Spotting Trends and Opportunities
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Spotting Trends and Opportunities. 2. chapter. Prepared by Ron Knowles Algonquin College. Business Plan Building Block. A business plan begins with the “big picture ”— the industry or market overview. Chapter 2 will:

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Spotting Trends and Opportunities



Prepared by

Ron Knowles

Algonquin College

Chapter 2

Business plan building block

Business Plan Building Block

A business plan begins with the “big picture”— the industry or market overview.

Chapter 2 will:

  • Help you describe the industry and market trends—to see the big picture—for your business.

  • Show you how to expand your knowledge of customer needs and your market niche.

  • Help you begin writing the description of your business.



Chapter 2

Learning opportunities

Learning Opportunities

  • Use mind mapping and brainstorming to discover business opportunities.

  • Identify trends and market signals that will create opportunities.

  • Discover market forces that underlie the trends.

  • Understand how to analyze the potential for small business success by applying the life-cycle yardstick to industries, products, services, and locations.

  • Use diagrams and mind maps to explore market segmentation.

  • Determine what business you are really in.

  • Begin describing your business.

Chapter 2

Recognizing opportunities

Recognizing Opportunities

  • Welcome to the entrepreneurial age

    • A new craft economy distinguished by quality, small customized quantities, technology, and service.

    • Where change creates opportunities for fast, flexible, and focused firms.

  • To be successful you will need to conduct market research and constantly respond to the changing needs of the marketplace.

  • The best business ventures to pursue are those which:

    • You enjoy

    • Make use of your unique experiences, skills and aptitudes

    • Serve a market need

Chapter 2

Idea generator brainstorming

Idea Generator—Brainstorming

  • Brainstorming is:

    • A free and open exchange of ideas.

    • A powerful technique used to help identify market trends and opportunities.

    • Used by many entrepreneurs who often record their brainstorming ideas using mind maps.

    • Successful when generated through an open, non-threatening environment that stimulates the creative juices.

Chapter 2

Be a trend watcher

Be a Trend Watcher

  • Trends help identify growth opportunities

  • Five major trends small business must embrace are:

    • Globalization. Winning companies export. What are your plans?

    • Technology. How will technology give you a competitive edge?

    • Internet and E-commerce —How will you profit from this connectivity?

    • The Boomers. It’s a wave you can’t ignore

    • Splintering of the Mass Market. How will you customize your product or service?

Chapter 2

The splintering of the mass market

The Splintering of the Mass Market

  • Today’s consumers are informed, individualistic, and demanding.

  • 5 key factors have splintered the mass market:

    • Shrinking middle class

    • Shifting sizes of age groups

    • New living arrangements

    • Ethnic groups are shifting and growing

    • Improved information access

Chapter 2

Trends create opportunities six major environmental categories

Trends Create Opportunities—Six Major Environmental Categories

Chapter 2

Trends create opportunities examples

Trends Create Opportunities—Examples



Child care, private education, and home security systems

Home security

Teleconferences, fast-foods, and easy-to-fix meals

On-line shopping

Helping schools and business integrate

Attractive sports clothes

Helping people start their own business

Continued increase in dual-income families


Both adults working


Rapid expansion of ethnic diversity

Exercising for fitness

Corporate downsizing

Chapter 2

Life cycle stages

Life Cycle Stages

Life-Cycle StageExample

Embryo (birth)Senior-Adult Day Care


MaturityMicrowave Ovens

DeclineTobacco Products

Chapter 2

Market segmentation

Market Segmentation

  • Market segmentation involves:

    • Breaking down potential markets into as many similar sub-segments as possible.

    • Identifying opportunity gaps and seeing combinations of gaps that may constitute markets.

    • A good example is shown in Figure 2.5.

Chapter 2

Know your real business

Know Your Real Business

If you’re in...

Try saying...








Software sales

Small business teaching

Auto manufacturing



Gourmet cookware

Coffeehouse owner

Chapter 2

Develop your pitch

Develop Your Pitch

Begin to formulate your elevator pitch.

  • What is the market?

  • How does your business satisfy this market need?

  • How do you, the business and the target market benefit from this venture?

Chapter 2

Checklist and actions to develop your business plan

Checklist and Actions to Develop Your Business Plan

  • What trends will influence your small business idea?

  • What business are you really in?

  • What segment of the market will be your niche?

  • What gaps will you fill within that segment?

  • Is it a growth segment in a growth market?

  • Initially define your target market and determine how large that customer base is.

  • Identify the secondary sources you will use as part of your market research.

  • Does this business fit your vision and values?

  • Other than making money, what are the goals of your proposed venture? (You should be able to establish four to six over the next three years.)

  • For your business, what objectives do you wish to achieve in the next year?

Chapter 2

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