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Business Plan Tutorial: Step 5 Industry

Industry Overview

This section is a description of all aspects of the industry.  

1.    Structure- How are the other companies in this Industry set up?

  • How many companies are in this industry?
  • How big are they? Do they have resources to overtake you?
  • What are their Distribution Channels (e.g., horizontal, vertical)?
  • How do they transport their product?
  • What are the barriers to enter this market?
  • How is their Hierarchy set up?

2.    Competition - Who, How Many, How Big?

  1. Research how they advertise
  2. What are their markets
  3. What is their market share
  4. Learn their products
  5. Product features
  6. Prices  

3.    What Stage is the Industry in (Startup, Growth, Maturity or Declining)? 

4.    What are the Trends?

  • What is the Growth within this industry?
  • Technology- is technology changing (quickly, slowly)?
  • Buying patterns- is this a onetime purchase item or many purchases in a lifetime?

5.     What are the Government Regulations for this industry? (Remember, it is best to error on the side of caution.) 

  1. Licensing
  2. Insurance
  3. Taxes
  4. Pollution- Toxins proper waste disposal

6.     What are the Promotions other companies are utilizing?

7.     What Pricing mechanisms are being used by other companies?

Questions you should answer within your business plan:

  1. Description of the current industry
    1. How can you take advantage of the current industry trends?
    2. How much growth can you expect?
    3. Is this a market you want to go into?
  2. What ideas can you borrow from the competition?  (I.E. Supply chains, distribution channels, points of sales)
  3. What can you do that your competition can't?
  4. What can you improve upon (e.g., make more profitable, simplify, streamline, just-in-time, reduce waste)?

Some Key Industry Databases

Library Subject Guides to Consider

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