1. What is currently going on in your industry (what is the status of the industry, what are the trends)? [The U.S. Census has economic data to profile all industries. You can access a spreadsheet with industry-level facts from the following website: http://www2.census.gov/econ/susb/data/2011/us_6digitnaics_2011.xls. You can simply report some overall statistics from this spreadsheet. For example, a lawn care company in Thibodaux is essentially working in the “Landscape and architectural services” industry. In 2011, this industry had over 5,000 firms employing 21,800 individuals across the U.S. The overall annual gross income for this industry exceeded $1 Billion. You can search for your particular industry along with searching other industry websites for additional information.]
2. Are there any social or economic trends emerging or changing in your industry (e.g., aging population, product prices are increasing, technology changes)? [You should search relevant industry websites and/or publications for social or economic trends.]
3. Are there barriers to entry for this industry? What are average growth rates within this industry? [Again, you should search relevant industry websites and/or publications for this information.]
4. LOCAL TARGET MARKET: Who are your target market customers (age, income level, sex, lifestyle, buying habits, etc.) in the area you plan on opening your business? [Use census data and percentage estimates to determine your market: www.city-data.com, www.factfinder.census.gov, quickfacts.census.gov, www.cesnsus.gov/epcd/cbp/view/cbpview.html, www.magportal.com, etc. This list is not exhaustive so you may find a website that better suits your needs. Basically, you should highlight demographic information representative of your customers. For example, a lawn care company in Thibodaux would want to know the median income level and number of households in that city. Of course, if the business were targeting a larger area (e.g., Tri-Parish area), you should summate all those numbers from the applicable cities. This information allows you to better describe your target market.]
5. Who are my direct and indirect competitors? What is their market share? Where are they located? [Search for and list the existing competitors for your business venture.]
6. What are your competitors’ products and how are they distributed? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
7. What are