I really didn’t mean to take so much time off here – but unfortunately, the flu had other plans for me. But I’m back, I’m healthy and I’m ready to tackle that Business Plan! After all, there is a $2,000 grant at stake here.
For Marketing, Part I, I had to determine my target customer, figure out the number of businesses already doing what I want to do and calculate what market share I thought I could grab with my company.
I started by doing the easy thing – I googled. This brought me to government resources, such as the Census Bureau, NAICS categories and my county web site, all with useful information on demographics and existing businesses. I also found a few articles geared to jewelry sales trends and online jewelry sales. But I needed more data that was just not available online, so I did it the old-fashioned way – I took my puppy and we went to the local library.
I told the reference librarian that I was writing a Business Plan; something she must have heard before, because she started to bring armloads of books to my table. Perky went right to sleep under my table, as I started to read.
I started with references such as Demographics USA 2007. I was able to determine my Designated Market Area (DMA) and the retail sales by merchandise lines, along with 5 year projections. There were demographics broken down by gender, education levels, household income, discretionary income and many other categories. Another useful volume was The American Marketplace, full of demographic information and the all-important spending patterns.
Did you know that since 1990 women’s incomes have been growing faster than men’s – 27% for women vs. 6% for men? Me neither! There was sales information on moderate-priced jewelry vs. premium-priced jewelry, as well as sales of specific jewelry categories – diamonds, pearls, gold, gemstones and costume. Who knew all this information was neatly gathered and just waiting to be picked?
I also took a look at some of the Business Plan “how-to” books the librarian left with me, to get different viewpoints. The selection of books will vary by library, but Linda Pinson’s Anatomy of a Business Plan had a nice section on e-tailing, which is of particular interest for my business.
My dear little Perky was still comfortably asleep under the table. Children would pass by, point to her and laugh, surprised to see a pup in the library. She brings a smile to everyone who sees her. I walked away to make some copies – she awoke, looked up at me but stayed put under the table. I am so fortunate to be raising such a smart little girl – she is such a joy!
I know, back to the Business Plan.
With a little digging I was able to define my target customer – that elusive woman who has the income to spend on my jewelry creations. This will be an important factor later on when I build my marketing plan. I researched the jewelry sales for my DMA – I would be more than happy with a micro-percentage of existing market share. The sales numbers for retail jewelry locations gave me ideas for other sales venues. All in all, I spent several very illuminating hours in the library. I had enough ammo to knock off yet another section of the Business Plan.
I woke little Miss Perky up and we went home, our job done for the day.
Next: The Business Plan – Market Analysis, Part II