Business Success Through Strategic Planning and Market Research

Market research – Basics

The business startup process, especially drawing up the business plan correctly, are vitally important, part of which is the correct and accurate market research Whether it is a trading business, a retail business, a service providing business, or whatever, knowing the market and economic conditions, including the direct competition in your area, are crucial. Without this information you will be taking a shot in the dark, hoping to hit, but the chances are pretty big that you will miss, and you may lose a lot of money this way.

I’m sure that this is not what you want at all. Take this word of advice – don’t skip this step, but rather do it well and comprehensively from day one. You see, you will be basing most of your business and strategic decision on the facts that you will establish once you have completed the market research. These decisions will include:

  • Is there place for me in the market in my area or is there already too much competition?
  • Will my prices suite the economy of the area?
  • Can I afford to pay the rental in the area, and will I be able to keep my prices reasonable for the earning capacity of the people in the area?
  • What do I expect my monthly income to be? Or will I need to enlarge the area I cover in order to fully recover my costs and make a profit?
  • How many people live in, or do business in, my area?
  • What percentage of them may want my products or services?
  • How regularly will they want or need my products or services?
  • Is there due to be any economic expansion in my area, or is there an economic meltdown about to happen?
  • Over what period would I be able to sustain a business in the area in the present economic circumstances?
  • How long will it take to recover my initial capital outlay?

Once the above decisions have been made, based on data discovered through the research and decision-making process, you can tackle the following tasks.

Primary Market Research

Primary research involves gathering your own data. For example, you could do your own traffic count at a proposed location, use the yellow pages to identify competitors, and do surveys or focus-group interviews to learn about consumer preferences. Secondary or professional market research can be very costly, but there are many books that explain to small business owners how to do effective research themselves.

The Marketing Plan

In your marketing plan, be as specific as possible; use reliable statistics, numbers, and sources. The marketing plan will be the basis, later on, of the very important sales projection. This is very important as it will also determine purchases of raw materials and retail products, the storage of them, and their production and distribution plans.

Products and services

You need to clearly describe and define your products and services, in your terms. Be as descriptive and specific as possible, especially where multiple types and models of the same products exist.

Now describe the products and/or services from your prospective and your customers’ perspective. How do the customers perceive them to be, what would their expectations be, and how could you improve on your competitors’ products and services; not only bettering their up-front prices.

Features and Benefits

List all of your major products or services.

For each product or service:

  • Describe the most important features. What is special about it?
  • Describe the benefits. That is, what will the product do for the customer?
  • What after-sale services will you provide? Some examples are delivery, warranty, service contracts, support, follow-up, and refund policy.
  • Are there any other benefits or gifts that you can include in the supply of your products and services.


Identify your targeted customers, their characteristics, and their geographic locations, otherwise known as their demographics. You may have more than one customer group. Identify the most important groups. Then, for each customer group, construct what is called a demographic profile, which includes:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Income level
  • Social class and occupation
  • Education


Now that you have systematically analyzed your industry, your product, your customers, and the competition, you should have a clear picture of where your company fits into the world and, in a much narrower sense, the society that you intend to serve. In one short paragraph, define your niche, your unique corner of the market and your area of specialty.

The SWOT Analysis

SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, as they relate directly to your business, your products and services, your marketing plan, your customer base and area, and other important factors.

The SWOT analysis is covered in a separate article and tutorial.

Vaughan Jones has had thirty years experience as a company accountant and as a management consultant. Over the past fifteen years he has turned his attention to writing and editing eBooks, articles and tutorials in the field of successfully starting and managing a business.

Vaughan has written a number of business management books that are easy to read are available on his Kindle/Amazon Author’s page at:

For business management assistance, he can be reached at eMail: and for his writing and editing services:

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Combining the Love of Travel With a Home Based Travel Business

Merging the love of travel with owning your own travel business is perfectly doable!

Travel is an 8 trillion dollar industry and is expected to continue to grow in the next decade. It is a product that is always in constant demand. That means the world is your market!

Owning your own home based travel business will allow you to accomplish both goals. 1) Pursue your love of travel and 2) fulfill your dream of becoming an entrepreneur.

One of the great things about being a part of the travel industry is it allows you to become a student of the world. You learn about so many different cultures and political systems; see awesome and unique majestic scenery, landscapes and animal kingdoms. Not to mention, all the many ways in which to have fun!

You’ll be surprised just how easy it is to achieve your objective. One sure way is to become a certified travel agent. Certified travel agents sell travel that’s their business. They are an independent contractor. They also get to travel themselves at a significantly lower rate than the consumer. In fact, they are encouraged to do so. The more they experience the product they are selling, the more knowledgeable they will become. Remember, travel is a product and in business you have to know your product.

