Is there enough demand for your product or service? This is something you'll want to investigate in more detail as you develop your business plan. At this point though, what's important is to do some preliminary research. Searches on Google, Hoovers or Bizminer will help you study a particular industry, and you can often drill down your research to a particular state or city. Your search at Google is of course, free, but you'll often find for a small investment at sites such as Hoovers or Bizminer, you'll get meaningful data for your market vertical, which you can start analyzing right away. It's also not a bad idea to survey buyers on their purchase behaviors and perceptions towards your product or service. Arranging a questionnaire or focus group can give you some useful insight into how potential buyers react to your product or service. If it's reasonable, consider giving away product or service trials and then follow_up to evaluate user expectations and experiences. If you don't have demand for your product or service, it really doesn't matter how great it is anyways, right?
So, why is business planning so crucial? In a word, it provides "clarity". Investing time to develop a plan provides precise clarification of the company vision to both employees and customers. In addition, it provides a mechanism to gauge the results of the business and provides the foundation for future growth plans. In the long haul, it enhances the company valuation through fiscal responsibility, which provides the story of opportunity to any future investor or employee. In short, the benefits of planning allow the company to articulate a common vision to align resources and make an efficient use of investment dollars. A company that is perceived to be a "well_oiled machine" is attractive on many fronts _ both externally with investors and internally with employees through job satisfaction and increased tenure.