Market trends in a business plan are key pieces of information that share where your company sits in the wider picture of your industry. Your business plan should prove why your business is viable, show where you fit in the market and what customers you serve. Examining what the market looks like is a smart business move when starting out.

This article on market trends in a business plan will cover:

  • What are market trends
  • Why market trends are necessary in my business plan
  • How to keep up with market trends
  • What market trends to monitor frequently
  • How to write the market trends in your business plan

Market trends are the direction changes of a specific industry and can be influenced by customer behaviours or developing technology. 

Take the mobile phone industry for example, as technology has improved over the last twenty years consumers have moved from bulky handsets to slimmer smartphones, that can do everything a computer can and more. Consumers have even gone back to the fashion of flip phones now that technology has allowed a bigger screen that can be folded to save space. This is a good example where both technology and customer demand has influenced the direction of the industry,

Acknowledging these trends when running a business ensures that you stay on the same path as the industry itself, moving with customer needs and adapting your business as the sector and technology evolve. Ignoring market trends in the long term could mean you are left behind by customers, as they may move to businesses that meet their needs more. 

Your market trend research should be part of wider market analysis in your business plan. Understanding where you fit in a sector and what separates your company from competitors will help you shape everything from your product to pricing and marketing plans.

It’s important to focus on trends in this process so you can understand what appeals to your target audience. By analysing the market landscape and trends, you will be able to serve your customers better. It will also feed into your marketing messaging and content creation strategy later on.

A market and trend analysis should be both quantitative (using numbers and statistics such as projections and financial forecasts) and qualitative (based on experience or observation). Trends will fit into both categories of research and you should be able to find data and non-numerical information to support your examination of trends when writing your business plan. 

It’s important to remember that a business plan is not set in stone. It can be a document that you regularly update to reflect changes in your industry and company.

Keeping pace in a fast-changing market is not easy – after all, you’ve got a business to run. Using social media and subscribing to relevant industry emails make it simpler to get the information you need. Doing this will allow you to stay on top of market trends to include in your initial business plan and for more long-term future planning. 

Follow influencers in your industry to see what they talk about and how they create content for the audience that you serve. This will give you an idea of what resonates with your target customers when it comes to content and the form of content the influencer tends to use (video, written blogs, imagery etc.).

Read relevant publications in your sector to find out what is making headlines. Magazines or online blogs that share up-to-date opinions and thought leadership (influential content) will help you stay on the pulse of what is currently important to the industry.

Reading detailed reports and research can be time-consuming but will give you a good overview of the industry’s current state and any new developments. You can then update your business plan to follow the trends that arise from any data you’ve seen. 

Some common areas will affect the running of your business, the trends in your business plan and the whole market landscape. Keeping on top of the following aspects and regularly checking in on them will ensure your business develops as the market does.

Customer behaviours

Your customer can make or break your business. If you don’t cater to their needs and wants, your business will not be on the radar of your target audience. 

Let’s take an example – if your target customer is under 45, and you primarily do business online, you will need to ensure your website is optimised for mobile. This is because consumer behaviours have changed in recent years, and most searches are now conducted via mobile. If you don’t pick up on this development, your business risks being left behind when competitors optimise for mobile and you don’t.

Technological advances

Like our previous example, customer behaviour often changes with advances in technology. As mobile phones, and then smartphones, have become more able to operate as a computer, consumers have moved to using their phones out of convenience. 

Keep on top of developments that are relevant to your business and make sure you can move with, and not against, the technology changes.

Industry regulations

Every now and again, there will be a law change or new regulation that rocks many industries – such as GDPR in 2018. Staying up to date with regulations that could affect the way you run and market your business will save you weighty fines (especially in the case of data protection).

There may be more frequent regulation updates if you operate in an industry that requires you to follow safety guidelines or best practices, such as those that an electrician or builder will have to follow. 

Ensuring that you are up to date on precautions and rules, as well as renewing any professional certifications you need to operate, will ensure your business plan reflects the changing face of your industry.

Using your research on your target customers and the sector,  use the following steps to write up the market trends section of your business plan:

  • Current market overview, including which company has the biggest share or most influence
  • Where you fit in that market, what gives your business a competitive edge.
  • Current trends that impact your business operation
  • Any upcoming trends that may impact your business or the products/services you offer
  • Outline any plans on how you will keep up with trends
  • Upcoming regulatory changes

You can then follow this with your competitor research in your business plan, to give a full picture of your industry and where you fit in.

Using Countingup to streamline your business

Now that you have the answers to questions like ‘what are market trends in a business plan’, you will be able to prepare a thorough market analysis to set up your new venture for success. 

Countingup can help your new business by making your business accounting simple, too. Countingup is the business account with built-in accounting software. The app is helping thousands of business owners across the UK save time and money by automating the time consuming parts of accounting. Find out more here and get started today.