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How to Write a Market Analysis for a Business Plan

Dan Marticio

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

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


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:


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


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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Home > Business Plan > Target Market in a Business Plan

Market Size in a Business Plan

Target Market in a Business Plan

… we are targeting this part of the market …

What is the Target Market?

Target Market in a Business Plan

Target Market Segments

Your product will not be of equal interest to all potential customers, as they do not all have the same needs and characteristics. This section of the business plan deals with the analysis of the target market into different groups of customers (customer or target market segments) each having distinct characteristics and needs from the product.

The target market segmentation strategy depends on the business and the product, but generally segmentation falls into the following customer characteristics groups.

Psychographic segmentation

Psychographic segmentation splits up a sales market of a business based on such things as the social class, lifestyle choices, personality traits, tastes, attitudes, and the opinions of its customers.

Psychographic market segmentation examples include the promotion of products such as cars as these often reflect a customers lifestyle, and leisure activities. For example, a car business might identify customers who are interested in keeping the environment green and promote hybrid cars to them, or a business involved in activity holidays will seek to market to customers who show a preference for an active lifestyle.

Demographic segmentation

  • Social class
  • Size of family
  • Nationality

Geographic Segmentation

Geographic segmentation is the process of splitting up a sales market of a business based on the geographical location of the customers. It is a particularly important marketing tool when the business is a multinational, worldwide business, but is also used by businesses to split their markets into region, county, state, city, neighborhood, or postal code.

A geographic segmentation example would be seasonal clothing items such as coats and swimwear. In contrast, in a colder climate coats would be marketed and sold all year round whereas swimwear would be highly seasonal during the holiday period. In a hot climate swimwear would be the all year round product and winter coats might not be sold at all.

Behavioral segmentation

Behavioral segmentation is the process of splitting up the sales market based on brand loyalty, usage, benefits required.

Target Market Presentation in the Business Plan

The business plan target market section can be presented in a number of formats, but a listing of the major customer segments together with a pie chart will show the investor where the main potential for the product lies. In the example below, the market is split into four main segments both in terms of number of customers and percentage of the total target market.

target market 1.0

The average customer spend is also included, to reconcile the total target market back to the served available market (SAM) in monetary terms. Finally, a brief statement about the growth prospects for the market is included to show the investor the potential for growth in your chosen customer segments.

When identifying the target-market segments, it is important to be as specific as possible about the customer characteristics which make up each segment. In choosing which segments to concentrate on, take into account the size and potential for growth of each segment, and identify clearly what benefits, both emotional and financial, the product provides for the customer.

This is part of the financial projections and Contents of a Business Plan Guide , a series of posts on what each section of a simple business plan should include. The next post in this series is about the analysis of the competition for the target-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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What Is a Target Market? And How to Define Yours

Target markets help businesses craft compelling market strategies that can lead to successful market growth. Here's how to define the target market for your business.

[Featured image] A woman leads her marketing team in defining their target market by building a user persona on a whiteboard.

A target market is a specific group of people with shared characteristics that a business markets its products or services to. Companies use target markets to thoroughly understand their potential customers and craft marketing strategies that help them meet their business and marketing objectives.

Identifying a target market is an integral part of any new business undertaking, whether at a Fortune 500 company or a soon-to-be-launched small business. Knowing your target market sets you up for success.

This article will cover why target markets matter, examples of them in action, how they are defined through segmentation, and the range of marketing strategies used to reach them. You will also find next steps and suggested courses to help you on your next marketing endeavor. 

Target markets: Why they matter and examples

When you identify a target market, you can improve your overall marketing outcomes. In this section, you will learn why it matters and find examples of it in action to help you better understand how it works.

Why target markets matter

The purpose of identifying a target market is simple: to have a clear understanding of the possible customers that might purchase a product or service in order to direct marketing efforts.  

Knowing their target market helps businesses craft marketing campaigns that reach and appeal to their customer base. There are many ways to define a target market, including demographics, psychographics, firmographics, and customer behavior.

Research suggests that thoroughly preparing a market strategy, which includes identifying a target market, could lead to marketing success. For example, one study conducted by CoSchedule found that marketers who documented their strategy were 414 percent more likely to report success than those who didn’t [ 1 ]. A comprehensive understanding of a target market could help businesses meet their overall marketing objectives. 

Target market examples

Businesses define their target market to know who they are selling to and how to reach those customers through their marketing efforts. In effect, every product or service on the market today can be said to be directed toward a specific target market. 

A target market can be defined by various factors, such as shared demographic characteristics or traits. Some examples of target markets—and products that might be marketed within them—include the following:  

An action figure targeted to boys aged 9-14

A pair of vegan running shoes created from recycled materials targeted at eco-conscious athletes aged 24-45

A high-end, direct-to-door meal kit company that targets busy professionals with disposable income ages 30-45  

Target market vs. target audience 

Occasionally, people interchangeably use “target market” and “target audience.” But, despite their similarities, the terms refer to different groups of people.  

A target market is the overall group of people a business is trying to reach through its marketing efforts. Meanwhile, a target audience is a specific subset of the target market that a company attempts to reach through targeted marketing efforts.

For example, imagine a tech company has developed a smartwatch capable of taking phone calls, answering text messages, opening apps, and keeping track of the wearer’s blood pressure and step count.

Although the watch likely appeals to many people (the target market), the company might craft a specific advertising campaign emphasizing the watch’s health features to attract an older audience of health-conscious consumers. This group of older health-conscious people is an example of a target audience. 

Target market segmentation: Defining a target market

Market segmentation is the process of dividing a market into smaller groups of people, or segments , to identify areas for possible market growth. Through segmentation, marketers can identify the key characteristics that define their target market and direct marketing efforts to their unique needs, interests, and personalities. 

To help you define your target audience, the section below contains descriptions of four of the most common types of market segmentation. Though each segmentation is distinct and offers its own view of a target market, it is also common for marketers to use many of them together to paint a more complex and telling portrait of their potential customers.   

Demographic segmentation

Demographic segmentation classifies consumers based on specific attributes, such as age or income level. Demographic segmentation offers a glimpse of consumers as actual people in the real world using common data collection methods. Typically, this segmentation is best used for business-to-customer (B2C) marketing efforts. 

Typical attributes that to consider during demographic segmentation include: 

Gender identity

Sexual orientation

Income level 

Household size

Education level

Geographical location

Psychographic segmentation

Psychographic segmentation classifies consumers based on their psychological and personal traits, such as values and attitudes. Unlike demographic segmentation, which describes who consumers are, psychographic segmentation offers a glimpse into the motives behind why they buy something. Typically, this segmentation is as helpful for  B2C and business-to-business (B2B) marketing efforts.

Common psychological characteristics and traits to consider during demographic segmentation include:

Personal values 

Religious beliefs 


Political leanings

Firmographic segmentation

Firmographic segmentation classifies companies and businesses into a set of shared attributes, such as their industry and number of employees. In effect, firmographics is akin to demographics, except that it focuses on the characteristics of businesses rather than people. As a result, it is used exclusively for B2B marketing. 

