APOIO.US

Business Planning

Frequent questions regarding a proposed business in the U.S.:

  • Are my products/services viable in the U.S. market?  Do I need to change them?
  • What market niches exist?  Which ones should I target?
  • How much do I need to invest?  When will I have profits?
  • Should I keep inventory in the U.S.?  Where?  How much?
  • Who will be my competitors?
  • Do I need a sales rep?  How do I select one?
  • Can I sell via e-commerce?
  • Do I need to open an U.S. company?  Where?

Entering the American market without answers to such questions is highly risky.  Since the same product can be marketed to several market niches, starting with the most promising niche can be key to your success.

Best advice of all: invest in proper planning !!!

USA4

Planning concepts

  • IDEA: the vision on a business that does not yet exist.
  • BUSINESS: a way to generate value and earn results.
  • PLAN: your intention regarding about events and elements that are within your control.
  • FORECAST: your opinion regarding events and elements outside your control.
  • BUSINESS PLAN: document that explains certain aspects of a proposed business.
  • BUSINESS LIBRARY: physical or virtual location to store information about the business.
  • FINANCIAL MODEL: tool to simulate a business operation in quantitative terms.
  • TO DOCUMENT: to formalize ideas and plans so they can be understood by others.
  • TO CONTROL: to compare actual results to planned results, and take corrective action.

Conception and feasibility

  • Conceving a new business requires creativity.
  • Creativity is limited by knowledge.  An umbrella will not be invented by someone who never saw rain.
  • Research is essential: the better you know a target market, the more creative and innovative your ideas can be.
  • The same product can be marketed in different ways to different niches.
  • In the USA, foreign companies should not limit themselves to the same business model they use in their home country.

Basic steps in conceiving a new business idea

  1. Define and document the idea of a new business.
  2. Research and understand the target market segments.
  3. Prepare your possibilities matrix.
  4. Evaluate each possible niche.
  5. Select the most promising market niches.

NOTE: these steps are much better explained in the Portuguese section of this website, as tha vast majority of our readers are from Brazil.  If you have questions, please contact us (in English is OK) and we will gladly go into more detail about this subject.

USA2

The operating plan

We use an 11-point approach to prepare an operating plan, starting with positioning - how your products and services will be differentiated from competors.

  1. Positioning ... how will we differentiate from competitors?
  2. Target segment ... who will we sell to ... if B2B, the plan must identify exactly the prospects; if B2C, targets are defined by reach of media to be used.
  3. Products and attributes ... description, specs, characteristics, options, packaging, service, Private Label (yes or no?). Certifications, training, warranty, repairs, customization, delivery times, installation, UPC, etc.
  4. Pricing policies ... price lists, payment terms, discount policies, advances, returns, etc.
  5. Promotional activities ...channels, ads, websites, events, B2B exchanges, etc.
  6. Presence in the USA ... structure needed in-country ... legal (corporate / tax), virtual/online, operational (facilities, personnel, etc.) commercial, logístics.
  7. Procedures ... operating, logistics, commercial, financial, accounting, tax, legal, administrative and personnel methods and controls.
  8. Personnel ... detailed organization chart, compensation policies, training, NDA, code of conduct, hiring, employees x contractors.
  9. Intellectual property ... trademarks, copyrights, patents.
  10. Financial projections ... when do we attain breakeven and payback?  Detailed model with cash flow projections and what-if scenarios.
  11. Project ... tasks to implement the plan, with critical path, timeline and duties.