Why businesses should do their homework…
…or the importance of an outward looking marketing analysis in any business plan
Most successful businesses are driven by goals and comprehensive business plans. Typically, a plan outlines what a business currently does, what it plans to do, and how it’s going to get there.
Unfortunately, many businesses – especially smaller or owner-operated businesses – miss the big picture.
They tend to be inwardly focussed, gathering information from within the boundaries of the organisation. And when planning is done within these parameters, a wealth of information and insights will be missed… and the results will be seriously limited.
What is essential to good business planning is an outward looking marketing analysis – essentially an information gathering exercise.
A richer (in every sense of the word), more valuable business plan will be developed by first looking outward.
The initial step in this process is to look at the industry or category in which you operate.
How do you define the industry/category? Is it narrowly or broadly defined?
If you adopted a broader definition, what new opportunities could you identify and capitalise on?
Here’s an example. Birdsnest, one of the most successful Australian online apparel stores, started as a small Australian retailer with just one rural ‘frock shop’ – a pretty limited category.
Today the Birdsnest website has more than a million hits per month and ranks in the top fifty apparel sites in Australia. The business owner achieved this by redefining the category she operated in from small rural apparel retailer to local and online apparel retailer – a category with no geographical, and therefore almost limitless, boundaries.
Think outside your business box.
Even changing the way you think about your market, category or industry can open the door to expansion and success.
Think about how broadly you can define your industry. Gather information about the broader industry. Look at what trends are emerging, what innovations are being adopted by your competitors, both locally and internationally.
Look at what businesses in similar industries are doing. How are they keeping up with market demands, or even creating demand?
Think nationally, think internationally, think virtual.
Has this inspired you to do some homework for your business?
AND, categorising your industry or market is just the first step. Imagine the possibilities if you undertook a complete outward looking marketing analysis.
If you want to know more about marketing planning, give us a call on +61 2 4464 3331 or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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