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Business plan research

One of the most important ways you can demonstrate to potential investors that you have done your homework is to include well-researched market and competitive analysis in your business plan.

The sites listed here have helped us at Planigent provide this type of thorough research for our clients. We hope you find them useful too.

Small business market research consultant

Small Business Plan Guide

Locate valuable information to start or grow your business, write a business plan and develop sound business strategies. Resources include relevant and current information about a company's industry, customers and competitors.

Consumer Expenditure Surveys

Just as the title suggests, numerous free reports about consumer spending in the U.S. nationally and by statistical area.

eMarketer eStats
Good source for Online demographic information; also includes current stats on Internet users and online advertising.

Information Please
This site offers online almanacs covering a broad range of topics. A good starting point.

Internet Public Library
Another good starting place, the IPL is a large directory of research sites on myriad topics. The Census Data and Demographics page is especially useful and even has, believe it or not, links to information about countries other than the U.S.

Social Science Data on the Net
Assembled by the University of San Diego, this is an almost overwhelming collection of links to statistics, many of which are government-sponsored.

U.S. Census Bureau
Business plans samplesNot just the 2000 Census, but also plenty of other useful stats, especially the Economic Census that comes out every 5 years.

Competitive Intelligence and Analysis

Fuld & Company Competitive Intelligence
A competitive intelligence consulting firm, Fuld provides a nice list of sites to visit that will help you find information about your company's competitors.

Corporate Information
Starting a business start up
This is one we use often at Planigent when writing plans for our clients. This site features information summaries on over 350,000 companies in the U.S. and abroad.

Delphion Research
The place to go on the Web to find Patent information.
A good resource for top-side, big picture content, if not specific company data.

The CI Resource Index
The self-describes home of "Competitive Intelligence Resources Categorized," this site provides a good starting point for CI.

Planigent Tip: Competitive Analysis
Many entrepreneurs approach the Competitive Analysis section of their business plan with trepidation, as if having competitors will invalidate their idea. Don't fall into this trap.
Instead, use this section to show how well you have researched the industry. By demonstrating a thorough assessment of your competition, you are in a perfect position to describe your value proposition and what makes your offering unique. Make the most of it!

Angel Investor to a Planigent client
"I always try to poke holes in the business plans I read. To be honest, I can't find any in yours."

Management and Funding
Did you know that one of the most often cited reasons that Venture Capitalists give for their decisions on whether to fund a business or not is management? In fact, many will tell you that they would sooner back a good idea with a great management, than a great idea with only so-so management.
If you intend to give your pitch to a VC firm for later stage financing, make sure you have the right team in place to take the business forward. The fact that the business was your idea will not convince professional financiers that you are the right person to grow the business. The most important quality a management team can have in the eyes of investors is experience, preferably successful experience, in starting and growing a company.
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