THE MARKET SURVEY
1. What is the first step to process the design of my marketing plan?
The first step is to analyse deeply the market our product or service is addressed to. A market survey consists of the analysis of 4 elements: customer analysis, competitorsâ€™ analysis, analysis of the activity sector, analysis of the environment we are going to develop our business activity in. Knowledge of our weaknesses and strengths, as well as the possible opportunities and threats that might arise is a key part of the process to design our marketing plan.
2. How can I analyze my potential customers and their purchase behavior?
Firstly you need to limit the market and establish which group of clients you are going to address to. To carry out the segmentation you need to choose the criteria that is suitable for your activity. The criteria will be different depending on if you are using the segmentation for consumer markets or to industrial markets. It is important to answer some questions to know how the potential customer behaves.
Â (Learn more about it:Market Survey â€“ Customer)
3. What method can I use to analyze the position of my competitors?
The position of your competitors in the market can be analyzed by evaluating their resources and capacities. Here are questions we can evaluate in our competitors in order to know their strengths and weaknesses: tangible resources, intangible resources, capacities and closeness to costumers. (Learn more about it: Market survey â€“ Competition)
4. What model shall I apply to my activity sector?
To your activity sector you should apply 5 forces model created by Michael Porter. It consists of 5 competitive forces: supplier power, customer power, threat of new entrants, threat of substitute products and rivalry among competitors.
(Learn more about it: Market survey â€“ The activity sector)
5. Which external factors might influence my business and why?
Your business might be influenced by political, economic, social and technical environments. These factors might influence your business in positive or negative ways so everyone needs be prepared for the unexpected and be sure that it is possible to adapt to external and internal factors.
(Learn more about it: The market survey – Environment)
6. What methods and research techniques are available for me to use?
There are a few methods and research techniques divided by quality and quantity. From the qualitative techniques, there are some methods and research techniques like deep individual interviews, discussion group and Delphi method. Quantitative research techniques are personal, mail, telephone, online, omnibus surveys etc.
(Learn more about it: The market survey â€“ Sources of information)
1. Is there another method on how to analyze my new business when the market survey has been done?
Yes, you can analyze it by using SWOT analysis. It`s a tool to survey your business by analyzing internal environment (weaknesses and strengths) and its external conditioning features (threats and opportunities) in order to plan its strategy.
(Learn more about it: SWOT analysis)
2. Is there a place on your website with an example of how to analyze my company in case of internal and external features?
Yes, go to section My Company step by step and look in subsection SWOT analysis for detailed description. Templates are also allocated there.
3. What results or strategies can we expect when evaluating SWOT analysis?
Depending on the results of your SWOT you can adopt different strategies, which are classified into different categories – survival strategies, defensive strategies, the reorienting strategies and offensive strategies.
(Learn more about it: SWOT analysis)
MARKETING PLAN DESIGN
1. What are the main elements of the marketing plan?
Marketing contains a group of elements known as a MARKETING MIX, which are: PRODUCT/SERVICE, PRICE, DISTRIBUTION AND COMMUNICATION. These elements are also called the 4 P (product, price, place and promotion). (Learn more about it: INTRODUCTION)
2. What is the advantage of the 4P marketing plan development approach?
Establishing a marketing plan integrating all the Marketing Mix variables is a basic pillar for a company to be competitive in the market. (Learn more about it: INTRODUCTION)
3. What aspects/features of products, services, prices, distribution and communication do I have to consider/evaluate while developing a marketing plan?
While developing a marketing plan one should know and evaluate different aspects of the company product, service, prices, distribution and communication. For example, the main features constituting the product are basic function, tangible features, connected services, intangible elements. (Learn more about it: PRODUCT / SERVICE POLICY, PRICE POLICY, DISTRIBUTION POLICY, and COMMUNICATION POLICY)
4. Which marketing strategy is best adopted to a service company?
Due to its intangibility, the service commercialization is more complex than the productsâ€™, which makes us develop specific marketing strategies for them. (Learn more about it: PRODUCT / SERVICE POLICY)
