How To Develop the Industry Analysis of Your Business Plan

Written by Dave Lavinsky
industry analysis

Just like other key success factors of your business plan, the industry analysis section explains why your new or growing business is valuable to investors or lenders. The word, “analysis” doesn’t mean you’ll have to research in libraries or collect statistics from all over the world; it only means readers will be able to learn some facts about the industry in which your business operates. Why is this important? The industry analysis facts help explain why an investment in your business is a good idea for important reasons.
 

What Is The Industry Analysis In A Business Plan?

The industry analysis is a collection of facts that build the story of your business and the industry within which it operates. An industry analysis usually contains some details about the size of the industry. It will offer numbers that show how active the industry is overall and how much it’s growing. An industry analysis may also include industry trends and information about the competitive landscape. Along with other facts, the industry analysis will outline why your business is a solid opportunity for investors or lenders and this is why it is an important part of your business plan.

Here’s what you should know about creating an industry analysis: it’s not hard to do. In the following paragraphs, we will walk you through the places where you can find information and you’ll see how to set up the industry analysis like a pro. Use this analysis to show investors or lenders how much you know about the industry in which your own business operates.
 

Industry Analysis vs. Market Analysis

While building your industry analysis, you’ll probably find terms like “market analysis” or “market trends.” Where do these terms fit into an industry analysis? Let’s first look at the term, “industry analysis.” Think of the industry in which your business operates as an entire world. It is made up of businesses that are like yours or similar to yours. An industry analysis is the “big picture” view of a particular kind of business in a national or even global view.

If an industry analysis is the big picture, a “market analysis” is just one part of that big picture. A market analysis usually shows facts about two key areas within business: potential customers and major competitors of your business. There are several parts to your industry analysis, which you’ll build in the following section, but the market analysis is especially important to investors or lenders. It is a forecast of the potential success of your business.
 

Key Components of an Industry Analysis

There are several parts inside the “big picture” of an industry analysis; however, you only need to include those that relate to your business and industry. To help make this analysis easy to build, you’ll find the “key components” of an industry analysis listed here. While these are all important, if you are in an industry that needs more explanation, you can add analysis facts to this section, as well. The main idea here is to showcase the industry in which your business operates and detail why your business in this industry is a winning opportunity for investors or lenders.

First, read about the key components that you will place in an effective industry analysis. You’ll find out why each is important to the readers of your business plan. Then, in the following section, find what you will need to complete each key component in your industry analysis.
 

Industry Overview

The overview is a general look at your industry. Explain what you know about the industry. What products or services are sold? Is this industry worldwide or within the US? This section is a few sentences of explanation about the industry overall.
 

Industry Size

The size of the industry will tell readers just how big your business might become. It tells readers there is an audience of buyers who want the products or services sold and it suggests that there is potential in the industry for new products, new technology, and new ideas.
 

Market Size

The target market size relates only to two factors: the potential customers of your business and the main competitors of your business. This is not a highly-detailed examination, but it should be a specific one. You’ll want to include the most reliable facts possible to help investors or lenders understand the potential of your business.
 

Industry Rate of Growth

The rate of growth shows the age of any particular industry. Investors use it to gauge how much potential might be in a business. If the industry is in a fast-paced growth stage, a mature stage, or a declining stage, readers will want this information to make informed strategic decisions about the health of the industry.
 

Market Trends

In this section, you’ll show facts about trends among customers in the industry in general. For example, if you own a coffee shop, are industry suppliers suggesting customers want more varieties of coffee from which to choose? Are coffee shop owners in general bringing in new business with drive-through service? These kinds of details tell part of the industry story as it relates to customers in general.
 

Competitors

Every growing industry has competition among businesses and, while it is a positive sign for industry growth, it can also signal challenges and obstacles for new or growing businesses. Offering facts about the status of competition in your industry, including their strengths and weaknesses, pricing strategies, and marketing strategies, will help readers understand the health of your competitors in the industry.
 

Market Challenges

Just as there are always opportunities, there are also always challenges to an industry. This may include government regulations, labor laws, union requirements, or other issues that are challenges for the success of the industry overall. These should be included in your industry analysis report to give a full understanding to readers of the current status of the industry.
 

Strategies and Strengths

This key component of your industry analysis looks at strategies that may be used to overcome challenges. It also sketches out how the strengths of the industry meet any obstacles within the industry.
 

How To Write An Industry Analysis For Your Business

Each key component for a comprehensive industry analysis is defined above. However, these components cannot be presented in your business plan unless you know how to find the information you need. The following is an “action list” with resources you can search to find the information for each key component. In no time, you’ll be a pro at finding the information and facts you need to write your industry analysis.
 

1. Action Step: Industry Overview

To find basic facts about the industry in which your business operates, conduct an online search to discover various websites that hold industry information. Look for industry information in:

  • National trade associations
  • Labor unions
  • Governmental agencies
  • National advertising firms
  • Business database groups
  • National business associations

 

2. Action Step: Industry Size

The size of the industry in which your business operates may be a major consideration for investors or lenders. You may offer historical growth, projected growth, global growth or local growth rates. It is preferable for industries to show thriving businesses and growing numbers; however, it is also important to note that newly-established industry groups are often intriguing and inviting to investors. Use specific industry size facts from reliable sources in this section of your industry analysis.

Look for industry information in:

  • Governmental agencies (Economic Census, Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • Business database groups
  • Competitor information
  • Manufacturing reports

 

3. Action Step: Market Size

The market size for your business will be a more detailed look at your business competition than the larger industry size research. You’ll want to search for verifiable facts and statistics online and via trade association information.

  • IBISWorld (reliable, paid-subscription)
  • Statista (online portal)
  • D&B Hoovers (industry/business directory)
  • Trade associations
  • Industry manufacturing reports

 

4. Action Step: Industry Rate of Growth

This important fact will tell a crucial story to investors or lenders: the rate of growth, year over year, will suggest a rapid growth industry, a mature industry, or a declining industry. Search for reliable information for the year prior to the current one (i.e. if 2024, look at 2023):

  • Trade association magazines
  • Government reports or filings
  • Market watch reports
  • Advertising/marketing reports

 

5. Action Step: Market Trends

If you are unsure of the industry trends, look at recent business magazines for updated or new information and check the following resources for news:

  • Online search of competitors
  • Trade associations
  • Union and labor group associations
  • Industry trade magazines

 

6. Action Step: Competitors

If you are unsure of who your business competitors are or where they are located, this is the perfect time to conduct market research to find these details. Note how big their businesses might be, when they were each established, who owns the companies, how many employees they have, and add any details regarding yearly revenues that can be found. Also, note any signs of growth or loss in the competitor businesses. Look in the following for information:

  • Local business groups
  • City or state governmental information
  • Trade associations
  • Businesses that may want to collaborate with yours

 

7. Action Step: Market Challenges

Every business has challenges from competitors, growth trends, shifting business suppliers, and other variables. List these for potential investors or lenders. Acknowledge the challenges, and explain your strategy for overcoming each challenge. In this way, readers will understand that you’ve pre-determined a course or action by forecasting the challenge and preparing for it. This is the type of decision-making and leading that investors and lenders want to see.
 

8. Action Step: Strategies and Strengths

To complement your strategies to meet any market challenges, list ways in which you will use the strengths of your business to put solid growth plans into place and meet those business objectives and goals. Indicate any strategies you’ve designed to overcome competitor advantages and outline the competitive edge or unique value your business will offer over others. In this key component, allow your own vision and goals to shine for readers.
 

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