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Market & Biz Plan

Market Analysis & Business Planning

“By the year 2030, 361 million Chinese — more than the entire current population of the U.S. — will meet the World Bank’s classification for middle class: the people who buy cars, engage in international tourism, demand world-class products, and require international standards for higher education.” Wall Street Journal

The Indian lady in the picture is making her first phone call on a mobile phone she bought recently. There are EIGHT MILLION like her buying a phone EVERY MONTH in India.

Globalization has completely changed our world. We have witnessed:

  • Huge expansion in trade
  • Rapid increase in migration to developed countries
  • Rapid technological adoption and diffusion
  • Major expansion in foreign direct investment on a global scale

But as much as we have witnessed to date, the future will be even more unimaginable.

According to the World Bank, by 2030 the “global middle class” will reach an order of magnitude larger than today. For instance, in 2000 the middle class and the rich exceeded 40% of the population in only six developing countries. By 2030, the two will exceed 40% of the population in 30% of developing countries. Therefore, the world will witness a massive new income earning consumer base who will demand access to standards of living previously known by only populations in developed countries.

What industry or profession wouldn’t want to serve such a new untapped demand for living the kind of life we take for granted? We just need to position ourselves to be in the right place at the right time. And that means being there. Building relationships and long term business opportunities.

From “A Field of Dreams” to “Failure to Launch”

There were times when an association with a sizable local membership could open a regional office to provide local service (e.g. meetings, communications, chapter, and leadership support) without having assessed the regional market and developed a business plan. You could take your time and grow without a real strategy.

Those days are gone.

Today, US associations have more competing players for your members or non-member prospects than previous years. People have more options to access data or knowledge thanks to the Internet. We all suffer from a lack of time and financial resources to pursue association activities in the same way. And younger generations seem far less willing to join their traditional association as young professionals.

A word of advice: Think like you were starting your association from scratch (even if you are over 100 years old). Plan like a “startup” business. Run your operation with revenue in and expenses out (let the region prove it can stand on its own over time).

This section will focus on how to “size markets” and develop business plans to serve as a firm foundation for growing whatever business or outreach efforts you seek to establish around the world. We shall examine how to pursue this and what practices tend to offer the best measure of success. In future posts we’ll look at:

  • Market analysis – the power from insight into data gathering and building a strategy and models from direct access to customers and stakeholders in the region
  • Sustainable business plans – the “holy grail” is establishing a foundation for sustaining a presence with a strong local brand awareness, the ability to cultivate local relationships, and to generate revenue over expenses that deliver against realistic performance indicators
  • How to establish a start up HQ model – learn to think like a “start up” when entering regional markets and see how to do it through a local funding model

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