Business Plan Help

Discussion in 'Starting a Business' started by CNEW, Mar 9, 2013.

  1. CNEW

    CNEW
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    Hello,

    I am looking to start a craigslist/backpage ad type site. Need help with the business plan.

    Market research etc etc.

    This is my first time writing a business plan.

    What is the best way to go about it ?

    What are some of the best ways to get the info i need ?

    What sites can give me info on my competition.

    How do i find out about the size of the market and how much income the market generates.

    That info and any other info you may think i will need is helpful.

    Thanks and hope to hear from you soon.
     
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  2. PS9

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    If you're looking to start a site like Craigslist, Angieslist, etc. I honestly think you're wasting your time if you write a business plan for something like that. Just get the website online and start advertising it. You'll have the website online before you finish writing a business plan for it.

    Business plans are great if you get something out of it, such as an investor that wanted data before investing. A website like Craigslist can be made in hours (or minutes if you download one of the many clone scripts) and it's not going to cost that much to start. Coming up with an estimated budget, how much you think you'll make, etc. is not a question that needs to be answered because it won't improve your business. The only exception might be if you're just curious. If that's the case then Craigslist was started in 1995 and currently has 30 employees. The founder, Craig Newmark, is worth about $400 million according to Wikipedia.

    One thing I think is far more critical in your case than a business plan is you have to answer one question; if you can answer it with something more than "our site looks better" then continue. You have to answer: Why is my new website better than Craigslist and what do I offer that is significantly different (different, it doesn't necessarily have to be better but if it's a clone no one is switching) than all the existing sites? The answer should be something that is a significant differentiator because you're asking people to move from an established website that ultimately works just fine for most people. There's the odd complaint here and there but any business has that.

    One thing that concerned me a bit, you're nickname on here is "CNEW". You aren't planning to advertise the business as "The new Craigslist" right? because I don't think you're part of the Central New England Woodturners. Advertise yourself as a new thing, something different, not an improvement that when it's all said and done could be coded into Craigslist in a day instantly putting you out of business.
     
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  3. CNEW

    CNEW
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    Thanks PS9

    I will comment on a few of the observations you made.

    1. The only way my site is cragslist are alike is that they or both classified ad sites. My site will offer some of the same things that craigslist has but way more. I can not get into what exactly it will be because this is a public forum.

    2.I need a business plan to keep me on track it will also help me to explain the site. Since there is not another site currently online like it.

    3.The question of how is my site better or different than Clist. I at one time shopped on Clist and more than a few things upset me at times. We plan to fix the problems and add to the site overall.

    4.CNEW are my name initials it has nothing at all to do with the site.

    5. With the amount of money craigslist makes they can change that site into the one i want to create but they will have to change the entire site no longer making it the craigslist many love.Clist has not changed much at all in the last decade or so.

    As i stated Clist and my site are not really the same it is just that Clist is the only site i can compare it to. Also Clist was the site i was SICK of when i started to want to create this site.

    Once again thanks PS9 for the feedback and the info.

    Hope to hear more advice for you guys soon.
     
  4. Fergal

    Fergal
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    CNEW we have a section for "Business Plan Templates" in our Useful Business Resources / Links thread. You will probably find some of those links helpful. You might also want to have a look through some of our earlier discussions listed below;

    How to Write a 1 Page Business Plan
    Article On Business Plan!
    Developing a business plan

    My suggestion would be to start off with a basic business plan that you write for your own eyes only. In other words don't try to write it to impress investors or anything like that, write it for yourself as a practical guide to clarify what your business will be and how it will make a profit. If necessary, you can tweak it for potential investors at a later date.

    Good luck with your new business and welcome to Business Advice Forum.
     
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  5. Ted

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    Sounds to me like you have found yourself a real business opportunity.

    If you want to judge the viability of the business and how much demand there is for it, then I think you will need to figure out who the primary audience is going to be for your site and see how much interest they have in an alternative to what is already out there. I can't offer an more specific advice than that unless you want to divulge more info about the project. If you want my advice delivered privately, then PM me with much greater detail. (Believe me I have no interest in competing against you as there are limitless opportunities to launch businesses online.)