Common attributes to consider for firmographic segmentation include: 

Status or Structure


Behavioral segmentation

Behavioral segmentation classifies consumers based on their behaviors surrounding products or services, such as when they decide to purchase them and how they use them. By focusing on consumer behavior, behavioral segmentation provides a look into how consumers interact with businesses, which allows marketers to improve the effectiveness of their efforts. Typically, this segmentation is as useful for  B2C as B2B marketing efforts.

Common areas of consideration for behavioral segmentation include:

Usage frequency

Brand loyalty

Benefits needed

Target market strategies

A range of strategies allows you to market your product or service to your target market. Typically, these strategies are broken down from the broadest target market to the most narrow and specific. The exact method you use will largely depend on the target market you have identified. 

Read on to learn more about four of the most major target marketing strategies. 

Mass marketing

Mass marketing is a marketing strategy that forgoes segmenting a market and instead advertises to the broadest possible number of people. Unlike other marketing efforts, mass marketing doesn’t create different campaigns for different market segments but instead runs a single campaign for the entire market.

Mass marketing is particularly attractive to companies selling products or services with broad appeal. For example, gas companies, telecommunications companies, and manufacturers of salt and sugar typically only conduct mass marketing campaigns because nearly the entire market uses their products. 

Differentiated marketing 

Differentiated marketing is a marketing strategy in which a business creates different marketing campaigns to appeal to different target audiences. By differentiating their marketing campaigns, businesses are able to more effectively articulate their value proposition to various market segments and, ideally, increase the success of their marketing strategy. 

In order to reach diverse segments, differentiated marketing requires businesses to dedicate more of their budget to the creation of different marketing campaigns. As a result, differentiated marketing is a strategy well-suited to businesses selling goods and services to a target market composed of distinct target audiences. 

Niche marketing 

Niche marketing is a marketing strategy in which a business focuses all its marketing efforts on a highly specific and unique target market. As a result, niche marketing often targets gaps in the marketplace, where the needs of specific customers are not currently being met. 

In targeting a niche, businesses can craft highly targeted advertising campaigns that appeal to their specific market. In turn, these efforts are well-suited to smaller businesses looking to enter an already crowded marketplace that nonetheless includes several, specific gaps that are currently not being serviced.


Micromarketing is a marketing strategy that specifically targets a narrow segment of a niche market. Typically, the target audience of a micromarketing campaign is defined by specific characteristics such as age, job title, geographic location, or gender. 

As a marketing effort that targets a highly specific group, micromarketing can also be more costly than other marketing strategies, such as mass marketing. In effect, micromarketing is best suited for target audiences where the rewards outweigh the potentially costly effort to reach them.

Get market ready

To help you hit a bullseye on your next business undertaking, you might consider obtaining a professional certificate in Social Media Marketing offered by Meta. The University of Illinois, meanwhile, offers a specialization in Digital Marketing that provides insight into the data collection and analysis methods used by marketing professionals. 

Whatever you decide, though, just remember that thoroughly identifying your target market can help you hit your marketing targets. 

Related articles

Marketing vs. Sales: What’s the Difference? 

What Can you Do with a Marketing Degree? 11 Job Paths

What’s a Social Media Manager? And How to Become One

What is a Marketing Degree? 

Article sources

1. CoSchedule. “ The Marketing Management + Strategy Statistics You Need to Know in 2019 , https://coschedule.com/marketing-statistics.” Accessed June 3, 2022. 

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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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 a Market Analysis?

Sometimes referred to as the industry analysis, this section of your business plan outlines the economic environment, political, social, and technological factors in your particular industry. A market analysis, which includes insights on how to write a business plan effectively, is an important part of your business plan. It answers the crucial question, “Is there a good reason for someone to invest in this business?”  

It provides an industry overview of historical performance, both globally and domestically. The industry information provided will be used to help determine if you are entering a growing or shrinking market or one that is simply not growing as fast as other industries.

This section must convince investors that not only can you run a profitable company, but that it will be easy to do so because there are plenty of customers in your target market.

Download our Ultimate Business Plan Template here

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.

    Finish Your Business Plan Today!

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.  

How to Finish Your Business Plan in 1 Day!

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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  

Other Helpful Business Planning Articles & Templates

Download a Free Business Plan Template

Document your market analysis

  • Industry analysis
  • Define your target market
  • Customer persona
  • Determine your market size
  • Target market examples
  • Customer analysis

How to Write a Customer Analysis

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Elon Glucklich

9 min. read

Updated October 27, 2023

You’ve been hard at work conducting market research into your potential customers— developing a deep understanding of industry dynamics and the potential size of your market .

Hopefully, you’ve also spent time interviewing potential customers—learning about their behaviors and needs, and digging into publicly available data to support your research. 

But you still need to document these findings in a way that gives you an actionable road map to grow your customer base.

This is where a well-written customer analysis can be extremely useful. 

Including a customer analysis in your business plan will boost your marketing efforts by identifying your target customers , their needs, and how your product or service addresses these needs.

On this page

Customer analysis vs market analysis

What should a customer analysis include.

  • How to write a customer analysis

1. Use existing data

2. review customer feedback, 3. use third-party data, 4. create a customer persona, 5. connect to your problem/solution statement.

  • Free business plan template

A market analysis is a broader exploration of the market and potential customers.  A customer analysis zooms in on the specific behavioral or demographic characteristics of individual customer segments in your target market.

The market analysis includes details like the number of customers you hope to serve and the types of competitors you must contend with. 

By contrast, the customer analysis looks at the specific attributes of your potential customers – their personal habits, values, beliefs, and other characteristics that might affect their purchasing decisions.


Some of the earliest information you’ve collected probably about your customers includes:

  • Gender/ethnicity
  • Income level
  • Geographic area
  • Education level

Example: Suppose you own a business that creates an environmentally friendly cleaning product . Your customer demographics might include: 

  • Age range: 30-60 (old enough to have used a variety of cleaning products in their homes)
  • Income: Above average (more likely to buy a higher-priced alternative to discount cleaning products)
  • Education level: college degree or equivalent (high enough education level to understand the product’s societal benefits).
  • Employment: full-time employee

Values and beliefs

This section captures the psychological and emotional factors that influence customer behavior. 

  • Cultural backgrounds
  • Ethical values

Let’s return to the environmentally friendly cleaning product example. You are more likely to attract customers who prioritize sustainability and are willing to pay more for products that match their values.

Buying behaviors

Analyzing buying behaviors involves understanding how, when, and why customers purchase. These behaviors impact:

  • The channels customers prefer for shopping
  • Price sensitivity
  • Factors that trigger a buying decision

Example: Suppose you’re running an environmentally friendly cleaning products business. In that case, you might discover that most of your customers buy their cleaning products from a magazine for homeowners or that they typically buy multiple cleaning products simultaneously. 

Technology use

Nearly three-quarters of small businesses have a website . Even if your business doesn’t have one, your customers are, without a doubt, browsing the internet. 

So it’s critical to understand how your target customers interact with technology and to set up an online presence for your business if you aren’t already active. 

Key questions about customers’ technology habits include:

  • Are they active on social media? If so, which platforms? 
  • Do they prefer online shopping or in-store visits? 
  • Are they more likely to respond to email marketing, blog content, or social media campaigns?

Example: Let’s say you discover that significantly more of your target customers visit websites like yours on a smartphone than a desktop. In that case, it would be important to optimize your website for mobile viewing or develop a user-friendly app . 

