Market Analysis: Know Your Competition
We transition into step three which is the market analysis. And remember, market analysis; the first decision that you need to make is which specific industry or category of products or services you want to compete in. So you have to define that right up front. Your goal in this section is to really demonstrate your knowledge that you can successfully play in this industry to be successful and have a sustainable business. In this section, what you also need to do is to include your own assessment of your business relative to the marketplace in terms of your strengths, your weaknesses, the opportunities that you see in the marketplace, and even potential threats that need to be addressed. The way you write it, it should really read like a story. So don't be afraid of really articulate all the characteristics of your brand, positive and maybe the weaknesses that you need to work through because that will bring some reality into the plan. And investors like when people are facing reality ...
and also explain how you will be building a plan to overcome those realities or maybe some of the challenges that are surrounding your business in order to generate more sales, in order to generate growth over time. So the way you write it makes a big difference. So here are the questions. First, what are the characteristics of your industry and its outlook? For example, you would include the current size, the historical projected rate, trends and characteristics on what's going on. So let's think about pre-made meals delivery service. So in this specific case in this industry you would talk about what are the key competitors, what does the product look like. How are the different offerings? What is the amount of new customers that are getting into this type of products? How many new consumers are they interested in really wanting to eat some healthier options at home? So you would go and describe what the market is all about the you want to compete in. Which segments of the market you want to compete in? There might be different segments even within the marketplace that you're describing. So you need to think about who is the target that is most attractive for your business to go after. Then you would articulate then who are those specific customers that you feel the revenue will really come from so that it will support yourself. Who is your competition? So when we think about pre-made meals you need to decide whether you are, for example, someone that would have a product or service similar to Blue Apron, or HelloFresh, or basically your lead competitor are those customers that are still simply cooking at home healthy meals. How you define the market will really set you up in terms of the positioning that you're trying to accomplish. So you have to be really smart in terms of defining who is the competitor that you're going to go after, whether you're in the premium segment, average price segment, so that you clearly carve out which space in the marketplace you want to carve out. What are your business strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats? As I explained, in this section you want to be able to share the full analysis of all these characteristics of your brand. For example, when we talk about strengths you can talk about if you have already the intent to build the brand, what are those characteristics. You have already some consumer following. Do you have a share leadership position or not? Do you have superior performing products? Or you have proven innovation, as I mentioned you have IP that you believe will set you up for success because it's quite valuable on a reason why your clients will buy you. Distribution access, or maybe unique expertise or technology. When we think about the weaknesses, these are internal factors that could stop you or slow you down from potential growth. These could be, for example, if you don't have access to distribution yet, or if you don't have access to capital or elements that you believe that you can actually impact yourself with the plan that you're building. So don't hesitate to talk about these because they will bring reality to the plan but make sure that what you're proposing in the business plan will actively address these. So you have to show a balance picture on where you really stand in the market. Then you have opportunities and these are your best friends in terms of how you can capitalize growth for the brand. For example, if the market that you're competing in is growing or there's increased consumer spending, if there's things in the marketplace that you can really latch on, call it ride the wave, you would include those here because it will speak to your potential. And then finally threats. This is where you have to look at the industry a little bit more in depth to understand if there's external factors like legal environment, tax environment, and even consumer environment that you need to take into account that might hinder your growth. So it's good to know those things up front just so you can actively manage them. With that full description of the strengths, opportunities, and the weaknesses and threats, you should be able to capture quite well what your position is in market relative to competition.