Writing a Business Plan Part 5 – Competition

What kind of competition do you have for your donut business? How does your business and your product measure up to theirs? Evaluate what your competition does so you can copy what works for them and discard what does not. In other words, learn from those who are trying to get your customers. How do competitors define the product (donuts) in your area? How much market share does each have?

In the competitive analysis of your business plan you will want to look at donut businesses similar to yours including national chains that also operate storefront businesses. If you operate a trailer and move between fairs and festivals your competition is not necessarily other donut businesses (although those count too) but those next to you selling other vending items. Granted, it will be difficult to research these other businesses on wheels before hand. When you get to a fair and set up observe everything the other vendors do that attracts customers and everything they do that has no effect.

Also consider how likely other competitors may enter the market at a later date. Investors will want you to research how saturated the market is and what the barriers are to people who want to make donuts like you do. Do not let your emotion get in the way of your analysis. It is easy to assume that your product will be superior to everybody else’s, but there is much more to consider. Taste, size, price, and service are all important things to look at but are only part of the picture. Try to learn the internal business practices behind the scenes to gage the strength of your competition. Are they creative, motivated, and financially secure? Do they have high employee turnover? These are keys to success as well.

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Is a Business Plan Necessary?

The plain truth is, business owners of any size that take the time to outline what they will offer, what they’ll need to start and what their goals are more likely to succeed.

What exactly is a business plan? It really isn’t a mystery; it is your plan for making your business a success. Not only will a good business plan help you in securing funds for starting your business, it can help you think about every aspect of your business, from who you plan to sell your services to, to what you’ll need before you even start selling your services.

You might even find yourself avoiding some common pitfalls of smaller businesses, such as not anticipating enough funds to keep you going for the first year of business or realizing that you may need assistance in an area you don’t have experience in, such as technical support or bookkeeping.

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Integrative Business Planning – Managing Complexity

Introduction

Business Planning is normally done when a business plan is needed for financing purposes or to use as a guideline on running and growing a business (as a start-up or for the next time frame). Many crucial features of a business need to be addressed and balanced in this planning process. Various options, problems and risks relating to these features will be considered.

Entrepreneurs often assume that one variable has a linear relationship with another (e.g. $x spending on marketing will create $y income in sales). Business is, however, seldom that simple. Many multi-directional relationships tend to occur between the various features. Sales would for instance also be influenced by product quality, price, etc. Sales on the other hand will influence future expansions. To cater for this phenomenon an integrative business planning process is required.

Crucial Issues in Business Planning

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