One key component critical to your success is scoping the competition. A business plan consultant studies the area where you will be located quite thoroughly. For example, if you plan on setting up a coffee shop on Main Street, or within the vicinity, the small business consultants you consult with will inquire about the number of existing coffee shops and the services they provide.
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:
Risk Assessment - What weaknesses are inherent in this venture? What vulnerabilities face this type of venture? What impact will these have? What new technologies may affect this venture over the next 1 to 3 years? What contingency plans are in place? What level of liability insurance is required? What does it cost? Who is the carrier? Possible Data Sources: trade associations; trade journals; Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE); industry salespeople; customers; focus groups.
One crucial function they perform is the formulation of business plans. This plan is based on the information provided by the client coupled with the vast wealth of knowledge and research a business plan consultant has.
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