a market analysis involves more than just understanding its components and knowing where to find the necessary data. Here are some tips and best practices to help make your market analysis more robust, reliable, and useful for decision-making:

  • Using Reliable Data Sources for Market Research: The quality of your analysis is directly tied to the quality of your data. Therefore, it's important to use reliable sources such as government databases, industry reports, reputable market research firms, and academic studies. Be wary of data that doesn't come from reliable sources.
  • Understanding the Importance of Both Quantitative and Qualitative Research: Quantitative data, like statistics and numerical facts, provides a solid base for your analysis. But don't underestimate the power of qualitative data—opinions, anecdotes, and experiences—which can provide deeper insight into customer behaviours and preferences.
  • Keeping the Analysis Current and Updated: Markets change rapidly. What was true last year—or even last month—may not hold today. Regularly updating your market analysis can help you keep up with changes and adjust your business strategies accordingly.
  • Ensuring Your Analysis is Relevant to Your Specific Business Model: The insights you need depend on your business model. A B2B company will need a different kind of analysis than a B2C company. Tailor your market analysis to your specific business needs and objectives.
  • Importance of Validating Assumptions: In the course of conducting a market analysis, you'll likely make assumptions. Be sure to validate these assumptions with solid data whenever possible.
  • Keep your Audience in Mind: If your business plan is read by investors, they'll be interested in market size, growth opportunities, and competitive landscape. Make sure your market analysis addresses these topics and is presented in a clear, easy-to-understand format.

Business Plan Market Analysis Understand Your Market Size

Business Plan Market Analysis - Case Study

To understand how the principles and processes of market analysis work in a real-world context, let's look at a case study of an innovative tech startup, "Techie Toys." Techie Toys is a company that produces educational toys based on augmented reality technology, targeting children aged 6 to 12. Their goal is to make learning fun and interactive.

  • Industry Description and Outlook: Techie Toys reviewed multiple industry reports and found that the educational toy market has seen substantial growth over recent years, and this growth is expected to continue due to increasing focus on interactive learning methods. The integration of technology into educational toys, specifically augmented reality, is a significant trend shaping the industry.
  • Target Market: Through surveys and focus groups, Techie Toys identified their target customers as parents of children aged 6 to 12 who value educational development and are comfortable with technology integration in toys. These parents have middle to upper-middle income, are mostly city dwellers, and are willing to invest in their children's education.
  • Market Size and Trends: By analysing industry reports and sales of similar products, Techie Toys estimated a sizable target market for their augmented reality educational toys. The trend of "edutainment" was identified as a key market trend, with technology-based educational toys gaining popularity.
  • Market Segmentation: Techie Toys segmented their market based on age (6-8, 9-12), type of toy preferred (science, math, language arts), and parents' willingness to spend on educational toys. They plan to tailor their products and marketing strategies according to these segments.
  • Competitive Analysis: Techie Toys identified several key competitors offering educational toys but found a gap in those providing augmented reality-based learning. They also discovered that their unique selling proposition – interactive learning through augmented reality – is an aspect where they outshine their competitors.
  • SWOT Analysis: Strengths identified included a strong development team, unique product offering, and alignment with market trends. Weaknesses involved a higher price point and lack of brand recognition. Opportunities included a growing market and a trend toward edutainment, while threats were potential competitors and rapid technological change.

By conducting this detailed market analysis, Techie Toys was able to effectively position itself within the market, identify its unique selling proposition, and tailor their product development and marketing strategy to their target audience. This comprehensive understanding of their market greatly contributed to their success.

The business plan market analysis section of a business plan is one of its most critical components. Conducting a detailed and accurate market analysis can be a challenging process, but as we've seen in our guide, the benefits are large. Business is all about planning and conducting an in-depth market analysis process, It will allow your business to navigate its environment with knowledge and foresight. The insight gained can help you identify growth opportunities and provide a strong basis for the development of effective marketing and sales strategies. Keep these insights, steps, and tips in mind as you work on your market analysis and remember markets are continually changing so don't make this a one-and-done exercise. If you are looking for help with other sections of the business plan, please check out our Learning Zone homepage.

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How to Write a Market Analysis for a Business Plan?

The Market Analysis Kit

Free Market Analysis Kit

  • April 11, 2024

13 Min Read

how to conduct market analysis for a business plan

Market analysis is the foundation upon which the success of your business relies.

Whether you are a seasoned entrepreneur planning to enter a new geographical market or an emerging startup struggling to place together your business plan—a thorough understanding of the market, customers, and competitors is essential for a business to thrive successfully. 

Now, writing a market analysis for your business plan is quite a challenge. But with this step-by-step guide, we have made the entire process quite simple and easy to follow. 

Also, get tips to write this section and our curated market analysis example for a business plan. 

Ready to dive in? Let’s get started.

What is Market Analysis?

Market analysis is a detailed analysis of your business’s target market and the competitive landscape within a specific industry. It is an important section of your business plan offering a thorough insight into the state of the industry, the potential target market, and your business’s competition.

A well-targeted market analysis forms the base upon which the foundation of your business relies. It assures the readers that you have a thorough understanding of the market you are about to enter.

Why should you Conduct Market Analysis?

Wondering how market analysis will contribute to the success of your business? Well, check these benefits of conducting a comprehensive market analysis for your business:

1. Reduces the risk

Instead of operating on instincts and gut feelings, market research enables you to make decisions based on data and analysis. When you know with surety what works and what doesn’t, you will make decisions that are more likely to succeed than fail.

To summarize, having an in-depth market analysis will reduce the risks associated with starting a business in a thriving marketplace.

2. Identifies emerging trends

A market analysis identifies emerging market trends and patterns and thereby helps you stay at the top of the competition. Not only the trends, but you can also identify challenges that may potentially arise in your business and design a pivot plan.

3. Assist in product development

A detailed analysis of the target market, industry, and competitors helps you create the product that the customer will be willing to buy. The analysis will not only assist in product development, but also with pricing, marketing, and sales strategies to ensure thriving business conditions.

4. Optimize your target market

Your business is not for everyone and the sooner you realize this the better. A target market analysis helps in understanding who your potential customers are and accordingly strategize your marketing efforts to attract them.

5. Establishes evaluation benchmarks

Market analysis benefits your business by offering evaluation metrics and KPIs. Such metrics help in measuring a company’s performance and its edge over the competitors.

Lastly, a thorough market analysis is quintessential if you are planning to secure funds. As a matter of fact, it is non-negotiable.

Now that you know how important having a market analysis section is, let’s learn a detailed way of conducting such analysis.

How to Simplify Your Market Analysis?

Market analysis is a broad concept covering a wide range of details. There’s no denying that it is a tiring task requiring extremely dedicated efforts.

From understanding the purpose of research to undertaking surveys, gathering data, and converting it into worthy analysis—the research itself is a lot for an individual to cover.

Upmetrics market analysis tool kit includes a variety of guidebooks and templates that will help you with target customer analysis , surveys, and competitor surveys.

The documents will guide you in a strategic direction to conduct qualitative research and analysis. They are well-crafted and quite simple to follow even for someone with no prior experience at market analysis.

Got it? No more side talking, let’s get straight to what you are here for.

How to Conduct a Market Analysis?

Conducting thorough market research and analysis could be a hassle, but not with this easy-to-follow 7-step guide. Let’s get over it.

1. Determine your objective

When you write a business plan , market analysis is going to be one prominent component.

However, it is important to know the clear objective of conducting such analysis before you kickstart.

For instance, are you planning to acquire funding from investors or are you conducting this research to test the viability of your business idea? Are you looking to add a new product segment to your business or are you looking to expand in other states and countries?

how to write a market share in business plan

That being said, the purpose of your market analysis will determine the extent and scope of research essential for your business.

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how to write a market share in business plan

2. Conduct an Industry Analysis

In this part of your analysis, you will highlight the state of the current industry and show where it seems to be moving. Investors would want to know if the industry is growing or declining, so present accordingly.

This section should include metrics for market size, projected growth, average market growth rate,  product life cycle, and market trends.

Ensure that you gather data from highly authoritative sites like the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Bureau of Economic Analysis, and industry publications to make your analysis.

To make this section enriching and meaningful, begin with a macro industry overview and then drill down to your specific market and business offering as thorough details as possible.

3. Identify your target audience

This section of your market analysis is dedicated to your potential target customers.

And, although your product might be suitable for everyone, there is a high possibility that not all of them will be your customers due to many reasons.

It is therefore better to target a specific category of customers to grow your business effectively and efficiently.

Now, you can begin by creating a buyer’s persona of your ideal customer describing their demographic and psychographic details. This includes talking about the age, gender, location, income, occupation, needs, pain points, problems, and spending capacity of your target customer.

You can conduct surveys, interviews, and focus groups, and gather data from high-end sources to get essential details for a customer profile.

However, make sure that you dig into details to make this section resourceful for business planning and strategizing.

4. Analyze your competitors

Competitive analysis is the most important aspect of your market analysis highlighting the state of the competitive landscape, potential business competitors, and your competitive edge in the market.

Now, a business may have direct as well as indirect competitors. And while indirect competition won’t affect your business directly, it definitely would have an impact on your market share.

To begin this section, identify your top competitors and list them down.

Conduct a SWOT analysis of your top competitors and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses against your business.

Identify their USPs, study their market strategies, understand how they pose a threat to your business, and ideate strategies to leverage their weaknesses.

Don’t undervalue or overestimate your competitors. Instead, focus on offering a realistic state of competition to the readers.

Additionally, readers also want to know your strengths and how you will leverage a competitive edge over your competitors. Ensure that this section highlights your edge in terms of pricing, product, market share, target customer, or anything else.

how to write a market share in business plan

Want to create a SWOT analysis for your business?

Craft a powerful SWOT Analysis in just minutes using our user-friendly and free online SWOT Analysis Generator Tool!

5. Calculate your market share

The analysis section of your business plan must also include details of your market share.

If your estimated market share is not big enough, chances are your business idea might not be profitable enough to pursue further.

Now, you can use these proven metrics to forecast your market share:

TAM (Total available market)

It represents the total demand available in the market. In other words, it is the maximum amount of sales or revenue the market has to offer.

SAM (Serviceable available market)

It represents the segment of TAM that you can obtain with your solution within your limitations. These limitations can be geographical location, business model, type of product, etc.

SOM (Serviceable obtainable market)

It represents the segment of SAM that you can realistically capture after considering your competitors, customer preferences, production capabilities, etc.

SOM is your estimated market share. Once you have calculated it, you can actualize it via suitable pricing strategies.Apart from this method, you can also use other approaches like top-down, bottom-up, and triangulation to estimate your market share.

However, whatever method you use, ensure that the projections are realistic and attainable.

6. Know the regulations and restrictions

Before entering a new market or starting a new business , you need to know the regulations and restrictions in your industry.

Understanding these can help you stay out of legal pitfalls and inspire confidence in prospective investors.

Some of the regulations you need to know are:

  • Government policies
  • Tax regulations
  • Trade policies
  • Employment laws
  • Environmental regulations
  • Security and privacy
  • Protection of intellectual properties

Include these details in your market analysis section to help readers understand the risk value and federal regulations associated with your business.

7. Organize and implement the data

After completing your research, it’s now time to make sense of all the data you’ve gathered.

There is no strict structure when it comes to organizing your market analysis. However, ensure that your analysis includes specific sections for objective, target market, and competition.

Focus on creating an easy-to-digest and visually appealing analysis section to help the readers gather essential essence.

Now, it’s a waste if you are not putting all this research to some use. Identify the business areas where you can implement your research be it product development, exploring the new market, or business operations, and develop strategies accordingly.

All in all lay the foundation of a successful business with a thorough and insightful market analysis. And, you can do it by having an organized market analysis section in your business plan.

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Tips to Write Your Market Analysis

After conducting thorough market research, it is important to present that information strategically in a business plan to help the readers get meaningful insights.

Well, here are a few tips to help you write the market analysis for a business plan.

1. Stay in context

Remember the objective of your market analysis and stick to it. Keeping the context in mind, identify what essential information to present and back them up with high-end sources.

Also, tie your data with essential analysis to show how your business would survive and thrive in the market.

2. Add visual graphics

No one prefers shifting through pages of pure text content. Graphics and visuals make your market analysis easy to absorb and understand. You are more likely to capture readers with visual attractiveness rather than risk their attention with pure textual content.

3. Offer an engaging summary

Offer readers a quick overview of your detailed market analysis by including a summarizing text. A summary will help readers gather a macro perspective before diving deep into hard facts and figures.

4. Avoid fluff and repetition

Ensure that everything you present in your market analysis section holds a meaning. Avoid adding inessential and fluff information.

To best identify whether or not the information is essential for the reader, ask this simple question: Will the reader learn something about my business’s market or its customers from this information?

If not, the information is most likely inessential. And, those were some quick tips to ensure effective market analysis for your business plan.

Market Analysis in a Business Plan Example

Before we conclude, check out this market analysis example from Upmetrics’ sample yoga studio business plan.

Business Name: Lotus Harmony

Location: Green Valley

Core Objective for Market Analysis

Our goal for the market analysis at Lotus Harmony is straightforward: to deeply understand what the Green Valley community seeks in yoga and wellness. We’ll closely look at local demand and the competitive scene, shaping our services to precisely meet community needs. This approach promises to make Lotus Harmony a distinct and beloved wellness destination in our neighborhood.

Industry Overview of the Green Valley Yoga Market

Market Size:

Green Valley is home to nearly 1M yoga enthusiasts, predominantly aged 25-45. This demographic suggests a robust market for yoga and wellness, ripe for a studio that offers diverse and inclusive programs.

Projected Growth:

The yoga community is expected to grow by 5% annually over the next five years. This growth is driven by an increasing interest in holistic health, presenting a fertile ground for a new yoga studio to thrive.

Market Trends:

A rising trend is the demand for comprehensive wellness services, including mindfulness and nutrition, alongside traditional yoga. Specialized classes like prenatal yoga are also gaining popularity, signaling opportunities for niche offerings.

By tapping into these insights, a new yoga studio in Green Valley can strategically position itself as a premier wellness destination, catering to the evolving needs of the community.

Target Market Analysis for Lotus Harmony

Lotus Harmony Yoga Studio’s ideal customers are mainly Urban Millennials and Gen Z (ages 18-35) who prioritize:

  • Wellness and mindfulness as part of their lifestyle.
  • Affordable, holistic health experiences blending physical and mental well-being.
  • Convenience with flexible class schedules and online access.
  • Community and sustainability, preferring spaces that offer personal growth and eco-consciousness.
  • A welcoming atmosphere that supports inclusivity and connection.

Competitive Landscape for Lotus Harmony

Lotus Harmony’s success relies on understanding consumer preferences and income, securing prime locations, attracting patrons, and offering quality services. Competing with gyms, wellness centers, and home fitness, it positions itself as a holistic wellness choice, aiming to stand out in Green Valley’s wellness scene.

Market Share for Lotus Harmony

market analysis business plan

Regulatory Requirements for Lotus Harmony

Here are a few aspects of legal compliance essential for Lotus Harmony:

  • Business Registration and Licensing
  • Zoning and Land Use Permits
  • Health and Safety Compliance
  • Professional Liability Insurance
  • Instructor Certifications
  • Building Safety Certificates
  • Accessibility Compliance
  • Tax Registration

Final Thoughts

It takes an extremely dedicated effort to undertake market research and craft it into a compelling analysis. However, it’s a worthy business planning effort that will set a cornerstone of success for your business.

Don’t worry. You don’t need to spend days figuring out what and how to write your market analysis. Upmetrics, an AI-powered business planning app , will help you write your overall business plan in less than an hour.

Build your Business Plan Faster

with step-by-step Guidance & AI Assistance.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 4 c's of marketing analysis.

The 4 C’s of marketing analysis are customer, cost, convenience, and communication which would together determine whether the company would succeed or fail in the long run.

Is SWOT analysis a market analysis?

SWOT analysis is a small but important tool for market research that would determine the success of a business or its edge over other businesses based on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

How long does a market analysis take?

Market analysis can take anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks, given that secondary sources of data are easily available. However, for complex large-scale projects, analysis can take up to months to complete.

What are the three core components of a market analysis?

The three most crucial components of a market analysis are the study of market size and market share, target market determination, and competitor analysis.

About the Author

how to write a market share in business plan

Upmetrics Team

Upmetrics is the #1 business planning software that helps entrepreneurs and business owners create investment-ready business plans using AI. We regularly share business planning insights on our blog. Check out the Upmetrics blog for such interesting reads. Read more

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How to Do a Market Analysis for a Business Plan?

  • What is Market Analysis in a Business Plan?

Market analysis for a  business plan serves the purpose of exploring the suitability of your product or service for the market. 

Why you should do Market Analysis for a business plan?

What should you include in market analysis, how to do market analysis for a business plan, market research from wisebusinessplans.

  • Market Research Institutes and Databases we use

Sample Research

Your market analysis for a business plan lets you see your position in the market. It helps you identify the market trends, product demand, buying trends, seasonality, competition, etc.

A good market analysis will prepare you for a successful launch and steady growth. The time you invest in exploring your target market is well-spent. 

In this article, we have discussed how to conduct market research for a business plan. Make sure you read till the end to fully understand  how to do a market analysis in business plan .

Market Analysis for a business plan

Want to write a business plan? Get help from our business plan writers for hire !

When you analyze your target market in-depth, you understand it better. You understand what market demands are and how your product can serve the market. This market knowledge will help you convince your lenders and investors to work with you. 

These are some reasons why you should include a market analysis business plan.

Reduce Risk

Target on the right customer base, know the trend, project revenues, set growth benchmarks , optimize marketing strategy .

Doing a market analysis will lower your risk of failure by helping you spot market pitfalls. When you know what lies ahead, you can plan better and prepare better. 

A market analysis for a business plan will help you identify the right customer base for your product or service. 

Many people cast a wide net at the start but a market analysis proves them wrong. 

For example, if we say that many Indians live in a neighborhood and an Indian food restaurant will be a sure hit there may be wrong. Maybe all they are eating at home is Indian food and they don’t wish to eat the same food at a restaurant. 

Another example would be thinking that since your product or service is a good match for small businesses, all small businesses are your target customers. 

When you do market analysis and look critically at your customer base, you can dodge false optimism.

All markets are unpredictable in one way or another. Knowing how the market behaves when changes occur and understanding the market trends is important for long-term success. 

Check for seasonality, innovation in the market, and consumer behavior trends. See how your industry responds to the changes in economy.

 A market analysis for a business plan can help you make sound revenue projections for your business. Your projections with data are no longer your wishful thoughts. 

If your revenue forecast is based on solid market research, potential investors and lenders will know it and consider you a serious candidate for funding. 

Every industry moves in a distinct way. Some industries have favorable business conditions and growth is rapid in that industry. 

Doing a market analysis and knowing your industry will help you set realistic growth benchmarks. When you set aggressive growth benchmarks with a reasonable chance of success, you can maximize your business growth. 

Your marketing strategy is how you’ll raise awareness and drive sales for your product or service. Your market analysis can tell you:

  • how to reach your customers, 
  • how you should design your offers, 
  • how much will you need to spend 
  • When will you achieve your marketing goals

Why you should do market analysis for a business plan

You will analyze the target market in business plan in this section. Here is what you should include in a market analysis for business plan.

Industry Outlook

Industry outlook shows the direction of your industry. It shows if you are in a growing industry, a stagnant, or a declining industry. 

Consider adding these points to  your industry outlook:

  • Are you in a big market like casual wear clothing or a niche market like heavy snow coats 
  • Discuss the product life cycle 
  • Discuss projected year-over-year growth

Target Market 

Determine and specify your target market. Your initial, super-optimistic estimations about your target market may be incorrect. 

Base your assumptions on data. Specify your target market by using these markers. 

  • Identify your target customers’ demographics like gender, age, location, income, education, etc. 
  • Create a buyer persona to show what your ideal customer looks like 
  • Include research and surveys about your target market like focus groups, and feedback surveys

Product/Service Demand 

Document your product or service demand in the market. See how many units of similar products or services are sold per year and how many people make the purchase. 

Market Growth Prospects 

Assess the overall change in your industry. Every industry has different dynamics. Some industries react to economic shocks with a rapid decline while others may show resilience. 

Many consumer goods industries stay stable for a long stretch of time and you can spot the decline years ahead. On the same lines, discuss the growth prospects of your industry and the market.

Market Trends 

Trends are the sudden changes that disrupt. The fashion industry is one of the best examples to study market trends. 

Watch for similar market trends in your industry and document them. 

Competitor Analysis 

Competitor analysis is the meat of your market analysis for a business plan. These businesses are like case studies as you can learn from their business practices and growth trajectories. 

Industry Entry Barriers 

If the industry entry barriers are low, you’ll compete with a lot of businesses. However, your chances of early success are higher in such industries as you can easily reach the breakeven point and sustain your business. 

Hard entry barriers mean there are established players in that industry and it will take time for you to grab a share of the market. 

Industry Regulations 

See the level of regulations for your industry and make a plan ahead to deal with them. The regulations increase business operating and overhead costs.

When doing industry analysis in business plan, list the industry regulations you’ll need to care for. 

What should you include in market analysis

Access our free business plan examples now!

A market analysis is about collecting all the necessary information and research and getting into the details of your industry and competitors. 

You can do a market analysis using this simple framework.

Decide your Purpose 

Do industry research, define your customer, understand competition, collect more data for the market , make use of this data .

You may be doing a market analysis for knowing your industry better or for convincing a potential lender or investor. Once you determine the purpose of market analysis, you can estimate the time and type of research the process will take.

Discuss the industry trends and see how the market is changing over the past few years. You’ll also need to include industry forecasts to complete the picture. 

A comparative market analysis helps you identify your competitive advantage. Make sure to include this in the market analysis.

Defining your customer helps you understand their needs. Define your customer in terms of demographics like:

  • Occupation 

Build a buyer persona for your product or service. This will help you understand the customer well and design products and services for your ideal customer. 

Pro Tips: Learn how to write a business plan products and services section.

Understanding your competition will prepare you for the market. Look into their strengths and weakness. See what businesses are successful in your industry and study them to understand how they are doing it. 

Steps for doing competitor analysis business plan.

  • List your top competitors 
  • Do a SWOT analysis for each competitor 
  • Compare their product or service with yours 
  • Analyze why a customer chooses their product over others 
  • Identify opportunities on how you can improve your product

The more data you have, the better your chances are of doing a top-notch market analysis. 

Collect your data from credible sources. Make sure your data is factually correct. You will be making decisions on the basis of this data. 

Here are some reliable and credible data sources that you use in your market analysis. 

