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Business Line

Use a Pros and Cons Analysis to Choose the Right Business Idea

Most entrepreneurial types have a million business ideas, and under pressure they could come up with a million and one. The trick to a successful startup is picking the right one for the time, resources, and market available when you are ready to launch. Very few businesses fail because the idea is not viable, but a great many opportunities are missed because the entrepreneur doesn’t take the time to evaluate the best idea to pursue given the circumstances.
Every startup requires time, money and hard work to succeed, but the road is much smoother if there is a sufficient, reachable market for your product. Every business idea should go through a cursory analysis before any significant resources are spent. A rudimentary pros and cons list can go a long way in eliminating bad business ideas and can give you a head start in developing the good ones.
The pros and cons of any new business idea should include, at a minimum, the following areas:
Difficulty
How much do you know about the actual operations of your business idea? How much effort is required to produce a single unit of your product? Do you have the skills to produce it yourself or will you partner up, hire experienced employees, or outsource the skills that you lack?
Market
Is there a sufficient market to support your business idea? That is, are there enough people or businesses that will benefit from your product that marketing can be fairly broad? Or will you have to seek and find a very limited number of opportunities to sell? Is your idea a positive innovation on something people already use or will you have to introduce an entirely new concept to your market? Does your idea provide a greater benefit to your customers than the competition’s products? Will that increased benefit be enough to draw your own market share? How will your product be distributed initially? Down the road?
Industry
How crowded is the industry you are entering? Are there a lot of big guns you will be competing with? How will you fit into the marketplace? Will you compete on quality, benefits, price or some other factor? And, will the market respond to those differences? Remember that competing on price is the most difficult, unless you have concocted an innovative way to produce for far less than anyone else. Where is the industry headed? Will your idea expand to meet the needs of an ever-changing marketplace?
Resource Needs
What do you estimate your startup will cost? Do you have access to enough cash to launch it on your own? Assume, worst-case, that finding outside funding will be there a way to modify your idea to make it affordable? Do you have the time to devote to your startup? Can you afford to work a few months without significant income? How much of your personal resources are you willing to risk?
Interest
Objectively consider whether the business idea will hold your attention and interest over time. If you are motivated purely by profit, but have no interest in the product itself, it will be difficult to stay motivated through the dark days of your there will be dark days. You don’t necessarily have to love your business idea to succeed, but you need to find satisfaction in the day-to-day work. Somebody made millions from producing twist is doubtful that they adored the idea of twist ties before launching the business. More likely, they enjoyed the manufacturing and production industry in general, and saw a need for that particular item.
Path Forward
Write down every relevant factor you can think of related to your business idea and list out the pros and cons of each. Be as objective as possible about each aspect Talk to people about your idea and accept their input. Never be offended by negative responses, but try to dig for information that might improve on your original idea. Most of the time solid planning results in a far different venture than initially considered — this is a good sign. The more you learn, the more you can refine your idea into one that is bound for success.
If you have multiple business ideas, list the pros and cons for each of them, then compare the outcomes. Begin your entrepreneurial career with the easiest option; you can always launch the other ideas later. In fact, a little experience in starting any size and type of business will probably reduce the cons of your other ideas by the time you get around to launching them.…

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Business Plan

How to Write a Business Plan – The Market Analysis Section

Your business plan will include a Market Analysis section. This is the portion of the plan that will require the most research; rightfully so, since it will be a true indicator of whether you have a viable business or not.

The business plan Market Analysis will include:

Clearly define your industry or market. Provide statistics of the size of the market. You should also document any trends or cycles and a forecast for future growth or decline.

Pinpoint your target market. You should get as detailed as possible in defining your customer demographics. Narrow it down to age group, gender, income, lifestyle and locale. The more you understand your consumers, the better. Be sure to include any supporting statistics available in the appendices section of the business plan. Your market analysis should also indicate any motivating factors that will trigger your customers to purchase your products.

Market test results. Whether it be customer surveys or pols, you should have concrete statistics to support your industry research. In this market analysis section you should highlight the end results but the full details of the test should be available in the appendices section for further investigation by the reader.

Turnaround Time or Lead Time should be clearly defined. Indicate how long will it take to fulfill your orders or deliver the product to the customer. Are you capable of handling volume orders?

Discuss the barriers or road blocks you anticipate when creating a place for your product in the market and how you will overcome them. You need to briefly discuss what your competition’s strengths and weaknesses and how you compare.

The Market Analysis is a very important section of your business plan. It may be well worth your while to solicit the aid of a market research company who is experienced in surveying and poling consumers to help you more clearly define your target market. Since this factor is the foundation of your sales and marketing plans, it is of utmost importance that you get this right.…