Key Things to Ask Yourself about Customers and Competitors

Part of Business Plans For Dummies Cheat Sheet (Australian Edition)

Customers are the lifeblood of any business. The more you know about your customers, the more you know about your own business. Customers tell you how to succeed in the marketplace. Your customers are so important that you can’t afford to leave them out of your business plan.

Answer these three questions about your customers:

  • Who is buying?

  • What do they buy?

  • Why do they buy?

Competitors are around to make life interesting. They always try to woo your customers away, promising products or services that have better value, so you can’t ignore them. You have to be able to identify your competitors; how they do business and where they plan to go in the future. Competition represents a big piece of your business environment. Your business plan should cover what you know about your competitors and how you intend to keep track of them on an ongoing basis.

Answer these three questions about your competitors:

  • How big are they?

  • Which customers are they after?

  • What is their strategy?

Your plan should also address how you intend to use the knowledge you gain to choose competitive battles that you can win.

Make sure you address these three points about winning over your customers and keeping competitors at bay:

  • Cut costs to the bone

  • Offer something unique

  • Focus on one customer group