5. What should be taken into consideration while developing a price policy?
You need to know the main steps in developing a price policy. They are:Â 1. determination of the product or service market value, compared with the competitorsâ€™ prices; 2. determination if there are any segments with more price sensitivity and identify them; 3. evaluation of the product or service costs; 4. choosing the most suitable strategies and methods and fix the price; 5. review of the price compared with the competitorsâ€™ movements.Â (Learn more about it: Â PRICE POLICY)
6. What are strategies and tactics to fix prices?
When deciding the system to fix prices in our company, we have three major methods, based on three criteria: costs, competition and market. Depending on the combination of the above described criteria, one can establish distinguishing strategies, competitive strategies, psychological price strategies, strategies for product lines and strategies for new products, which will result in multiple tactics to fix prices (Learn more about it: PRICE POLICY)
7. What should be taken into consideration while developing distribution policy?
The distribution policy will allow determining the way we are going to make the product arrive at the final consumer, which will depend on the distribution chain link we are at (producer, intermediary or retailer).Â The decisions we will have to make are the following:Â choose the distribution system or strategy; choose the distribution channels. (Learn more about it: Â DISTRIBUTION POLICY)
8. How do I have to develop an effective communication policy of my company?
It is useful to know steps in developing an effective communication policy. They are: 1. setting the communication objectives; 2. identification of the target public; 3. choice of the communication mix; 4. choice of the communication channels; 5. design of the message; 6. determining the budget; 7. result control. (Learn more about it: COMMUNICATION POLICY)
9. What are the advantages and disadvantages of different publicity media?
Publicity media comprise different means of media such as press, magazines, radio, television, cinema, internet, etc. (Learn more about it: COMMUNICATION POLICY)
10. When do we use direct marketing and sales promotion?
We use direct marketing when we search for feedback from the target group. Sales promotion is aimed at boosting short-term demand. (Learn more about it: COMMUNICATION POLICY)
11. What are public relations and what are its main tools?
Public relations are the group of generic programs designed to improve, keep and protect the companyâ€™s, the productâ€™s or the serviceâ€™s image. (Learn more about it: COMMUNICATION POLICY)
12.. How do I select the brand for my company?
The brand is the main way we have to identify a product or service and distinguish it from the competitorsâ€™. (Learn more about it: Â COMMUNICATION POLICY)
1. How do I choose financial resourcesâ€™?
There are several criteria, which help to choose the right financial source by it usage. The following aspects should be determined: material, immaterial and financial investments, costs of establishing the company, quantify the initial inventory stock, funds provision (cash flow) to face the expenses of the first activity months and VAT of the goods and services. If the determination is right you know what expenses youâ€™ll meet in the future and that shows how much and what kind of resources you need. (Learn more about it: INVESTMENT PLAN)
2. What are main criteria of borrowing?
The criteria are the following:
Commissions: opening, surveyâ€¦
Total or partial liquidation: existence or not of penalties
Rate of interest: fixed, variable (ex. Euribor +1%)
Possibility of interest-only period: the interest-only period at the beginning of a loan is the period where only interests are paid and we do not repay any capital. During the interest-only period, the quota is lower, alleviating the company, but the total cost of the loan will be higher than if there is not an interest-only period. (Learn more about it: FINANCE PLAN)
3. How do I decide between long term and short term financing tools?
There are very diverse formulas for financing, but one of the first things to do is to choose between long or short term tools. In order to make the right choice we must fulfill the following rule: We should only use loans or credit lines in one-year or shorter terms to finance punctual cash needs that are going to be solved in the short term. We should never finance with short term formulas investments that will take several years to get recovered, as this might lead us to a financial drowning.(Learn more about it: FINANCE PLAN)
4. How do I manage enterprise cash flow?
It is not enough to analyse the companies profitability, we also have to check its financial health. There can be paradoxes where the accounting states show profit, but there is not enough cash flow to face the payments. The main principle here is to forecast both income and expenses. The cash flow forecast is a financial analysis tool that will allow us know the payments and collections forecast in order of months and therefore, anticipate possible cash problems. So to forecast income and expenses over whole a period (e.g. year) will indicate for you where a high requirement of resources have to be anticipated. Â (Learn more about it: Â CASHFLOW FORECAST)
5. What should be under consideration when sales and profit are forecasted?
When sales and profit are forecasted we should:
Generate several scenarios: pessimist, optimist, realist
Distinguish by business lines
Identify the most suitable measurement units depending on the kind of activity: no. of students, no. of machines, % of occupationâ€¦
Perform the sales expectation in order of months to check its evolution
Take into account possible seasonality of the demand
Make the expectations for a 3-year period
(Learn more about it: CASHFLOW FORECAST)
6. How to balance cash flows in long and short terms?
If there is debit balance of cash flow in certain moments and they are easily corrected in the following months, the measures to be taken will also be focused on the short term.
