How Do I Use Benchmarking in My Business Plan?

Entrepreneur, Business Planner and Angel Investor
min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Benchmarking based on available information about similar companies in other markets can be a useful way to add granularity and credibility to your business plan. Depending on how much information on these other examples you have, applying their growth patterns, or ramp-up numbers, or market penetration can be useful.

But be careful as you do this. You should be sensitive to the factors you are considering because they come from a different time and a different market, and are different from your own. Be respectful of these differences, and if at all possible adjust your numbers to reflect them. That kind of adjustment will add to credibility to your plan.

I've seen plans and pitches in which entrepreneurs simply apply somebody else's growth rate or profitability to their own projections. The first thing the audience thinks about, in that case, is how those projections are different. It's a natural reaction, so anticipate it.

So, yes, use results from similar companies to help build your early projections. But do it carefully and with adjustments for your specifics. It will give your plan credibility.

Related: Plan Your Plan: Financial Goals
Related: Let Your 'Story' Frame Your Business Plan

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