5 steps to write a customer analysis for your business plan

Now that we understand the individual pieces of a customer analysis, we’ll examine how to write a customer analysis for your business plan .

Regardless of your country, there are likely numerous sources of data published by government agencies, private industry, or educational institutions that could be relevant to your business.

Finding existing data is the best starting point for your customer analysis. It’s easy to find, it’s regularly updated, and it’s immensely valuable for providing context for your research. 

For instance, if you determine that your target demographic is people between 30 and 60, Census data can help you determine the number of residents in your selling area within that age range.

We’ll look at some examples of publicly available data for businesses operating in the United States.

U.S. Census Bureau

The Census Bureau publishes official population counts for the country, states, and local communities. Demographic characteristics like age, gender, and race sort the data. Census data also includes useful data for businesses, such as the total number of businesses, employment counts, and average incomes in local communities across the country.

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks changes in the U.S. workforce and the overall state of the labor market. The BLS publishes the Consumer Price Index , tracks consumer spending, and gauges overall consumer confidence. 

Examining this data can give you insights into the willingness of consumers to pay for your product or service.

Bureau of Economic Analysis

The Bureau of Economic Analysis takes a broader look at the performance of the U.S. Economy. You can use BEA data to find personal income and corporate profit data by industry. 

If you make a product or service used by other businesses, these figures can help you understand the financial health of the broad customer base you’re targeting.

Federal Reserve

The Federal Reserve publishes various financial reports, such as consumer credit and spending statistics , as well as the health of banks. 

This data can give you important context about the financial health of your customers, which could help you determine pricing strategies—like whether you should offer flexible payment plans.

Industry associations

There are thousands of private sector industry associations in the United States alone. These organizations not only advocate for the businesses in their field. They provide members with a wealth of helpful information, such as “state of the industry” reports and business surveys. 

You should leverage customer data from these peer organizations as a business owner.

Academic institutions

Many university business schools make their research publicly available online. Scholars make a career out of researching market and industry trends, and much of their work is available through online searches. 

One of the most direct ways to show an understanding of your customers in your analysis is by reviewing their feedback.

If you’re a new business without direct customer feedback yet, that’s OK. Instead, look around at what people are saying about your competitors . You might find common complaints from customers in your industry about the products available. 

You can then reach out and interview potential customers to better understand their needs.

If you have an existing business, there may already be reviews of your company on Google or social media sites like LinkedIn. Doing so can help you determine if customers are struggling to use your product or have suggestions for improvements. 

Read as many reviews as possible, and use them to show an understanding of your customers’ needs in your analysis.

So far, we’ve discussed free, publicly available sources to find information about your customers. 

But for those willing to dig deeper, third-party data providers can help you uncover information that’s truly unique to your business and your customers.

Google Analytics

Third-party data providers like Google track the activity of users across numerous websites. Google has its own tool, Google Analytics , which makes that information available on your company’s website.

This data is a gold mine for understanding your customers. Besides giving you a demographic and geographic breakdown of your visitors, it can tell if they view your site on a desktop or smartphone, what pages they’re clicking, navigating around your site, and much more.

For new business owners, Google Trends is a powerful tool to discover what people are searching for online. 

For the environmentally friendly cleaning products business we’ve used as an example—you could see how many people are searching on Google for information about products like floor cleaners or dishwasher detergents.

Social media metrics

If your business uses social media, there are plenty of tools to help you understand your audience on these platforms. 

Many social media companies make their data available to businesses at a cost. For instance, the Facebook Audience Insights platform gives you information about the types of people who visit your page or interact with your posts.

There are also third-party tools like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and Buffer, which track various metrics across social media platforms.

Wherever you find the data, including social media metrics in your customer analysis provides instant feedback about how customers interact with your business.

Specialty tools

Software companies have created numerous tools that collect and analyze customer data from various online sources. 

Audience research tools like SparkToro and FullStory analyze large amounts of data online and spot trends—such as the topics people discuss online and which websites or social media accounts those audiences visit. 

These are insights that would be incredibly time-consuming to get directly from customers. However, understanding where potential customers spend time online and what they talk about can easily turn your analysis into a targeted marketing campaign that addresses their needs.

After gathering and analyzing all this data, you should have plenty of information about your customers. The next step is to create a customer persona . In case you need a refresher, the customer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on your collected data.

For example, a customer persona for that environmentally friendly cleaning products business will reflect that audience’s demographics, behaviors, and needs. 

Example of a written customer persona. Name of the persona is "Nature's Cleaners". It includes demographics, values and beliefs, buying behaviors, and technology use.

In addition to being an effective tool to focus your marketing efforts, creating this persona can help determine the size of your customer base and how to prioritize your time and resources to attract them to your business. It’s also helpful to show potential investors you know your target audience.

Many business plans include a problem and solution statement as early as the introduction. It’s a reasonable way to start, considering that successful businesses identify a problem and provide a solution. 

So as you put your customer analysis together, ensure the research is grounded in the problems they’re experiencing. Doing so will keep you accountable by making you validate your product or service as the solution they need.

Get started with your business plan template

A customer analysis is a key part of any business plan. But it’s just one piece. At Bplans, we take some of the pain out of business planning. 

We’ve developed a free business planning template to help reduce entrepreneurs’ time to create a full, lender-ready business plan.

Bplans has also collected over 550 free sample business plans across numerous industries. Find one that fits your industry to get inspiration and guidance when writing your plan.

Content Author: Elon Glucklich

Elon is a marketing specialist at Palo Alto Software, working with consultants, accountants, business instructors and others who use LivePlan at scale. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and an MBA from the University of Oregon.

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The Marketing Plan Section of the Business Plan

Writing The Business Plan: Section 5

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 business plan target market

  • Products, Services, and Your USP

Pricing and Positioning Strategy

Sales and distribution plan, advertising and promotion plan.

The marketing plan section of the business plan explains how you're going to get your customers to buy your products or services. The marketing plan, then, will include sections detailing your:

  • Products and services and your unique selling proposition (USP)
  • Pricing strategy
  • Sales and distribution plan
  • Advertising and promotions plan

The easiest way to develop your marketing plan is to work through each of these sections, referring to the market research you completed when you were writing the previous sections of the business plan . (Note that if you are developing a marketing plan on its own, rather than as part of a business plan, you will also need to include a target market and a competitors' analysis section.)

Let's look at each of these four sections in detail.

Products, Services, and Your Unique Selling Proposition

Focus on the uniqueness of your product or service and how the customer will benefit from what you're offering. Use these questions to write a paragraph summarizing these aspects for your marketing plan:

  • What are the features of your product or service?
  • Describe the physical attributes of your product or service and any other relevant features such as what it does or how it differs from competitors' offerings.
  • How will your product or service benefit the customer?
  • Remember that benefits can be intangible as well as tangible; for instance, if you're selling a cleaning product, your customers will benefit by having a cleaner house, but they may also benefit by enjoying better health. Brainstorm as many benefits as possible to begin with, then choose to emphasize the benefits that your targeted customers will most appreciate in your marketing plan.
  • What is it that sets your product or service apart from all the rest? In other words, what is your USP, the message you want your customers to receive about your product or service? This will be at the heart of your marketing plan.

