Begin your business description with a brief overview of the industry you will be competing in. Ultimately, you want to demonstrate that you are in a "hot" industry with an excellent long-term outlook. You're also setting the stage for your company description by showing where you fit in the marketplace.
Discuss both the present situation in the industry, as well as future possibilities. You should also provide information about the various market segments within the industry, with a particular focus on their potential impact on your business. Be sure to include any new products or other developments that will benefit or possibly hurt your business. Are there new markets and/or customers for your company/companies such as yours? What about national trends or economic trends and factors that will impact your venture?
- Feel free to be dramatic. You can describe your industry like you're telling a story. Grab the reader's attention with strong, exciting language that will get them interested in your industry and your business.
- Answering "why" makes any description stronger. Saying "the market will grow at 25% annually" may sound impressive. But what caused that rate of growth? Adding "...because a growing number of baby boomers now entertain at home instead of going out" makes it stand out.
- This is not a discussion of your competition. That information will come later in the competitive analysis portion. Instead, you are providing an overview of the industry where you and other companies will compete.
- Many business plans make the mistake of basing their market observations on conjecture. Instead, you will want to research your industry and back up your observations with facts. Be sure to note all sources.
- Trade associations are excellent sources of information about trends in your industry. To find the trade association for your industry, consult the Gale Encyclopedia of Business and Professional Associations.
- General business newspapers and magazines (like the The Economist, Wall St. Journal, or Business Week) and trade newspapers and magazines (those covering a specific industry) often report industry-wide trends as well. Many research and university libraries carry various trade publications and newsletters.
- Don't be afraid to include negative information about your industry. Discussing the possible roadblocks your company might face shows you have a realistic view of the market.
- If you cite information from specific newspaper or magazine articles or research reports, you might want to include a copy in your business plan appendix.
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