  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • U.S. Census Bureau
  • Local Chamber of Commerce & Industries 
  • Trade Journals and Academic Research
  • Your own SWOT analysis
  • Market surveys or feedback

It is time to make sense of the numbers. 

The market analysis includes details from business conditions to long-term success in the industry. It calculates risk for your business.  Some factors may not be in your favor and you’ll have to decide on your chances of success.  

Keep your data organized in sections. Organize your data with a goal to present it before investors, lenders, and the team. That way, you’ll keep it simple and easy to understand.

Do you want to see an example of market analysis in a business plan? See our business plan examples to understand how it is done. 

How to do market analysis in a business plan

Still wondering what is a market analysis in a business plan? See this example of market analysis in a business plan and writer a killer market analysis. Download the  Business Plan Market Analysis Example PDF  here. 

At Wise Business Plans™ we pride ourselves on giving you the best market research for business plans available. We subscribe to commercial software programs and pay hefty licensing fees to give your business a competitive edge. 

Instead of spending hours on figuring out how to do market research for a business plan, hire professionals from WiseBusinessPlans and get a top-notch market research report for your business plan. 

Market Research Institutes and Databases we use 

IBIS World’s Industry Market Research Reports are powerful business tools that provide strategic insight and analysis on over 700 U.S. industries. 

ESRI: Market Research combines GIS (Geographic Information System) technology with extensive demographic, consumer spending, and business data for the entire United States to deliver on-demand, boardroom-ready reports and maps.

Dun & Bradstreet: D&B’s products and services are drawn from a global database of more than 130 million companies.

Hoovers : Hoover’s database of industry information, 65 million company records, and 85 million people records you can deliver valuable business insight to your employees and customers.

First Research: First Market Research is the leading provider of market analysis tools that help sales and marketing teams perform faster and smarter, open doors, and close more deals.

Worried about writing a business plan? Hiring a business plan writer can ease your worries and create a strong plan.

Sample Market Analysis for a business plan

Base your Market Research on data and expertise you can trust.   Hire professional market researchers from WiseBusinessPlans and take a solid start. 

A market analysis in a business plan is an assessment of the target market and industry in which your business operates. It involves researching and analyzing factors such as market size, competition, customer needs, trends, and growth potential.

Gather information for a market analysis by conducting market research through various methods like surveys, interviews, online research, and analyzing industry reports. Collect data on customer demographics, market trends, competitors, and customer preferences.

Include key components in a market analysis, such as an overview of the industry, target market segmentation, customer profiles, competitor analysis, market trends and growth projections, and barriers to entry. Use this information to identify opportunities and assess the viability of your business.

Analyze the competition by identifying direct and indirect competitors in your target market. Assess their strengths, weaknesses, market share, pricing strategies, and unique selling propositions. This analysis will help you understand your competitive landscape and differentiate your business.

A market analysis is crucial for a business plan as it provides insights into the market potential, customer demand, and competitive landscape. It helps you make informed decisions, develop effective marketing strategies, and demonstrate to investors or lenders that there is a viable market for your products or services.

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How to Write a Business Plan: Target Market Analysis

The Business Plan and the Importance of Defining Your Target Market

Susan Ward wrote about small businesses for The Balance for 18 years. She has run an IT consulting firm and designed and presented courses on how to promote small businesses.

how to write a market share in business plan

Conducting a Market Analysis

Polling your target market, writing the market analysis, online tools for market research, u.s. online market research sources, canadian online market research, local sources of market research, doing your own market research.

 Creative Commons CC0

The market analysis is basically the target market section of your business plan . It is a thorough examination of the ideal people to whom you intend to sell your products or services.  

Even if you intend on selling a product or service only in your community, you won't be selling that service to everyone who lives there. Knowing exactly what type(s) of people might be interested in buying your product or service and how many of them reside in your projected area or region is fundamental in creating your market analysis.

Once target market data has been established, you'll also work on sales projections within specific time frames, as well as how prospective sales might be affected by trends and policies.

Research is key and cornerstone of any solid  business plan .

Don't Skip This Step!

Don't skip market research; otherwise, you could end up starting a business that doesn't have a paying market.

Use these general terms as linchpins in research data for the market analysis section of your business plan, and to identify your target market:

But don't stop here. To succinctly define your target market, poll or survey members of your prospective clients or customers to ask specific questions directly related to your products or services. For instance, if you plan to sell computer-related services, ask questions relating to the number of computing devices your prospective customers own and how often they require servicing. If you plan on selling garden furniture and accessories, ask what kinds of garden furniture or accessories your potential customers have bought in the past, how often, and what they expect to buy within the next one, three, and five years.

Answers to these and other questions related to your market are to help you understand your market potential.

The goal of the information you collect is to help you project how much of your product or service you'll be able to sell. Review these important questions you need to try to answer using the data you collect:

  • What proportion of your target market has used a product similar to yours before?
  • How much of your product or service might your target market buy? (Estimate this in gross sales and/or in units of product/service sold.)
  • What proportion of your target market might be repeat customers?
  • How might your target market be affected by demographic shifts?
  • How might your target market be affected by economic events (e.g. a local mill closing or a big-box retailer opening locally)?
  • How might your target market be affected by larger socio-economic trends?
  • How might your target market be affected by government policies (e.g. new bylaws or changes in taxes)?

One purpose of the market analysis is to ensure you have a viable business idea.

Find Your Buying Market

Use your market research to make sure people don't just like your business idea, but they're also willing to pay for it.

If you have information suggesting that you have a large enough market to sustain your business goals, write the market analysis in the form of several short paragraphs using appropriate headings for each. If you have several target markets, you may want to number each. 

Sections of your market analysis should include:

  • Industry Description and Outlook
  • Target Market
  • Market Research Results
  • Competitive Analysis

Remember to properly cite your sources of information within the body of your market analysis as you write it. You and other readers of your business plan, such as potential investors, will need to know the sources of the statistics or opinions that you've gathered.

There are several online resources to learn if your business idea is something worth pursing, including:

  • Keyword searches can give you an overall sense of potential demand for your product or service based on the number of searches.
  • Google Trends analysis can tell you how the number of searches has changed over time.
  • Social media campaigns can give you an indication of the potential customer interest in your business idea.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has information on doing your market research and analysis , as well as a list of free small business data and trends resources you can use to conduct your research. Consider these sources for data collection:

  • SBA  Business Data and Statistics  
  • The U.S. Census Bureau maintains a huge database of demographic information that is searchable by state, county, city/town, or zip code using its census data tool . Community, housing, economic, and population surveys are also available.
  • The U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) has extensive statistics on the economy including consumer income/spending/consumption, business activity, GDP, and more, all of which are searchable by location.

The Government of Canada offers a guide on doing market research and tips for understanding the data you collect. Canadian data resources include:

  • Statistics Canada  offers demographic and economic data.
  • The  Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)  offers market research and consulting with industry experts.
  • The Canada Business Network provides business information to entrepreneurs by province/territory, including market research data.

There are also a great many local resources for building target market information to explore, including:

  • Local library
  • Local Chamber of Commerce
  • Board of Trade
  • Economic Development Centre
  • Local government agent's office
  • Provincial business ministry
  • Local phone book

All of these will have information helpful in defining your target market and providing insights into trends.

The above resources are secondary sources of information, in which others have collected and compiled the data. To get specific information about your business, consider conducting your own market research . For instance, you might want to design a questionnaire and survey your target market to learn more about their habits and preferences relating to your product or service.

Market research is time-consuming but is an important step in affording your business plan validity. If you don't have the time or the research skills to thoroughly define your target market yourself, hiring a person or firm to do the research for you can be a wise investment.​

Small Business Administration. " Market Research and Competitive Analysis. " Accessed Jan. 13, 2020.

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How to Conduct a Market Analysis in 4 Steps — 2024 Guide

Posted february 5, 2021 by noah parsons.

Understanding your customers is the key to success—which is where market analysis applies. Here's a process to get to know your customers in 4 simple steps.

Understanding your customers is the key to success for any startup. If you don’t have a deep understanding of who your customers are, you’ll have trouble developing products that truly fit their needs, and you’ll struggle to develop a successful marketing strategy.

This is where a market analysis comes in. It may sound like a daunting and complex process, but fortunately, it’s not.

What is a market analysis?

A market analysis is a thorough qualitative and quantitative assessment of the current market .

It helps you understand the volume and value of the market, potential customer segments and their buying patterns, the position of your competition, and the overall economic environment, including barriers to entry, and industry regulations.

Why you should conduct a market analysis

Whether you are writing a one-page plan or putting together a detailed business plan for a bank or other investor, a solid market analysis is expected. But, don’t just do a market analysis because you’re developing a plan. Do it because it will help you build a smarter strategy for growing your business.

Once you have in-depth knowledge of your market, you’ll be better positioned to develop products and services that your customers are going to love. And while diving into market research may seem like a daunting task it can be broken up into four simple elements:

  • Industry overview: You’ll describe the current state of your industry and where it is headed.
  • Target market: Who are your actual customers? You’ll detail how many of them are there, what their needs are, and describe their demographics.
  • Competition: Describe your competitors’ positioning, strengths, and weaknesses.
  • Pricing and forecast: Your pricing will help determine how you position your company in the market, and your forecast will show what portion of the market you hope to get.

How to conduct a market analysis

Now, let’s go into each step in more detail so you know exactly what you need for your market analysis.

1.  Industry overview

In this step, you’ll describe your industry and discuss the direction that it’s headed. You’ll want to include key industry metrics such as size, trends, and projected growth.

Industry research and analysis is different than market research . When you’re researching your industry, you’re looking at all of the businesses like yours. This is different than market research, where you are learning about your customers.

Your industry overview shows investors that you understand the larger landscape that you are competing in. More importantly, it helps you understand if there’s going to be more demand for your products in the future and how competitive the industry is likely to be.

For example, if you are selling mobile phones, you’ll want to know if the demand for mobile phones is growing or shrinking. If you’re opening a restaurant, you’ll want to understand the larger trends of dining out. Are people eating at restaurants more and more over time? Or is the market potentially shrinking as consumers take advantage of grocery delivery services?

If you’re in the United States, the U.S. Census has excellent industry data available . I’ve also found Statista to be useful. You should also look up your industry association—they often have a wealth of information on the trends in your industry.

2. Define your target market

Your target market is the most important section of your industry analysis. This is where you explain who your ideal customer is.

You may find that through the course of your analysis, that you identify different types of customers. When you have more than one type of customer, you do what’s called market segmentation. This is where you group similar types of customers into segments and describe the attributes of each segment.

You’ll need to start broadly and refine your research by defining the following elements.

Market size

Unlike industry size, which is usually measured in dollars, your market size is how many potential customers there are for your product or service. We’ve got a great method for figuring out your market size that you can read about here .

Demographics

Describe your customer’s typical age, gender, education, income, and more. If you could paint a picture of your perfect customer, this is where you’ll describe what they look like.

Where are your customers located? A specific country, region, state, city, county, you’ll want to describe that here. You may even find that your customer base is segmented based on location which can help you determine where you’ll be doing business.

Psychographics

It’s here that you need to get inside the mindset of your customers, know their needs, and how they’ll react. What are your customers’ likes and dislikes? How do they live? What’s their personality?

This piece can even help you better approach analyzing the competition.

This is essentially an extension of some of your psychographic information. Explain how your customers shop for and purchase products like yours.

Customer behavior is always changing. If there are trends that you’ve noticed with your target market, detail them here.

3. Competition

Your market analysis isn’t complete without thinking about your competition . Beyond knowing what other businesses you are competing with, a good competitive analysis will point out competitors’ weaknesses that you can take advantage of. With this knowledge, you can differentiate yourself by offering products and services that fill gaps that competitors have not addressed.

When you are analyzing the competition, you should take a look at the following areas.

Direct competition

These are companies that are offering very similar products and services. Your potential customers are probably currently buying from these companies.

Indirect competitors

Think of indirect competition as alternative solutions to the problem you are solving. This is particularly useful and important for companies that are inventing brand new products or services. For example, the first online task management software wasn’t competing with other online task managers—it was competing with paper planners, sticky notes, and other analog to-do lists.

How you’re different

You don’t want to be the same as the competition. Make sure to discuss how your company, product, or service is different than what the competition is offering. For a common business type, such as hair salons, your differentiation might be location, hours, types of services, ambiance, or price.

Barriers to entry

Describe what protections you have in place to prevent new companies from competing with you. Maybe you have a great location, or perhaps you have patents that help protect your business.

The best way to research your competition is to talk to your prospective customers and ask them who they are currently buying from and what alternate solutions they are using to solve the problem you are solving. Of course, spending some time on Google to figure out what else is out there is a great idea as well.

4. Pricing and forecast

The final step in a market analysis is to figure out your pricing and create a sales forecast to better understand what portion of the market you think you can get.

Pricing your product or service

First, think about your pricing . Of course, you should ensure that your price is more than what it costs you to make and deliver your product or service. But, beyond that, think about the message that your price sends to consumers.

Customers usually link high prices to quality. But, if you are pricing on the higher end of the spectrum, you need to make sure the rest of your marketing is also signaling that you are delivering a high-quality product or service. From what your business looks like to its logo and customer service experience, high-prices should come with a high-quality experience during the entire sales process.

On the other end of the spectrum, maybe you’re competing as a low-priced alternative to other products or businesses. If that’s the case, make sure your marketing and other messaging are also delivering that same, unified message.

Forecasting for initial sales volume

Once you have an idea of your pricing, think about how much you expect to sell. Your industry research will come into play here as you think about how much of the overall market you expect to capture. For example, if you’re opening a new type of grocery store, you’ll want to know how much people spend on groceries in your area. Your forecast should reflect a realistic portion of that total spend. It’s probably not realistic to gain 50 percent of the market within your first year.

However, don’t make the mistake of assuming that you can easily get 1 percent of a very large market. 1 percent of a 3 billion dollar market is still $30 million and even though 1 percent seems like a small, attainable number, you need to understand and explain how you will actually acquire that volume of customers.

When you build your forecast, use it as a goal for your business and track your actual sales compared to what you had hoped you would sell. Tools like LivePlan can help you automatically compare your forecast to your accounting data, so it’s easy to do. But, even if you use a spreadsheet, tracking your progress will help you adjust your business strategy quickly so that you can do more of what’s working and less of what isn’t.

Prepare your business with a market analysis

Creating a good market analysis is a very worthwhile exercise. It will help you uncover your blind spots and prepare you to compete with other businesses. More importantly, it will help you understand your customers so you can deliver the best possible service to them.

Looking for some examples of market analysis? Take a look at our free sample business plans on Bplans . There are more than 500 of them across a wide range of industries, and each one of them has a market analysis section.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in 2018 and updated for 2021.

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Noah Parsons

Noah Parsons

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How to Write a Business Plan in 9 Steps (+ Template and Examples)

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Every successful business has one thing in common, a good and well-executed business plan. A business plan is more than a document, it is a complete guide that outlines the goals your business wants to achieve, including its financial goals . It helps you analyze results, make strategic decisions, show your business operations and growth.

If you want to start a business or already have one and need to pitch it to investors for funding, writing a good business plan improves your chances of attracting financiers. As a startup, if you want to secure loans from financial institutions, part of the requirements involve submitting your business plan.

Writing a business plan does not have to be a complicated or time-consuming process. In this article, you will learn the step-by-step process for writing a successful business plan.

You will also learn what you need a business plan for, tips and strategies for writing a convincing business plan, business plan examples and templates that will save you tons of time, and the alternatives to the traditional business plan.

Let’s get started.

What Do You Need A Business Plan For?

Businesses create business plans for different purposes such as to secure funds, monitor business growth, measure your marketing strategies, and measure your business success.

1. Secure Funds

One of the primary reasons for writing a business plan is to secure funds, either from financial institutions/agencies or investors.

For you to effectively acquire funds, your business plan must contain the key elements of your business plan . For example, your business plan should include your growth plans, goals you want to achieve, and milestones you have recorded.

A business plan can also attract new business partners that are willing to contribute financially and intellectually. If you are writing a business plan to a bank, your project must show your traction , that is, the proof that you can pay back any loan borrowed.

Also, if you are writing to an investor, your plan must contain evidence that you can effectively utilize the funds you want them to invest in your business. Here, you are using your business plan to persuade a group or an individual that your business is a source of a good investment.

2. Monitor Business Growth

A business plan can help you track cash flows in your business. It steers your business to greater heights. A business plan capable of tracking business growth should contain:

  • The business goals
  • Methods to achieve the goals
  • Time-frame for attaining those goals

A good business plan should guide you through every step in achieving your goals. It can also track the allocation of assets to every aspect of the business. You can tell when you are spending more than you should on a project.

You can compare a business plan to a written GPS. It helps you manage your business and hints at the right time to expand your business.

3. Measure Business Success

A business plan can help you measure your business success rate. Some small-scale businesses are thriving better than more prominent companies because of their track record of success.

Right from the onset of your business operation, set goals and work towards them. Write a plan to guide you through your procedures. Use your plan to measure how much you have achieved and how much is left to attain.

You can also weigh your success by monitoring the position of your brand relative to competitors. On the other hand, a business plan can also show you why you have not achieved a goal. It can tell if you have elapsed the time frame you set to attain a goal.

4. Document Your Marketing Strategies

You can use a business plan to document your marketing plans. Every business should have an effective marketing plan.

Competition mandates every business owner to go the extraordinary mile to remain relevant in the market. Your business plan should contain your marketing strategies that work. You can measure the success rate of your marketing plans.

In your business plan, your marketing strategy must answer the questions:

  • How do you want to reach your target audience?
  • How do you plan to retain your customers?
  • What is/are your pricing plans?
  • What is your budget for marketing?

Business Plan Infographic

How to Write a Business Plan Step-by-Step

1. create your executive summary.

The executive summary is a snapshot of your business or a high-level overview of your business purposes and plans . Although the executive summary is the first section in your business plan, most people write it last. The length of the executive summary is not more than two pages.

Executive Summary of the business plan

Generally, there are nine sections in a business plan, the executive summary should condense essential ideas from the other eight sections.

A good executive summary should do the following:

  • A Snapshot of Growth Potential. Briefly inform the reader about your company and why it will be successful)
  • Contain your Mission Statement which explains what the main objective or focus of your business is.
  • Product Description and Differentiation. Brief description of your products or services and why it is different from other solutions in the market.
  • The Team. Basic information about your company’s leadership team and employees
  • Business Concept. A solid description of what your business does.
  • Target Market. The customers you plan to sell to.
  • Marketing Strategy. Your plans on reaching and selling to your customers
  • Current Financial State. Brief information about what revenue your business currently generates.
  • Projected Financial State. Brief information about what you foresee your business revenue to be in the future.

The executive summary is the make-or-break section of your business plan. If your summary cannot in less than two pages cannot clearly describe how your business will solve a particular problem of your target audience and make a profit, your business plan is set on a faulty foundation.

Avoid using the executive summary to hype your business, instead, focus on helping the reader understand the what and how of your plan.

View the executive summary as an opportunity to introduce your vision for your company. You know your executive summary is powerful when it can answer these key questions:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What sector or industry are you in?
  • What are your products and services?
  • What is the future of your industry?
  • Is your company scaleable?
  • Who are the owners and leaders of your company? What are their backgrounds and experience levels?
  • What is the motivation for starting your company?
  • What are the next steps?

Writing the executive summary last although it is the most important section of your business plan is an excellent idea. The reason why is because it is a high-level overview of your business plan. It is the section that determines whether potential investors and lenders will read further or not.

The executive summary can be a stand-alone document that covers everything in your business plan. It is not uncommon for investors to request only the executive summary when evaluating your business. If the information in the executive summary impresses them, they will ask for the complete business plan.

If you are writing your business plan for your planning purposes, you do not need to write the executive summary.

2. Add Your Company Overview

The company overview or description is the next section in your business plan after the executive summary. It describes what your business does.

Adding your company overview can be tricky especially when your business is still in the planning stages. Existing businesses can easily summarize their current operations but may encounter difficulties trying to explain what they plan to become.

Your company overview should contain the following:

  • What products and services you will provide
  • Geographical markets and locations your company have a presence
  • What you need to run your business
  • Who your target audience or customers are
  • Who will service your customers
  • Your company’s purpose, mission, and vision
  • Information about your company’s founders
  • Who the founders are
  • Notable achievements of your company so far

When creating a company overview, you have to focus on three basics: identifying your industry, identifying your customer, and explaining the problem you solve.

If you are stuck when creating your company overview, try to answer some of these questions that pertain to you.

  • Who are you targeting? (The answer is not everyone)
  • What pain point does your product or service solve for your customers that they will be willing to spend money on resolving?
  • How does your product or service overcome that pain point?
  • Where is the location of your business?
  • What products, equipment, and services do you need to run your business?
  • How is your company’s product or service different from your competition in the eyes of your customers?
  • How many employees do you need and what skills do you require them to have?

After answering some or all of these questions, you will get more than enough information you need to write your company overview or description section. When writing this section, describe what your company does for your customers.

It describes what your business does

The company description or overview section contains three elements: mission statement, history, and objectives.

  • Mission Statement

The mission statement refers to the reason why your business or company is existing. It goes beyond what you do or sell, it is about the ‘why’. A good mission statement should be emotional and inspirational.

Your mission statement should follow the KISS rule (Keep It Simple, Stupid). For example, Shopify’s mission statement is “Make commerce better for everyone.”

When describing your company’s history, make it simple and avoid the temptation of tying it to a defensive narrative. Write it in the manner you would a profile. Your company’s history should include the following information:

  • Founding Date
  • Major Milestones
  • Location(s)
  • Flagship Products or Services
  • Number of Employees
  • Executive Leadership Roles

When you fill in this information, you use it to write one or two paragraphs about your company’s history.

Business Objectives

Your business objective must be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.) Failure to clearly identify your business objectives does not inspire confidence and makes it hard for your team members to work towards a common purpose.

3. Perform Market and Competitive Analyses to Proof a Big Enough Business Opportunity

The third step in writing a business plan is the market and competitive analysis section. Every business, no matter the size, needs to perform comprehensive market and competitive analyses before it enters into a market.

Performing market and competitive analyses are critical for the success of your business. It helps you avoid entering the right market with the wrong product, or vice versa. Anyone reading your business plans, especially financiers and financial institutions will want to see proof that there is a big enough business opportunity you are targeting.

This section is where you describe the market and industry you want to operate in and show the big opportunities in the market that your business can leverage to make a profit. If you noticed any unique trends when doing your research, show them in this section.

Market analysis alone is not enough, you have to add competitive analysis to strengthen this section. There are already businesses in the industry or market, how do you plan to take a share of the market from them?