Examples of Unique Selling Propositions

Unique selling propositions should be short (no more than a sentence) and concise. Here are a few great examples:

  • Domino's Pizza : "We deliver hot, fresh pizza in 30 minutes or less, or it's free."
  • FedEx Corporation : "When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight."
  • M&Ms : "The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand ."
  • Dollar Shave Club: “Everything you need in the bathroom—from razor blades to grooming products—automatically delivered to your door. It doesn’t get any simpler than that.”

The pricing strategy portion of the marketing plan involves determining how you will price your product or service. The price you charge has to be competitive but still allow you to make a reasonable profit.

Being reasonable is key—you can charge any price you want to, but for every product or service there's a limit to how much the consumer is willing to pay. Your pricing strategy needs to take this consumer threshold into account.

The most common question small business people have about the pricing strategy section of the marketing plan is, "How do you know what price to charge?" Basically, you set your pricing through a process of calculating your costs, estimating the benefits to consumers, and comparing your products, services, and prices to others that are similar.

Set your pricing by examining how much it cost you to produce the product or service and adding a fair price for the benefits that the customer will enjoy. You may find it useful to conduct a  breakeven analysis to determine your minimum threshold. Competitor pricing will also help guide you toward the fair market value and help you determine how high you can reasonably go.  

The pricing strategy you outline in your marketing plan will answer the following questions:

  • What is the cost of your product or service? Make sure you include all your fixed and variable costs when you're calculating this. The costs of labor and materials are obvious, but you may also need to include freight costs, administrative costs, and selling costs, for example.
  • How does the pricing of your product or service compare to the market price of similar products or services?
  • Explain how the pricing of your product or service is competitive. For instance, if the price you plan to charge is lower, why are you able to do this? If it's higher, why would your customers be willing to pay more? This is where the strategy aspect comes into play; will your business be more competitive if you charge more, less, or the same as your competitors, and why?
  • What kind of return on investment (ROI) are you expecting with this pricing strategy, and within what time frame?

Remember, the primary goal of the marketing plan is to get people to buy your products or services. Here's where you detail how this is going to happen.

There are usually three parts to the sales and distribution section, although all three parts may not apply to your business.

Distribution Methods

  • How is your product or service going to get to the customer? Will you distribute your product or service through a website, through the mail, through sales representatives, home delivery, or through retail?
  • What distribution channel is going to be used? In a direct distribution channel, the product or service goes directly from the manufacturer to the consumer. In a one-stage distribution channel, it goes from manufacturer to retailer to consumer. The traditional distribution channel is from manufacturer to wholesaler to retailer to consumer. Outline all the different companies, people and technologies that will be involved in the process of getting your product or service to your customer.
  • What are the costs associated with distribution?
  • What are the delivery terms?
  • How will the distribution methods affect production time frames or delivery? How long will it take to get your product or service to your customer?

If your business involves selling a product, you should also include information about inventory levels and packaging in this part of your marketing plan. For instance:

  • How are your products to be packaged for shipping and for display?
  • Does the packaging meet all regulatory requirements (such as labeling)?
  • Is the packaging appropriately coded, priced, and complementary to the product?
  • What minimum inventory levels must be maintained to ensure that there is no loss of sales due to problems such as late shipments and backorders?

Transaction Process

  • What system will be used for processing orders, shipping, and billing?
  • What methods of payment will customers be able to use?
  • What credit terms will customers be offered? If you will offer discounts for early payment or impose penalties for late payment, they should be mentioned in this part of your marketing plan.
  • What is your return policy?
  • What warranties will the customer be offered? Describe these or any other service guarantees.
  • What after-sale support will you offer customers and what will you charge (if anything) for this support?
  • Is there a system for customer feedback so customer satisfaction (or the lack of it) can be tracked and addressed?

Sales Strategy

  • What types of salespeople will be involved (commissioned salespeople, product demonstrators, telephone solicitors, etc.)?
  • Describe your expectations of these salespeople and how sales effectiveness will be measured.
  • Will a sales training program be offered? If so, describe it in this section of the marketing plan.
  • Describe the incentives salespeople will be offered to encourage their achievements (such as getting new accounts, the most orders, etc.).

Essentially the advertising and promotion section of the marketing plan describes how you're going to deliver your USP to your prospective customers. While there are literally thousands of different promotion avenues available to you, what distinguishes a successful plan from an unsuccessful one is the focus—and that's what your USP provides.

So think first of the message that you want to send to your target audience. Then look at these promotion possibilities and decide which to emphasize in your marketing plan:


The best approach to advertising is to think of it in terms of media—specifically, which media will be most effective in reaching your target market. Then you can make decisions about how much of your annual advertising budget you're going to spend on each medium.

What percentage of your annual advertising budget will you invest in applicable methods of advertising, such as:

  • The internet (including business website, email, social media campaigns, etc.)
  • Direct mail
  • Door-to-door flyer delivery
  • Cooperative advertising with wholesalers, retailers, or other businesses
  • Directories
  • Bench/bus/subway ads

Include not only the cost of the advertising but your projections about how much business the advertising will bring in. 

Sales Promotion

If it's appropriate to your business, you may want to incorporate sales promotional activities into your advertising and promotion plan, such as:

  • Offering free samples
  • Point of purchase displays
  • Product demonstrations

Marketing Materials

Every business will include some of these in its promotion plans. The most common marketing material is the business card, but brochures, pamphlets, and service sheets are also popular.

This is another avenue of promotion that every business should use. Describe how you plan to generate publicity. While press releases spring to mind, that's only one way to get people spreading the word about your business. Consider:

  • Product launches
  • Social media
  • Special events, including community involvement
  • Writing articles
  • Getting and using testimonials

Your Business's Website

If your business has or will have a website and a business Facebook page, describe how these fit into your advertising and promotion plan.

Trade Shows

Trade shows can be incredibly effective promotion and sales opportunities if you pick the right ones and go equipped to put your promotion plan into action.

Other Promotion Activities

Your promotion activities are limited only by your imagination. But whether you plan to teach a course, sponsor a community event, or conduct an email campaign, you'll want to include it in your advertising and promotion plan. Sporadic, disconnected attempts to promote your product or service are bound to fail. Your goal is to plan and carry out a sequence of focused promotion activities that will communicate the message you want to send about your products or services.

No business is too small to have a marketing plan. After all, no business is too small for customers or clients. And if you have these, you need to communicate with them about what you have to offer.

Harvard Business Review. " How to Find Out What Customers Will Pay ." Accessed Jan. 16, 2020.

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How to Write a Target Market Analysis

Last Updated: June 23, 2023 References

This article was co-authored by Archana Ramamoorthy, MS . Archana Ramamoorthy is the Chief Technology Officer, North America at Workday She is a product ninja, security advocate, and on a quest to enable more inclusion in the tech industry. Archana received her BS from SRM University and MS from Duke University and has been working in product management for over 8 years. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 350,007 times.

Writing a strong target market analysis can help you use your marketing funds more effectively. By analyzing your audience, you identify the most important characteristics about them and use that information to promote your product or service directly to them. A strong target market analysis should help you or your company connect with the individuals who are most likely to use your product. It may also increase your sales and product or service visibility.

