How to do a Market Anaysis for a Business Plan (Part 1)

Posted by News Express | 7 November 2016 | 2,880 times

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In continuation of the business writing series that have been running for some weeks now. This week we dwell on the market analysis aspect of a business plan and the effects to the entire document and the specific business therein. The key part of any business plan is the market analysis. This section needs to demonstrate both your expertise in your particular market and the attractiveness of the market from a financial standpoint.

This write-up first look at what we mean exactly by market analysis before looking at how to make a good one for your business plan.

What is a market analysis?

A market analysis is a quantitative and qualitative assessment of a market. It looks into the size of the market both in volume and in value, the various customer segments and buying patterns, the competition, and the economic environment in terms of barriers to entry and regulation.

How to do a market analysis?

The objectives of the market analysis section of a business plan are to show to investors

- that: you know your market

- the market is large enough to build a sustainable business

In order to do that I recommend the following plan:

- Demographics and Segmentation

- Target Market

- Market Need

- Competition

- Barriers to Entry

- Regulation

The first step of the analysis consists in assessing the size of the market.

Demographics and Segmentation:

When assessing the size of the market, your approach will depend on the type of business you are selling to investors. If your business plan is for a small shop or a restaurant then you need to take a local approach and try to assess the market around your shop. If you are writing a business plan for a restaurant chain then you need to assess the market at a national level. Depending on your market you might also want to slice it into different segments. This is especially relevant if you or your competitors focus only on certain segments.

Volume & Value:

There are two factors you need to look at when assessing the size of a market: the number of potential customers and the value of the market. It is very important to look at both numbers separately, let's take an example to understand why.

Imagine that you have the opportunity to open a shop either in Town A  or in Town B:

Town                        A                     B

Market value               200m Naira           100m Naira

Potential customers      2 big companies       1,000 small companies

Competition             2 competitors          10 competitors

Table: Town A vs. Town B

Although Town B looks more competitive (10 competitors vs. 2 in Town A) and a smaller opportunity (market size of £100m vs. £200 in Town A), with 1,000 potential customers it is actually a more accessible market than Town A where you have only 2 potential customers.

Potential customer?

The definition of a potential customer will depend on your type of business. For example if you are opening a small shop selling office furniture then your market will be all the companies within your delivery range. As in the example above it is likely that most companies would have only one person in charge of purchasing furniture hence you wouldn't take the size of these businesses in consideration when assessing the number of potential customers. You would however factor it when assessing the value of the market.

Market value

Estimating the market value is often more difficult than assessing the number of potential customers. The first thing to do is to see if the figure is publicly available as either published by a consultancy firm or by a state body. It is very likely that you will find at least a number on a national level. If not then you can either buy some market research or try to estimate it yourself.

Methods for building an estimate

There are 2 methods that can be used to build estimates: the bottom up approach or the top down approach.

The bottom up approach consist in building a global number starting with unitary values. In our case the number of potential clients multiplied by an average transaction value.

Let’s keep our office furniture example and try to estimate the value of the 'desk' segment. We would first factor in the size of the businesses in our delivery range in order to come up with the size of the desks park. Then we would try to estimate the renewal rate of the park to get the volume of annual transactions. Finally, we would apply an average price to the annual volume of transactions to get to the estimated market value.

Here is a summary of the steps including where to find the information:

Size of desks park = number of businesses in delivery area x number of employees (you might want to refine this number based on the sector as not all employees have desks)

Renewal rate = 1 / useful life of a desk

Volume of transactions = size of desks park x renewal rate

Value of 1 transaction = average price of a desk

Market value = volume of transactions x value of 1 transaction

You should be able to find most of the information for free in this example. You can get the number and size of businesses in your delivery area from the national statistics. Your accountant should be able to give you the useful life of a desk (but you should know it since it is your market!). You can compare the desk prices of other furniture stores in your area. As a side note here: it is always a good idea to ask your competitors for market data (just don't say you are going to compete with them).

That was the bottom up approach, next week, we shall be looking at the top down approach. However you can contact me for business advisory services and training - send me a message via WhatsApp or SMS.

•Lawrence Nwaodu is a small business expert and enterprise consultant, trained in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, with an MBA in Entrepreneurship from The Management School, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom, and MSc in Finance and Financial Management Services from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University Netherlands. Mr. Nwaodu is the Lead Consultant at IDEAS Exchange Consulting, Lagos. He can be reached via nwaodu.lawrence@hotmail.co.uk (07066375847).


Source: News Express

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