We are back to discussing sales or more specifically, your market. A key part of any business plan is the marketing section. The plan lays out the exact market your business operates in both functionally and geographically. Your target market is defined and a good marketing section will have detailed planning for how to reach that target market. Also defined is your competition and how your business compares listing both strengths and weaknesses. We like to do a SWOT analysis with a TOWS matrix whenever possible when creating a business plan to help us define the businesses strengths and weaknesses as well as the competitions. If you aren't sure what a SWOT analysis is with a TOWS matrix, check us out next week!
While most small businesses define their target market and examine their competition at start-up, not all continue the process. We think it is very important for you to take a fresh look at who your target market really is each year as opposed to who you thought they would be. Sometimes the target market shifts and sometimes your assumptions as to who they will be turn out to be wrong. Knowing who is buying your products now is very important when determing how to reach new customers. It is also important to look at your competition on a regular basis and see what changes have occurred with them.
Major corporations devote a significant amount of time and money each year in strategic planning and small businesses should commit some time and money to this endeavor as well. Understanding who you are selling to and who else is offering the same products and services is very helpful when planning your marketing and your operations.