by Palo Alto Software
For Your Business Plan
To write your business plan, you'll need facts to accurately project your sales, employee needs and costs. Here are some tips on how to gather that research.
A common problem people encounter when writing their business plan is finding information about their business industry and competitive companies. Fortunately, in recent years the Internet has made information gathering simple and easy, but sometimes the best information is found much closer to home, with real people, in real time.
Always take a look at other businesses similar to your own, as a very good first step. If you're looking at starting a new business, you may well be starting one similar to one you already know. If you're doing a plan for an existing business, you are even more likely to know the business well. Even so, you can still learn a lot by looking at other similar businesses.
- Look at existing, similar businesses.
If you are planning a retail shoe store, for example, spend some time looking at existing retail shoe store businesses. Park across the street and count the customers that go into the store. Note how long they stay inside, and how many come out with boxes that look like purchased shoes. You can probably even count how many pairs of shoes each customer buys. Browse the store and look at prices. Look at several stores, including the discount shoe stores and department store shoe departments.