    I agree with pretty much everything PS9 said with one exception - I think that creating a business plan is still very smart as Fergal suggested. Sometimes when people think of a business plan, they envision a really detailed plan with lots of numbers and cash flow projects and such as if you were going to seek financing from a lender. But a business plan doesn't have to be like that. You could just create your own personal plan for how you are going to roll out your new business so that you have more clarity about what you are doing. I think that the increased clarity is the most valuable part of any business plan. You won't realize how much it honestly helps until you sit down and write out your plan. When you do that, you will see that certain decisions jump out at you. It makes you realize what is important and what is not important. It makes you start finding answers to questions you are going to be asking yourself down the road.

    The plan doesn't have to be written in stone. You can change it as you come up with new ideas and as the market forces you to change.
     
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  6. CNEW

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    Thanks to Fergal and Ted for your info.

    Ted once the project is underway i will give more info. To comment on your questions as to how much peop;e want it i will say this. Everyone i speak to about the project LOVES IT. With that said they are all friend and family.

    I tend to take there response on this project to be genuine. Ideas i have had in the past did not get the same response.

    I honestly think in 4 or 5 yrs we will ask ourself what did we do before this site.

    I just have to get this plan started and then execute the plan.

    As i continue to write the plan i will come hear for info that i can not find and hopefully you guys can help me with that info.

    Once again thanks.
     
  7. Ted

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    One other thing I would like to share with you.....

    If you ask venture capitalists, angel investors & other business investors about how to get information and advice for your new business idea, the majority of them will tell you to ask other entrepreneurs openly and not to be overly scared about revealing your super secret business idea.

    Here is why...

    The vast majority of people who will even hear about your business idea accidentally are too damn lazy to do anything with your idea anyway. You could spill the beans on your idea and actually give them your entire business plan and still have them not act on it. There are a few people out there who might hear about it who are not too lazy to act on it. But, those people are already going to be fully engaged in another business of some sort and are extremely unlikely to steal your idea so to speak.

    Not to mention, getting good advice from other entrepreneurs is kind of hard to come by. So, when you get the chance to get it and you pass up on that chance, you may end up missing out on something that could have helped you in a tremendous way.

    Another point to make - there are endless good business ideas out there - coming up with a great idea is the easy part - executing a plan to take that idea from conception into a successful business enterprise is the hard part.

    I know that these words I am telling you here are not going to change your own desire to keep everything a secret. But, maybe if you happen to stumble across the same advice a few more times at other places, just maybe you will change your mind.

    Best of luck to you with your business venture. I wish you great success.
     
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  8. Bharat Book

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    For making business plan there is need of study the various types of researches, markets, companies, about your products also, This forum has other sections also that will help you out as mentioned by 'Fergal'.
    Good luck!
     
  9. MarkTaylor

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    Hi CNEW,

    If you are based in the UK then the Business Link website is the best place to start. There's no definitive way to write a business plan so you kind of have to make your own way - but you will find plenty of templates available.

    I am a great believer in quantifying your market using basic statistics. For example, a wedding planner setting up in Glasgow can easily calculate...

    The Average Cost of a wedding (around £13,000)
    Number of weddings per year in Glasgow and surrounding areas (from the registrars office)
    Estimate the percentage that use wedding planners
    Estimate the average wedding planner's fee - say 10%


    Multiplying the four together will give an estimate of the market value for wedding planners in Glasgow. Divide this by the number of competitors and this should give a feel for what can be achieved.

    A more qualitative approach is then needed to consider how to compete successfully in this sector and I guess that comes down to going out and speaking to customers!

    Hope this helps...

    M.
     
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  10. Biz

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    One way you could start small and test out the market could be: Take those eliments of the idea that you are not sure about, and put them out there to see how the market respond.
     
  11. Bharat Book

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    both you mentioned sites are very good at their field if you are interested in doing like these then you have to study those sites first their market coverage area their strategies and also about their history of business how they had faced problems as well how they had recovered, it will helpful for you in avoiding mistakes and risk management.

    For the study of competitors or getting information on the competition in the market for you. For this you can get various sites available for this Search for the competitor analysis Or competitors study using search engine.
     
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  12. tarwiyah

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    One way you could start small and test out the market could be: Take those eliments of the idea that you are not sure about, and put them out there to see how the market respond.
     

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