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A business plan can be as simple as a few notes scrawled on a paper napkin, or it can be a 40-page document with multiple sections and subsections describing every minute detail of a company’s operations, products and finances.Writing an effective business plan is easier if you take time before starting the writing process to conduct your research and gather the information you will need to incorporate into it.
Becoming a member of a competitor’s mailing list to receive promotional material and updates on new products and pricing is a quick and easy source of information.
The information gathered about competitors might not seem like much when looked at separately, but when viewed as a whole, it can be mosaic-like in what it reveals about your competition.
A competitor analysis offers a detailed profile of each competitor along with an analysis of marketing strategies that can be used to counter position your company to improve market share or profitability.
Information for a competitor analysis is available from a number of sources including news stories and press releases, advertising, company websites, promotional campaigns, patent and copyright applications, price lists and, in the case of publicly traded companies, annual reports and SEC filings.
If the features of the competing product give it a performance advantage over your own, you can evaluate how important those features are to determine if your product should be redesigned.
Another source of information on the product is the internet.
Before you can begin writing your business planning roadmap, you need reliable information about your industry, your competitors, your product and your customers for inclusion in it.
An industry analysis, competitor analysis, product feature comparison and market research will give you the information you need.
A product feature comparison allows you to compare your company’s product with products produced by competitors.
Unlike a competitor analysis that allows you to determine how your business measures up to competing businesses, product feature comparisons limit their focus to the products themselves.