How to Market Your Small Business

Sample Market Plan


  1. Overview
      • A line of unique fishing tackle boxes, made from durable plastic materials, designed to be attached to the hull of a fishing boat. The product has a patent pending.
      • A manufacturing company, in its formation stage, is to be located in the Midtown, Mississippi, area.
      • The company will be incorporated, wholly owned by the founder.
      • Initial capital investment is estimated to be $20,000.
      • The location of the business provides easy access to component parts produced locally and is centrally located for efficient delivery of products.
      • The markets to be served are:
        • Short-Term (first year) – the states of Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Alabama
        • Long-Term – national.
      • The target consumer for this line is the sport fishing boat owner. The tackle box industry is to be considered in pricing policies only.
      • Economic Issue
      • Industry sales appear to be impacted by Disposable Personal Income (DPI). Research (quote your source) indicates a 10.15 percent DPI increase in the last year and a projected DPI annual growth of 9.2 percent over the next three years.
      • Outboard motor boat sales for the last five years were 2.386 million units (quote source). Projecting sales over the next five years using an average of the previous period and assuming 75 percent of those of the previous period are still in use, results in the potential of those plus 298,250 new boat owners in the regional market.
    1. Product Line DescriptionBusiness Description

      Industry Description

      Market Conditions

      Size of Market

  2. Marketing Issues
      • Hold a high to moderate interest in fishing
      • Currently own fishing tackle boxes
      • Read or subscribe to fishing magazines
      • Occasionally watch fishing programs on television
      • Occasionally attend boat and fishing expositions
      • Occasionally participate in fishing contests
      • Male head of household
      • The product line is to be positioned as a new convenient accessory for fishing boats.
      • Its function is to provide added convenience for the boat fisherman.
      • The product’s advantages are to be perceived as:
        • convenient, fast access to fishing lures
        • safe storage for fishing tackle
        • added value to the fishing boat
      • For fishing boat owners
        • While the product is not considered competitive to tackle boxes currently in use, pricing must be perceived as a value to the consumer as compared to the tackle box they now own.
        • Retail pricing on existing lines ranges from $6.95 to $84.95.
        • Wholesale pricing will be 30 percent to 60 percent below retail pricing, depending on type of retail outlet.
      • Cash discounts need to be offered to all market channels. Customary terms of 2 percent discount if paid within 10 days; net due in 30 days is advisable. If pricing is to be offered on a delivered basis, average freight costs must be included in the published price list.
      • Products distributed through market channels for boat owners should be shrink-wrapped with brochure explaining product features and installation instructions contained within. Twelve items packed in a cardboard shipping container. Copy on shipping container should include name of product, name of manufacturer, product code number, and gross weight of case. This information should appear on front, back, and both end panels.
      • Sales Service
        • An office procedure needs to be developed to coordinate orders received, production scheduling, shipping, and invoicing.
      • Shipping Issues
        • Shipments to market channels serving boat owners should be scheduled through United Parcel Service for orders less than five cases. Larger orders are to be shipped via common carrier. Delivery schedules need to be established and customers advised.
      • Storage Issues
        • Raw materials/components from suppliers.
        • All components are manufactured locally. Proper order scheduling will keep storage needs at a minimum.
      • Finished goods
        • Depending on order velocity and productive capacity, finished goods will be stored in plant or in local, outside warehouses.
      • Inventory control
        • A complete inventory control system needs to be established to provide adequate customer service levels, while minimizing working capital requirements.
      • For fishing boat owners
        • Wholesale/chain
          Boating supply houses
          Discount chain stores
          Chain hardware stores
          Fishing tackle distribution
          National chain stores
          Mail order houses featuring boating and fishing equipment
        • Retail
          Fishing tackle stores
    1. Customer Profile
      Fishing boat ownersProduct Positioning

      Pricing Issues

      Packaging issues

      Distribution Issues

      Market Channels

  3. Objectives
      • To attain distrubution in 300 retail outlets
      • To attain distrubution with one retail chain having national dustribution
      • To reach annualized sales of 5,000 units
      • To attain retail distrubution in 1,500 retail outlets
      • To obtain a supplier agreement with three major mail order houses
      • To attain distribution with five retail chains having national distribution
      • To reach an annualized sales volume of 50,000 units by the end of the fifth year
    1. Short-term (first year)Long-Term (five years)

  4. Strategies
      • Conduct preliminary test sale program in local market.
      • Direct sales and media efforts toward areas of high incidence of fishing and boating.
      • Maximize efforts to publicize and advertise product line, just preceding and during the fishing and boating season.
      • Provide adequate staffing to supervise sales efforts and ensure high levels of customer service.
  5. Tactics
      • Contact local market retail outlets for initial sales. Analyze movement of dealer reaction. Project sales after 90-day test.
      • Establish a reporting system to track sales efforts and results.
      • Develop a sales brochure for use in all sales presentations and direct mailings. Brochure should describe all features and benefits of the products, shipping and billing procedures, and should include pictures of the products and installation instructions.
      • Develop a media plan to include scheduling ads in major fishing and boating magazines. Copy and art work is to be developed for various size ads.
      • Develop a publicity program consisting of news releases describing new product, its features and benefits.
      • Release will be mailed to fishing/sport editions of all state newspapers and appropriate magazines.
      • Schedule participation in all major boat and fishing shows in the state and region. This will require development of collateral material to be used in the booth, including brochures, photographs, product samples, etc.
      • Schedule participation in the major fishing contests in the state and region. Arrange to give products to all professional contestants. Obtain photographs and testimonials from the contestants.
      • Contact major mail order houses offering fishing and boating supplies. Secure marketing agreement to advertise in their publications.
Marketing Expenditures Quarter I Quarter II Quarter III Quarter IV
Percent Marketing $Budget Percent Marketing $Budget Percent Marketing $Budget Percent Marketing $Budget
Trade Publications
Speciality Items
Direct Mail
Point of Purchase
Co-op Ads
Sales Promotion
Trade Shows
Customer Services
Community Events
Sales Force Expenditures
Motivation Program
Salaries and Benefits
Training Program
Professional Membership
Marketing Research
Computer Time
Salaries and Benefits
Total Budget
*NOTE: Many specific items in the sample will not be necessary for all businesses. Some businesses will require even more items in the budget.

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