Now’s the time to go mining for information so you can have a good idea of the situation you’re facing as you move toward launch. The situation analysis covers your company, your industry, the environment, and a SWOT analysis.
Company In a marketing/business plan for an existing business you would include information about your products, distribution, pricing, and promotional mix. Because you’re launching a business, you don’t have this information, yet; so you need to consider where you’re going. What is your vision? This is an excellent time to create a mission statement that incorporates what you do and for whom in ten words or less. You can also expand on this mission statement as you consider your company’s values.
Industry When people first begin pitching their companies’, they frequently say there are no competitors. Hate to break it to you, but if you have a good idea, there are already people working on it. Of course you have competitors. This should not turn you away, though. When analyzing the industry, record how many competitors you currently have. Determine the growth projections for the industry, as well as other trends that could affect your product launch. Consider completing a perceptual map, ranking yourself and competitors on at least two dimensions important to consumers.
Environment Beyond competitors, every business exists within a changing environment. Take a look at social, economic, technological, political, and legal situations that will affect your company. For example, think about demographic or cultural shifts affecting your industry, how the current economic climate or changing economic conditions may affect you, and if new regulations or pending legislation will affect your product or company.
The above three sections should give you a lot to chew on today. Tomorrow we’ll go in-depth on the SWOT analysis.