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The market

Detail your business’ customers, their demand for the product/service and how you will reach them. You can read more about measuring the market for your business idea in our business plans essentials series.

  • Who are the business’ typical customers and where they are based?
  • Will customers be individuals, businesses or both? Describe the profile and your understanding of your expected customers (age, gender, what they like, how they socialise, where they shop, etc.). 
  • How many of these customers will this business have the potential opportunity to reach?
    Outline the size of your market and the potential share of this market this business can reach.
  • Have you sold any products/services to customers already?
    If yes, please describe these sales and be prepared to show evidence of these sales. If customers have expressed interest in buying your products or services already you can detail that information here.
  • Why will customers buy this business’ products or services instead of your competitors?
  • What can be learned about the business’ market from desk research?
  • What can be learned about the business’ market from field research?
    Field research is market testing using your prospective customers. This may include customer questionnaires, focus group feedback, product testing, selling your product on a limited basis (test trading), etc. You can reach out to our network for feedback at Startupsresearch.co.uk 

Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats

In business jargon this is called a SWOT analysis and is always considered by entrepreneurs starting a new business.


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  • What are your business’ strengths?
    What gives your business an advantage over the competition?
  • What are your business’ weaknesses?
    What places your business at a disadvantage compared to the competition?
  • What are the main opportunities available to your business?
    What people, elements, assets or connections can your business use to its advantage?
  • What are the main threats to your business?
    What elements of your environment or competition can cause your business trouble?

The competition

Understanding who your competitor companies are, where they are located and how they compare to your company is essential in planning any business and sales strategy. Search around the geography of your business and search the internet for your business’ competition. Please consider the following types of competitors:

• Direct Competitors – Those selling the same or similar products or services (if your business is a coffee shop, direct competitors are other coffee shops)

• Indirect Competitors – Those selling substitute or alternative products or services (if your business is a coffee shop, indirect competitors are other business selling food and drink with a place to sit such as bubble tea shops, pubs, fast food or any other places satisfying a customer’s need for food or drink.

Table of Competitors:

 Competitor Company Name, Location and Business SizeProduct / Service offeredPrice of comparable product / serviceStrengths of competitorWeaknesses of competitor
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Page one: About you, the business and the product(s) or service(s)
Page two: SWOT analysis, the market and the competition
Page three: Cost and sales forecasts

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