Incorporate Third-Party Information into Your Business Plan

When building reliable and credible business plans, don’t underestimate the importance of accumulating data and information from reliable independent third parties (including various trade and industry sources).

Not so long ago, valuable third-party market, industry, and technological information was gathered via archaic methods such as researching in a library, subscribing to trade journals and magazines, and attending seminars or educational trade shows.

Today, most of the information you need is available electronically over the World Wide Web, which has improved the efficiency of accumulating information significantly. Most industries’ trade organizations now regularly produce and provide content via the web, but you have to be prepared to pay for it, because reliable information costs money.

Incorporate trade shows, seminars, and educational events into your efforts to accumulate third-party data. These events can not only offer a great source of information, but also (and potentially more importantly) be places to make contacts with potential future employees, vendors, customers, and funding sources that can assist with the execution of the business plan.

The third-party information you gather should cover multiple aspects of your business. Following are three examples of data sources for a jewelry company:

  • The World Gold Council provides an excellent overview of consumer gold-buying trends and patterns by price points, types of jewelry, and different sales channels. This information can support the marketing segment of the business plan.

  • If the production of jewelry is required, then information on available manufacturing sources is needed. Because a large majority of jewelry is produced globally (from Southeast Asia to Europe to Central America), the company needs to make sure that it has a good handle on the political, social, and economic stability of any foreign suppliers.

  • In addition, if the jewelry company is going to sell products through retail storefronts, then an overview of commercial real estate rental rates, trends, and so on can be incorporated (for a specific geographical area) to support a critical expense driver in the business.

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