One thing to keep in mind though, travel is large. It’s impossible to be completely knowledgeable about all things travel. Therefore, it would be best if you focus on just a few targeted niche areas such as: cruising, wedding destinations, family vacations, etc. You should essentially become an expert in your perspective niche field. It could make you one of the most sought after agents in the business.

No experience is needed to become a certified travel agent. However, extensive training is required. In addition, hard work and persistent effort is a must. There are numerous resources in which to obtain training. You can enroll in a online home study course or attend college. However, the quickest and most direct way is to become an intern at an already established travel agency. Travel agencies are always looking for new recruits. A host agency will help you become certified and there is no license required..

If you are a highly motivated individual and are looking for a business opportunity that will allow you to become financially independent, then the travel business is an ideal choice.

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What Makes Your Business Successful?

As a business owner, you’re probably running into all sorts of issues when it comes to how to run and manage your business. These issues all have to do with ethics and what you know that you should do to insure that the business meets the wants and needs of your customers. However, sometimes, it isn’t as clear and concrete as we would like for it to be and if that’s the case, more often than not, we end up doing things without realizing that we’re actually hurting our businesses.

Many business owners get tricked into doing things that are for the better sake of the word, not too ethical. However, the lines between being honest and ethical are blurred and that’s when many misunderstandings happen and things can get out of hand very quickly if you’re not watchful and observant. That is why as a business owner, it is up to you to make sure that the practices that you have in your business are honest and ethical at all times.

Again, this is easier said than done because of the fact that if the business has many moving parts, then that also means that there are many different practices and such that you need to have a handle on to insure a successful business. Policies, regulations and rules are all a part of insuring that the business runs ethically. It is these guidelines, rules and regulations that will help to guide the business in such a way that it continues to provide the customer exactly what they want and need at all times.

Everything from human resources, customer support, product fulfillment and so on are all a part of the many moving parts of the business, and as such, each of these moving parts must have their own code of ethics in which to follow.

We have all heard the saying, “Honesty is the best policy.” Well this saying is so very true, and it is the first rule of business. If you apply this phrase to your business, then when you manage each of its moving parts, this principle will insure that the business runs smoothly. However, what ends up happening is that business owners learn of the most recent technique or strategy that is supposed to bring the business huge profits and then they begin to use that technique only to realize later on that it is dishonest and deceptive. This is where the lines really become blurred because even though the technique or strategy in question doesn’t seem to be deceptive, the truth comes out when you discover that either your customer base is getting smaller, or they’re simply not buying from you like they used to in the past.

That is why it is so vitally important that before you use any new technique or strategy in your business that you first study it well and go over it with a fine tooth comb to insure that everything about it is honest and ethical. This might mean doing some research on the technique to see how it is being applied in other business models, and even talk to other entrepreneurs who are using the technique or strategy to find out from them how it is working in their businesses firsthand. Then and only then will you have a clear picture and you can decide whether or not to use the technique or strategy.

No matter how appealing something might be and no matter how much money someone claims that they’re making from using one particular technique or strategy, you should investigate it first to insure that the claims that are made are actually true. The last thing that you want to do is to use something that will cause your business to become tainted with bad business practices in the hope of making more money. This is where greed steps in because all business owners do want to make more money, but the question is; is it really worth it to use a technique or strategy that is less than ethical?

This is a question that you must constantly ask yourself when confronted with a new way of doing things in your business. This is why running and managing a business is so difficult to do, and most people don’t realize it. They’re misled by people who teach them that Internet business is really easy to do. What should matter most is your customers because without customers, then you don’t have a business at all.

More often than not, ethics is thrown out the window and replaced with greed and deception in the hope of making more money for the ones at the top. Greed even trickles down through the different levels of the business affecting all of its employees and staff members. If it is bad enough, it can even cause the breakup of the business. This has happened to many businesses in the past, and it has even happened to huge corporations who have ended up on the news because of the issues facing them concerning greed and deception.

Sure you want to make as much money as humanly possible, but if ethics are thrown out in order to get that money, then is it really worth it? Is it really worth ruining your reputation just to make more money quickly? Is it really worth it even at the expense of your employees and your customer base? Are you willing to make that sacrifice? That is the question that you must ask yourself if you’re thinking about doing something that is less than ethical in your business.

The road to business success is a long and dangerous road that has many deceiving things along the way that you must be on the watch for. That is why you should remain smart and don’t get wound up in using techniques or strategies that are less than ethical. Remember, honesty is the best policy, and that is a statement that you can take straight to the bank!

If you would like to learn more on how to build a business that is both honest and ethical, then check out the brand new report entitled, The Truth Is Out.

This report will give you the complete scoop on how to build an effective business as well as give you the truth concerning deceptive and dishonest business practices. To get the report, visit the URL here below.

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