#Immediacy on speech making

We say the market has reached saturation and future sales level out ...

We say the market has reached saturation and future sales level out on a replacement basis, i.e. just enough to replace the ones which wear out.

The car industry is an example of such a market. Of course, this need not be the end of the story. One can start exporting to other countries at an early stage of the product-development curve.

Alternatively, such a big step may be made in developing the product that everyone wants to throw out the old one and buy a new one, eg when colour Internet replaced black and white Internet. These examples show how critical it is to recognize whereabouts on the product-development curve your market and product lines, and whether your business is up front with the leaders, in the middle of the pack, or trailing along behind. Sometimes a new product comes in like a whirlwind and out again just as quickly, ie Red Bull.

Such a product seems to follow a fashion curve rather than a product-development curve. There is not time for many entrepreneurs to join in and very fast footwork indeed is needed in both entering and leaving the market. Those who are not nimble enough either never get in or, perhaps worse, are left with a lot of unsalable stock when the party is over Many businesses suffer from a considerable amount of indirect product competition, the extent of which is not always realized. One of the most rapidly growing market sectors in the last ten years is what might loosely be termed 'home improvement'. The following are only some of the products and services which are jostling each other for whatever money the householder can be cajoled into spending to make his house more beautiful/comfort able/impressive/spacious/valuable, etc.

Central heating, DIY shops, double glazing, furniture stores, garden centres, handymen, home websites, interior decorators, jobbing builders, kitchen and bathroom specialists, landscape gardeners, prefabricated house-extensions, self-assembly furniture, swimming pools, tennis courts. Nor does the competition end there. There can be a 'knock-on effect', such as the cash for a particular 'home improvement' being obtained by postponing replacement of the family car or vice versa.

The recent home improvement boom might also be linked to the poor state of the caravan and boat= markets.

After all, one gets tax relief on loans for the former but not the latter.

Finally, although by no means the least important factor, comes economic conditions. Anyone who has survived in business during the last few years doesn't need to be told that. Not that every business is automatically worse off when hard times come fillet-steak sales may drop but sausage sales go up.

But there are very few businesses not affected in some way by economic conditions. In trying to foresee market trends, therefore, one must make some assumptions about the future state of the economy. You should not be too 'gloom and doom', otherwise you'd never do anything but be a bit cautious. All entrepreneurs take risks but the successful ones don't take avoidable risks.

What you can do right Now Online : What is your estimate of the total market at present for your product or service within your effective sales territory? What share of the market have you got? Who are your main competitors within your sales territory? What is your estimate of the turnover of each? Draw up a list of your competitors according to size of turnover, starting with the biggest, and fitting your business in at the appropriate level. Have you any competitors located outside your sales territory? Who are they and have you any idea of how much they sell within your territory? Describe briefly your class of market. What are your reasons for choosing this class of market? Have you any objection to changing to another class of market if it looks attractive? Look again at the list of your competitors produced above.

Which of them compete wholly or in part in your class of ...

Which of them compete wholly or in part in your class of market? Can you estimate how much of theirs turnover refers to your class of market? Insert this figur... read more

The purpose of this exercise is to spread the cost of the ...

The purpose of this exercise is to spread the cost of the capital item over a number of trading years so that its effect on profit is not all loaded on the year of ... read more

Similarly, with the items of expenditure you will know when the items ...

Similarly, with the items of expenditure you will know when the items probably must be paid in practice. If some items are paid weekly ie wages watch for the five-week months and adjust the p