When you hire a business plan consultant with a firm grasp on all business practices, your company will function efficiently. Apart from consulting, this person can act as a coach by motivating your salespeople with training sessions to enhance their marketing and sales skills. He or she can also serve as a broker, in the event you decide to acquire other companies that can make your business stronger and more competitive. Whatever you do, make sure to hire one or several to give you an edge over the competition.
If you know all of these except for Marketing, say, then this is where you will need to invest some time and effort. You can find a wealth of information by utilizing the traditional data sources such as chambers of commerce, major cities' websites, trade associations, the US Census Bureau, trade journals, magazine and online articles and advertising, etc. Performing keyword searches on Google, or Ask will bring up websites to check out. Following are some places to start:
American Demographics (adage.com/americandemographics): Just as the title suggests, numerous free reports about consumer demographics in the U.S. nationally and by statistical area.
Industry Analysis - How does your product or service compare with what is currently on the market? What is the trend in the overall industry? What have been the total sales in this industry over the previous 3 to 5 years? What new products or technologies have had the biggest impact on this industry recently? What is the future outlook for these and what trends are emerging? Who are the competitors, where are they located, and how are they doing? What advantage do you offer over them? Who is buying this product or service now? Describe the typical customer for this product or service.