You have to clearly illustrate the competitive landscape in your business plan. Are there areas your competitors are doing well? Are there areas where they are not doing so well? Show it.

Make it clear in this section why you are moving into the industry and what weaknesses are present there that you plan to explain. How are your competitors going to react to your market entry? How do you plan to get customers? Do you plan on taking your competitors' competitors, tap into other sources for customers, or both?

Illustrate the competitive landscape as well. What are your competitors doing well and not so well?

Answering these questions and thoughts will aid your market and competitive analysis of the opportunities in your space. Depending on how sophisticated your industry is, or the expectations of your financiers, you may need to carry out a more comprehensive market and competitive analysis to prove that big business opportunity.

Instead of looking at the market and competitive analyses as one entity, separating them will make the research even more comprehensive.

Market Analysis

Market analysis, boarding speaking, refers to research a business carried out on its industry, market, and competitors. It helps businesses gain a good understanding of their target market and the outlook of their industry. Before starting a company, it is vital to carry out market research to find out if the market is viable.

Market Analysis for Online Business

The market analysis section is a key part of the business plan. It is the section where you identify who your best clients or customers are. You cannot omit this section, without it your business plan is incomplete.

A good market analysis will tell your readers how you fit into the existing market and what makes you stand out. This section requires in-depth research, it will probably be the most time-consuming part of the business plan to write.

  • Market Research

To create a compelling market analysis that will win over investors and financial institutions, you have to carry out thorough market research . Your market research should be targeted at your primary target market for your products or services. Here is what you want to find out about your target market.

  • Your target market’s needs or pain points
  • The existing solutions for their pain points
  • Geographic Location
  • Demographics

The purpose of carrying out a marketing analysis is to get all the information you need to show that you have a solid and thorough understanding of your target audience.

Only after you have fully understood the people you plan to sell your products or services to, can you evaluate correctly if your target market will be interested in your products or services.

You can easily convince interested parties to invest in your business if you can show them you thoroughly understand the market and show them that there is a market for your products or services.

How to Quantify Your Target Market

One of the goals of your marketing research is to understand who your ideal customers are and their purchasing power. To quantify your target market, you have to determine the following:

  • Your Potential Customers: They are the people you plan to target. For example, if you sell accounting software for small businesses , then anyone who runs an enterprise or large business is unlikely to be your customers. Also, individuals who do not have a business will most likely not be interested in your product.
  • Total Households: If you are selling household products such as heating and air conditioning systems, determining the number of total households is more important than finding out the total population in the area you want to sell to. The logic is simple, people buy the product but it is the household that uses it.
  • Median Income: You need to know the median income of your target market. If you target a market that cannot afford to buy your products and services, your business will not last long.
  • Income by Demographics: If your potential customers belong to a certain age group or gender, determining income levels by demographics is necessary. For example, if you sell men's clothes, your target audience is men.

What Does a Good Market Analysis Entail?

Your business does not exist on its own, it can only flourish within an industry and alongside competitors. Market analysis takes into consideration your industry, target market, and competitors. Understanding these three entities will drastically improve your company’s chances of success.

Market Analysis Steps

You can view your market analysis as an examination of the market you want to break into and an education on the emerging trends and themes in that market. Good market analyses include the following:

  • Industry Description. You find out about the history of your industry, the current and future market size, and who the largest players/companies are in your industry.
  • Overview of Target Market. You research your target market and its characteristics. Who are you targeting? Note, it cannot be everyone, it has to be a specific group. You also have to find out all information possible about your customers that can help you understand how and why they make buying decisions.
  • Size of Target Market: You need to know the size of your target market, how frequently they buy, and the expected quantity they buy so you do not risk overproducing and having lots of bad inventory. Researching the size of your target market will help you determine if it is big enough for sustained business or not.
  • Growth Potential: Before picking a target market, you want to be sure there are lots of potential for future growth. You want to avoid going for an industry that is declining slowly or rapidly with almost zero growth potential.
  • Market Share Potential: Does your business stand a good chance of taking a good share of the market?
  • Market Pricing and Promotional Strategies: Your market analysis should give you an idea of the price point you can expect to charge for your products and services. Researching your target market will also give you ideas of pricing strategies you can implement to break into the market or to enjoy maximum profits.
  • Potential Barriers to Entry: One of the biggest benefits of conducting market analysis is that it shows you every potential barrier to entry your business will likely encounter. It is a good idea to discuss potential barriers to entry such as changing technology. It informs readers of your business plan that you understand the market.
  • Research on Competitors: You need to know the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors and how you can exploit them for the benefit of your business. Find patterns and trends among your competitors that make them successful, discover what works and what doesn’t, and see what you can do better.

The market analysis section is not just for talking about your target market, industry, and competitors. You also have to explain how your company can fill the hole you have identified in the market.

Here are some questions you can answer that can help you position your product or service in a positive light to your readers.

  • Is your product or service of superior quality?
  • What additional features do you offer that your competitors do not offer?
  • Are you targeting a ‘new’ market?

Basically, your market analysis should include an analysis of what already exists in the market and an explanation of how your company fits into the market.

Competitive Analysis

In the competitive analysis section, y ou have to understand who your direct and indirect competitions are, and how successful they are in the marketplace. It is the section where you assess the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, the advantage(s) they possess in the market and show the unique features or qualities that make you different from your competitors.

Four Steps to Create a Competitive Marketing Analysis

Many businesses do market analysis and competitive analysis together. However, to fully understand what the competitive analysis entails, it is essential to separate it from the market analysis.

Competitive analysis for your business can also include analysis on how to overcome barriers to entry in your target market.

The primary goal of conducting a competitive analysis is to distinguish your business from your competitors. A strong competitive analysis is essential if you want to convince potential funding sources to invest in your business. You have to show potential investors and lenders that your business has what it takes to compete in the marketplace successfully.

Competitive analysis will s how you what the strengths of your competition are and what they are doing to maintain that advantage.

When doing your competitive research, you first have to identify your competitor and then get all the information you can about them. The idea of spending time to identify your competitor and learn everything about them may seem daunting but it is well worth it.

Find answers to the following questions after you have identified who your competitors are.

  • What are your successful competitors doing?
  • Why is what they are doing working?
  • Can your business do it better?
  • What are the weaknesses of your successful competitors?
  • What are they not doing well?
  • Can your business turn its weaknesses into strengths?
  • How good is your competitors’ customer service?
  • Where do your competitors invest in advertising?
  • What sales and pricing strategies are they using?
  • What marketing strategies are they using?
  • What kind of press coverage do they get?
  • What are their customers saying about your competitors (both the positive and negative)?

If your competitors have a website, it is a good idea to visit their websites for more competitors’ research. Check their “About Us” page for more information.

How to Perform Competitive Analysis

If you are presenting your business plan to investors, you need to clearly distinguish yourself from your competitors. Investors can easily tell when you have not properly researched your competitors.

Take time to think about what unique qualities or features set you apart from your competitors. If you do not have any direct competition offering your product to the market, it does not mean you leave out the competitor analysis section blank. Instead research on other companies that are providing a similar product, or whose product is solving the problem your product solves.

The next step is to create a table listing the top competitors you want to include in your business plan. Ensure you list your business as the last and on the right. What you just created is known as the competitor analysis table.

Direct vs Indirect Competition

You cannot know if your product or service will be a fit for your target market if you have not understood your business and the competitive landscape.

There is no market you want to target where you will not encounter competition, even if your product is innovative. Including competitive analysis in your business plan is essential.

If you are entering an established market, you need to explain how you plan to differentiate your products from the available options in the market. Also, include a list of few companies that you view as your direct competitors The competition you face in an established market is your direct competition.

In situations where you are entering a market with no direct competition, it does not mean there is no competition there. Consider your indirect competition that offers substitutes for the products or services you offer.

For example, if you sell an innovative SaaS product, let us say a project management software , a company offering time management software is your indirect competition.

There is an easy way to find out who your indirect competitors are in the absence of no direct competitors. You simply have to research how your potential customers are solving the problems that your product or service seeks to solve. That is your direct competition.

Factors that Differentiate Your Business from the Competition

There are three main factors that any business can use to differentiate itself from its competition. They are cost leadership, product differentiation, and market segmentation.

1. Cost Leadership

A strategy you can impose to maximize your profits and gain an edge over your competitors. It involves offering lower prices than what the majority of your competitors are offering.

A common practice among businesses looking to enter into a market where there are dominant players is to use free trials or pricing to attract as many customers as possible to their offer.

2. Product Differentiation

Your product or service should have a unique selling proposition (USP) that your competitors do not have or do not stress in their marketing.

Part of the marketing strategy should involve making your products unique and different from your competitors. It does not have to be different from your competitors, it can be the addition to a feature or benefit that your competitors do not currently have.

3. Market Segmentation

As a new business seeking to break into an industry, you will gain more success from focusing on a specific niche or target market, and not the whole industry.

If your competitors are focused on a general need or target market, you can differentiate yourself from them by having a small and hyper-targeted audience. For example, if your competitors are selling men’s clothes in their online stores , you can sell hoodies for men.

4. Define Your Business and Management Structure

The next step in your business plan is your business and management structure. It is the section where you describe the legal structure of your business and the team running it.

Your business is only as good as the management team that runs it, while the management team can only strive when there is a proper business and management structure in place.

If your company is a sole proprietor or a limited liability company (LLC), a general or limited partnership, or a C or an S corporation, state it clearly in this section.

Use an organizational chart to show the management structure in your business. Clearly show who is in charge of what area in your company. It is where you show how each key manager or team leader’s unique experience can contribute immensely to the success of your company. You can also opt to add the resumes and CVs of the key players in your company.

The business and management structure section should show who the owner is, and other owners of the businesses (if the business has other owners). For businesses or companies with multiple owners, include the percent ownership of the various owners and clearly show the extent of each others’ involvement in the company.

Investors want to know who is behind the company and the team running it to determine if it has the right management to achieve its set goals.

Management Team

The management team section is where you show that you have the right team in place to successfully execute the business operations and ideas. Take time to create the management structure for your business. Think about all the important roles and responsibilities that you need managers for to grow your business.

Include brief bios of each key team member and ensure you highlight only the relevant information that is needed. If your team members have background industry experience or have held top positions for other companies and achieved success while filling that role, highlight it in this section.

Create Management Team For Business Plan

A common mistake that many startups make is assigning C-level titles such as (CMO and CEO) to everyone on their team. It is unrealistic for a small business to have those titles. While it may look good on paper for the ego of your team members, it can prevent investors from investing in your business.

Instead of building an unrealistic management structure that does not fit your business reality, it is best to allow business titles to grow as the business grows. Starting everyone at the top leaves no room for future change or growth, which is bad for productivity.

Your management team does not have to be complete before you start writing your business plan. You can have a complete business plan even when there are managerial positions that are empty and need filling.

If you have management gaps in your team, simply show the gaps and indicate you are searching for the right candidates for the role(s). Investors do not expect you to have a full management team when you are just starting your business.

Key Questions to Answer When Structuring Your Management Team

  • Who are the key leaders?
  • What experiences, skills, and educational backgrounds do you expect your key leaders to have?
  • Do your key leaders have industry experience?
  • What positions will they fill and what duties will they perform in those positions?
  • What level of authority do the key leaders have and what are their responsibilities?
  • What is the salary for the various management positions that will attract the ideal candidates?

Additional Tips for Writing the Management Structure Section

1. Avoid Adding ‘Ghost’ Names to Your Management Team

There is always that temptation to include a ‘ghost’ name to your management team to attract and influence investors to invest in your business. Although the presence of these celebrity management team members may attract the attention of investors, it can cause your business to lose any credibility if you get found out.

Seasoned investors will investigate further the members of your management team before committing fully to your business If they find out that the celebrity name used does not play any actual role in your business, they will not invest and may write you off as dishonest.

2. Focus on Credentials But Pay Extra Attention to the Roles

Investors want to know the experience that your key team members have to determine if they can successfully reach the company’s growth and financial goals.

While it is an excellent boost for your key management team to have the right credentials, you also want to pay extra attention to the roles they will play in your company.

Organizational Chart

Organizational chart Infographic

Adding an organizational chart in this section of your business plan is not necessary, you can do it in your business plan’s appendix.

If you are exploring funding options, it is not uncommon to get asked for your organizational chart. The function of an organizational chart goes beyond raising money, you can also use it as a useful planning tool for your business.

An organizational chart can help you identify how best to structure your management team for maximum productivity and point you towards key roles you need to fill in the future.

You can use the organizational chart to show your company’s internal management structure such as the roles and responsibilities of your management team, and relationships that exist between them.

5. Describe Your Product and Service Offering

In your business plan, you have to describe what you sell or the service you plan to offer. It is the next step after defining your business and management structure. The products and services section is where you sell the benefits of your business.

Here you have to explain how your product or service will benefit your customers and describe your product lifecycle. It is also the section where you write down your plans for intellectual property like patent filings and copyrighting.

The research and development that you are undertaking for your product or service need to be explained in detail in this section. However, do not get too technical, sell the general idea and its benefits.

If you have any diagrams or intricate designs of your product or service, do not include them in the products and services section. Instead, leave them for the addendum page. Also, if you are leaving out diagrams or designs for the addendum, ensure you add this phrase “For more detail, visit the addendum Page #.”

Your product and service section in your business plan should include the following:

  • A detailed explanation that clearly shows how your product or service works.
  • The pricing model for your product or service.
  • Your business’ sales and distribution strategy.
  • The ideal customers that want your product or service.
  • The benefits of your products and services.
  • Reason(s) why your product or service is a better alternative to what your competitors are currently offering in the market.
  • Plans for filling the orders you receive
  • If you have current or pending patents, copyrights, and trademarks for your product or service, you can also discuss them in this section.

What to Focus On When Describing the Benefits, Lifecycle, and Production Process of Your Products or Services

In the products and services section, you have to distill the benefits, lifecycle, and production process of your products and services.

When describing the benefits of your products or services, here are some key factors to focus on.

  • Unique features
  • Translating the unique features into benefits
  • The emotional, psychological, and practical payoffs to attract customers
  • Intellectual property rights or any patents

When describing the product life cycle of your products or services, here are some key factors to focus on.

  • Upsells, cross-sells, and down-sells
  • Time between purchases
  • Plans for research and development.

When describing the production process for your products or services, you need to think about the following:

  • The creation of new or existing products and services.
  • The sources for the raw materials or components you need for production.
  • Assembling the products
  • Maintaining quality control
  • Supply-chain logistics (receiving the raw materials and delivering the finished products)
  • The day-to-day management of the production processes, bookkeeping, and inventory.

Tips for Writing the Products or Services Section of Your Business Plan

1. Avoid Technical Descriptions and Industry Buzzwords

The products and services section of your business plan should clearly describe the products and services that your company provides. However, it is not a section to include technical jargons that anyone outside your industry will not understand.

A good practice is to remove highly detailed or technical descriptions in favor of simple terms. Industry buzzwords are not necessary, if there are simpler terms you can use, then use them. If you plan to use your business plan to source funds, making the product or service section so technical will do you no favors.

2. Describe How Your Products or Services Differ from Your Competitors

When potential investors look at your business plan, they want to know how the products and services you are offering differ from that of your competition. Differentiating your products or services from your competition in a way that makes your solution more attractive is critical.

If you are going the innovative path and there is no market currently for your product or service, you need to describe in this section why the market needs your product or service.

For example, overnight delivery was a niche business that only a few companies were participating in. Federal Express (FedEx) had to show in its business plan that there was a large opportunity for that service and they justified why the market needed that service.

3. Long or Short Products or Services Section

Should your products or services section be short? Does the long products or services section attract more investors?

There are no straightforward answers to these questions. Whether your products or services section should be long or relatively short depends on the nature of your business.

If your business is product-focused, then automatically you need to use more space to describe the details of your products. However, if the product your business sells is a commodity item that relies on competitive pricing or other pricing strategies, you do not have to use up so much space to provide significant details about the product.

Likewise, if you are selling a commodity that is available in numerous outlets, then you do not have to spend time on writing a long products or services section.

The key to the success of your business is most likely the effectiveness of your marketing strategies compared to your competitors. Use more space to address that section.

If you are creating a new product or service that the market does not know about, your products or services section can be lengthy. The reason why is because you need to explain everything about the product or service such as the nature of the product, its use case, and values.

A short products or services section for an innovative product or service will not give the readers enough information to properly evaluate your business.

4. Describe Your Relationships with Vendors or Suppliers

Your business will rely on vendors or suppliers to supply raw materials or the components needed to make your products. In your products and services section, describe your relationships with your vendors and suppliers fully.

Avoid the mistake of relying on only one supplier or vendor. If that supplier or vendor fails to supply or goes out of business, you can easily face supply problems and struggle to meet your demands. Plan to set up multiple vendor or supplier relationships for better business stability.

5. Your Primary Goal Is to Convince Your Readers

The primary goal of your business plan is to convince your readers that your business is viable and to create a guide for your business to follow. It applies to the products and services section.

When drafting this section, think like the reader. See your reader as someone who has no idea about your products and services. You are using the products and services section to provide the needed information to help your reader understand your products and services. As a result, you have to be clear and to the point.

While you want to educate your readers about your products or services, you also do not want to bore them with lots of technical details. Show your products and services and not your fancy choice of words.

Your products and services section should provide the answer to the “what” question for your business. You and your management team may run the business, but it is your products and services that are the lifeblood of the business.

Key Questions to Answer When Writing your Products and Services Section

Answering these questions can help you write your products and services section quickly and in a way that will appeal to your readers.

  • Are your products existing on the market or are they still in the development stage?
  • What is your timeline for adding new products and services to the market?
  • What are the positives that make your products and services different from your competitors?
  • Do your products and services have any competitive advantage that your competitors’ products and services do not currently have?
  • Do your products or services have any competitive disadvantages that you need to overcome to compete with your competitors? If your answer is yes, state how you plan to overcome them,
  • How much does it cost to produce your products or services? How much do you plan to sell it for?
  • What is the price for your products and services compared to your competitors? Is pricing an issue?
  • What are your operating costs and will it be low enough for you to compete with your competitors and still take home a reasonable profit margin?
  • What is your plan for acquiring your products? Are you involved in the production of your products or services?
  • Are you the manufacturer and produce all the components you need to create your products? Do you assemble your products by using components supplied by other manufacturers? Do you purchase your products directly from suppliers or wholesalers?
  • Do you have a steady supply of products that you need to start your business? (If your business is yet to kick-off)
  • How do you plan to distribute your products or services to the market?

You can also hint at the marketing or promotion plans you have for your products or services such as how you plan to build awareness or retain customers. The next section is where you can go fully into details about your business’s marketing and sales plan.

6. Show and Explain Your Marketing and Sales Plan

Providing great products and services is wonderful, but it means nothing if you do not have a marketing and sales plan to inform your customers about them. Your marketing and sales plan is critical to the success of your business.

The sales and marketing section is where you show and offer a detailed explanation of your marketing and sales plan and how you plan to execute it. It covers your pricing plan, proposed advertising and promotion activities, activities and partnerships you need to make your business a success, and the benefits of your products and services.

There are several ways you can approach your marketing and sales strategy. Ideally, your marketing and sales strategy has to fit the unique needs of your business.

In this section, you describe how the plans your business has for attracting and retaining customers, and the exact process for making a sale happen. It is essential to thoroughly describe your complete marketing and sales plans because you are still going to reference this section when you are making financial projections for your business.

Outline Your Business’ Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

The sales and marketing section is where you outline your business’s unique selling proposition (USP). When you are developing your unique selling proposition, think about the strongest reasons why people should buy from you over your competition. That reason(s) is most likely a good fit to serve as your unique selling proposition (USP).

Target Market and Target Audience

Plans on how to get your products or services to your target market and how to get your target audience to buy them go into this section. You also highlight the strengths of your business here, particularly what sets them apart from your competition.

Target Market Vs Target Audience

Before you start writing your marketing and sales plan, you need to have properly defined your target audience and fleshed out your buyer persona. If you do not first understand the individual you are marketing to, your marketing and sales plan will lack any substance and easily fall.

Creating a Smart Marketing and Sales Plan

Marketing your products and services is an investment that requires you to spend money. Like any other investment, you have to generate a good return on investment (ROI) to justify using that marketing and sales plan. Good marketing and sales plans bring in high sales and profits to your company.

Avoid spending money on unproductive marketing channels. Do your research and find out the best marketing and sales plan that works best for your company.

Your marketing and sales plan can be broken into different parts: your positioning statement, pricing, promotion, packaging, advertising, public relations, content marketing, social media, and strategic alliances.

Your Positioning Statement

Your positioning statement is the first part of your marketing and sales plan. It refers to the way you present your company to your customers.

Are you the premium solution, the low-price solution, or are you the intermediary between the two extremes in the market? What do you offer that your competitors do not that can give you leverage in the market?

Before you start writing your positioning statement, you need to spend some time evaluating the current market conditions. Here are some questions that can help you to evaluate the market

  • What are the unique features or benefits that you offer that your competitors lack?
  • What are your customers’ primary needs and wants?
  • Why should a customer choose you over your competition? How do you plan to differentiate yourself from the competition?
  • How does your company’s solution compare with other solutions in the market?

After answering these questions, then you can start writing your positioning statement. Your positioning statement does not have to be in-depth or too long.

All you need to explain with your positioning statement are two focus areas. The first is the position of your company within the competitive landscape. The other focus area is the core value proposition that sets your company apart from other alternatives that your ideal customer might consider.

Here is a simple template you can use to develop a positioning statement.

For [description of target market] who [need of target market], [product or service] [how it meets the need]. Unlike [top competition], it [most essential distinguishing feature].

For example, let’s create the positioning statement for fictional accounting software and QuickBooks alternative , TBooks.

“For small business owners who need accounting services, TBooks is an accounting software that helps small businesses handle their small business bookkeeping basics quickly and easily. Unlike Wave, TBooks gives small businesses access to live sessions with top accountants.”

You can edit this positioning statement sample and fill it with your business details.

After writing your positioning statement, the next step is the pricing of your offerings. The overall positioning strategy you set in your positioning statement will often determine how you price your products or services.

Pricing is a powerful tool that sends a strong message to your customers. Failure to get your pricing strategy right can make or mar your business. If you are targeting a low-income audience, setting a premium price can result in low sales.

You can use pricing to communicate your positioning to your customers. For example, if you are offering a product at a premium price, you are sending a message to your customers that the product belongs to the premium category.

Basic Rules to Follow When Pricing Your Offering

Setting a price for your offering involves more than just putting a price tag on it. Deciding on the right pricing for your offering requires following some basic rules. They include covering your costs, primary and secondary profit center pricing, and matching the market rate.

