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Industry overview

Questions to answer about industry:

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

When discussing industry, the business plan can include research on the following subsections:

Structure- Research how other companies in the industry are set up: their size; hierarchy; resources; and so on. Investigate other companies' distribution channels (e.g. horizontal, vertical) and how they transport their product. Consider how the structure of your business is unique in comparison to others. 

Competition - Consider researching the competition's market and market share, what their products are and how they advertise. 

Stage - What stage is the Industry in: startup, growth, maturity or decline? 

Trends - What trends do you want to examine? Consider industry growth, technology trends, and customer buying patterns.

Government Regulations - Research the industry's government regulations. Remember, it is best to error on the side of caution. Facets to consider include:

  • Licensing: Consider for federal, state, county, city.
  • Zoning: Can you operate your business where you want?
  • Insurance: Is special insurance necessary? How will assets be protected?
  • Taxes: Does your product require additional taxes?
  • Pollution: Does your product contain toxins? What is the proper waste disposal for your product and byproducts?

Promotions - Investigate the promotions other companies are utilizing. Consider what promotion opportunities exist in your business. More about promotions is explained in the Marketing Plan page.  

Pricing  - What pricing mechanisms are used by other companies? How does competitor pricing affect the pricing structure for your business? More about pricing available on the Marketing Plan page. 

Databases for industry research

Industry research - free online resources

Additional tips

  • Check the competitions' websites!
  • Read news articles about your competition. Search for your industry and competing companies in Google News.
  • Google Shopping can be a good resource for comparative pricing.