If there is persistent lack of cash flow, we should observe its trend. If the trend is positive and after some reasonable time, the incomes are able to balance the expenses, we should take medium or long term measures.
If the trend is negative, being the lack of cash flow increasingly severe and without any expectation to get corrected, it will be necessary to plan our enterprise strategy again. It is possible that we are not facing a cash flow problem but a possible lack of feasibility of the business. (Learn more about it: Â CASHFLOW FORECAST)
7. Which factors influence financial results of enterprises: profit or loss?
Â If we look of the side of profit/loss financial statement main determinants are income, expenses, value of the investments made in fixed assets (depreciation), financial investments, administrative cost, interests and taxes. If we look more global than inside the enterprise – on region, country and world levels, we should understand that economical, political and social situations have an important impact on enterprise financial results.Â (Learn more about it: Â PREVISION PROFIT AND LOSS ACCOUNT)
LEGAL AND PRACTICAL ASPECTS
1. Which location is most suitable to start up my company?
In order to decide which location is most suitable for your company, you have to evaluate different possibilities and factors influencing your choice. You also have to consider your sector peculiarities and type of business you are going to develop. (Learn more about it: LOCATION)
2. What possibilities may be considered while choosing the right location for a new company?
You may consider various possibilities while choosing the location for your company. They might be very different such as home address, business incubators, etc.Â (Learn more about it: LOCATION)
3. Which factors should be evaluated to make a decision about the location for a new company?
There are numerous factors which will influence your choice of the company location. Among the main ones you have to evaluate special needs of your business, population density, the competitorsâ€™ placement and other. (Learn more about it: Â LOCATION)
4. What juridical form is most suitable for my company?
Depending on your business idea, the size of the capital, number of stakeholders and other factors, you have to decide which legal format is most suitable for your company. The most popular legal forms of business are: individual company, joint stock company, limited liability company, etc. (Learn more about it: CHOICE OF THE JURIDICAL FORM)
5. Which legal procedures should I follow to start up a company?
Procedures to start up a company start from decision on the legal form of the enterprise and finish with the legal registration. For example, in Lithuania there are 11 typical steps in this process: clear goals and aims of the company; decision on the legal form of the company; choice of the location; choice of the name of the company and registration of the name; writing the document of foundation (the Act of foundation or the Agreement of the foundation); opening of the bank account; paying the initial contribution; organization of the assembly of foundation andÂ confirmation of the companyâ€™s statutes, management bodies, etc.; filling in the necessary documents for registration;Â formalization of the documents by the notary and registration of a company. (Learn more about it: PROCEDURES TO CREATE A COMPANY)
6. When choosing the juridical form for my company how will I know what taxes apply to me?
While starting up a company you have to know taxes which are compulsory for companies in your country. The main taxes in Lithuania paid by companies are: personal income tax, value added tax, income tax, immovable property tax, social security tax, excise duty (if applicable), payments to the Guarantee fund (Learn more about it: Â TAXING)
7. What are labour regulations I have to consider when planning my companyâ€™s human resources?
Labour law is characterized by three main options: legal norms regulating general labour law issues;
legal norms regulating collective labour aspects; legal norms, regulating individual labour relations. (Learn more about it: Â LABOUR ASPECTS)
8. What do I have to know about the patenting and copyright issues?
The patenting and copyright issues are protected by law. In various countries they differ. For example, in Lithuania, the main legal acts regulating the protection of intellectual property are the following:
Law on Designs
Law on Trade Marks
Law on Copyright and Related Rights
Law on the Legal Protection of Topographies of Semiconductor Products