  • Covering Your Costs: The price you set for your products or service should be more than it costs you to produce and deliver them. Every business has the same goal, to make a profit. Depending on the strategy you want to use, there are exceptions to this rule. However, the vast majority of businesses follow this rule.
  • Primary and Secondary Profit Center Pricing: When a company sets its price above the cost of production, it is making that product its primary profit center. A company can also decide not to make its initial price its primary profit center by selling below or at even with its production cost. It rather depends on the support product or even maintenance that is associated with the initial purchase to make its profit. The initial price thus became its secondary profit center.
  • Matching the Market Rate: A good rule to follow when pricing your products or services is to match your pricing with consumer demand and expectations. If you price your products or services beyond the price your customer perceives as the ideal price range, you may end up with no customers. Pricing your products too low below what your customer perceives as the ideal price range may lead to them undervaluing your offering.

Pricing Strategy

Your pricing strategy influences the price of your offering. There are several pricing strategies available for you to choose from when examining the right pricing strategy for your business. They include cost-plus pricing, market-based pricing, value pricing, and more.

Pricing strategy influences the price of offering

  • Cost-plus Pricing: This strategy is one of the simplest and oldest pricing strategies. Here you consider the cost of producing a unit of your product and then add a profit to it to arrive at your market price. It is an effective pricing strategy for manufacturers because it helps them cover their initial costs. Another name for the cost-plus pricing strategy is the markup pricing strategy.
  • Market-based Pricing: This pricing strategy analyses the market including competitors’ pricing and then sets a price based on what the market is expecting. With this pricing strategy, you can either set your price at the low-end or high-end of the market.
  • Value Pricing: This pricing strategy involves setting a price based on the value you are providing to your customer. When adopting a value-based pricing strategy, you have to set a price that your customers are willing to pay. Service-based businesses such as small business insurance providers , luxury goods sellers, and the fashion industry use this pricing strategy.

After carefully sorting out your positioning statement and pricing, the next item to look at is your promotional strategy. Your promotional strategy explains how you plan on communicating with your customers and prospects.

As a business, you must measure all your costs, including the cost of your promotions. You also want to measure how much sales your promotions bring for your business to determine its usefulness. Promotional strategies or programs that do not lead to profit need to be removed.

There are different types of promotional strategies you can adopt for your business, they include advertising, public relations, and content marketing.

Advertising

Your business plan should include your advertising plan which can be found in the marketing and sales plan section. You need to include an overview of your advertising plans such as the areas you plan to spend money on to advertise your business and offers.

Ensure that you make it clear in this section if your business will be advertising online or using the more traditional offline media, or the combination of both online and offline media. You can also include the advertising medium you want to use to raise awareness about your business and offers.

Some common online advertising mediums you can use include social media ads, landing pages, sales pages, SEO, Pay-Per-Click, emails, Google Ads, and others. Some common traditional and offline advertising mediums include word of mouth, radios, direct mail, televisions, flyers, billboards, posters, and others.

A key component of your advertising strategy is how you plan to measure the effectiveness and success of your advertising campaign. There is no point in sticking with an advertising plan or medium that does not produce results for your business in the long run.

Public Relations

A great way to reach your customers is to get the media to cover your business or product. Publicity, especially good ones, should be a part of your marketing and sales plan. In this section, show your plans for getting prominent reviews of your product from reputable publications and sources.

Your business needs that exposure to grow. If public relations is a crucial part of your promotional strategy, provide details about your public relations plan here.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is a popular promotional strategy used by businesses to inform and attract their customers. It is about teaching and educating your prospects on various topics of interest in your niche, it does not just involve informing them about the benefits and features of the products and services you have,

The Benefits of Content Marketing

Businesses publish content usually for free where they provide useful information, tips, and advice so that their target market can be made aware of the importance of their products and services. Content marketing strategies seek to nurture prospects into buyers over time by simply providing value.

Your company can create a blog where it will be publishing content for its target market. You will need to use the best website builder such as Wix and Squarespace and the best web hosting services such as Bluehost, Hostinger, and other Bluehost alternatives to create a functional blog or website.

If content marketing is a crucial part of your promotional strategy (as it should be), detail your plans under promotions.

Including high-quality images of the packaging of your product in your business plan is a lovely idea. You can add the images of the packaging of that product in the marketing and sales plan section. If you are not selling a product, then you do not need to include any worry about the physical packaging of your product.

When organizing the packaging section of your business plan, you can answer the following questions to make maximum use of this section.

  • Is your choice of packaging consistent with your positioning strategy?
  • What key value proposition does your packaging communicate? (It should reflect the key value proposition of your business)
  • How does your packaging compare to that of your competitors?

Social Media

Your 21st-century business needs to have a good social media presence. Not having one is leaving out opportunities for growth and reaching out to your prospect.

You do not have to join the thousands of social media platforms out there. What you need to do is join the ones that your customers are active on and be active there.

Most popular social media platforms

Businesses use social media to provide information about their products such as promotions, discounts, the benefits of their products, and content on their blogs.

Social media is also a platform for engaging with your customers and getting feedback about your products or services. Make no mistake, more and more of your prospects are using social media channels to find more information about companies.

You need to consider the social media channels you want to prioritize your business (prioritize the ones your customers are active in) and your branding plans in this section.

Choosing the right social media platform

Strategic Alliances

If your company plans to work closely with other companies as part of your sales and marketing plan, include it in this section. Prove details about those partnerships in your business plan if you have already established them.

Strategic alliances can be beneficial for all parties involved including your company. Working closely with another company in the form of a partnership can provide access to a different target market segment for your company.

The company you are partnering with may also gain access to your target market or simply offer a new product or service (that of your company) to its customers.

Mutually beneficial partnerships can cover the weaknesses of one company with the strength of another. You should consider strategic alliances with companies that sell complimentary products to yours. For example, if you provide printers, you can partner with a company that produces ink since the customers that buy printers from you will also need inks for printing.

Steps Involved in Creating a Marketing and Sales Plan

1. Focus on Your Target Market

Identify who your customers are, the market you want to target. Then determine the best ways to get your products or services to your potential customers.

2. Evaluate Your Competition

One of the goals of having a marketing plan is to distinguish yourself from your competition. You cannot stand out from them without first knowing them in and out.

You can know your competitors by gathering information about their products, pricing, service, and advertising campaigns.

These questions can help you know your competition.

  • What makes your competition successful?
  • What are their weaknesses?
  • What are customers saying about your competition?

3. Consider Your Brand

Customers' perception of your brand has a strong impact on your sales. Your marketing and sales plan should seek to bolster the image of your brand. Before you start marketing your business, think about the message you want to pass across about your business and your products and services.

4. Focus on Benefits

The majority of your customers do not view your product in terms of features, what they want to know is the benefits and solutions your product offers. Think about the problems your product solves and the benefits it delivers, and use it to create the right sales and marketing message.

Your marketing plan should focus on what you want your customer to get instead of what you provide. Identify those benefits in your marketing and sales plan.

5. Focus on Differentiation

Your marketing and sales plan should look for a unique angle they can take that differentiates your business from the competition, even if the products offered are similar. Some good areas of differentiation you can use are your benefits, pricing, and features.

Key Questions to Answer When Writing Your Marketing and Sales Plan

  • What is your company’s budget for sales and marketing campaigns?
  • What key metrics will you use to determine if your marketing plans are successful?
  • What are your alternatives if your initial marketing efforts do not succeed?
  • Who are the sales representatives you need to promote your products or services?
  • What are the marketing and sales channels you plan to use? How do you plan to get your products in front of your ideal customers?
  • Where will you sell your products?

You may want to include samples of marketing materials you plan to use such as print ads, website descriptions, and social media ads. While it is not compulsory to include these samples, it can help you better communicate your marketing and sales plan and objectives.

The purpose of the marketing and sales section is to answer this question “How will you reach your customers?” If you cannot convincingly provide an answer to this question, you need to rework your marketing and sales section.

7. Clearly Show Your Funding Request

If you are writing your business plan to ask for funding from investors or financial institutions, the funding request section is where you will outline your funding requirements. The funding request section should answer the question ‘How much money will your business need in the near future (3 to 5 years)?’

A good funding request section will clearly outline and explain the amount of funding your business needs over the next five years. You need to know the amount of money your business needs to make an accurate funding request.

Also, when writing your funding request, provide details of how the funds will be used over the period. Specify if you want to use the funds to buy raw materials or machinery, pay salaries, pay for advertisements, and cover specific bills such as rent and electricity.

In addition to explaining what you want to use the funds requested for, you need to clearly state the projected return on investment (ROI) . Investors and creditors want to know if your business can generate profit for them if they put funds into it.

Ensure you do not inflate the figures and stay as realistic as possible. Investors and financial institutions you are seeking funds from will do their research before investing money in your business.

If you are not sure of an exact number to request from, you can use some range of numbers as rough estimates. Add a best-case scenario and a work-case scenario to your funding request. Also, include a description of your strategic future financial plans such as selling your business or paying off debts.

Funding Request: Debt or Equity?

When making your funding request, specify the type of funding you want. Do you want debt or equity? Draw out the terms that will be applicable for the funding, and the length of time the funding request will cover.

Case for Equity

If your new business has not yet started generating profits, you are most likely preparing to sell equity in your business to raise capital at the early stage. Equity here refers to ownership. In this case, you are selling a portion of your company to raise capital.

Although this method of raising capital for your business does not put your business in debt, keep in mind that an equity owner may expect to play a key role in company decisions even if he does not hold a major stake in the company.

Most equity sales for startups are usually private transactions . If you are making a funding request by offering equity in exchange for funding, let the investor know that they will be paid a dividend (a share of the company’s profit). Also, let the investor know the process for selling their equity in your business.

Case for Debt

You may decide not to offer equity in exchange for funds, instead, you make a funding request with the promise to pay back the money borrowed at the agreed time frame.

When making a funding request with an agreement to pay back, note that you will have to repay your creditors both the principal amount borrowed and the interest on it. Financial institutions offer this type of funding for businesses.

Large companies combine both equity and debt in their capital structure. When drafting your business plan, decide if you want to offer both or one over the other.

Before you sell equity in exchange for funding in your business, consider if you are willing to accept not being in total control of your business. Also, before you seek loans in your funding request section, ensure that the terms of repayment are favorable.

You should set a clear timeline in your funding request so that potential investors and creditors can know what you are expecting. Some investors and creditors may agree to your funding request and then delay payment for longer than 30 days, meanwhile, your business needs an immediate cash injection to operate efficiently.

Additional Tips for Writing the Funding Request Section of your Business Plan

The funding request section is not necessary for every business, it is only needed by businesses who plan to use their business plan to secure funding.

If you are adding the funding request section to your business plan, provide an itemized summary of how you plan to use the funds requested. Hiring a lawyer, accountant, or other professionals may be necessary for the proper development of this section.

You should also gather and use financial statements that add credibility and support to your funding requests. Ensure that the financial statements you use should include your projected financial data such as projected cash flows, forecast statements, and expenditure budgets.

If you are an existing business, include all historical financial statements such as cash flow statements, balance sheets and income statements .

Provide monthly and quarterly financial statements for a year. If your business has records that date back beyond the one-year mark, add the yearly statements of those years. These documents are for the appendix section of your business plan.

8. Detail Your Financial Plan, Metrics, and Projections

If you used the funding request section in your business plan, supplement it with a financial plan, metrics, and projections. This section paints a picture of the past performance of your business and then goes ahead to make an informed projection about its future.

The goal of this section is to convince readers that your business is going to be a financial success. It outlines your business plan to generate enough profit to repay the loan (with interest if applicable) and to generate a decent return on investment for investors.

If you have an existing business already in operation, use this section to demonstrate stability through finance. This section should include your cash flow statements, balance sheets, and income statements covering the last three to five years. If your business has some acceptable collateral that you can use to acquire loans, list it in the financial plan, metrics, and projection section.

Apart from current financial statements, this section should also contain a prospective financial outlook that spans the next five years. Include forecasted income statements, cash flow statements, balance sheets, and capital expenditure budget.

If your business is new and is not yet generating profit, use clear and realistic projections to show the potentials of your business.

When drafting this section, research industry norms and the performance of comparable businesses. Your financial projections should cover at least five years. State the logic behind your financial projections. Remember you can always make adjustments to this section as the variables change.

The financial plan, metrics, and projection section create a baseline which your business can either exceed or fail to reach. If your business fails to reach your projections in this section, you need to understand why it failed.

Investors and loan managers spend a lot of time going through the financial plan, metrics, and projection section compared to other parts of the business plan. Ensure you spend time creating credible financial analyses for your business in this section.

Many entrepreneurs find this section daunting to write. You do not need a business degree to create a solid financial forecast for your business. Business finances, especially for startups, are not as complicated as they seem. There are several online tools and templates that make writing this section so much easier.

Use Graphs and Charts

The financial plan, metrics, and projection section is a great place to use graphs and charts to tell the financial story of your business. Charts and images make it easier to communicate your finances.

Accuracy in this section is key, ensure you carefully analyze your past financial statements properly before making financial projects.

Address the Risk Factors and Show Realistic Financial Projections

Keep your financial plan, metrics, and projection realistic. It is okay to be optimistic in your financial projection, however, you have to justify it.

You should also address the various risk factors associated with your business in this section. Investors want to know the potential risks involved, show them. You should also show your plans for mitigating those risks.

What You Should In The Financial Plan, Metrics, and Projection Section of Your Business Plan

The financial plan, metrics, and projection section of your business plan should have monthly sales and revenue forecasts for the first year. It should also include annual projections that cover 3 to 5 years.

A three-year projection is a basic requirement to have in your business plan. However, some investors may request a five-year forecast.

Your business plan should include the following financial statements: sales forecast, personnel plan, income statement, income statement, cash flow statement, balance sheet, and an exit strategy.

1. Sales Forecast

Sales forecast refers to your projections about the number of sales your business is going to record over the next few years. It is typically broken into several rows, with each row assigned to a core product or service that your business is offering.

One common mistake people make in their business plan is to break down the sales forecast section into long details. A sales forecast should forecast the high-level details.

For example, if you are forecasting sales for a payroll software provider, you could break down your forecast into target market segments or subscription categories.

Benefits of Sales Forecasting

Your sales forecast section should also have a corresponding row for each sales row to cover the direct cost or Cost of Goods Sold (COGS). The objective of these rows is to show the expenses that your business incurs in making and delivering your product or service.

Note that your Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) should only cover those direct costs incurred when making your products. Other indirect expenses such as insurance, salaries, payroll tax, and rent should not be included.

For example, the Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) for a restaurant is the cost of ingredients while for a consulting company it will be the cost of paper and other presentation materials.

Factors that affect sales forecasting

2. Personnel Plan

The personnel plan section is where you provide details about the payment plan for your employees. For a small business, you can easily list every position in your company and how much you plan to pay in the personnel plan.

However, for larger businesses, you have to break the personnel plan into functional groups such as sales and marketing.

The personnel plan will also include the cost of an employee beyond salary, commonly referred to as the employee burden. These costs include insurance, payroll taxes , and other essential costs incurred monthly as a result of having employees on your payroll.

True HR Cost Infographic

3. Income Statement

The income statement section shows if your business is making a profit or taking a loss. Another name for the income statement is the profit and loss (P&L). It takes data from your sales forecast and personnel plan and adds other ongoing expenses you incur while running your business.

The income statement section

Every business plan should have an income statement. It subtracts your business expenses from its earnings to show if your business is generating profit or incurring losses.

The income statement has the following items: sales, Cost of Goods Sold (COGS), gross margin, operating expenses, total operating expenses, operating income , total expenses, and net profit.

  • Sales refer to the revenue your business generates from selling its products or services. Other names for sales are income or revenue.
  • Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) refers to the total cost of selling your products. Other names for COGS are direct costs or cost of sales. Manufacturing businesses use the Costs of Goods Manufactured (COGM) .
  • Gross Margin is the figure you get when you subtract your COGS from your sales. In your income statement, you can express it as a percentage of total sales (Gross margin / Sales = Gross Margin Percent).
  • Operating Expenses refer to all the expenses you incur from running your business. It exempts the COGS because it stands alone as a core part of your income statement. You also have to exclude taxes, depreciation, and amortization. Your operating expenses include salaries, marketing expenses, research and development (R&D) expenses, and other expenses.
  • Total Operating Expenses refers to the sum of all your operating expenses including those exemptions named above under operating expenses.
  • Operating Income refers to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. It is simply known as the acronym EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization). Calculating your operating income is simple, all you need to do is to subtract your COGS and total operating expenses from your sales.
  • Total Expenses refer to the sum of your operating expenses and your business’ interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.
  • Net profit shows whether your business has made a profit or taken a loss during a given timeframe.

4. Cash Flow Statement

The cash flow statement tracks the money you have in the bank at any given point. It is often confused with the income statement or the profit and loss statement. They are both different types of financial statements. The income statement calculates your profits and losses while the cash flow statement shows you how much you have in the bank.

Cash Flow Statement Example

5. Balance Sheet

The balance sheet is a financial statement that provides an overview of the financial health of your business. It contains information about the assets and liabilities of your company, and owner’s or shareholders’ equity.

You can get the net worth of your company by subtracting your company’s liabilities from its assets.

Balance sheet Formula

6. Exit Strategy

The exit strategy refers to a probable plan for selling your business either to the public in an IPO or to another company. It is the last thing you include in the financial plan, metrics, and projection section.

You can choose to omit the exit strategy from your business plan if you plan to maintain full ownership of your business and do not plan on seeking angel investment or virtual capitalist (VC) funding.

Investors may want to know what your exit plan is. They invest in your business to get a good return on investment.

Your exit strategy does not have to include long and boring details. Ensure you identify some interested parties who may be interested in buying the company if it becomes a success.

Exit Strategy Section of Business Plan Infographic

Key Questions to Answer with Your Financial Plan, Metrics, and Projection

Your financial plan, metrics, and projection section helps investors, creditors, or your internal managers to understand what your expenses are, the amount of cash you need, and what it takes to make your company profitable. It also shows what you will be doing with any funding.

You do not need to show actual financial data if you do not have one. Adding forecasts and projections to your financial statements is added proof that your strategy is feasible and shows investors you have planned properly.

Here are some key questions to answer to help you develop this section.

  • What is your sales forecast for the next year?
  • When will your company achieve a positive cash flow?
  • What are the core expenses you need to operate?
  • How much money do you need upfront to operate or grow your company?
  • How will you use the loans or investments?

9. Add an Appendix to Your Business Plan

Adding an appendix to your business plan is optional. It is a useful place to put any charts, tables, legal notes, definitions, permits, résumés, and other critical information that do not fit into other sections of your business plan.

The appendix section is where you would want to include details of a patent or patent-pending if you have one. You can always add illustrations or images of your products here. It is the last section of your business plan.

When writing your business plan, there are details you cut short or remove to prevent the entire section from becoming too lengthy. There are also details you want to include in the business plan but are not a good fit for any of the previous sections. You can add that additional information to the appendix section.

Businesses also use the appendix section to include supporting documents or other materials specially requested by investors or lenders.

You can include just about any information that supports the assumptions and statements you made in the business plan under the appendix. It is the one place in the business plan where unrelated data and information can coexist amicably.

If your appendix section is lengthy, try organizing it by adding a table of contents at the beginning of the appendix section. It is also advisable to group similar information to make it easier for the reader to access them.

A well-organized appendix section makes it easier to share your information clearly and concisely. Add footnotes throughout the rest of the business plan or make references in the plan to the documents in the appendix.

The appendix section is usually only necessary if you are seeking funding from investors or lenders, or hoping to attract partners.

People reading business plans do not want to spend time going through a heap of backup information, numbers, and charts. Keep these documents or information in the Appendix section in case the reader wants to dig deeper.

Common Items to Include in the Appendix Section of Your Business Plan

The appendix section includes documents that supplement or support the information or claims given in other sections of the business plans. Common items you can include in the appendix section include:

  • Additional data about the process of manufacturing or creation
  • Additional description of products or services such as product schematics
  • Additional financial documents or projections
  • Articles of incorporation and status
  • Backup for market research or competitive analysis
  • Bank statements
  • Business registries
  • Client testimonials (if your business is already running)
  • Copies of insurances
  • Credit histories (personal or/and business)
  • Deeds and permits
  • Equipment leases
  • Examples of marketing and advertising collateral
  • Industry associations and memberships
  • Images of product
  • Intellectual property
  • Key customer contracts
  • Legal documents and other contracts
  • Letters of reference
  • Links to references
  • Market research data
  • Organizational charts
  • Photographs of potential facilities
  • Professional licenses pertaining to your legal structure or type of business
  • Purchase orders
  • Resumes of the founder(s) and key managers
  • State and federal identification numbers or codes
  • Trademarks or patents’ registrations

Avoid using the appendix section as a place to dump any document or information you feel like adding. Only add documents or information that you support or increase the credibility of your business plan.

Tips and Strategies for Writing a Convincing Business Plan

To achieve a perfect business plan, you need to consider some key tips and strategies. These tips will raise the efficiency of your business plan above average.

1. Know Your Audience

When writing a business plan, you need to know your audience . Business owners write business plans for different reasons. Your business plan has to be specific. For example, you can write business plans to potential investors, banks, and even fellow board members of the company.

The audience you are writing to determines the structure of the business plan. As a business owner, you have to know your audience. Not everyone will be your audience. Knowing your audience will help you to narrow the scope of your business plan.

Consider what your audience wants to see in your projects, the likely questions they might ask, and what interests them.

  • A business plan used to address a company's board members will center on its employment schemes, internal affairs, projects, stakeholders, etc.
  • A business plan for financial institutions will talk about the size of your market and the chances for you to pay back any loans you demand.
  • A business plan for investors will show proof that you can return the investment capital within a specific time. In addition, it discusses your financial projections, tractions, and market size.

2. Get Inspiration from People

Writing a business plan from scratch as an entrepreneur can be daunting. That is why you need the right inspiration to push you to write one. You can gain inspiration from the successful business plans of other businesses. Look at their business plans, the style they use, the structure of the project, etc.

To make your business plan easier to create, search companies related to your business to get an exact copy of what you need to create an effective business plan. You can also make references while citing examples in your business plans.

When drafting your business plan, get as much help from others as you possibly can. By getting inspiration from people, you can create something better than what they have.

3. Avoid Being Over Optimistic

Many business owners make use of strong adjectives to qualify their content. One of the big mistakes entrepreneurs make when preparing a business plan is promising too much.

The use of superlatives and over-optimistic claims can prepare the audience for more than you can offer. In the end, you disappoint the confidence they have in you.

