Developing a Business Plan | Your Market
 


 

Every successful business begins with a plan. The components of your plan should include:

1) Your Market
2) Your Solution
3) Your Traffic
4) Back-End Sales


1) Your Market
In developing a business plan you should begin with the question: Whom will my business serve? This target market, sometimes called a niche, is your customer-base. This is the most important decision you will make, so it is crucial that you identify your market correctly.

As you brainstorm for ideas, consider the following questions:

  • Will my business provide a much needed solution?
  • Does my target market have disposable income to spend on solutions?
  • Will the internet reach my target market?

If the answer to all three of these questions is "Yes", you are well on your way to building a successful online business. If the answer is "No" to any question, you can do everything else right, and your business will still fail.

Other factors to consider are:

  • Who is my competition?
  • Is my market hot of cold?
  • Can I offer something that my competition does not?


Who is My Competition?
Visit the websites of your major competitors and find out what they are doing and how they are doing it. What is your first impression of their website? Are there any marketing strategies that are more compelling from one website to the next? How easy is it to use their website?


Is My Market Hot or Cold?
Ask yourself if your market is too broad or too narrow. If your target market is too broad, you will find that there is no market there at all. If you target market is too narrow, your chance to be profitable is highly diminished.

Let's say you love playing the guitar, and you want to start a business around this interest. Hot target markets for the guitar enthusiasts include:

  • Electric Guitars and Accessories - Budget through high-end electric guitars and accessories
  • Video Guitar Lessons - Online video instruction for the beginning through advanced guitar students
  • Music Teacher Referral Website - Connecting students with teachers for a modest subscription fee

A target market that may be to narrow, though may meet your inner passion, might be:
  • Rocker Grandma's - A website for hard-core rocker grandmothers that still enjoy a chance to jam and share backstage stories.

Remember that you are trying to provide a solution for a financially viable target market. You must find your target market first, identify its need, consider whether they have disposable income to pay for the product, and then provide the product. This point cannot be overemphasized.


Can I Offer Something That My Competition Does Not?
Ask yourself if you have anything to offer that will provide a better solution than the one your competitor is offering. Let's say you are an artist. You think to yourself, "There are a hundred websites out there offering free printable coloring pages, yet most of the coloring pages are of poor quality. I could do better than that." If you can create better quality coloring pages, you have found a niche. If this niche stands up against the other tests, you have discovered a profitable target market.

This, in fact, was my "Big Idea" back in April of 2009. In May, I launched MakingArtFun.com, a creative resource website for elementary art education. Among the many resources I included on this website are free printable coloring pages. Visitor traffic is growing everyday, and this website is proving to be a welcomed source of passive income.


by Andrew Fling

 

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