You have a prize-winning idea! An intriguing product or service that consumers will find it hard if not impossible to say "No" to. What else could investors possibly want to know? How you plan to succeed and multiply their funding when so many start-ups fail to ride out the economic and competitive storms ahead. That's what!
To write a convincing proposal, you need an environmental scan covering at least 2 critical factors: the INDUSTRY in which you will operate and the MARKET in which your product(s) will compete for the consumer's time, money, and enthusiasm. You will, of course, emphasize your strengths and opportunities. You will also want to acknowledge and ideally suggest how you can neutralize any potential threats or weaknesses so that venture capitalists will know you have a comprehensive and realistic picture of challenges facing your new enterprise.
- How many firms or individuals out there are potential buyers of what you're planning to sell?
- Are there limits to how many units of your product a given consumer would purchase even if you matched his/her preferred price and product features perfectly? (An example might be MP3 players owned by a single person or family. Can you convince target customers to buy several: one to use in the car; one for viewing videos at home; one or more for jogging; and so forth)?
- Where are these potential customers and how tricky will it be to 1) craft compelling advertisements or promotional messages appealing to their interests and values for placement in their favorite media spots and 2) line up distribution outlets (big box stores, online sales, etc.)
- How many competitors are there?
- How strong are they?
- Is it easy or difficult to enter this market? (Will you need uncommon expertise; lots of expensive equipment; well-trained sales force, etc.?)
- How is the political and economic picture affecting the whole industry?
Check class handouts for a list of additional details to include (such as the cost of materials, equipment, training, and labor needed for initial set-up) before finalizing your proposal.
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