What are the key demographic features of the individuals or businesses who are most likely to purchase your product or service?
Using your business idea from a previous Business Environment where you worked in the past (or from your current employment), from other Business courses you have taken, or a new idea with instructor permission, imagine you are an executive at the relevant company. You have decided to take this idea to the next level by producing a comprehensive business plan to present to senior management and potential investors in order to convince them to back the project. Your plan should focus on key elements of marketing and strategy, such as branding, customer base, existing resources and capabilities, pricing, and other factors that could affect the project’s success. It should highlight the merits of the project based on a detailed internal analysis, showing how the idea fits with the company’s mission and vision. Remember that a well-constructed business plan provides concise, accurate information that allows busy executives or investors to quickly grasp the essentials of your idea, the key need or want it addresses, and how you will meet that need or want.
Specifically, the following critical elements must be addressed:
Executive summary. Briefly explain the key features of your business plan and why your product or service is better than that of your competition in the eyes of the target market. Remember that your goal is to give the intended audience the most essential information up front while convincing them to read further for
Context. This section should provide leadership and potential investors with background information on the company’s current brand and how the new product or service fits with that brand. Be sure to do the following:
Lay out the key defining features of your company’s brand and how these features drive business For example, how are these factors an extension of the company’s mission, vision, and values? What are the non-negotiables for a product or service to carry the company name?
Assess how the new idea fits with the company’s existing brand and how that impacts your business Support your response with relevant research and analysis. For example, will the product or service be part of a new brand or an existing brand? How will that affect the way you market the product both within the company and to consumers?
Evaluate the effectiveness of the company’s existing branding efforts (or branding efforts for similar products or services if yours is a new company). What does the evaluation suggest for the new product or service? Support your response with relevant analysis.
3. Need. Use this section to define your target market and explain how your product or service fills a critical need or want for that
Define your target market and its unique characteristics. Be sure to discuss the following:
Basic demographics. What are the key demographic features of the individuals or businesses who are most likely to purchase your product or service? Support your response with relevant market research. For example, how might age, purchasing power, decision-making authority, or other factors affect the product or service’s appeal to potential customers?
What other behavioral or psychographic characteristics of your target market might affect their purchasing decisions? Support your response with relevant
How does the new product or service meet a specific want or need of the target market that you identified? In other words, what principal benefits or key features would the target market find appealing? Support your response with relevant market
Based on your analysis above, why is this target market the best strategic choice for the success of your product or service?
4. Strengths and In this section, you should assess the ramifications of the new business idea on branding, operations, and planning within the organization, based on internal analysis.
Assess the company’s tangible and intangible strengths in providing the new product or service, along with any weaknesses or gaps. Your response should comprehensively address different aspects of the business, establishing clear links between the strengths and weaknesses you identify and how those affect planning for the new business The factors you identify will depend on your business and idea, but might include things such as staff capabilities and turnover, organizational culture, production capacity, location, customer loyalty, supply chain relations, financial stability, or ability to acquire funding.
5. Assess the opportunities and threats that emerging consumer trends and company ethics may present to the success of the new
Consumer trends. How might emerging trends in consumer preferences (e.g., buying local, support for green technologies, organic foods, ) impact the branding and business success of the new product or service you are launching in the current global marketplace? Justify your response, identifying the trends that are most relevant to your product or service and how they apply to your target market.
Ethics. How might perceived ethics violations affect the branding image and ultimate success of the new product or service in a global environment? Support your response with specific For example, do different target populations have different perceptions of what constitutes ethical behavior? How do consumers respond to those violations and what is the impact on business (e.g., product avoidance, lobbying for new regulations, etc.)?
How might the factors you identified above affect branding and operations across different departments in the company? How does your business plan take this into account? For example, does organizational structure help or hinder branding and launch activities? Do departments have competing interests? Do they communicate effectively?
6. Core competencies. Assess aspects of the company or new idea that set you apart from the competition and provide long-term sustainability in the market. How do those competencies affect your business plan? In other words, what things about your company, product, or service provide significant value to the customer and are very difficult to duplicate? How can you use that strategically?
Use this section of your business plan to develop and justify a pricing strategy for the new product or service. Be sure to address the following:
What are the fixed and variable costs to the company of producing, marketing, and selling the new good or service, and how do those fit with the company’s short- and long-term objectives? Support your narrative with a table showing calculations and any
How much is the target market willing and able to pay for your product or service? Use target market analysis and research on competitors’ prices to support your
Are targeted consumers willing and able to pay more for your product or service if it (or the organization, more generally) aligns with their
preferences for socially responsible and ethical behavior? Justify your response with evidence.
In light of your analysis, what pricing strategy and price is most appropriate for this product or service and why? For example, would skimming, penetration, economy, or premium pricing be most appropriate? What should the initial price be?
Refinement. This section should highlight processes for reviewing and refining branding and other activities surrounding the new product or
How and when will you evaluate the success of the new product or service and its branding? Be sure to suggest processes that occur at regular intervals and extend across the business, explaining how results will impact decisions on whether to continue or to initiate exit
What regular, business-wide feedback loops and processes will you implement to support the new idea, keep it on track, and make mid-course corrections as needed? For example, will you adjust business functions and/or facilitate regular communication across departments? How will you collect relevant information and ensure its accuracy?
In planning for the future, how will you identify and integrate other factors that might affect implementation of the new idea into your business decisions and planning? In other words, what other things do you need to consider when moving forward?