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______ Outside market research

______ Secondary research

______ Trade association data

______ Focus groups

______ Suppliers/Distributors

______ Trade literature

______ Published market data

______ Inquiries by prospects

______ Pre-sales

______ Orders

What do customers expect regarding customer service?

Is demand for the product/service changing? Explain.

How did you determine your price, by cost-plus-margin or market price?

How do your competitors price?

Will your price give the competitors some advantage? Explain.

Will the market pay your price? How do you know?

VII. Description of Industry and Trends
In this section you will describe both the industry of which your business is
a part and significant current or emerging trends.
The trends you need to examine could be economic, regulatory, socio-
logical, and technological trends that have, or may have, implications for
your business™s growth and/or survival. Any trend with a probability of oc-
curring and having a positive or negative impact on any aspect of the busi-
ness is to be considered and described in this section.
The forces considered at this stage in the writing of the plan are those
that are out of your control but can significantly have an impact on your
business. (This section may be difficult for some people because the task con-
cerns thinking through hypothetical scenarios and developing possible alter-
native responses to events that have not occurred and for which there may
be no precedent. However, this is the time to consider these possibilities”not
later, when an opportunity has been missed or when you find yourself in an
adverse situation.)

What is the size of the industry? What are its growth trends? What is the ma-
turity of the industry?

What is the competitive nature of the industry? Are there barriers to entry
and growth?

What effect might emerging trends have? Do they represent opportunities or
threats (e.g., vulnerability to economic factors)? What effect will seasonal
factors have?

Describe the overall financial position and performance of your industry.

What are the economic trends that could have an impact on demand for your
product and to which you need to adapt”for example, continued recession,
worsening recession, more rapid recovery from recession than originally an-
ticipated? Inflation? Labor costs?

What are the sociological changes to which you need to adapt (e.g., changing
demographics of the population)?

Are there any trends in the customer market that could have an impact on
sales projections, or in the labor market that could impact cost projections?

What are the new and emerging technological developments in your industry
with implications for your growth or survival?
How to Write and Present an Investor-Oriented Business Plan

Are there any regulatory trends with implications for your business? What
about new or impending legislation?

List your key assumptions about the economic, regulatory, sociological, and
technological trends that may have an impact on the environment within
which you operate or plan to operate or expand. Also consider supply and
distribution factors and any other relevant financial considerations.

VIII. Marketing Strategy
In this section you explain your marketing strategy. The first step in devel-
oping your strategy statement is to give thought to the driving force behind
your long-term marketing goals.

Driving Force: The Principal Behind Strategy
What is the driving force behind your business or dream? Are you driven by
the products or services you offer? Do you have strong relationships with
specific markets served?

Is your primary focus return or profit? Other?

Describe in detail the driving force behind your business.

Defining Your Strategy
To begin the process of defining your strategy, answer the following questions:

What is the thrust or focus for future business development? What will be
the scope of products/services that you will offer?

What is the future emphasis or priority and mix of products/services that fall
within that scope?

What are the key capabilities required to make this vision happen (func-
tional, human, and physical resources)?

What does the vision imply for growth and return expectations?

Strengths and Limitations Assessment
What has made you successful?

What has held you back?

What are your company™s strengths? What are you best at? What is your
unique advantage? What value do you add?

What are your company™s weaknesses?

What are some key assumptions about the competition?

Strategic Issues Analysis
Based on your answers to all of the above questions, list the issues that you
have identified that might affect your business™s growth.

Now list your offensive strategy for leveraging your strengths into opportu-

Now list issues you identified that will affect your business™s survival.

Where are you vulnerable?

Based on these survival issues, list defensive strategies to protect yourself
from threats that result from your business™s weaknesses.

Now build a strategy statement that incorporates the best mix of strategies
appropriate to your situation.

IX. Marketing Plan
To whom are you going to sell and how are you going to get them to buy?
This section answers these important questions and displays to your audi-
ence that you know how to reach your customers. Show the reader your
road map for successfully achieving sales projections. Your objective in this
section is to be comprehensive, specific, and realistic.

The comprehensive Marketing Plan section will thoroughly explain the
scope of your marketing activities quarter by quarter for the period encom-
passed by your business plan, including market research, positioning, pric-
ing, collateral materials, marketing support systems, communications and
distribution channels, merchandising, and sales.

The positioning paragraphs must cover your market research and competi-
tive analysis and include answers to the following questions:
How to Write and Present an Investor-Oriented Business Plan

What are the weaknesses of your competitors?

How profitable are they?

Differentiate your company from competitors among the following factors:
market share, price, profits, quality, R&D, reputation, and sales and service.

How will you win customers away from competitors while building your
own base clientele?

Given these data, how can you differentiate your appeal to potential cus-
tomers and position product/service in your marketing communications?

Presentation on pricing considerations needs to include answers to the fol-
lowing questions:

What is your mark-up goal?

What is your cost per unit?

What is your selling price?

What is your pricing rationale and how does it compare with your competi-

Paragraphs about how you will communicate with your target markets need
to answer these questions:

How will you reach prospects to communicate that you exist and have some-
thing to sell?

Describe your web site and how it fits into your marketing plan. What is the
main purpose of your web site? Is the web site logically organized and easy
to follow? Does it have an attractive “look and feel”? Do all the pages pres-
ent a professional uniform appearance? Does your site provide comprehen-
sive information about your product or service? Are visitors able to
download information about your products or services? Does your site pro-
vide customer communication that makes it easy for them to communicate
with your company? Is your site able to accept online orders?

Where will you advertise: Print? Display? Electronic? Direct? Other?

What types of internal merchandising and visual displays do you plan?

What about your public relations: Press releases? Seminars? Speeches? Asso-
ciations? Articles? Other?

Any promotions anticipated?

How will you implement referral development: Customers? Employees?
Friends/family? Suppliers? Others?

What methods of distribution will you use? How will you get the
product/service to the customer? What will your distribution costs be? Will
you use a direct sales force? Mail order? Are there other distribution chan-
nels you can access?

X. Sales Plan
In this section you begin to build support for the sales projections. Your plan
must satisfactorily resolve the basic sales issue of how to achieve the most
cost-effective sales.
Respond to the following questions before you prepare your sales plan:

Will you employ salespeople?

If yes, how many?

How will salespeople be selected?

Based on realistic projections of sales per salesperson, how many salespeople
will you need to achieve your sales goals?

What supervision and training will salespeople require?

What are the responsibilities of the salespeople? What commissions and in-
centives will you provide?

What type and number of sales support staff will be needed?

What will be your credit policy?

What are your sales forecasts? What have been the historical sales trends in
your company or industry in the past three years?
How to Write and Present an Investor-Oriented Business Plan

How would funding affect sales forecasts?

What do you project to be the cost of sales?

What is the basis for your cost of sales projection?

What percentage of sales is cost of sales?

What do you estimate the total sales expenses to be per month? Per quarter?
Per year?

How much does the business need to sell to break even?


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