Strategic Planning Kit For Dummies
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You need to have a complete picture of your company to adequately prepare a strategic plan, so taking a high-level look at your market is important. Your market is a group of customers that you can easily identify who respond to your products or services in similar ways. Your offering satisfies the needs and wants of the whole group.

Trends, changes, and shifts that occur in your market likely have the biggest impact on your company. Based on the information you have available today, you can quickly determine the opportunities and threats that exist in your markets by following a few steps:

  1. List the three to five main markets you compete in. Also list one or two new potential markets.

  2. Determine whether each market is growing, shrinking, or staying the same.

  3. Figure out the size of each market, including number of customers, projected dollar size, and number of companies in the market.

  4. Determine whether serving the market presents an opportunity or whether the market isn’t worth focusing on.

  5. Summarize the markets you want to focus on in your opportunities section of your SWOT analysis.

Don’t worry about being exhaustive in your list because doing so can cripple your planning effort. You need to have enough info to feel comfortable with making decisions based on what you’ve collected. If you don’t feel comfortable with the information you have available today, select one or two items to research further.

About This Article

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About the book author:

Erica Olsen is cofounder and COO of M3 Planning, Inc., a firm dedicated to developing and executing strategy. M3 provides consulting and facilitation services, as well as hosts products and tools such as MyStrategicPlan for leaders with big ideas who want to empower and focus their teams to achieve them.

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