Compiling Data for a Target Market Analysis

Step 1 Identify your target market.

  • Identifying your target market will help you later decide how to advertise and maximize the value of your marketing resources.

Archana Ramamoorthy, MS

  • U.S. Census Bureau, www.census.gov
  • www.business.gov, contains links to state and national data about businesses
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov
  • U.S. Department of Commerce, www.commerce.gov

Step 3 Study your target market demographically.

  • Demographic information can often be found online as a compilation of different reports from the federal government. Check the Census Bureau and Commerce Department websites. You can find a useful resource from the U.S. Census Bureau at https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/00 .
  • If you are marketing to other businesses, demographic information includes where the business is located, how many branches they have, their annual revenue, number of employees, industry, and how long the business has been running. You can usually gather this data from annual reports, which are public record. Contact the secretary of state's office in your state and ask for corporations data.

Step 4 Describe your target market psychographically.

  • Psychographic information is often found through surveys or focus groups. Though you can set these up yourself, it would be beneficial to hire a marketing research firm to help you structure the surveys, word questions carefully, and engage with focus groups in an effective way. [6] X Research source
  • For businesses, psychographic information can include the company's values or motto, how they wish to be seen by their own customers, and how formal or informal their work environment is. You can gather some of this information from your own observations if you visit their stores, or by reviewing their websites. You can also review the company's annual reports from the secretary of state's office.

Step 5 Understand your target market behavioristically.

  • Determine how important brand or company loyalty is to your target market.
  • Find out if your audience most heavily values convenience, a good price, or quality.
  • Discover how your target market usually pays for your product or service via market surveys.
  • Ask if your customers prefer face-to-face interaction or an online store.
  • For this sort of data, you may conduct your own research or hire a marketing research firm for assistance. [8] X Research source

Formatting Your Target Market Report

Step 1 Begin with a clear title page.

  • For example, a strong title might be something like, “Target Market Analysis for Consumers of Apple Communication Products.”

Step 2 Include a brief introduction.

  • For example, you may begin with, “This target market analysis report is being prepared to consider whether Acme Company should revise its marketing efforts and focus on a younger target audience.”

Step 3 Write your analysis in several short paragraphs.

  • Introduction, identifying your general industry and defining your target market.
  • Description of your target market, including its size and description of the general characteristics.
  • Summary of your market research that went into drafting this analysis.
  • Analysis of trends in the market and any anticipated shifts in your target's buying habits.
  • Risks and competition that you anticipate.
  • Projections and predictions for future growth or shifts in the market.

Step 4 Provide source information in the body of your analysis.

Reviewing and Using your Analysis

Step 1 Make projections, not just summaries.

  • How many customers will come back?
  • How with the aging of your target market affect their interest in your service or product?
  • How would economic changes in the community affect your target market?
  • How would your target market be affected by governmental changes, new regulations, or so on?

Step 2 Prepare your analysis report to share with others.

  • If you are providing the market analysis for someone in higher administration in your company, you probably will be expected to provide recommendations. Based on your analysis, what steps would you recommend that the company take going forward? Should they increase or cut back on advertising in any particular area? Should new target markets be expanded? Bear in mind that your analysis could be an important step in the future of your company.

Step 3 Follow through on your conclusions.

Community Q&A

Community Answer

Video . By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube.

  • Offer your customers a coupon or special offer if they agree to fill out a survey for you. This allows you to collect information while encouraging customers to come back. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

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Create a Marketing Plan

  • ↑ https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-write-a-business-plan-section-3-2947029
  • ↑ Archana Ramamoorthy, MS. Chief Technology Officer, Workday. Expert Interview. 26 February 2019.
  • ↑ http://articles.bplans.com/how-to-write-a-market-analysis/
  • ↑ http://www.inc.com/guides/2010/06/defining-your-target-market.html
  • ↑ http://hightperformance.com/psychographics-drive-join-and-renewal-rates/
  • ↑ http://www.marketing-schools.org/types-of-marketing/behavioral-marketing.html
  • ↑ https://www.sba.gov/offices/district/az/phoenix/resources/sba-recommended-business-plans-length
  • ↑ https://www.thebalance.com/retail-pricing-strategies-2890279

About This Article

Archana Ramamoorthy, MS

To write a target market analysis, begin with a clear title page that contains an informative title. After your title page, include a brief introduction that explains your objective. For example, you might explain that based on your research, marketing efforts should be revised. Then, use short paragraphs to write a description of your target market, a summary of the research you did, an analysis of market trends, and risks and competition that you anticipate. You can conclude with projections of growth or shifts in the market. To learn how to compile data for your target market analysis, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How to Pitch Your Business Plan in Just 10 Minutes In the new book "Write Your Own Business Plan" business expert Eric Butow explains all of the points you need to hit in order to be both succinct and thorough during a pitch.

By Entrepreneur Staff • Oct 10, 2023

Delivering a good pitch for your business is as much about conveying emotion as conveying information. The saying "They don't care what you know until they know that you care" is good advice to follow. A pitch doesn't need to be long, and your audience will appreciate it if you keep the pitch as brief as possible. In the updated second edition of our best-selling book Write Your Business Plan , Eric Butow, CEO of online marketing ROI improvement firm Butow Communications Group, explains how you can put together a pitch in ten minutes that's broken down into one topic every minute.

how to write a business plan target market

Order Write Your Own Business Plan Now and Get 1 Month of Free Access to Business Planning Software Liveplan Premium

  • Easy step-by-step business plan generator
  • Built-in financial calculators
  • 500+ sample plans and templates

10-Minute Pitch Planner

  • Minute 1: Personal introduction. Let the audience know that you personally care about the people and the problem you are trying to solve.
  • Minute 2: State the problem . People with this problem have emotions invested. They may be struggling, irritated, angry, and/ or disenfranchised. Keep human emotions real. Break down the problem into its component parts accompanied by a diagram.
  • Minute 3: Present the solution. Show excitement and passion for your business's solution. Walk the audience not only through how the solution works but also through the great benefits of the solution.
  • Minute 4: Show your business model. Now is the time to tell the audience how you will make money. Explain how you are going to charge people for the solution you are offering.
  • Minute 5: Talk about your competition. Do not talk about how you're better than the competition. Instead, focus on how you're different. Your attitude toward the competition gives the audience a peek into your business soul. Are you dutifully respectful of their presence and power or are you arrogant enough to think your little startup will have no problem beating them? Err on the side of humility.
  • Minute 6: Talk about your market and how you'll sell to them . Get excited as you talk about how many potential customers are out there and how you're going to get them. Take the audience through the market data, your chosen point of entry, and your sales and marketing strategy.
  • Minute 7: Tell the audience about how much money you'll make . Talk about how selling to your market shows the unit economics of a single customer (price), and the size of the market shows how many potential deals are out there (quantity). Armed with this information, you can describe how revenue builds over time
  • Minute 8: Introduce your team. It's important to introduce your team in the context of the business so the audience understands why it is what it is. If you introduce the team up front, you will have to circle back to describe their roles later, which wastes time.
  • Minute 9: Prove your business has traction. You need to show results to get investors and customers to buy in. So, answer important questions such as: What has the team accomplished? Does the company have revenue? Are the customers happy?
  • Minute 10: Ask for the buy-in. You need to spend the last minute asking for people to buy into your business and your vision, no matter if that's asking investors for money or asking someone to work for you. In this last minute, paint a clear picture of what you need from the audience and what investing with you will look like.