In most cases, the best option is to be realistic with your claims and statistics. Most of the investors can sense a bit of incompetency from the overuse of superlatives. As a new entrepreneur, do not be tempted to over-promise to get the interests of investors.

The concept of entrepreneurship centers on risks, nothing is certain when you make future analyses. What separates the best is the ability to do careful research and work towards achieving that, not promising more than you can achieve.

To make an excellent first impression as an entrepreneur, replace superlatives with compelling data-driven content. In this way, you are more specific than someone promising a huge ROI from an investment.

4. Keep it Simple and Short

When writing business plans, ensure you keep them simple throughout. Irrespective of the purpose of the business plan, your goal is to convince the audience.

One way to achieve this goal is to make them understand your proposal. Therefore, it would be best if you avoid the use of complex grammar to express yourself. It would be a huge turn-off if the people you want to convince are not familiar with your use of words.

Another thing to note is the length of your business plan. It would be best if you made it as brief as possible.

You hardly see investors or agencies that read through an extremely long document. In that case, if your first few pages can’t convince them, then you have lost it. The more pages you write, the higher the chances of you derailing from the essential contents.

To ensure your business plan has a high conversion rate, you need to dispose of every unnecessary information. For example, if you have a strategy that you are not sure of, it would be best to leave it out of the plan.

5. Make an Outline and Follow Through

A perfect business plan must have touched every part needed to convince the audience. Business owners get easily tempted to concentrate more on their products than on other sections. Doing this can be detrimental to the efficiency of the business plan.

For example, imagine you talking about a product but omitting or providing very little information about the target audience. You will leave your clients confused.

To ensure that your business plan communicates your full business model to readers, you have to input all the necessary information in it. One of the best ways to achieve this is to design a structure and stick to it.

This structure is what guides you throughout the writing. To make your work easier, you can assign an estimated word count or page limit to every section to avoid making it too bulky for easy reading. As a guide, the necessary things your business plan must contain are:

  • Table of contents
  • Introduction
  • Product or service description
  • Target audience
  • Market size
  • Competition analysis
  • Financial projections

Some specific businesses can include some other essential sections, but these are the key sections that must be in every business plan.

6. Ask a Professional to Proofread

When writing a business plan, you must tie all loose ends to get a perfect result. When you are done with writing, call a professional to go through the document for you. You are bound to make mistakes, and the way to correct them is to get external help.

You should get a professional in your field who can relate to every section of your business plan. It would be easier for the professional to notice the inner flaws in the document than an editor with no knowledge of your business.

In addition to getting a professional to proofread, get an editor to proofread and edit your document. The editor will help you identify grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and inappropriate writing styles.

Writing a business plan can be daunting, but you can surmount that obstacle and get the best out of it with these tips.

Business Plan Examples and Templates That’ll Save You Tons of Time

1. hubspot's one-page business plan.

HubSpot's One Page Business Plan

The one-page business plan template by HubSpot is the perfect guide for businesses of any size, irrespective of their business strategy. Although the template is condensed into a page, your final business plan should not be a page long! The template is designed to ask helpful questions that can help you develop your business plan.

Hubspot’s one-page business plan template is divided into nine fields:

  • Business opportunity
  • Company description
  • Industry analysis
  • Target market
  • Implementation timeline
  • Marketing plan
  • Financial summary
  • Funding required

2. Bplan’s Free Business Plan Template

Bplan’s Free Business Plan Template

Bplans' free business plan template is investor-approved. It is a rich template used by prestigious educational institutions such as Babson College and Princeton University to teach entrepreneurs how to create a business plan.

The template has six sections: the executive summary, opportunity, execution, company, financial plan, and appendix. There is a step-by-step guide for writing every little detail in the business plan. Follow the instructions each step of the way and you will create a business plan that impresses investors or lenders easily.

3. HubSpot's Downloadable Business Plan Template

HubSpot's Downloadable Business Plan Template

HubSpot’s downloadable business plan template is a more comprehensive option compared to the one-page business template by HubSpot. This free and downloadable business plan template is designed for entrepreneurs.

The template is a comprehensive guide and checklist for business owners just starting their businesses. It tells you everything you need to fill in each section of the business plan and how to do it.

There are nine sections in this business plan template: an executive summary, company and business description, product and services line, market analysis, marketing plan, sales plan, legal notes, financial considerations, and appendix.

4. Business Plan by My Own Business Institute

The Business Profile

My Own Business Institute (MOBI) which is a part of Santa Clara University's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship offers a free business plan template. You can either copy the free business template from the link provided above or download it as a Word document.

The comprehensive template consists of a whopping 15 sections.

  • The Business Profile
  • The Vision and the People
  • Home-Based Business and Freelance Business Opportunities
  • Organization
  • Licenses and Permits
  • Business Insurance
  • Communication Tools
  • Acquisitions
  • Location and Leasing
  • Accounting and Cash Flow
  • Opening and Marketing
  • Managing Employees
  • Expanding and Handling Problems

There are lots of helpful tips on how to fill each section in the free business plan template by MOBI.

5. Score's Business Plan Template for Startups

Score's Business Plan Template for Startups

Score is an American nonprofit organization that helps entrepreneurs build successful companies. This business plan template for startups by Score is available for free download. The business plan template asks a whooping 150 generic questions that help entrepreneurs from different fields to set up the perfect business plan.

The business plan template for startups contains clear instructions and worksheets, all you have to do is answer the questions and fill the worksheets.

There are nine sections in the business plan template: executive summary, company description, products and services, marketing plan, operational plan, management and organization, startup expenses and capitalization, financial plan, and appendices.

The ‘refining the plan’ resource contains instructions that help you modify your business plan to suit your specific needs, industry, and target audience. After you have completed Score’s business plan template, you can work with a SCORE mentor for expert advice in business planning.

6. Minimalist Architecture Business Plan Template by Venngage

Minimalist Architecture Business Plan Template by Venngage

The minimalist architecture business plan template is a simple template by Venngage that you can customize to suit your business needs .

There are five sections in the template: an executive summary, statement of problem, approach and methodology, qualifications, and schedule and benchmark. The business plan template has instructions that guide users on what to fill in each section.

7. Small Business Administration Free Business Plan Template

Small Business Administration Free Business Plan Template

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers two free business plan templates, filled with practical real-life examples that you can model to create your business plan. Both free business plan templates are written by fictional business owners: Rebecca who owns a consulting firm, and Andrew who owns a toy company.

There are five sections in the two SBA’s free business plan templates.

  • Executive Summary
  • Company Description
  • Service Line
  • Marketing and Sales

8. The $100 Startup's One-Page Business Plan

The $100 Startup's One Page Business Plan

The one-page business plan by the $100 startup is a simple business plan template for entrepreneurs who do not want to create a long and complicated plan . You can include more details in the appendices for funders who want more information beyond what you can put in the one-page business plan.

There are five sections in the one-page business plan such as overview, ka-ching, hustling, success, and obstacles or challenges or open questions. You can answer all the questions using one or two sentences.

9. PandaDoc’s Free Business Plan Template

PandaDoc’s Free Business Plan Template

The free business plan template by PandaDoc is a comprehensive 15-page document that describes the information you should include in every section.

There are 11 sections in PandaDoc’s free business plan template.

  • Executive summary
  • Business description
  • Products and services
  • Operations plan
  • Management organization
  • Financial plan
  • Conclusion / Call to action
  • Confidentiality statement

You have to sign up for its 14-day free trial to access the template. You will find different business plan templates on PandaDoc once you sign up (including templates for general businesses and specific businesses such as bakeries, startups, restaurants, salons, hotels, and coffee shops)

PandaDoc allows you to customize its business plan templates to fit the needs of your business. After editing the template, you can send it to interested parties and track opens and views through PandaDoc.

10. Invoiceberry Templates for Word, Open Office, Excel, or PPT

Invoiceberry Templates Business Concept

InvoiceBerry is a U.K based online invoicing and tracking platform that offers free business plan templates in .docx, .odt, .xlsx, and .pptx formats for freelancers and small businesses.

Before you can download the free business plan template, it will ask you to give it your email address. After you complete the little task, it will send the download link to your inbox for you to download. It also provides a business plan checklist in .xlsx file format that ensures you add the right information to the business plan.

Alternatives to the Traditional Business Plan

A business plan is very important in mapping out how one expects their business to grow over a set number of years, particularly when they need external investment in their business. However, many investors do not have the time to watch you present your business plan. It is a long and boring read.

Luckily, there are three alternatives to the traditional business plan (the Business Model Canvas, Lean Canvas, and Startup Pitch Deck). These alternatives are less laborious and easier and quicker to present to investors.

Business Model Canvas (BMC)

The business model canvas is a business tool used to present all the important components of setting up a business, such as customers, route to market, value proposition, and finance in a single sheet. It provides a very focused blueprint that defines your business initially which you can later expand on if needed.

Business Model Canvas (BMC) Infographic

The sheet is divided mainly into company, industry, and consumer models that are interconnected in how they find problems and proffer solutions.

Segments of the Business Model Canvas

The business model canvas was developed by founder Alexander Osterwalder to answer important business questions. It contains nine segments.

Segments of the Business Model Canvas

  • Key Partners: Who will be occupying important executive positions in your business? What do they bring to the table? Will there be a third party involved with the company?
  • Key Activities: What important activities will production entail? What activities will be carried out to ensure the smooth running of the company?
  • The Product’s Value Propositions: What does your product do? How will it be different from other products?
  • Customer Segments: What demography of consumers are you targeting? What are the habits of these consumers? Who are the MVPs of your target consumers?
  • Customer Relationships: How will the team support and work with its customer base? How do you intend to build and maintain trust with the customer?
  • Key Resources: What type of personnel and tools will be needed? What size of the budget will they need access to?
  • Channels: How do you plan to create awareness of your products? How do you intend to transport your product to the customer?
  • Cost Structure: What is the estimated cost of production? How much will distribution cost?
  • Revenue Streams: For what value are customers willing to pay? How do they prefer to pay for the product? Are there any external revenues attached apart from the main source? How do the revenue streams contribute to the overall revenue?

Lean Canvas

The lean canvas is a problem-oriented alternative to the standard business model canvas. It was proposed by Ash Maurya, creator of Lean Stack as a development of the business model generation. It uses a more problem-focused approach and it majorly targets entrepreneurs and startup businesses.

The lean canvas is a problem oriented alternative to the standard business model canvas

Lean Canvas uses the same 9 blocks concept as the business model canvas, however, they have been modified slightly to suit the needs and purpose of a small startup. The key partners, key activities, customer relationships, and key resources are replaced by new segments which are:

  • Problem: Simple and straightforward number of problems you have identified, ideally three.
  • Solution: The solutions to each problem.
  • Unfair Advantage: Something you possess that can't be easily bought or replicated.
  • Key Metrics: Important numbers that will tell how your business is doing.

Startup Pitch Deck

While the business model canvas compresses into a factual sheet, startup pitch decks expand flamboyantly.

Pitch decks, through slides, convey your business plan, often through graphs and images used to emphasize estimations and observations in your presentation. Entrepreneurs often use pitch decks to fully convince their target audience of their plans before discussing funding arrangements.

Startup Pitch Deck Presentation

Considering the likelihood of it being used in a small time frame, a good startup pitch deck should ideally contain 20 slides or less to have enough time to answer questions from the audience.

Unlike the standard and lean business model canvases, a pitch deck doesn't have a set template on how to present your business plan but there are still important components to it. These components often mirror those of the business model canvas except that they are in slide form and contain more details.

Airbnb Pitch Deck

Using Airbnb (one of the most successful start-ups in recent history) for reference, the important components of a good slide are listed below.

  • Cover/Introduction Slide: Here, you should include your company's name and mission statement. Your mission statement should be a very catchy tagline. Also, include personal information and contact details to provide an easy link for potential investors.
  • Problem Slide: This slide requires you to create a connection with the audience or the investor that you are pitching. For example in their pitch, Airbnb summarized the most important problems it would solve in three brief points – pricing of hotels, disconnection from city culture, and connection problems for local bookings.
  • Solution Slide: This slide includes your core value proposition. List simple and direct solutions to the problems you have mentioned
  • Customer Analysis: Here you will provide information on the customers you will be offering your service to. The identity of your customers plays an important part in fundraising as well as the long-run viability of the business.
  • Market Validation: Use competitive analysis to show numbers that prove the presence of a market for your product, industry behavior in the present and the long run, as well as the percentage of the market you aim to attract. It shows that you understand your competitors and customers and convinces investors of the opportunities presented in the market.
  • Business Model: Your business model is the hook of your presentation. It may vary in complexity but it should generally include a pricing system informed by your market analysis. The goal of the slide is to confirm your business model is easy to implement.
  • Marketing Strategy: This slide should summarize a few customer acquisition methods that you plan to use to grow the business.
  • Competitive Advantage: What this slide will do is provide information on what will set you apart and make you a more attractive option to customers. It could be the possession of technology that is not widely known in the market.
  • Team Slide: Here you will give a brief description of your team. Include your key management personnel here and their specific roles in the company. Include their educational background, job history, and skillsets. Also, talk about their accomplishments in their careers so far to build investors' confidence in members of your team.
  • Traction Slide: This validates the company’s business model by showing growth through early sales and support. The slide aims to reduce any lingering fears in potential investors by showing realistic periodic milestones and profit margins. It can include current sales, growth, valuable customers, pre-orders, or data from surveys outlining current consumer interest.
  • Funding Slide: This slide is popularly referred to as ‘the ask'. Here you will include important details like how much is needed to get your business off the ground and how the funding will be spent to help the company reach its goals.
  • Appendix Slides: Your pitch deck appendix should always be included alongside a standard pitch presentation. It consists of additional slides you could not show in the pitch deck but you need to complement your presentation.

It is important to support your calculations with pictorial renditions. Infographics, such as pie charts or bar graphs, will be more effective in presenting the information than just listing numbers. For example, a six-month graph that shows rising profit margins will easily look more impressive than merely writing it.

Lastly, since a pitch deck is primarily used to secure meetings and you may be sharing your pitch with several investors, it is advisable to keep a separate public version that doesn't include financials. Only disclose the one with projections once you have secured a link with an investor.

Advantages of the Business Model Canvas, Lean Canvas, and Startup Pitch Deck over the Traditional Business Plan

  • Time-Saving: Writing a detailed traditional business plan could take weeks or months. On the other hand, all three alternatives can be done in a few days or even one night of brainstorming if you have a comprehensive understanding of your business.
  • Easier to Understand: Since the information presented is almost entirely factual, it puts focus on what is most important in running the business. They cut away the excess pages of fillers in a traditional business plan and allow investors to see what is driving the business and what is getting in the way.
  • Easy to Update: Businesses typically present their business plans to many potential investors before they secure funding. What this means is that you may regularly have to amend your presentation to update statistics or adjust to audience-specific needs. For a traditional business plan, this could mean rewriting a whole section of your plan. For the three alternatives, updating is much easier because they are not voluminous.
  • Guide for a More In-depth Business Plan: All three alternatives have the added benefit of being able to double as a sketch of your business plan if the need to create one arises in the future.

Business Plan FAQ

Business plans are important for any entrepreneur who is looking for a framework to run their company over some time or seeking external support. Although they are essential for new businesses, every company should ideally have a business plan to track their growth from time to time.  They can be used by startups seeking investments or loans to convey their business ideas or an employee to convince his boss of the feasibility of starting a new project. They can also be used by companies seeking to recruit high-profile employee targets into key positions or trying to secure partnerships with other firms.

Business plans often vary depending on your target audience, the scope, and the goals for the plan. Startup plans are the most common among the different types of business plans.  A start-up plan is used by a new business to present all the necessary information to help get the business up and running. They are usually used by entrepreneurs who are seeking funding from investors or bank loans. The established company alternative to a start-up plan is a feasibility plan. A feasibility plan is often used by an established company looking for new business opportunities. They are used to show the upsides of creating a new product for a consumer base. Because the audience is usually company people, it requires less company analysis. The third type of business plan is the lean business plan. A lean business plan is a brief, straight-to-the-point breakdown of your ideas and analysis for your business. It does not contain details of your proposal and can be written on one page. Finally, you have the what-if plan. As it implies, a what-if plan is a preparation for the worst-case scenario. You must always be prepared for the possibility of your original plan being rejected. A good what-if plan will serve as a good plan B to the original.

A good business plan has 10 key components. They include an executive plan, product analysis, desired customer base, company analysis, industry analysis, marketing strategy, sales strategy, financial projection, funding, and appendix. Executive Plan Your business should begin with your executive plan. An executive plan will provide early insight into what you are planning to achieve with your business. It should include your mission statement and highlight some of the important points which you will explain later. Product Analysis The next component of your business plan is your product analysis. A key part of this section is explaining the type of item or service you are going to offer as well as the market problems your product will solve. Desired Consumer Base Your product analysis should be supplemented with a detailed breakdown of your desired consumer base. Investors are always interested in knowing the economic power of your market as well as potential MVP customers. Company Analysis The next component of your business plan is your company analysis. Here, you explain how you want to run your business. It will include your operational strategy, an insight into the workforce needed to keep the company running, and important executive positions. It will also provide a calculation of expected operational costs.  Industry Analysis A good business plan should also contain well laid out industry analysis. It is important to convince potential investors you know the companies you will be competing with, as well as your plans to gain an edge on the competition. Marketing Strategy Your business plan should also include your marketing strategy. This is how you intend to spread awareness of your product. It should include a detailed explanation of the company brand as well as your advertising methods. Sales Strategy Your sales strategy comes after the market strategy. Here you give an overview of your company's pricing strategy and how you aim to maximize profits. You can also explain how your prices will adapt to market behaviors. Financial Projection The financial projection is the next component of your business plan. It explains your company's expected running cost and revenue earned during the tenure of the business plan. Financial projection gives a clear idea of how your company will develop in the future. Funding The next component of your business plan is funding. You have to detail how much external investment you need to get your business idea off the ground here. Appendix The last component of your plan is the appendix. This is where you put licenses, graphs, or key information that does not fit in any of the other components.

The business model canvas is a business management tool used to quickly define your business idea and model. It is often used when investors need you to pitch your business idea during a brief window.

A pitch deck is similar to a business model canvas except that it makes use of slides in its presentation. A pitch is not primarily used to secure funding, rather its main purpose is to entice potential investors by selling a very optimistic outlook on the business.

Business plan competitions help you evaluate the strength of your business plan. By participating in business plan competitions, you are improving your experience. The experience provides you with a degree of validation while practicing important skills. The main motivation for entering into the competitions is often to secure funding by finishing in podium positions. There is also the chance that you may catch the eye of a casual observer outside of the competition. These competitions also provide good networking opportunities. You could meet mentors who will take a keen interest in guiding you in your business journey. You also have the opportunity to meet other entrepreneurs whose ideas can complement yours.

Exlore Further

  • 12 Key Elements of a Business Plan (Top Components Explained)
  • 13 Sources of Business Finance For Companies & Sole Traders
  • 5 Common Types of Business Structures (+ Pros & Cons)
  • How to Buy a Business in 8 Steps (+ Due Diligence Checklist)

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Martin loves entrepreneurship and has helped dozens of entrepreneurs by validating the business idea, finding scalable customer acquisition channels, and building a data-driven organization. During his time working in investment banking, tech startups, and industry-leading companies he gained extensive knowledge in using different software tools to optimize business processes.

This insights and his love for researching SaaS products enables him to provide in-depth, fact-based software reviews to enable software buyers make better decisions.

How to Define Your Target Market

Male entrepreneur in his barber shop giving a customer a haircut. This customer is part of the entrepreneur's target market.

4 min. read

Updated April 4, 2024

One of the most powerful tools of small business marketing strategy is defining and addressing your target market—the audience that you think is most likely to buy your product or service. The key to identifying this customer base is market segmentation, or figuring out the demographics of your specific market.

Common sense makes it seem obvious from afar. You can’t (and shouldn’t) try to sell your product to everyone in the world. You’d waste a lot of money and resources very quickly.

But how do you figure out who your target audience is? Who or what should it be? How would you know? Here are five tips to help you figure it out.

1. Don’t try to please everybody

Strategy is focus. Say you’re planning to start a restaurant ; which of these three options is easier?

  • Pleasing customers 40 to 75 years old, wealthy, much more concerned with healthy eating than cheap eating, appreciating seafood and poultry, liking a quiet atmosphere.
  • Pleasing customers 15 to 30 years old, with limited budgets, who like a loud place with low prices and fast food.
  • Pleasing everybody.

I really hope you chose one of the first two, and not the third. This is the essence of target marketing—divide and conquer. Different groups of people have different pain points and different desires. Most of the time, efforts to please everyone end up pleasing no one.

  • 2. Learn market segmentation

It’s about segments, like pie segments or orange segments—except that in this case, it’s segments of a total market, or TAM .

In my “divide and conquer” example above in the first point, the specific age ranges, wealth, and atmosphere preferences describe particular market segments.

In the illustration here below, U.S. census data divides the population into demographic segments. Demographics are the old standards like age, gender, and so on.

You’ve seen market segmentations referred to frequently in business articles, interviews, and discussions. People will appeal to certain age groups, genders, income levels, and so forth. Divide and conquer is a simple concept; market segmentation is how you make it practical for your business.

Let’s say you think your target market is age 40 to 75 years old, wealthy, and interested in healthy eating. How do you validate your assumption that that demographic will be your ideal target customers? That’s where market research comes in. Talking to customers and potential customers is one of the best ways to do this kind of research, but there are many approaches.

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  • 3. Use segmentation creatively

Don’t limit your target market strategy for market segmentation by age, gender, and economic level.

For example, when I was consulting for Apple Computer, we divided the market into user groups:

  • Small business
  • Large business

I also liked a shopping center segmentation that divided its market into so-called psychographic market segmentation:

  • Kids and cul-de-sacs were affluent upscale suburban families, “a noisy medley of bikes, dogs, carpools, rock music, and sports.”
  • Winner’s circle were wealthy suburban executives, “well-educated, mobile executives and professionals with teen-aged families. Big producers, prolific spenders, and global travelers.”
  • Gen X and babies were upper-middle income, young, white-collar suburbanites.
  • Country squires were wealthy elite ex-urbanites, “where the wealthy have escaped urban stress to live in rustic luxury. Affluence, big bucks in the boondocks.”

I knew a business that segmented its business customers into decision-process types as well:

  • Decision by committee
  • Decision by functional manager
  • Decision by owner

And I call this final example, for lack of a formal definition, strategic intersection.

In the diagram here, the social media services that Have Presence offers are targeted to small business owners who:

  • Want outside help with their social media; and
  • Value business social media; and
  • Have a budget to pay for the service.

