Now that you have chosen your business entity and started filing your paperwork, it’s time to seriously layout your business plan. If you read our previous blog, then you know that there are a variety of resources for helping you organize your business plan. By this point most people know what they want their company to do and who they want running their company (which is the information we use in the Executive Summary & Company Description portions of the business plan.)
Unfortunately, quite often, new business owners do NOT know exactly who their customers are going to be. This imperative information can be found by conducting a Market Analysis to look into the demographics and habits of your potential clientele. Who needs your service or merchandise? Why? What do they look like and where do they live?
There are companies you can hire to do this research for you. You can even contact your local university to gather demographic information or your local chamber of commerce. The following list is five government sources from the Small Business Association website:
2. The U.S. Census Bureau: Just enter a city and state into the American Fact Finder and it will generate multiple options for viewing social, economic, household and demographic data for your town or future location with an interactive map, If you like what you see but are not sure how to use and interpret the data, the Census Bureau hosts seminars across the country.
3. FedStats.gov: Data is available on wide-ranging topics, including economic and population trends, crime, education, health care, aviation safety, energy use, and farm production.
4. Small Business Statistics: from the SBA's Office of Advocacy with State economic profiles and Quarterly growth indicators
5. EconomicIndicators.gov: The Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA) releases 12 monthly and quarterly Principal Federal Economic Indicators collected by its constituent bureaus: the US Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)
While this is in no way an exhaustive list of resources for your Business Market Analysis, we hope the information helps you understand your customer base better. Our next posting will have more details on finishing-up your Business Plan.