Write Your Own Business Plan is available now at Entrepreneur Bookstore | Barnes & Noble | Amazon

Use as many charts, tables, and other graphic elements as it takes to get your point across. But don't count on lavish visuals to sway a skeptical reader. Some readers actually are put off by plans that seem to be trying to wow them through the presentation.

To dig deeper, buy Write Your Own Business Plan and get 1 month of free access to business planning software Liveplan Premium.

Entrepreneur Staff

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Marketing Plan Template [Word]

A marketing plan is a comprehensive document that outlines a company’s overall marketing efforts. It details strategy, advertising and marketing initiatives, marketing budget, key performance indicators (KPIs), and expected results.

business marketing plan template word

By clicking Download, you agree to Zippia’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use .

how to write a business plan target market

How to make a marketing plan

Start by defining your business’ marketing goals: What do you hope to achieve through your marketing efforts?

Analyze your market: who are your customers, where are they located, and what are their needs?

Analyze your competition: Identify your main competitors, analyze their strategies and understand their strengths and weaknesses.

Outline your strategies: Describe how you plan to reach your target market, what marketing channels you will use, and how you will differentiate your product or service.

Set your marketing budget: Decide how much you will spend on different campaigns and initiatives.

Monitor and adjust your plan: Set KPIs to monitor the success of your marketing efforts, adjust your strategies based on your findings, and keep improving your plan.

How to use a marketing plan template

A marketing plan template can serve as a guide, ensuring you don’t overlook any important details. To use a marketing plan template:

Select a suitable template that matches your business objectives and marketing goals.

Follow the sections in the template, filling in specific details pertinent to your business.

Use the template as a starting point, but customize it to fit your unique strategies and needs.

Consistently update and revise the marketing plan as conditions and objectives change.

Marketing plan FAQ

Why is a marketing plan important? A marketing plan is important because it helps guide a company’s marketing efforts, ensuring that marketing initiatives align with business objectives and are targeted for maximum effectiveness.

What should a good marketing plan include? A strong marketing plan should include clearly defined business and marketing goals, a thorough analysis of the target market, comprehensive strategies for reaching target customers, a detailed marketing budget, and defined KPIs to measure the success of marketing efforts.

How often should a marketing plan be reviewed? Marketing plans should be reviewed regularly, at least once per quarter, to ensure strategies are still relevant and working effectively.

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Ini Patrick Notes

How to Write the Target Market of your Business Plan

How to Write the Target Market of your Business Plan

The purpose of the target market section of your business plan is to prove that the market is large enough in your area to support the survival and growth of your business.

however, it is noticed that the success of many new ventures is often determined by how well they have prepared this section of the business plan.

The section itself should be broken down into subsections:

Industry analysis,

Market analysis, and, competitor analysis..

Begin by providing a brief description of the market you will be competing in, define your market, how large it is, and how much of the market share you expect to capture.

It is important to reference credible sources and includes the name of your source(s) of information along with a date. Indicate how you will market the products/services and which channels will be used to deliver your products/services to your target market (s) (i.e. website, direct sales force, Value Added Re-sellers, channel partners, etc…).

Be sure to answer the following questions that are usually asked by potential investors:

What are the key drivers, trends, and influences in the market?

To whom do you market your products and services, how will you educate your customers to buy from you, who is your target market, what is your total industry-wide sales volume in dollars in units, what are the trends in sales volumes within your industry, who are the major players and your key competitors what are they like, what does it take to compete what are the barriers to entry, what technological trends affect your industry, what are the main modes of marketing, how does government regulation affect the industry, in what ways are changing consumer tastes affecting your industry, identify recent demographic trends affecting the industry., how sensitive are the industry to seasons and economic cycles, what are key financial measures in your industry (average profit margins, sales commissions, etc.).

Furthermore, the focus of your target market is who are you selling to? Depending on the type of business you are starting and the type of plan you are writing, you may not need to go into too much detail here.

But, no matter what, you must be aware who your customer is and have an estimated value of how many there are. If your customers are few, it may just be a bad signal for you.

Therefore, it is pertinent to do your market research. Every business can benefit from doing market research to make sure it is where it wants to be. Use the business planning process as your opportunity to uncover data and question your marketing efforts.

Be rest assured it will benefit your business in the future and if the time is well spent. first, you will find your market segments and then decide how big each segment is. A market segment is a group of people or businesses that you planned to sell to.

Whatever the facts are, you’ll need to support them with an analysis of the state of your industry and any trends taking place.

You need to support your opinions with market research that identifies specific competitors and outlines their weaknesses and strengths and any barriers to entry into the market.

You need to describe why your industry is valuable and how it will continue to be important. Finally, and perhaps most important, you’ll have to convincingly describe what makes you better and destined to succeed.

When preparing the state of the industry section, instead of looking at your business as a self-contained system.

You’ll describe the industry in which you work and point to your position in that universe. You then zero in on your country, your state, and your local community, deepening on how far your business stretches.

The following are the subsections to consider while writing this section of your business plan.

Table of Contents

1. Industry Research

Describe your industry.  If you are in a new industry, or an industry not well-known to a reader, this will be a fairly comprehensive section.  A better-known industry requires less explanation.

Describe the state of the industry. Is it a new industry, growth industry, competitive industry, or a stable mature industry?

Document industry trends on a local, national or world scale. sales, number of customers, number of units sold, trends in related industries are all good industry indicators., describe the key customers for your specific industry., provide other national/international economic indicators that encourage the health of your industry., examine risks to the industry caused by legislation, technological change or any threat to the industry., 2. target market – customer research.

The Target Market is the groupings of consumers or businesses most likely to buy your products or services.

The erst group you plan to target is your Primary Target Market; the second is your Secondary Target Market.

It is very important that you understand your target markets − after all, these are the customers you need to keep happy!

Answer the following questions regarding your customer and your target markets.

Who is the customer? (Provide both the description and the information in this section.)

Consumer markets:  • age • gender • income • family status. be sure to include how many customers there are in each grouping., business markets: • industry type • size of customer • annual sales. estimate the number of companies using directories or yellow pages., where is the customer, consumer markets: target the geographic radius of your customer base by city, region province or country., business markets: the geography of business to business markets tends to be larger than consumer markets., when do they buy, consumer markets: is there a particularly busy season for your product or service, business markets: if you are selling to seasonal businesses, the timing can be everything. (e.g. wholesaling), what do they buy, consumer markets: • necessity • luxury item • high involvement/big ticket • low involvement/consumable, business markets:  • inventory item (e.g. item that is resold) • capital item • consumable item, why do they buy, consumer markets: how does your product or service help the consumer, business markets: how does your product enhance the performance of the customers’ business, how much do they buy, consumer markets: determine how much is spent on your product by your customers., business markets: estimate the commercial expenditure by the industries in your target area.

Note: If you are using indirect distribution, it may be necessary to describe both your customers as a target market and the end-user as a target market. It is a good idea to state your sources.  This gives the reader more confidence in the information and in the case, you are making for your business.