Any of these creative segmentations can help you set a target market, and can also be a jumping off point for putting together a user or buyer persona —another useful tool for understanding your target audience and developing better marketing messaging.

  • 4. Consider your own unique identity too

Your business probably reflects who you are and what you like to do, as well as what you do best. Marketing to people you like as the target market is an advantage. If you like the feel of small business better than the big corporate giants, then you’re probably better off setting the small business as a target market.

As Palo Alto Software, the host of Bplans, grew up and grew our business plan software, its founder (that would be me) was more comfortable with the do-it-yourself entrepreneur and business owner than the high-end consultants, so we ended up targeting the do-it-yourselfers in business.

So, somebody who loves fine food, tastefully prepared and served, is probably more comfortable with an upscale target market than with price-sensitive young families.

  • 5. Define your target market early and revise as needed

Do it well as soon as you can, and keep reviewing and refreshing as you go along. You shouldn’t think of your target market as set in stone. As you learn more about your customers, how you define your target market will probably change.

The right target market increases your chances of success because you can communicate better with a well-defined group, and that holds expenses down and makes results better.

See why 1.2 million entrepreneurs have written their business plans with LivePlan

Content Author: Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software , a co-founder of Borland International, and a recognized expert in business planning. He has an MBA from Stanford and degrees with honors from the University of Oregon and the University of Notre Dame. Today, Tim dedicates most of his time to blogging, teaching and evangelizing for business planning.

Start stronger by writing a quick business plan. Check out LivePlan

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  • 1. Don’t try to please everybody

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What is a Marketing Plan & How to Write One [+Examples]

Clifford Chi

Published: December 27, 2023

For a while now, you've been spearheading your organization's content marketing efforts, and your team's performance has convinced management to adopt the content marketing strategies you’ve suggested.

marketing plan and how to write one

Now, your boss wants you to write and present a content marketing plan, but you‘ve never done something like that before. You don't even know where to start.

Download Now: Free Marketing Plan Template [Get Your Copy]

Fortunately, we've curated the best content marketing plans to help you write a concrete plan that's rooted in data and produces results. But first, we'll discuss what a marketing plan is and how some of the best marketing plans include strategies that serve their respective businesses.

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is a strategic roadmap that businesses use to organize, execute, and track their marketing strategy over a given period. Marketing plans can include different marketing strategies for various marketing teams across the company, all working toward the same business goals.

The purpose of a marketing plan is to write down strategies in an organized manner. This will help keep you on track and measure the success of your campaigns.

Writing a marketing plan will help you think of each campaign‘s mission, buyer personas, budget, tactics, and deliverables. With all this information in one place, you’ll have an easier time staying on track with a campaign. You'll also discover what works and what doesn't. Thus, measuring the success of your strategy.

Featured Resource: Free Marketing Plan Template

HubSpot Mktg plan cover

Looking to develop a marketing plan for your business? Click here to download HubSpot's free Marketing Plan Template to get started .

To learn more about how to create your marketing plan, keep reading or jump to the section you’re looking for:

How to Write a Marketing Plan

Types of marketing plans, marketing plan examples, marketing plan faqs, sample marketing plan.

Marketing plan definition graphic

If you're pressed for time or resources, you might not be thinking about a marketing plan. However, a marketing plan is an important part of your business plan.

Marketing Plan vs. Business Plan

A marketing plan is a strategic document that outlines marketing objectives, strategies, and tactics.

A business plan is also a strategic document. But this plan covers all aspects of a company's operations, including finance, operations, and more. It can also help your business decide how to distribute resources and make decisions as your business grows.

I like to think of a marketing plan as a subset of a business plan; it shows how marketing strategies and objectives can support overall business goals.

Keep in mind that there's a difference between a marketing plan and a marketing strategy.

how to write a market share in business plan

Free Marketing Plan Template

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You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

Marketing Strategy vs. Marketing Plan

A marketing strategy describes how a business will accomplish a particular goal or mission. This includes which campaigns, content, channels, and marketing software they'll use to execute that mission and track its success.

For example, while a greater plan or department might handle social media marketing, you might consider your work on Facebook as an individual marketing strategy.

A marketing plan contains one or more marketing strategies. It's the framework from which all of your marketing strategies are created and helps you connect each strategy back to a larger marketing operation and business goal.

For example, suppose your company is launching a new software product, and it wants customers to sign up. The marketing department needs to develop a marketing plan that'll help introduce this product to the industry and drive the desired signups.

The department decides to launch a blog dedicated to this industry, a new YouTube video series to establish expertise, and an account on Twitter to join the conversation around this subject. All this serves to attract an audience and convert this audience into software users.

To summarize, the business's marketing plan is dedicated to introducing a new software product to the marketplace and driving signups for that product. The business will execute that plan with three marketing strategies : a new industry blog, a YouTube video series, and a Twitter account.

Of course, the business might consider these three things as one giant marketing strategy, each with its specific content strategies. How granular you want your marketing plan to get is up to you. Nonetheless, every marketing plan goes through a particular set of steps in its creation.

Learn what they are below.

  • State your business's mission.
  • Determine the KPIs for this mission.
  • Identify your buyer personas.
  • Describe your content initiatives and strategies.
  • Clearly define your plan's omissions.
  • Define your marketing budget.
  • Identify your competition.
  • Outline your plan's contributors and their responsibilities.

1. State your business's mission.

Your first step in writing a marketing plan is to state your mission. Although this mission is specific to your marketing department, it should serve your business‘s main mission statement.

From my experience, you want to be specific, but not too specific. You have plenty of space left in this marketing plan to elaborate on how you'll acquire new customers and accomplish this mission.

mission-statement-examples

Need help building your mission statement? Download this guide for examples and templates and write the ideal mission statement.

2. Determine the KPIs for this mission.

Every good marketing plan describes how the department will track its mission‘s progress. To do so, you need to decide on your key performance indicators (KPIs) .

KPIs are individual metrics that measure the various elements of a marketing campaign. These units help you establish short-term goals within your mission and communicate your progress to business leaders.

Let's take our example of a marketing mission from the above step. If part of our mission is “to attract an audience of travelers,” we might track website visits using organic page views. In this case, “organic page views” is one KPI, and we can see our number of page views grow over time.

These KPIs will come into the conversation again in step 4.

3. Identify your buyer personas.

A buyer persona is a description of who you want to attract. This can include age, sex, location, family size, and job title. Each buyer persona should directly reflect your business's current and potential customers. So, all business leaders must agree on your buyer personas.

buyer-persona-templates

Create your buyer personas with this free guide and set of buyer persona templates.

4. Describe your content initiatives and strategies.

Here's where you'll include the main points of your marketing and content strategy. Because there's a laundry list of content types and channels available to you today, you must choose wisely and explain how you'll use your content and channels in this section of your marketing plan.

When I write this section , I like to stipulate:

  • Which types of content I'll create. These might include blog posts, YouTube videos, infographics, and ebooks.
  • How much of it I'll create. I typically describe content volume in daily, weekly, monthly, or even quarterly intervals. It all depends on my workflow and the short-term goals for my content.
  • The goals (and KPIs) I'll use to track each type. KPIs can include organic traffic, social media traffic, email traffic, and referral traffic. Your goals should also include which pages you want to drive that traffic to, such as product pages, blog pages, or landing pages.
  • The channels on which I'll distribute my content. Popular channels include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.
  • Any paid advertising that will take place on these channels.

Build out your marketing plan with this free template.

Fill out this form to access the template., 5. clearly define your plan's omissions..

A marketing plan explains the marketing team's focus. It also explains what the marketing team will not focus on.

If there are other aspects of your business that you aren't serving in this particular plan, include them in this section. These omissions help to justify your mission, buyer personas, KPIs, and content. You can’t please everyone in a single marketing campaign, and if your team isn't on the hook for something, you need to make it known.

In my experience, this section is particularly important for stakeholders to help them understand why certain decisions were made.

6. Define your marketing budget.

Whether it's freelance fees, sponsorships, or a new full-time marketing hire, use these costs to develop a marketing budget and outline each expense in this section of your marketing plan.

marketing-budget-templates

You can establish your marketing budget with this kit of 8 free marketing budget templates .

7. Identify your competition.

Part of marketing is knowing whom you're marketing against. Research the key players in your industry and consider profiling each one.

Keep in mind not every competitor will pose the same challenges to your business. For example, while one competitor might be ranking highly on search engines for keywords you want your website to rank for, another competitor might have a heavy footprint on a social network where you plan to launch an account.

competitive-analysis-templates

Easily track and analyze your competitors with this collection of ten free competitive analysis templates .

8. Outline your plan's contributors and their responsibilities.

With your marketing plan fully fleshed out, it's time to explain who’s doing what. I don't like to delve too deeply into my employees’ day-to-day projects, but I know which teams and team leaders are in charge of specific content types, channels, KPIs, and more.

Now that you know why you need to build an effective marketing plan, it’s time to get to work. Starting a plan from scratch can be overwhelming if you haven't done it before. That’s why there are many helpful resources that can support your first steps. We’ll share some of the best guides and templates that can help you build effective results-driven plans for your marketing strategies.

Ready to make your own marketing plan? Get started using this free template.

Depending on the company you work with, you might want to create various marketing plans. We compiled different samples to suit your needs:

1. Quarterly or Annual Marketing Plans

These plans highlight the strategies or campaigns you'll take on in a certain period.

marketing plan examples: forbes

Forbes published a marketing plan template that has amassed almost 4 million views. To help you sculpt a marketing roadmap with true vision, their template will teach you how to fill out the 15 key sections of a marketing plan, which are:

  • Executive Summary
  • Target Customers
  • Unique Selling Proposition
  • Pricing & Positioning Strategy
  • Distribution Plan
  • Your Offers
  • Marketing Materials
  • Promotions Strategy
  • Online Marketing Strategy
  • Conversion Strategy
  • Joint Ventures & Partnerships
  • Referral Strategy
  • Strategy for Increasing Transaction Prices
  • Retention Strategy
  • Financial Projections

If you're truly lost on where to start with a marketing plan, I highly recommend using this guide to help you define your target audience, figure out how to reach them, and ensure that audience becomes loyal customers.

2. Social Media Marketing Plan

This type of plan highlights the channels, tactics, and campaigns you intend to accomplish specifically on social media. A specific subtype is a paid marketing plan, which highlights paid strategies, such as native advertising, PPC, or paid social media promotions.

Shane Snow's Marketing Plan for His Book Dream Team is a great example of a social media marketing plan:

Contently's content strategy waterfall.

When Shane Snow started promoting his new book, "Dream Team," he knew he had to leverage a data-driven content strategy framework. So, he chose his favorite one: the content strategy waterfall. The content strategy waterfall is defined by Economic Times as a model used to create a system with a linear and sequential approach.

Snow wrote a blog post about how the waterfall‘s content strategy helped him launch his new book successfully. After reading it, you can use his tactics to inform your own marketing plan. More specifically, you’ll learn how he:

  • Applied his business objectives to decide which marketing metrics to track.
  • Used his ultimate business goal of earning $200,000 in sales or 10,000 purchases to estimate the conversion rate of each stage of his funnel.
  • Created buyer personas to figure out which channels his audience would prefer to consume his content.
  • Used his average post view on each of his marketing channels to estimate how much content he had to create and how often he had to post on social media.
  • Calculated how much earned and paid media could cut down the amount of content he had to create and post.
  • Designed his process and workflow, built his team, and assigned members to tasks.
  • Analyzed content performance metrics to refine his overall content strategy.

I use Snow's marketing plan to think more creatively about my content promotion and distribution plan. I like that it's linear and builds on the step before it, creating an air-tight strategy that doesn't leave any details out.

→ Free Download: Social Media Calendar Template [Access Now]

3. Content Marketing Plan

This plan could highlight different strategies, tactics, and campaigns in which you'll use content to promote your business or product.

HubSpot's Comprehensive Guide for Content Marketing Strategy is a strong example of a content marketing plan:

marketing plan examples: hubspot content marketing plan

At HubSpot, we‘ve built our marketing team from two business school graduates working from a coffee table to a powerhouse of hundreds of employees. Along the way, we’ve learned countless lessons that shaped our current content marketing strategy. So, we decided to illustrate our insights in a blog post to teach marketers how to develop a successful content marketing strategy, regardless of their team's size.

Download Now: Free Content Marketing Planning Templates

In this comprehensive guide for modern marketers, you'll learn:

  • What exactly content marketing is.
  • Why your business needs a content marketing strategy.
  • Who should lead your content marketing efforts?
  • How to structure your content marketing team based on your company's size.
  • How to hire the right people for each role on your team.
  • What marketing tools and technology you'll need to succeed.
  • What type of content your team should create, and which employees should be responsible for creating them.
  • The importance of distributing your content through search engines, social media, email, and paid ads.
  • And finally, the recommended metrics each of your teams should measure and report to optimize your content marketing program.

This is a fantastic resource for content teams of any size — whether you're a team of one or 100. It includes how to hire and structure a content marketing team, what marketing tools you'll need, what type of content you should create, and even recommends what metrics to track for analyzing campaigns. If you're aiming to establish or boost your online presence, leveraging tools like HubSpot's drag-and-drop website builder can be extremely beneficial. It helps you create a captivating digital footprint that sets the foundation for your content marketing endeavors.

4. New Product Launch Marketing Plan

This will be a roadmap for the strategies and tactics you‘ll implement to promote a new product. And if you’re searching for an example, look no further than Chief Outsiders' Go-To-Market Plan for a New Product :

marketing plan examples: chief outsiders

After reading this plan, you'll learn how to:

  • Validate a product
  • Write strategic objectives
  • Identify your market
  • Compile a competitive landscape
  • Create a value proposition for a new product
  • Consider sales and service in your marketing plan

If you're looking for a marketing plan for a new product, the Chief Outsiders template is a great place to start. Marketing plans for a new product will be more specific because they target one product versus its entire marketing strategy.

5. Growth Marketing Plan

Growth marketing plans use experimentation and data to drive results, like we see in Venture Harbour’s Growth Marketing Plan Template :

marketing plan examples: venture harbour

Venture Harbour's growth marketing plan is a data-driven and experiment-led alternative to the more traditional marketing plan. Their template has five steps intended for refinement with every test-measure-learn cycle. The five steps are:

  • Experiments

Download Now: Free Growth Strategy Template

I recommend this plan if you want to experiment with different platforms and campaigns. Experimentation always feels risky and unfamiliar, but this plan creates a framework for accountability and strategy.

  • Louisville Tourism
  • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • Visit Oxnard
  • Safe Haven Family Shelter
  • Wright County Economic Development
  • The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County
  • Cabarrus County Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • Visit Billings

1. Louisville Tourism

Louisville Tourism Marketing Plan

It also divides its target market into growth and seed categories to allow for more focused strategies. For example, the plan recognizes Millennials in Chicago, Atlanta, and Nashville as the core of it's growth market, whereas people in Boston, Austin, and New York represent seed markets where potential growth opportunities exist. Then, the plan outlines objectives and tactics for reaching each market.

Why This Marketing Plan Works

  • The plan starts with a letter from the President & CEO of the company, who sets the stage for the plan by providing a high-level preview of the incoming developments for Louisville's tourism industry
  • The focus on Louisville as "Bourbon City" effectively leverages its unique cultural and culinary attributes to present a strong brand
  • Incorporates a variety of data points from Google Analytics, Arrivalist, and visitor profiles to to define their target audience with a data-informed approach

2. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

University Illinois

For example, students who become prospects as freshman and sophomore will receive emails that focus on getting the most out of high school and college prep classes. Once these students become juniors and seniors — thus entering the consideration stage — the emails will focus more on the college application process and other exploratory content.

  • The plan incorporates competitive analysis, evaluation surveys, and other research to determine the makeup of its target audience
  • The plan lists each marketing program (e.g., direct mail, social media, email etc.) and supplements it with examples on the next page
  • Each marketing program has its own objectives, tactics, and KPIs for measuring success

3. Visit Oxnard

This marketing plan by Visit Oxnard, a convention and visitors bureau, is packed with all the information one needs in a marketing plan: target markets, key performance indicators, selling points, personas, marketing tactics by channel, and much more.

It also articulates the organization’s strategic plans for the upcoming fiscal year, especially as it grapples with the aftereffects of the pandemic. Lastly, it has impeccable visual appeal, with color-coded sections and strong branding elements.

  • States clear and actionable goals for the coming year
  • Includes data and other research that shows how their team made their decisions
  • Outlines how the team will measure the success of their plan

4. Safe Haven Family Shelter

marketing plan examples: safe haven family shelter

This marketing plan by a nonprofit organization is an excellent example to follow if your plan will be presented to internal stakeholders at all levels of your organization. It includes SMART marketing goals , deadlines, action steps, long-term objectives, target audiences, core marketing messages , and metrics.

The plan is detailed, yet scannable. By the end of it, one can walk away with a strong understanding of the organization’s strategic direction for its upcoming marketing efforts.

  • Confirms ongoing marketing strategies and objectives while introducing new initiatives
  • Uses colors, fonts, and formatting to emphasize key parts of the plan
  • Closes with long-term goals, key themes, and other overarching topics to set the stage for the future

5. Wright County Economic Development

marketing plan examples: wright county

Wright County Economic Development’s plan drew our attention because of its simplicity, making it good inspiration for those who’d like to outline their plan in broad strokes without frills or filler.

It includes key information such as marketing partners, goals, initiatives, and costs. The sections are easy to scan and contain plenty of information for those who’d like to dig into the details. Most important, it includes a detailed breakdown of projected costs per marketing initiative — which is critical information to include for upper-level managers and other stakeholders.

  • Begins with a quick paragraph stating why the recommended changes are important
  • Uses clear graphics and bullet points to emphasize key points
  • Includes specific budget data to support decision-making

6. The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County

marketing plan examples: cultural council of palm beach county

This marketing plan presentation by a cultural council is a great example of how to effectively use data in your plan, address audiences who are new to the industry, and offer extensive detail into specific marketing strategies.

For instance, an entire slide is dedicated to the county’s cultural tourism trends, and at the beginning of the presentation, the organization explains what an arts and culture agency is in the first place.

That’s a critical piece of information to include for those who might not know. If you’re addressing audiences outside your industry, consider defining terms at the beginning, like this organization did.

  • Uses quality design and images to support the goals and priorities in the text
  • Separate pages for each big idea or new strategy
  • Includes sections for awards and accomplishments to show how the marketing plan supports wider business goals
  • Defines strategies and tactics for each channel for easy skimming

7. Cabarrus County Convention & Visitors Bureau

marketing plan examples: carrabus county

Cabarrus County’s convention and visitors bureau takes a slightly different approach with its marketing plan, formatting it like a magazine for stakeholders to flip through. It offers information on the county’s target audience, channels, goals, KPIs, and public relations strategies and initiatives.

We especially love that the plan includes contact information for the bureau’s staff members, so that it’s easy for stakeholders to contact the appropriate person for a specific query.

  • Uses infographics to expand on specific concepts, like how visitors benefit a community
  • Highlights the team members responsible for each initiative with a photo to emphasize accountability and community
  • Closes with an event calendar for transparency into key dates for events

8. Visit Billings

marketing plan examples: visit billings

Visit Billing’s comprehensive marketing plan is like Cabarrus County’s in that it follows a magazine format. With sections for each planned strategy, it offers a wealth of information and depth for internal stakeholders and potential investors.

We especially love its content strategy section, where it details the organization’s prior efforts and current objectives for each content platform.

At the end, it includes strategic goals and budgets — a good move to imitate if your primary audience would not need this information highlighted at the forefront.

  • Includes a section on the buyer journey, which offers clarity on the reasoning for marketing plan decisions
  • Design includes call-outs for special topics that could impact the marketing audience, such as safety concerns or "staycations"
  • Clear headings make it easy to scan this comprehensive report and make note of sections a reader may want to return to for more detail

What is a typical marketing plan?

In my experience, most marketing plans outline the following aspects of a business's marketing:

  • Target audience

Each marketing plan should include one or more goals, the path your team will take to meet those goals, and how you plan to measure success.

For example, if I were a tech startup that's launching a new mobile app, my marketing plan would include:

  • Target audience or buyer personas for the app
  • Outline of how app features meet audience needs
  • Competitive analysis
  • Goals for conversion funnel and user acquisition
  • Marketing strategies and tactics for user acquisition

Featured resource : Free Marketing Plan Template

What should a good marketing plan include?

A good marketing plan will create a clear roadmap for your unique marketing team. This means that the best marketing plan for your business will be distinct to your team and business needs.

That said, most marketing plans will include sections for one or more of the following:

  • Clear analysis of the target market
  • A detailed description of the product or service
  • Strategic marketing mix details (such as product, price, place, promotion)
  • Measurable goals with defined timelines

This can help you build the best marketing plan for your business.

A good marketing plan should also include a product or service's unique value proposition, a comprehensive marketing strategy including online and offline channels, and a defined budget.

Featured resource : Value Proposition Templates

What are the most important parts of a marketing plan?

When you‘re planning a road trip, you need a map to help define your route, step-by-step directions, and an estimate of the time it will take to get to your destination. It’s literally how you get there that matters.

Like a road map, a marketing plan is only useful if it helps you get to where you want to go. So, no one part is more than the other.

That said, you can use the list below to make sure that you've added or at least considered each of the following in your marketing plan:

  • Marketing goals
  • Executive summary
  • Target market analysis
  • Marketing strategies

What questions should I ask when making a marketing plan?

Questions are a useful tool for when you‘re stuck or want to make sure you’ve included important details.

Try using one or more of these questions as a starting point when you create your marketing plan:

  • Who is my target audience?
  • What are their needs, motivations, and pain points?
  • How does our product or service solve their problems?
  • How will I reach and engage them?
  • Who are my competitors? Are they direct or indirect competitors?
  • What are the unique selling points of my product or service?
  • What marketing channels are best for the brand?
  • What is our budget and timeline?
  • How will I measure the success of marketing efforts?

How much does a marketing plan cost?

Creating a marketing plan is mostly free. But the cost of executing a marketing plan will depend on your specific plan.

Marketing plan costs vary by business, industry, and plan scope. Whether your team handles marketing in-house or hires external consultants can also make a difference. Total costs can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands. This is why most marketing plans will include a budget.

Featured resource : Free Marketing Budget Templates

What is a marketing plan template?

A marketing plan template is a pre-designed structure or framework that helps you outline your marketing plan.

It offers a starting point that you can customize for your specific business needs and goals. For example, our template includes easy-to-edit sections for:

  • Business summary
  • Business initiatives
  • Target market
  • Market strategy
  • Marketing channels
  • Marketing technology

Let’s create a sample plan together, step by step.

