Planning Your Web Hosting Business - Key Parts of a Business Plan: The Market
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This brings us to the third section of your business plan: the market. It might also be one of the most comprehensive. Yes, you need to do research (and maybe some soul searching) when you write the section about your enterprise, but you really need to dig when you work on this section. A thorough version encompasses seven parts: the industry; market size and rate of growth; target market; the competition; sales approach; pricing policy; and promotion and advertising. Some of these sub-sections may contain only a paragraph or two; you might find that putting the information from certain sections into a graphical format (such as a chart or a table) helps you think about it better than writing lots of text.
When writing about the industry, you’ll need to do significant research to get a good overview. What are the major challenges that face web hosts today? How much does it cost to get into the business? How much does it cost to serve customers? What keeps the industry a going concern? How much turnover is there? Finding the answers to these questions will get you off to a good start.
Discussing the market size and rate of growth naturally follows from the previous topic. How big is the web hosting business? How much money was made in the business last year? Two years ago? How much will be made in the next couple of years? How many people will need someone to host their websites? These are the kinds of questions that this section deals with.
Next, and perhaps most importantly, you must consider your target market. This is the specific segment of people looking for web hosting that you hope to serve. Do you hope to serve businesses in a specific geographic region? Podcasters? Online auction runners? Not-for-profits? Whatever segment or segments you serve, you need to know what they want and need, how to fill those needs, and—for the future security of your business—what the trends are for your target market’s future behavior (i.e. how their needs will change, and what they’re likely to do about it).
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