Ask any entrepreneur about their early days of starting a business and they’ll probably tell you those first baby steps were hard. Not only were they trying to figure out how to put together a business plan and secure funding, but also because they needed to have a solid market entry strategy.
Getting overwhelmed by the little steps towards building your business is a normal phenomenon for entrepreneurs, and it can often feel like you’re blindly trying to throw all the pieces together.
Creating a strong market entry strategy hinges on one thing — being crystal clear on your goal. Once you know exactly what you’re trying to do, then you can work backwards and start figuring out how to make it happen.
Why Your Market Entry Strategy Matters
The market entry strategy section of your business plan is where you start mapping out the steps needed to meet your business goals. While that may seem like a simple task, this is often the part where things start to fall apart for entrepreneurs.
This tends to happen due to the fact that if the goals outlined in this section aren’t clearly defined, it’ll impact the clarity of the rest of the strategy throughout the business plan.
You may have a goal of launching your product with 10 major retailers, but if you don’t have a solid plan for the exact steps you’ll take to make this happen, your potential investors will have concerns.
Investors reviewing this section of your business plan want to see a clear path forward. By showing your experience, combined with steps towards reaching the goal, you’re demonstrating that you’ve got both the expertise and strategy to implement your market entry strategy effectively.
Bankers and underwriters will be looking to see if your approach is sensible, practical and easy to understand. This means it’s critical to consider how the information you’re including will translate for people who may not have any experience in the industry.
A Problem, a Solution and a Plan to Cover it All
A strong market entry strategy section starts with a focus on your goals, but you need to know which areas to highlight.
Let’s look at the areas you’ll want to focus on:
The industry problem statement is what drives your business goals. Having done extensive research, you should be able to see where your competition is flourishing and where they’re floundering. With that knowledge, you can show the solution your business will bring to the market.
Once you’ve nailed down the industry problem statement, you can move on to writing your solution statement. This is where you show a concrete plan for meeting the market needs, and demonstrates the purpose and focus of your business.
Next comes the high-level how. You’ve outlined the problem and solution, so now you have to show you plan to deliver.
In this same section, you’re also going to address your goals for customer perception. This speaks to what you want your brand to be known for, and relates to your overall values and mission. As this area can be a bit broad, I recommend breaking it down into short and long-term goals for your brand.
Define Your Relevance
Your last area of focus in the market entry strategy section is creating a plan for how you’ll solidify your place in the industry by being relevant to consumers.
According to the Harvard Business Review, the five Ps of relevance are:
Each of these will need to be carefully considered and then you’ll need to define how you plan to address each one.
What you don’t want to do is get too detailed and leave readers overwhelmed. Your market entry strategy is only one section of the overall business plan, so brevity is key.
Your goals throughout this section support the next phases in your business, not dominating the market. While there’s nothing wrong with having a grand vision for the future when it comes to your business plans, what you’re including should be achievable within the next three years.
If you’re feeling challenged to complete your market entry strategy, start with defining the problem and the solution. From there, you can build out your how. Lean on your competitive research for guidance, and remember — the better you define your market entry strategy, the easier it’ll be to actually enter the market!
Check out my new book How to Write an Exceptional Business Plan HERE for more details on completing a market entry strategy, including how to effectively research and other helpful tips!