Follow along with HubSpot's free Marketing Plan Template .

HubSpot Mktg plan cover

1. Create an overview or primary objective.

Our business mission is to provide [service, product, solution] to help [audience] reach their [financial, educational, business related] goals without compromising their [your audience’s valuable asset: free time, mental health, budget, etc.]. We want to improve our social media presence while nurturing our relationships with collaborators and clients.

For example, if I wanted to focus on social media growth, my KPIs might look like this:

We want to achieve a minimum of [followers] with an engagement rate of [X] on [social media platform].

The goal is to achieve an increase of [Y] on recurring clients and new meaningful connections outside the platform by the end of the year.

Use the following categories to create a target audience for your campaign.

  • Profession:
  • Background:
  • Pain points:
  • Social media platforms that they use:
  • Streaming platforms that they prefer:

For more useful strategies, consider creating a buyer persona in our Make My Persona tool .

Our content pillars will be: [X, Y, Z].

Content pillars should be based on topics your audience needs to know. If your ideal clients are female entrepreneurs, then your content pillars can be: marketing, being a woman in business, remote working, and productivity hacks for entrepreneurs.

Then, determine any omissions.

This marketing plan won’t be focusing on the following areas of improvement: [A, B, C].

5. Define your marketing budget.

Our marketing strategy will use a total of [Y] monthly. This will include anything from freelance collaborations to advertising.

6. Identify your competitors.

I like to work through the following questions to clearly indicate who my competitors are:

  • Which platforms do they use the most?
  • How does their branding differentiate?
  • How do they talk to their audiences?
  • What valuable assets do customers talk about? And if they are receiving any negative feedback, what is it about?

7. Outline your plan's contributors and their responsibilities.

Create responsible parties for each portion of the plan.

Marketing will manage the content plan, implementation, and community interaction to reach the KPIs.

  • Social media manager: [hours per week dedicated to the project, responsibilities, team communication requirements, expectations]
  • Content strategist: [hours per week dedicated to the project, responsibilities, team communication requirements, expectations]
  • Community manager: [hours per week dedicated to the project, responsibilities, team communication requirements, expectations]

Sales will follow the line of the marketing work while creating and implementing an outreach strategy.

  • Sales strategists: [hours per week dedicated to the project, responsibilities, team communication requirements, expectations]
  • Sales executives: [hours per week dedicated to the project, responsibilities, team communication requirements, expectations]

Customer Service will nurture clients’ relationships to ensure that they have what they want. [Hours per week dedicated to the project, responsibilities, team communication requirements, expectations].

Project Managers will track the progress and team communication during the project. [Hours per week dedicated to the project, responsibilities, team communication requirements, expectations].

Get started on your marketing plan.

These marketing plans serve as initial resources to get your content marketing plan started. But, to truly deliver what your audience wants and needs, you'll likely need to test some different ideas out, measure their success, and then refine your goals as you go.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in April 2019, but was updated for comprehensiveness. This article was written by a human, but our team uses AI in our editorial process. Check out our full disclosure t o learn more about how we use AI.

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Free Marketing Plan Examples: Real-World Samples & Templates

By Joe Weller | April 27, 2024

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A  marketing plan  is a comprehensive document that outlines a company’s marketing strategy and tactics, and ensures that its marketing goals align with its overall objectives. Effective marketing plans include detailed analysis of the market along with roadmaps for upcoming campaigns. Inside this article, you’ll find the  elements of a marketing plan , 10 real-world examples of marketing plans with commentary from experienced marketing professionals, free marketing plan templates and samples , and a  chart to help you determine which template suits your needs .

Marketing Plan Elements

Typical marketing plans begin with an executive summary and include audience demographics, company objectives, situational analysis of the business, and marketing strategies and tactics. Market research and analysis provide campaign direction, and the budget and timeline offer practical parameters. A marketing plan can provide an overview of all strategies and campaigns to be executed in a certain time frame, or it can focus on a specific product, channel, or strategy. The level of detail and the sections included might vary, depending on the organization’s needs. The nine main elements of a marketing plan are:  

Executive Summary and Mission Statement:  A concise, high-level summary conveys the purpose of your marketing plan, introduces key strategies and research insights, and highlights the most important takeaways for stakeholders. For example, an executive summary might outline your brand’s identity, its place within the competitive landscape, and the major opportunities that upcoming marketing campaigns will target. Longer plans might include a separate mission statement or vision statement to align marketing efforts with your company’s larger goals. Discover more  examples of executive summaries with templates to help you write one effectively.  

Single Slide Executive Summary Example Template

Situational Analysis:  One of the most crucial elements of your marketing plan, a situational analysis is an assessment of the internal and external factors affecting a business’s performance. It should include research-based insights into market trends and dynamics, customer demographics and pain points, and internal resources.  A strong situational analysis often includes a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis, which provides a foundation for an effective marketing strategy. Learn more about  how to perform a SWOT analysis .  

Competitive Analysis:  Understanding the competition is key to developing a compelling marketing plan. This analysis should consider recent marketing campaigns from similar brands to identify successful ways to reach a shared target audience. Being aware of the competitive landscape can also help your business develop a unique selling proposition and stand out in the market. The competitive analysis might be included in the larger situational analysis, or it might be a stand-alone section. For example, a marketing plan could include data on how competitors rank on keywords, or it could evaluate the performance of competitors’ recent social media campaigns. One common framework for understanding market dynamics is a Porter’s five forces analysis, which identifies the forces that contribute to industry rivals. Learn how to evaluate the competitive landscape with  free industry analysis templates .  

Porter’s Five Forces Model Example Template

Target Audience: In order to implement marketing strategies that engage consumers and drive conversions, businesses need to know who their audience is, what they want, and how they behave. A marketing plan should define a specific, segmented target audience with demographic, geographical, psychographic, and behavioral data.  This section often includes customer profiles or buyer personas — fictionalized representations of ideal customers or audience segments — which help marketers typify consumer behaviors. These profiles should include media habits and most-used platforms to ensure that your marketing plan selects the right channels for each campaign. Learn how to analyze your target market with  free customer profile templates .  

Simple Customer Profile Presentation Template

Goals and Objectives:  Marketing plans typically include both long-term goals, which provide broad direction for the company’s marketing strategy, and short-term objectives, which focus on more immediate tactics and campaigns. Goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound) and include corresponding key performance indicators (KPIs).  The goals and objectives in a marketing plan often focus on conversions, market share, brand awareness, or engagement. Clearly defined goals ensure strategically aligned marketing initiatives with measurable results. Take a look at  real-world examples of SMART goals for more insights.  

SMART Goals Worksheet Template with Sample Text

Marketing Strategy:  This section of a marketing plan details the business’s unique value proposition and the channels that will communicate it. A robust marketing strategy addresses the touchpoints in a consumer’s buying cycle and breaks down the 4 Ps (product, price, place, promotion) of the marketing mix. Channels might include digital marketing, advertisements, social media, and influencer partnerships. To develop an overarching marketing strategy, consider using a  marketing strategy template . To learn more about the 4 Ps, read this  product marketing guide .  

Marketing Strategy Example Template

Tactics and Action Plan:  A marketing plan is not an abstract strategy document, but a concrete roadmap for executing specific campaigns with specific tactics. Your plan should detail the messaging for each campaign and the corresponding methods for communication — such as email newsletters, social content, targeted ads, and public relations.  This section provides KPIs and actionable steps such as resource allocation, deliverables, and distribution plans. It might also include the expected outcome for each campaign. To plan individual campaigns, consider using a  marketing project plan template .  

Marketing Project Plan Template

Budget:  Marketing expenses might include the cost of advertising, content creation, website maintenance, or promotional materials; no marketing plan is complete without a budget that breaks down the costs of such initiatives. A clear, comprehensive budget ensures that marketing efforts are financially feasible and resources can be allocated for maximum impact. The budget also enables the marketing team to track the return on investment (ROI) of each campaign. To create a comprehensive budget, try our  free marketing budget templates .    

Marketing Budget Plan Template

Timeline:  Finally, a marketing plan includes a clear schedule for implementing its initiatives and tactics. This timeline details the start and end dates of each campaign, deadlines for deliverables, and key events or milestones. It keeps the marketing team aligned and initiatives on track, ensuring that marketing objectives can be achieved within the set time frame. Organize dates and deadlines with the help of a  marketing timeline template .  

Marketing Timeline Template

Marketing Plan Examples

Real-world marketing plans show how businesses utilize effective planning documents. These 10 examples from various industries exhibit unique strengths and weaknesses. With insightful commentary from marketing experts, these plans offer practical takeaways any marketer can use.  

Delmarva and the Ground for Change This  in-depth marketing plan for a documentary produced by the USDA Northeast Climate Hub includes audience profiles, competitive analysis, and a distribution plan. Along with a detailed breakdown of its digital marketing strategy, it considers how different tactics will affect the viewer’s content journey.   

Delmarva Marketing Plan

John Dinsmore , a marketing consultant and professor at Wright State University, praises this plan for its attractive design and thoughtful, thorough content: “They do a nice job of extrapolating on who the target market is and tying their tactics to achieving specific goals.”  He appreciates the inclusion of a SWOT analysis, but feels it could be done more effectively. “‘Opportunities’ is not a place for business ideas. It’s a place to identify external, positive trends that can help your initiative. In this context, an opportunity could be ‘Rising concern for and awareness of climate issues.’ Similarly, ‘threats’ is not a place to list things that are difficult. It’s for negative external trends such as ‘Increased skepticism over ability to combat climate change.’” 

Dekker Fraser

Dekker Fraser , former Global Marketing Manager at Sony PlayStation, adds that this plan includes a strong focus on collaborations with media and influencers: “Many marketing plans place too much emphasis on target customers and not enough on target collaborators.”  

Minnesota Tourism This  marketing plan by Explore Minnesota , the state’s Department of Tourism, showcases Minnesota’s beauty with vivid imagery. It uses a variety of demographic information to identify priority audience segments and includes well-designed infographics that analyze audience and competition. As a result, the campaigns are clearly targeted at specific audiences and objectives. 

John Rarrick

John Rarrick , Head of Marketing at Movius Corp., admires the strength of the message behind the strategy. “This plan has a very well-developed ‘why,’” he says. “You’ll see that often when the plan is to repair or save something that has undergone a time of great loss — such as a loss of revenue or reputation. The audience personas, goals, tactics, and budget are all detailed and measurable.” 

Minnesota Marketing Plan

Gold Coast Transit District  

Gold Coast Marketing Plan

A  short, high-level marketing plan for Gold Coast Transit highlights key campaigns and includes the most important details, such as timelines, budgets, and tactics. It begins with a bulleted overview of the most important takeaways and takes into account general marketing efforts that don’t fit under a specific campaign umbrella. Fraser notes that this plan includes year-round marketing initiatives, with an effective “emphasis on strong offers, such as youth-free fares.” However, he points out that its brand awareness goals could be more specific. “Instead, use context-specific awareness goals such as ‘When commuting to work, residents first think of Gold Coast Transit’ or ‘When coming home from the library at night, I think of taking the bus,’” he says. “In other words, peg awareness to specific category-entry points.”  

University of Arizona College of Engineering This  marketing, branding, and communications plan for the University of Arizona College of Engineering sets out a long-term vision, high-level goals, and strategies for achieving these goals. It has a section for methodology — including promotional videos and email newsletters — and segments its audience to align with its strategies. This plan “demonstrates a clearly defined audience,” according to Rarrick. That said, not every section of the plan includes the same level of specificity. “The KPIs are vague,” he adds. “I would expect to see something more measurable, rather than ‘increase’ or ‘improve.’” 

Arizona Marketing Plan

Timberland Regional Library This  library's two-year marketing plan sets initiatives in motion with a clear schedule for action. It includes both promotional and production calendars for effective planning, which is especially important for campaigns pegged to external events.  Dinsmore cites this plan’s “professional and elegant graphic design” as a strength. It also offers a roadmap for tackling several marketing campaigns on different timelines. However, he suggests that the plan needs more measurable goals and defined strategies. “There’s no overarching strategy that ties all of these tactics and initiatives together,” he says. “It’s just a laundry list of dates and actions.” 

Library Marketing Plan

Safe Haven Family Shelter Nonprofit organizations need creative marketing strategies to reach their targets and use funds efficiently. With specific objectives and actionable steps, this  marketing plan for Safe Haven Family Shelter delineates high-level goals and details the path to achieving them. It identifies the roles and responsibilities of individual team members to ensure alignment. Rarrick commends this plan for its “clearly defined audience and very clearly defined goals.” The plan showcases the differences between strategic business goals and measurable marketing objectives.  

Safe Haven Marketing Plan

Visit Myrtle Beach This  destination marketing plan by the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Chamber of Commerce  incorporates detailed information about target markets, audience personas, and key behaviors. It includes an infographic that illuminates the touchpoints in a traveler’s journey and shows the marketing team how each tactic contributes to conversions.  Overall, Dinsmore praises this plan as a “very smart and thoughtful presentation.” It outlines a distinct media mix for each target audience, defines its objectives clearly, and ties these objectives to success metrics. He continues, “I want to thank the Myrtle Beach folks for planning to measure their efforts. Measurement is often anathema to marketing people, but if you’re not measuring, you don’t know how to improve.”  With so much information to cover, the plan would benefit from an executive summary to introduce key takeaways. “The bigger the scope, the harder it is to make everything feel connected, and that’s a bit of an issue with this plan,” Dinsmore adds.  

Myrtle Beach Marketing Plan

Tropical Avocados This  example of a no-frills plan was commissioned by the nonprofit Improving Economies for Stronger Communities (IESC) to help brand and launch tropical avocados in the U.S. market. It shows the importance of making branding decisions backed by market and consumer research. A detailed SWOT analysis and competitive analysis provide essential insights that enable the company to determine the best unique selling proposition.  A key strength of this plan is its detailed research into its audience. Fraser cites its “excellent identification of consumer objections — e.g., concern over how natural the avocado size is — and consumer behavior.” As a result, the brand can adopt effective messaging in its marketing campaigns. As with USDA Northeast Climate Hub’s Delmarva and the Ground for Change documentary, “target collaborators — e.g., food writers, organizations, and chefs — are included in the target audience. Collaborators are often more critical to the marketing plan than the consumers themselves,” Fraser adds.  

Avocados Marketing Plan

Rochelle Community Hospital This  case study of Rochelle Community Hospital in Rochelle, Illinois, shows how a targeted marketing plan can be used to achieve significant results. The report by Legato Healthcare Marketing showcases the importance of reevaluating an existing marketing strategy — in this case, shifting the emphasis from print to digital. External marketing agencies often have more tools at their disposal, particularly if the business has not had a strong digital presence. With targeted ads and website updates, the agency employed tactics with direct metrics in order to track its impact.   

Rochelle Hospital Marketing Plan

Visit Concord This  example from the Concord Tourism Improvement District marketing plan is concise and includes streamlined insights on the audience and market. It details each marketing channel with specific tactics and measurable KPIs.  The overall strategy, according to Fraser, offers “an excellent emphasis on social proof and word-of-mouth marketing,” as well as a “good balance of awareness and activation marketing.” In order to improve, he suggests, “the plan should factor in the following critical quantitative factors to help drive the media strategy: reach, frequency, and the total-addressable market.” 

Concord Marketing Plan

Marketing Plan Templates

Using a template takes the guesswork out of organizing a marketing plan document. These customizable templates include essential elements and options for specific industries or marketing channels, and they range from one-page plans to comprehensive, presentation-ready reports.

Microsoft Word Simple Marketing Plan Template

Simple Marketing Plan Sample

Download the Simple Marketing Plan Example Template for Microsoft Word Download the Blank Simple Marketing Plan Template for Microsoft Word

This example of a simple, customizable plan focuses on key strategies and prioritizes readability. This one-page marketing plan template includes space to summarize marketing strategy and overarching business objectives, along with an action plan to highlight responsibilities and deadlines.

Microsoft Word Annual Marketing Plan Template

Annual Marketing Plan Example

Download the Annual Marketing Plan Example Template for Microsoft Word Download the Blank Annual Marketing Plan Template for Microsoft Word  

This comprehensive marketing plan template includes a number of key sections — such as goals, target market, marketing channels, and performance standards — that can be customized to suit a variety of businesses. In the situational analysis, you can find space for both a 5C (company, collaborators, customers, competitors, climate) analysis and a SWOT analysis. The blank template begins with a table of contents, a business summary, and a mission statement to allow for easy readability. The sample focuses on marketing strategies for one fiscal year, but you can modify this plan for any time period. 

Microsoft Word Small Business Marketing Plan Template

Small Business Marketing Plan Example

Download the Small Business Marketing Plan Example Template for Microsoft Word Download the Blank Small Business Marketing Plan Template for Microsoft Word

A strong marketing plan is essential for small businesses looking to stand out from larger competitors. This small business marketing plan template provides an outline for a detailed marketing strategy, including a unique selling proposition, the 4Ps marketing mix, and marketing channels. It builds its strategy on situational analysis and identification of the business’s core capabilities. Find  more marketing plan templates  for different industries.

Microsoft Word Nonprofit Marketing Plan Template

NonProfit Marketing Plan Example

Download the Nonprofit Marketing Plan Example Template for Microsoft Word Download the Blank Nonprofit Marketing Plan Template for Microsoft Word

This example marketing plan for a nonprofit incorporates information on the funding climate into its situational analysis, as well as a detailed organizational summary. With sections for short- and long-term goals, marketing strategies and channels, and stakeholder profiles, the template is comprehensive and customizable. Find  more nonprofit marketing plan templates here .

Excel Product Marketing Plan Template

Product Marketing Plan Example

Download the Product Marketing Plan Example Template for Excel Download the Blank Product Marketing Plan Template for Excel

When integrating a new product into existing marketing strategies, it’s important to take into account all the elements of the marketing mix. This product marketing plan template is organized by product, price, place, promotion, process, people, and physical evidence. In these sections, you can find space to consider market research, consumer behaviors, and marketing channels.

Excel Social Media Marketing Plan Template

Social Media Marketing Action Plan Example

Download the Social Media Marketing Plan Example Template for Excel Download the Blank Social Media Marketing Plan Template for Excel

For planning specific campaigns, this social media marketing action plan template begins with the campaign goal, highlights important promo dates, and separates actions by platform. It’s useful for executing targeted social media campaigns within a larger marketing strategy. Find  more marketing action plan templates here .

Excel Digital Marketing Plan Template

Digital Marketing Plan Example

Download the Digital Marketing Plan Example Template for Excel Download the Blank Digital Marketing Plan Template for Excel

Focusing on digital marketing channels is an effective way to organize strategies into a streamlined and actionable plan. This strategic digital marketing template highlights important audience behaviors and access channels to ensure messaging reaches consumers. Customizable for a variety of digital marketing projects, the template includes space for keywords, goals, and tasks. Find  more digital marketing plan templates here .

Which Marketing Plan Format Is Right for You?

To choose the right marketing plan format for your needs, consider the plan’s role in your marketing strategy. Do you need a comprehensive plan to provide an overview of tactics that will take place over a long period of time? Or are you looking for a plan to focus on specific channels, campaigns, or product launches? 

Each template in this article offers space to detail market research, strategies, and access channels. The longer plans include more sections for in-depth situational analysis and audience demographics, while the shorter plans focus on the marketing mix and action plan. This chart highlights the key elements of each marketing plan:  

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How To Write a Business Plan in 9 Steps

An illustration depicting a business plan in detail at a computer

Write your business plan with this step by step guide and take your idea into reality.

how to write a market share in business plan

Salesforce Staff

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You have this amazing idea for a business. It’s been brewing for a couple of years now, and you’re finally ready to act on it. So, what’s your plan?

Like you, many people are preparing to start a business — and even some who have already started one — and fail to research and write a business plan that tests the feasibility of their idea. Some may think it’s a “waste of time.” They would rather wing it, stick with a pitch deck, or hope for the best.

But hope, unfortunately, isn’t a strategy for success. Writing a business plan and executing it kick-starts your road to success.

A Business Plan Sets a New Company Up for Success

Here’s what you’ll learn:

Three reasons why you need to write a business plan Writing a business plan doesn’t have to be difficult How to write a business plan in 9 steps What’s left to do?

Three reasons why you need to write a business plan

If you haven’t considered writing a business plan until now, here are three key reasons why it’s a crucial tool when starting your business .

1. A business plan provides clarity

One of the easiest ways to gain clarity on your goals and brand message is to practice how you communicate them. Clearly describe what problem or need your business addresses and why it’s necessary for your target market. This strengthens your case when marketing and selling to your target audience.

It’s also useful when you need to apply for or raise funding for your small business. A clear picture of what your goals are will help you chart a course to deliver it as promised.

2. A business plan confirms the math

A lot of ideas sound great on paper or in casual conversations. But when you dive into the financials, such as how you plan to make money and how much it will cost, those ideas can fall apart.

Writing a business plan provides you with the space to create a financial model. It outlines the best- and worst-case scenarios that validate your idea’s worth.

3. A business plan establishes goals

Writing a business plan helps establish benchmark goals — those that are on your path to the main goal — and determine what you need for your success. Setting mini benchmark goals with deadlines for each month, quarter, and year provides you with short-term targets to focus on.

Nearly every plan for your business changes as the company grows. These benchmark targets ensure that your company is always moving forward.

( Back to top .)

Writing a business plan doesn’t have to be difficult

Creating a plan for your business can seem like an overwhelming project. Especially, if it’s your first business or you lack a background in finance or operations. Luckily, there are a number of resources available online, including Trailhead’s “ Salesforce Essentials for Small Business ” lesson, which helps you write a detailed plan. Your options vary based on your specific industry or product offering. However, all plans share a similar outline that you can follow when writing your own.

Below, we’ve put together a resource template for creating a thorough business action plan . Following a template allows you the opportunity to organize your thoughts and clearly present the plan to prospective partners, investors, or vendors. It can be a lot of trouble to start from scratch. Instead, try using this outline to draft a plan for your business and turn your napkin scribbles into a solid, well-researched plan that’s ready for financial investment.

A 9 Step Framework for a Thorough Business Plan

How to write a business plan in 9 steps

Almost every detailed plan for a business follows the same framework. You can expand this however you’d like, but make sure these essential pieces are in place:

  • Executive summary
  • Company overview

Industry overview

  • Market analysis
  • Sales and marketing plan
  • Business team

Operating plan

1. Executive Summary

Every thorough plan for a business opens with an executive summary that provides a brief description of the business, a mission statement, the products and services offered, and a summary of plans to succeed in the marketplace. If someone were to ask for a more involved version of your business elevator pitch, you’d recite your executive summary.