Competitive Analysis

Provide the results of any customer survey work you have done and the sources of information., list the direct competitors in your local market. these are firms who offer exactly what you offer.  list the current number and the number in existence for the past three-year period., list the indirect competitors in your local market. these are firms who offer substitute products., analyse any competitors who have gone out of business in the past and if possible describe why their business failed., explain how your firm will compete with these competitors to prove how you can survive in their markets., examine risks that could occur when you enter the market. for example, what if your key competitor cuts their price when you open your business, position your product. show how your products/services or company is different from your competition., now over to you.

Do you think this information was any useful or do you have any contribution to make about this topic? Kindly leave your thoughts at the comment box below.

Moreover, don’t forget to share this post with your friends using the social media. Cheers!

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How To Define A Target Markets With Examples?

Examples Of Target Markets

When stepping into a new business venture , it is essential that one has a thorough knowledge of their products or services and who will benefit most from it aka who is your audience? This identification is the first step toward locating your business’s target market.

In this day and age, the ‘one shoe fits all’ strategy, when it comes to marketing your business, will completely result in utter failure. Business owners should set perfect examples of target markets for their businesses before launch. This is because not all people will be captivated by the product or service that you are promoting. Instead, it will be more beneficial for your business to find the right group of people who would be interested in your product or services. The easy way to find your target market is to spy on your competitor . By doing so, you can utilize your resources and time at a place where you will get a profit.

Defining a target market

A target market can be defined as a group of people or audiences that you have decided to interact with to promote your business. A target market can range from a small set of people to large organizations, and usually have a shared set of traits or demographics. Different businesses have to be on the lookout for different target markets. An example of the target market is that of a cookie company. A cookie company will most likely target young children and young adults since they are more inclined toward junk food.

Examples of target markets

Many successful businesses throughout the world have one thing in common: they were all fortunate to target the right audience and make a profit from it. There are many businesses that are on the front line in setting great examples of target markets. Some of them are mentioned below:

Apple Inc. is considered to be a smartphone industry giant and has garnered almost 60% of the entire smartphone industry. The prices of Apple smartphones and gadgets can range from $500 to $1000 and above. Judging by the prices, the main target audience of Apple is millennials and teenagers. Young and wealthy individuals are tech-savvy and want to keep themselves updated with the latest technology. Besides this, the university and college students are also their target audience. MacBooks, iPad, and iPhones are designed to quickly store notes and keep them organized. Similarly, the business feature in Apple’s products has also attracted the attention of businesspeople. To sum up, the main target market for Apple is people who are under the age of 35. This group of people is more willing to pay extra for advanced features and intricate designs. Apple work with many digital consulting firms in the United States.

Nike is the most renowned sports apparel company in the world. It is considered to be the most reliable when it comes to sports accessories and shoes. It has spread its wings to different parts of the world and has expanded its target audience as well. The main market for Nike is sports fans and athletes. They are the ones who are in need of acquiring sports accessories. Other than that, the target audience of Nike also has people who occasionally exercise as well as people who want to get fit. Nike makes full use of digital media to reach out to people and increase its target audience. Recently, Nike launched its hijab campaign which was directed at Muslim women. The aim of this campaign is to include Muslim women in the sports world without hijab causing a hindrance. This campaign aided Nike in securing a diverse target market.

Starbucks is a widely popular coffee house with branches all over the world. It is widely popular among young adults and tweens. However, the target audience of Starbucks spans far more than this. The target market of Starbucks includes coffee enthusiasts as well as men and women aged between 24 and 44. These are the people who are on the lookout for a relaxing environment between their work and home where they can wire down with a cup of custom-made coffee. Besides this, coffee enthusiasts are also a fan of Starbucks since it offers a wide range of lattes and coffees made to the preference of the person ordering. Starbucks has also maintained its presence on social media sites to attract more customers to add to its target market.

Amazon is labeled as the largest American e-commerce company catering to the need of millions of people worldwide. It has a large target market which ranges from young to old. Basically, anyone, who has the privilege of internet and credit or debit card, and is interested in online shopping can be included in the target market of Amazon. The dominant target audience for Amazon is women aged between 35– 49.

Read the importance of business research

New Amazon Strategy

The addition of Zappos (an online shoe and clothing store) to Amazon was a strategic move by Amazon to include more people in its target audience circle. It provided Amazon with the insight required of what young women want from the site. Other than this, Amazon also deals with third-party sellers so that it can reach a global audience as well. Those people who look for convenience while shopping without having to leave the comfort of their homes, rely on Amazon to deliver their goods to them. Amazon also, from time to time, introduces new features and apps, to make online shopping more manageable and convenient for their customers.

In conclusion, as mentioned above examples of target markets by different businesses and companies are a great way to gain inspiration and get an idea of finding the right target audience for your business.

When you consider the SEO services for your target market Pak SEO is considered one of the eminent websites that provide a bevy of services ranging from Search Engine Optimisation to Social Media Marketing. They are adept at each and every task they undertake (as evident by their ‘Success Stories’ section) and have the track record to back their claims. Their true expertise, however, is SEO.

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Waqar Hussain

Waqar Hussain is the founder of The Business Goals. He writes about entrepreneurial strategies and is an SEO consultant by profession. He is a B.Com, GDM, and an MBA from the Australian Institute of Business.

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How To Start A Business With No Money

Published: Oct 18, 2023, 6:55pm

How To Start A Business With No Money

Table of Contents

Starting a business with no money, how to start a business with no money, bottom line, frequently asked questions (faqs).

Unlimited income potential, flexibility, personal satisfaction, creative freedom, and unlimited income potential are several of the many advantages of owning your own business. If you aspire to become a business owner but are unsure whether to dive in the process due to lack of funding, it’s time you know that it’s possible to start a business with no money.

Intrigued? Keep reading to find out how to do just that.

The reality is that all businesses require some type of investment. But if you don’t have money at the moment or have minimal financial funds at your disposal, don’t worry. You may still pursue your venture, as long as you come up with a solid game plan and plan for hurdles you might come across along the way.

If you’re exploring the idea of entrepreneurship or would like to launch a business with no money, these tips can set you up for success.

Keep Your Day Job

Once you decide to start a business, it may be appealing to immediately leave your 9 to 5 job and fully commit to your venture. Doing this, however, can be risky, especially when you no to minimal funds available.

If you maintain your job and focus on your business in the evenings, on weekends or whenever you’re not at work, you won’t have to live off your savings or credit cards. You’ll have a steady income that allows for greater flexibility.

Once your business is in full swing and you’re confident you earn enough to cover your business expenses and live comfortably, you can reduce your hours or quit.

Choose a Business Idea That Doesn’t Require Upfront Capital

The most difficult yet most important part of entrepreneurship is figuring out a business idea. If your goal is to start a business with no money, consider a service industry business. Here are several small business ideas to inspire you.

