When you're ready to embark on your business plan, you don't necessarily have to do any research beforehand. You can dive right in, and as you work your way through LivePlan, it will help you see where you might need to supplement your knowledge of your market and industry.
If you'd like to gather some data ahead of time to help your plan progress more quickly, here are some good areas of focus.
Did you know that we have information-packed Industry Guides to help you with starting many kinds of businesses?
Identify your target customer
When you know your target customer, you'll have an important key to writing much of your business plan. You already know what product or service your business will sell, but who, exactly, will you be selling it to? Try to come up with as specific a description as possible: what is your ideal customer's age range, gender, and average income? Where does this customer live, what are their hobbies?
These articles may be helpful in thinking about your target customer:
- How to Do Market Research
- Practical Market Research Resources for Entrepreneurs
- The Importance of TAM, SAM, and SOM in Your Business Plan
Identify the problem your business solves
If this idea seems daunting, don't worry - many entrepreneurs feel this way. Every business solves a problem for a specific kind of customer. Once you identify what problem your company is solving for what kind of customer, you'll have another key element of your business plan.
If you're not sure what problem your business is solving for your target customer, read:
- Find a problem worth solving
- How do you know if you have a good idea for a business?
- Market Analysis in 4 Steps
List your revenue sources
A good way to get a jump start on your business plan forecast is to make a quick list of where your revenue will come from. What products? What services? Which ones will be primary sources of revenue, and which ones will be secondary?
List your costs
Similarly, if you make a simple list of where your primary costs will come from, you'll have a good foundation for forecasting. Will you have a lease to pay? Employees to hire? Raw materials or packaging to buy? List all the costs you can think of now. As you work on the forecast, LivePlan will likely suggest some additional ones.
If you have any questions as you're gathering all these details, please feel free to contact us. Our Customer Advocates will be glad to help!