2. Company Overview

This is your napkin drawing on steroids. The company overview section is a snapshot of your business:

  • Your business’s history
  • A detailed list of products and services
  • The physical location (if there is one)
  • The problem/need your product or service addresses

Briefly touch on your target audience and how you plan to attract them (you’ll go into more detail later). This is only a snapshot summary for someone to grasp your idea and see the opportunity behind it. You also want to clearly define your company’s strategy for starting or growing in the marketplace.

3. Industry Overview

Your plan needs to address the industry as a whole, including relevant statistics, current trends, consumer demographics , and any external influences affecting the industry. Use this section to address how your business will fit into a specific industry and what (if any) subsections of the industry you will target.

4. Market analysis

Who will you battle for customers? The market analysis section requires you to validate that there is enough demand in the market for your business to both enter and grow. Research competitors in the industry, their market share, and how you plan to compete against them.

This is also a great opportunity to describe any industry barriers upon entry. You can explain how your company will establish itself — including your unique selling proposition — and share how the barriers will help protect your business from other startups or companies that want to go after your market share.

5. Sales and marketing plan

How will you execute your strategies and reach your goals? Your sales and marketing plan should clearly describe how you will grab the attention of busy consumers and persuade them to buy from your company. Use this opportunity to showcase your strengths, account for how your brand will stand out in the marketplace, and detail how you plan to build long-term customer loyalty for repeat business.

Don’t forget to describe your pricing strategy and how it compares to the rest of your market, as well as the advertising strategies you will use during your launch and first year.

6. Business team

Your business team section should focus on your business’s legal structure. Are you a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or other type of business? Introduce your key team members such as managers, board members, and additional owners. Detail who owns what percentage of the company and each team member’s involvement in the business’s day-to-day operations.

7. Operating plan

Your operating plan gives insight into how your business will function on an ongoing basis and what daily operations will look like. The questions you’ll address in your operating plan may include:

  • Will you have a physical location?
  • What responsibilities will the management team shoulder?
  • Do you have a customer invoice prepared?
  • What expenses are related to running the business?

8. Financials

This is the money-making section, which can be an exciting part to investigate and budget. The financials portion of your plan may be the most important because it shows how your business will make money and grow over time. This section is even more crucial if you’re seeking outside financing or investors to help fund your startup.

Your financials should outline how your business will generate revenue and profit, and if necessary, how it will repay its loan or investors. Create monthly, annual, and three-to-five-year profit and loss projections and outline anticipated expenses.

9. Appendix

Close your business plan with an appendix that provides supporting documentation such as bank statements, employee bios, licenses, agreements, and business credit history. Think of it as your supporting research and reference documents.

What’s left to do?

Once you’ve outlined a plan for your business and gathered all the necessary research and documentation, it’s time to write it. By following this template, you should have no problem taking your great idea from a general concept to real life.

Your plan doesn’t have to be as long as War and Peace — it simply has to address each key point referenced above and show that your business addresses a need in the market. Then, after you finish writing your business plan, you can follow its guidance and get started on building your business.

How to Write a Business Plan Using a Template Infographic

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Learn How to Craft a Successful Business Plan (Even with No Experience)

10 Minute Read

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Take the First Step in Learning How to Write a Business Plan, Even with No Experience

Antonio Del Cueto, CPA

May 8, 2024

how to write a market share in business plan

Imagine your business as a spaceship blasting off into uncharted territory. It may sound exciting, but without a precise flight plan, that thrilling journey could end in a fiery crash. Similarly, most businesses don't fail because of bad ideas. They fail because they lack a clear roadmap.

This article will guide you through the process of crafting a business plan that's more than just numbers on a page. Learn the secret formulas that propel businesses from mere concepts to thriving realities.

how to write a market share in business plan

Reimagining Traditional Business Plan Components

Executive summary with interactive elements.

Transform the executive summary into a dynamic experience using multimedia elements such as videos and interactive timelines. These components help demonstrate the business’s mission and goals, making it more attractive to would-be investors and potential customers.

Flexible Organizational Structures

Suggest designing an adaptable organizational framework that evolves according to strategic business needs and operational demands. This is especially beneficial for entrepreneurs who might need to navigate changes without a background in HR or traditional management.

Navigating Financial Management Without a Background

Simplified accounting tools.

For many new entrepreneurs, managing finances can feel overwhelming. Leveraging simplified digital accounting tools can significantly reduce this stress by automating most of the routine bookkeeping tasks. These tools are particularly beneficial for those without a financial background, making it easier to focus on other aspects of entrepreneurship.

  • Automation : Choose tools that automate entries for sales, purchases, and payroll transactions, ensuring accuracy and saving time.
  • User-Friendly Dashboard : Opt for software with an intuitive interface that simplifies financial tracking and report generation. This feature is essential for entrepreneurs who need to quickly access financial data without navigating complex menus.
  • Integration Capabilities : It’s important to invest in software that integrates with other business tools (e.g., inventory management systems, e-commerce platforms) to streamline all financial processes.
  • Scalability : As your business grows, you’ll need accounting software that can adapt to more complex financial demands without requiring a complete overhaul.

Further reading: Mastering Accounting for Tech Companies: The Ultimate Guide to Industry Accounting in the Technology Sector

Understanding business taxes.

A basic understanding of business taxes is essential for any entrepreneur, including those running a nonprofit or other types of organizations. Here are key elements your business plan should focus on:

  • Fundamental Tax Responsibilities : Clearly outline what taxes the business is liable for, such as income, payroll, and sales taxes. This information should be specific to your business's location and structure.
  • Maximizing Deductions : Include information on how to identify and claim relevant deductions to minimize tax liability. For example, if your business has significant equipment expenses or if you’re renting office space, you should know how these affect your taxes.
  • Seeking Professional Advice : While basic tax guides are helpful, consulting with a tax advisor or strategist can provide tailored advice that ensures compliance and optimizes tax benefits. This step is integral for complex situations or where the tax implications could significantly impact business finances.

Further reading: Maximizing Your Small Business Tax Benefits: 2023 Tax Year Strategies & New Reporting Changes

Budgeting made easy.

Budgeting effectively is a core skill every business owner should develop to ensure financial stability and facilitate growth. Here’s how to incorporate straightforward budgeting strategies into your business operations:

  • Expense Tracking : Start by categorizing expenses to track where every dollar is going. Categories might include rent, salaries, marketing, and web design. This clarity helps in making informed spending decisions.
  • Financial Forecasting : Use historical data to predict future spending needs and income . This is especially important for planning major investments or when scaling operations.
  • Regular Financial Reviews : Conducting regular reviews of your budget will help you stay on track and make necessary adjustments in response to financial performance or changing market conditions.
  • Budgeting Tools : Recommend specific budgeting tools that are designed for small business needs. These tools should provide visual representations of financial data, making it easier to digest and act upon.

Each of these sections should be detailed in the business plan to demonstrate a thorough understanding and proactive management of financial aspects. This approach not only helps in securing funding (e.g., from banks or venture capital) but also in managing day-to-day financial operations efficiently.

Building Strategic Partnerships and Collaborative Networks

Cross-industry alliances.

Engaging in cross-industry alliances is a strategic move that can drive substantial business growth and innovation. These partnerships leverage complementary strengths and resources, offering a multitude of benefits:

  • Innovation through Diverse Expertise : Combining knowledge and resources from different sectors can catalyze innovative solutions that neither partner could develop alone. For instance, a tech startup could collaborate with an established manufacturing firm to optimize production processes using advanced technology, resulting in a competitive edge in the market.
  • Access to New Markets : Each industry has its unique customer base. By forming alliances, businesses can bridge their offerings to new audiences. A successful example could involve a collaboration between a software development company and a telecommunications firm to introduce a new tech product to a broader audience, utilizing the telecom firm's extensive customer network.
  • Resource Sharing : Strategic partnerships allow for the sharing of critical assets such as technology, marketing channels, and expertise, leading to cost savings and enhanced product offerings. This might involve sharing R&D facilities or co-branding efforts for joint marketing campaigns.
  • Enhanced Credibility and Brand Perception : Partnering with reputable firms in other sectors can significantly boost a company's credibility and strengthen its brand image, attracting more customers and potential investors.

Documenting cross-industry alliances in a business plan must specify the objectives, expected outcomes, and the nature of the collaboration. Include specific information on how these alliances align with the business’ strategy and how they contribute to achieving the company’s goals.

Customer Involvement in Product Development

Integrate customer feedback into the product development process for aligning products with market needs and enhancing customer satisfaction. This strategy not only improves product-market fit but also fosters customer loyalty:

  • Direct Feedback for Better Products : Involving customers early in the development process ensures that the final product meets actual user needs and solves relevant problems. This can be achieved through methods like crowdsourcing ideas, beta testing new products, and incorporating user-generated content and suggestions into product design.
  • Build Customer Loyalty : Customers who participate in the product development lifecycle are more likely to develop a deeper connection with the brand, increasing their likelihood of becoming repeat buyers and brand advocates.
  • Agile Feedback Loops : Utilizing customer feedback during product testing phases allows for quick iterations and adjustments, greatly enhancing the product’s relevance and appeal upon launch.
  • Unlocking New Ideas : Customers often see different uses for a product or identify missing features that can lead to significant innovations, helping a company stay ahead of competitors.

The business plan must include a dedicated section outlining how customer feedback will be integrated into product development processes. This section should also include pricing strategies informed by customer input to ensure market competitiveness.

For businesses seeking funding or partnership, a well-crafted business plan is essential. Including sections like Cross-Industry Alliances and Customer Involvement showcases a comprehensive approach to strategic planning and market engagement.

For simplicity and clarity, especially when presenting to potential investors, consider summarizing key strategies in a one-page overview within the larger business plan. This not only highlights the strategic vision but also ensures that readers can quickly grasp the core elements of your plan.

Key Takeaways

  • Clarity is Key : Craft a clear, concise business plan to create financial projections and ensure a solid foundation.
  • Know Your Audience : Tailor your plan to engage stakeholders, addressing related topics like brand awareness.
  • Research Matters : Thorough market research strengthens your plan, supporting its solidity.
  • Financial Focus : Develop realistic projections for revenue and expenses to fortify your business plan.
  • Stay Adaptable : Flexibility is key to evolve strategies, including those for brand awareness, to maintain relevance.

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Federal judge temporarily halts Biden plan to lower credit card late fees to $8

A federal judge in texas temporarily halted a plan by the biden administration to lower late fees on credit cards to $8 that was slated to go into effect next week.

how to write a market share in business plan

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A federal judge in Texas temporarily halted a plan by the Biden administration to lower late fees on credit cards to $8 that was slated to go into effect next week.

The temporary nationwide injunction imposed by Judge Mark Pittman in the Northern District of Texas is a win for the big banks and major credit card companies, which collect billions in revenue each year in late fees and were looking to stop the proposal from going into effect. It is also a win for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which led the lawsuit on behalf of the banks.

The new regulations that were proposed by Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would have set a ceiling of $8 for most credit card late fees or require banks to show why they should charge more than $8 for such a fee.

The rule would bring the average credit card late fee down from $32. The bureau estimates banks bring in roughly $14 billion in credit card late fees a year.

White House spokesperson Jeremy Edwards said in a statement Friday night, “We are disappointed that a court sided with House Republicans, big banks and special interests to hit pause on a critical measure to save American families billions in junk fees.”

Banks had sued to stop the lawsuit earlier this year, but they had run into a roadblock when Pittman ordered the case moved to Washington, D.C., because of the fact that few banks operate in northern Texas. However, an appeals court reversed most of Pittman's decision and ordered him to rule on the bank's request for an injunction.

While Pittman did impose the injunction, he used a significant portion of his order to chastise the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for sending this case back to him after he had already ruled that the case should be handled out of Washington. Critics of the lawsuit have called the case the latest example of judicial “forum shopping,” where a company files a lawsuit in a friendly district in order to have a greater likelihood of getting a favorable ruling.

As part of his reelection campaign, President Joe Biden has tried to highlight his administration's push to clamp down on what he calls “junk fees,” which are bank-related fees like late fees, ATM fees and overdraft fees.

"Every month that the credit card late fee rule is blocked will cost Americans over $800 million," the White House said Friday.

Banks have seen the campaign as a political battle against their business model, while consumer advocates have seen these bank fees as excessive based on the amount of risk that banks and credit card companies are taking on.

“In their latest in a stack of lawsuits designed to pad record corporate profits at the expense of everyone else, the U.S. Chamber got its way for now -- ensuring families get price-gouged a little longer with credit card late fees as high as $41,” said Liz Zelnick with Accountable.US.

(Source: MGN)

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The US could give homeowners a $980 billion stimulus at no additional cost, 'Oracle of Wall Street' says

  • A housing proposal could unlock nearly $1 trillion for homeowners, Meredith Whitney wrote for the FT.
  • The idea is for Freddie Mac to start purchasing secondary mortgages, offering a cost-effective way for borrowers to tap equity.
  • Homeowners face few options to do this, as there aren't many willing buyers.

Insider Today

An idea is percolating at one of America's government-sponsored mortgage finance giants that could unlock a huge new lifeline for homeowners, Meredith Whitney wrote for The Financial Times

"As early as this summer, a proposed move could begin to unleash almost $1tn into consumers' wallets. By the autumn, it could be on its way to $2tn," Whitney wrote. 

That's if Freddie Mac secures approval from its regulator to operate in the market for secondary mortgages, also commonly known as home equity loans. If greenlighted, the scheme would be equivalent to a huge stimulus injection, but without a cent added to the national deficit, the "Oracle of Wall Street" explained.

Related stories

Under the plan, Freddie Mac could start purchasing second mortgages and package them into bonds the way it does with primary home loans now. As Freddie Mac is a massive provider of mortgage market liquidity, the move could encourage more banks to extend this financing to customers. 

Whitney points out that Americans are sitting on a massive and growing pile of home equity, but little of that is being tapped. More widely available home equity loans would be a boon in particular for older Americans, who are taking on more debt than other age groups and are at growing risk of a financial shock. 

Approval would also be well-timed. The proposal noted that options are limited for homeowners who want to tap their equity, meaning that few are benefiting from the housing market's appreciation.

"For the many homeowners who purchased or refinanced their homes during a period of lower mortgage rates, a traditional cash-out refinance today may pose a significant financial burden, as it requires a refinancing of the entire outstanding loan balance at a new, and likely much higher, interest rate," it said.

Freddie Mac's participation seeks to offer a cost-effective alternative. According to Whitney, part of the issue as to why households have so few affordable avenues is a consequence of Great Financial Crisis, as a large number of bank lenders decreased their mortgage exposure following the 2008 crash. 

Freddie Mac's entry into the market could result in $980 billion of home equity financing becoming available to Americans, with that number growing to $3 trillion, Fannie Mae and Ginnie Mae follow suit, Whitney estimated. 

"By opening up the securitization market for second mortgages, not only would more institutions be inclined to originate the loans, but the cost to borrowers would meaningfully decline with more finance providers," Whitney said: "It would also provide big stimulus to an economy and consumer that appear to be slowing down without adding a dime to government debt."

Watch: What happens when the US debt reaches critical levels?

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  1. किसका राज है UPI Market❓️🤔#shortsindia #businessknowledge #upi

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  1. Market Share in a Business Plan

    SOM = SAM x Market share %. SOM = 4,500,000 x 1% = 45,000. The obtainable market share forms the basis of the revenue projection in the business plan financial projection. It is therefore important that the estimate of the market share is supported and justified by the marketing plan. The SOM is not normally calculated using a bottom up approach.

  2. How to Write a Market Analysis for a Business Plan

    Step 4: Calculate market value. You can use either top-down analysis or bottom-up analysis to calculate an estimate of your market value. A top-down analysis tends to be the easier option of the ...

  3. How to do a market analysis for your business plan

    Check out our Business Plan Software. This interactive tool includes step-by-step guidance for creating a comprehensive business plan for your own use, to secure investments, or share with others. Related articles. Writing your business plan. Marketing plan component of your business plan. Creating action plans for your business plan

  4. How to Write the Market Analysis Section of a Business Plan

    Here's how to write the market analysis section of a business plan. Describe each industry that you are competing in or will be targeting. Identify direct competition, but don't forget about indirect competition - this may include companies selling different products to the same potential customer segments.

  5. How to Write the Market Analysis in a Business Plan

    The market analysis section of your small business plan should include the following: Industry Description and Outlook: Describe your industry both qualitatively and quantitatively by laying out the factors that make your industry an attractive place to start and grow a business. Be sure to include detailed statistics that define the industry ...

  6. How to Write and Conduct a Market Analysis

    A market is the total sum of prospective buyers, individuals, or organizations that are willing and able to purchase a business's potential offering. A market analysis is a detailed assessment of the market you intend to enter. It provides insight into the size and value of the market, potential customer segments, and their buying patterns.

  7. Business Plan Market Analysis

    The business plan market analysis section has two main benefits. Firstly, it Allows you to Identify key opportunities in the market. By studying the market, a business can identify gaps, trends, or customer needs that aren't currently being met and then plan to cater to them effectively. Secondly, it also allows you to recognise potential ...

  8. How to Write a Market Analysis: Guidelines & Templates

    8. Market Share. Build your market analysis and share relevant information about market segments, market share, size and opportunities using this beautiful template. The template will help inform your business plan and strategy and communicate the size of the opportunity to potential investors.

  9. How to Write a Market Analysis: a Comprehensive Guide

    A market analysis is essential for any business, be it a tech startup or a traditional brick-and-mortar establishment. It provides invaluable insights into the competitive landscape, consumer behavior, and market trends.. This guide will illustrate the process through the lens of both a digital product (a Fitness app) and a physical service business (a hair salon).

  10. How to Write a Market Analysis for a Business Plan?

    Well, here are a few tips to help you write the market analysis for a business plan. 1. Stay in context. Remember the objective of your market analysis and stick to it. Keeping the context in mind, identify what essential information to present and back them up with high-end sources.

  11. How to Do a Market Analysis for a Business Plan

    7 steps to prepare a market analysis for a business plan. There are a few key steps on how to conduct a market analysis for a business plan. These business analysis techniques will help entrepreneurs get a clear picture of not just the market, but the future health of their company. 1. Identify the primary objectives of the business.

  12. Target Market Examples

    Example of a target market analysis. As you can see, the target market analysis follows the basic market segmentation process of splitting out potential customers into their demographic, geographic, psychographic and behavioral traits. Next, let's take a look at each in more detail. Afterward, we'll look at how you can harness your target ...

  13. How to do a market analysis for a business plan

    Renewal rate = 1 / useful life of a desk. The volume of transactions = size of desks park x renewal rate. Value of 1 transaction = average price of a desk. Market value = volume of transactions x value of 1 transaction. You should be able to find most of the information for free in this example.

  14. How to Write Market Analysis for a Business Plan

    Your market analysis for a business plan lets you see your position in the market. It helps you identify the market trends, product demand, buying trends, seasonality, competition, etc. A good market analysis will prepare you for a successful launch and steady growth. The time you invest in exploring your target market is well-spent.

  15. How to Write a Business Plan: Target Market Analysis

    Sections of your market analysis should include: Industry Description and Outlook. Target Market. Market Research Results. Competitive Analysis. Remember to properly cite your sources of information within the body of your market analysis as you write it. You and other readers of your business plan, such as potential investors, will need to ...

  16. How to Conduct a Market Analysis in 4 Steps

    Now, let's go into each step in more detail so you know exactly what you need for your market analysis. 1. Industry overview. In this step, you'll describe your industry and discuss the direction that it's headed. You'll want to include key industry metrics such as size, trends, and projected growth.

  17. Market Analysis: What It Is and How to Conduct One

    4. Define your target market. Know your customers' unique characteristics and tailor your offers and marketing accordingly. 5. Identify barriers to entry. Know what stands in your way and address challenges head-on. 6. Create a sales forecast. Estimate future sales and make confident business decisions.

  18. How to Write a Business Plan in 9 Steps (+ Template and Examples)

    1. Create Your Executive Summary. The executive summary is a snapshot of your business or a high-level overview of your business purposes and plans. Although the executive summary is the first section in your business plan, most people write it last. The length of the executive summary is not more than two pages.

  19. How to Define Your Target Market in 5 Steps

    5. Define your target market early and revise as needed. Do it well as soon as you can, and keep reviewing and refreshing as you go along. You shouldn't think of your target market as set in stone. As you learn more about your customers, how you define your target market will probably change.

  20. How to Write a Great Business Plan: Market Opportunities

    Apr 7, 2015. Shutterstock. This article is part of a series on how to write a great business plan. Market research is critical to business success. A good business plan analyzes and evaluates ...

  21. Business Plan: What It Is + How to Write One

    A business plan is a written document that defines your business goals and the tactics to achieve those goals. A business plan typically explores the competitive landscape of an industry, analyzes a market and different customer segments within it, describes the products and services, lists business strategies for success, and outlines ...

  22. What is a Market Share? Definition

    Market share is a crucial element in a business plan for several reasons: Indicator of Market Position. It provides a clear indicator of where a company stands in relation to its competitors. It helps gauge the company's success in capturing a portion of the market, which is vital for assessing competitive strength. Basis for Strategic Planning

  23. What is a Marketing Plan & How to Write One [+Examples]

    Marketing Plan vs. Business Plan. A marketing plan is a strategic document that outlines marketing objectives, strategies, and tactics. A business plan is also a strategic document. But this plan covers all aspects of a company's operations, including finance, operations, and more. It can also help your business decide how to distribute ...

  24. Real-World Marketing Plan Samples & Free Templates

    Real-world marketing plans show how businesses utilize effective planning documents. These 10 examples from various industries exhibit unique strengths and weaknesses. With insightful commentary from marketing experts, these plans offer practical takeaways any marketer can use. Delmarva and the Ground for Change.

  25. How to Write a Successful Business Plan

    1. A business plan provides clarity. One of the easiest ways to gain clarity on your goals and brand message is to practice how you communicate them. Clearly describe what problem or need your business addresses and why it's necessary for your target market. This strengthens your case when marketing and selling to your target audience.

  26. Take the First Step in Learning How to Write a Business Plan, Even with

    Here are key elements your business plan should focus on: Fundamental Tax Responsibilities: Clearly outline what taxes the business is liable for, such as income, payroll, and sales taxes. This information should be specific to your business's location and structure. Maximizing Deductions: Include information on how to identify and claim ...

  27. How to write a business plan.

    If you're writing a business plan for an existing business, include financial statements for the past five years. Explain all the numbers and where they're coming from. It all has to make sense—and the One Big Thing in your Description section should support your projections. 7. Technology.

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