  • Freelance Writing: Being a freelance writer you can write content for a variety of publications and businesses. This might include blog posts, website content brochures and e-books.
  • Virtual Assisting: As a virtual assistant, you offer administrative services to various clients. Your clients may ask you to make phone calls to their customers or vendors, plan events, schedule appointments, manage databases or book travel.
  • Social Media Management: Social media management is when you assist businesses promote their offerings via LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and other social media platforms. You’ll also interact with their followers and fans.
  • Graphic Design: The goal of graphic design is to create eye-catching designs that can be used for various marketing collateral, such as brochures, posters, packaging and logos. You can get hired by advertising or marketing agencies or businesses directly to create graphic designs.
  • Tutoring: If you’re specialized and patient in a certain topic or subject, you may want to tutor. You can virtually tutor, at libraries, in your home or coffee shops, or in clients’ homes.
  • Bookkeeping: Bookkeeping is a tedious and time-consuming task that many business owners don’t have the time or desire to perform. As a bookkeeper, you’ll reconcile bank accounts, generate income statements and balance sheets, and clean up general ledgers.
  • Home Organizing: Home organizers help clients sort through their clutter and create clean, organized spaces. With this business, you’ll visit client homes and assess their organizational needs. Then, you’ll design a strategy to get rid of unnecessary and unwanted items, and a way to store and organize the ones they keep. You might organize their entire home or just a room or two.
  • Photography: Photography provides you the chance to express your creativity while providing your clients with photographs they’ll value and cherish for life. You can also offer a diverse menu of services or niche down and specialize in professional photos, family photos or maternity photos, for example.
  • Dropshipping: Dropshipping is when you sell things without buying inventory. A customer will pay retail price on an item from your online store. Then, you’ll send their order to your supplier and pay them the wholesale price.

Perform Market Research

Before you move forward with your business idea, you should determine whether it’s actually viable through market research. Identify your competitors and figure out your unique selling point, which is essentially what you can do better than them. Perhaps your services will be faster, more innovative or less expensive. Also, you can host focus groups and speak directly to potential clients to get a better feel for their wants, needs and buying behaviors. Additionally, don’t hesitate to use social media and online reviews of similar businesses.

Write a Business Plan

A business plan is a road map for how you’ll grow your business. With a well-written business plan, you can anticipate potential challenges and plan for them accordingly. You may also interest employees and investors as well as secure financing. As you write your business plan, emphasize on why your offerings stand out. Also, avoid industry jargon and utilize plenty of visuals to break up the text and make your plan more appealing. The key parts of a business plan include:

  • Company Overview: This is a description of the business you’re about to start. Be sure to mention your business model and legal structure, such as an S-corp or LLC.
  • Market Research: You need to summarize your market research findings. Don’t forget to mention details on how your service or products will meet the needs of your targeted audience and highlights you from your competitors.
  • Marketing Strategy: Marketing strategy refers to how you plan to promote your business to reach new customers. This may include email marketing, social media marketing or event marketing, depending on the nature of your business.
  • Financial Plan: The financial plan should primarily outline what you’ll do to earn and spend funds. Ideally, it would feature a cash flow projections, balance sheet and other financial documents and data.

Wear Many Hats

In the future, you may be able to hire help for your business. But while launching, you’ll want to be a “Jack of All Trades,” and handle various challenges and responsibilities on your own. For instance, if your venture idea is virtual assisting, it’ll be up to you to market your services, perform the work, create client contracts, send invoices and collect payments.

Keep in mind that while you may not be able to do everything perfectly, you’ll learn a lot and save a great deal of cash right off the bat. Hiring help too soon is risky, especially when you don’t have much money to start with.

Run a Trial

While you can go ahead and officially launch your business once you have a legal structure, business name and marketing strategy in place, it’s wise to have a small local launch before you go big. This way, you’ll be able to pinpoint potential challenges and make proper adjustments.

During your trial, ask your customers for their honest feedback and what you can do to improve your offerings and service. Chances are you’ll learn about some pitfalls that you didn’t know about before and reduce your risk of failure.

Your business will possibly start small. But as you achieve success, meet your targets and goals, don’t be afraid to grow. This may require you to cast your products and services to an expanded market, hire some employees to boost productivity, increase your marketing efforts or find a larger workspace. It will be in your best interest to scale slowly but surely so that you can make and adapt to small changes without impacting your limited funds.

Use Free Resources

Believe it or not, there is no shortage of free or low-cost resources to help entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners such as yourself. To find them, perform a Google search and look for workshops, mentorship programs and networking opportunities in your area.

You can also visit your local library and ask about any resources it might offer. Don’t forget to check out national options as well, such as the National Institute for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development, a premier organization of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship .  By taking advantage of free resources, you can lower your spending and launch your business in the most cost-effective way possible.

Sometimes, it’s not what you know but who you know. If you’d like to start a business with no money, network, network and network. Build connections with industry professionals, potential investors and other entrepreneurs. They can share meaningful advice, introduce you to others who can help you, promote your offerings to their customer base and even provide you with funding. You may network online or attend networking events in your local community. It’s also a good idea to look for conferences and trade shows related to your industry.

Design a Savings Plan

As an aspiring business owner, it’s up to you to build a savings account for your venture. To do so, track your expenses and identify your costs. You might want to get a business credit card with perks like cash back and travel points. Additionally, set up a monthly budget and mostly stick to it. While your unique situation will dictate how much funds you should save, a good rule of thumb is to save up to at least six months’ worth of savings for business expenses.

Look for Alternative Funding

Fortunately, there are many places you can turn to for small business funding. Here are some options.

  • Friends and Family: If you’re loved ones who support your business venture, they might help you with some capital in the form of a low- or no-interest loan or grant. Just ensure that you put the terms of the loan or grant in writing so that everyone is on the same page.
  • Venture Capitalists: Professional investors such as venture capitalists offer money in exchange for a percentage of your business profits or stock. You’ll likely need to share a business plan and financial statements to secure this type of funding.
  • Angel Investors: Angel investors are different from venture capitalists because they use their personal funds to help fund your business. In many cases, they’ll serve as mentors and provide guidance as you launch and grow.
  • Grants: While grants for small businesses are difficult to find and land, they do exist. To find them, turn to federal and state government entities as well as community development corporations.
  • Incubators and Accelerators: These programs are solely designed to mentor high-potential businesses. If you happen to be a part of one, you may be able to receive capital too.
  • Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding is when you ask prospective customers to provide you with money upfront in exchange for a unique perk or promise down the road. Fortunately, there are many online crowdfunding platforms to help you set up a campaign, such as Kickstarter, Fundly and SeedInvest.
  • Small Business Loans: Banks, online lenders and credit unions all offer business loans for small businesses and even startups. Typically, you need to have good credit to lock in favorable terms and low rates.

While money can make it easier to start a business, it’s certainly not necessary. If you don’t have a lot of cash at your disposal, you can still fulfill your dream of becoming your own boss. As long as you’re persistent, work hard and take advantage of all the resources available to you, you’re likely to succeed.

What is the best business idea that requires no money?

The ideal no-cost business idea depends on your particular interests, strengths and desires. In most cases, however, service-based ventures including virtual assisting, tutoring, dropshipping and social management are great options.

Do I need a license for my business?

You may need a license to operate legally, depending on your industry and the nature of your business. Before you open the doors to customers or clients, do your research and make sure you have all of the required business licenses in the state you’re doing business in or where your venture is based.

Can I have a business and be a full-time employee at the same time?

Absolutely! In fact, many business owners start their ventures as side hustles until they earn enough revenue and are confident they can support themselves without their full-time job.

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