The Importance of the Target Markets Strategy Plan to your small business

The Target Market Strategy is a very important document which can present some definite challenges to successfully develop and implement. This article will focus on the target market strategy plan: what it should include, how it should be approached, how it should be implemented, and the benefits to your small business of having this strategy document developed.


I will share my experiences in developing this specific strategic document for companies I have worked with in the past. I will share the general guidelines for the structure of the document, and how to avoid certain pitfalls when determining this strategy for your respective business.


The first component of the process of writing the target market strategy plan is to determine who the target markets for your respective product or product lines are in the marketplace.



A good rule of thumb for choosing the target market is if the product(s) you provide are needed for the essential functions of an industry. Those markets are a good starting point.


In my experience, the other mitigating factor in determining the target markets for your product is if they address a regulatory issue in the marketplace which exists in a specific industry or group of industries.

I have worked in a variety of industries in my career, and I have found this criterion to be true, if the government puts forth some type of regulation; it immediately creates a market for other products that provide solutions to the regulatory action.

In addition, this type of target marketing is very smart because the government regulation eliminates the question, “is there a market for the product?” because your customers will need the product in order to be compliant with the regulation.


Another important factor in determining your target markets strategy is whether you or your colleagues have strong network of relationships from a previous job or through your work with a particular industry in the past. If you have some networked contacts in a market leading company, it will stand to reason that your small business would have a good chance at presenting your products or services there.

A successful sale of your product to a market leader then opens the door for “me too” sales to other companies in that same industry. So not only should the market leading company be a target, the whole market should be targeted by your company since so many industries follow the leader.


The target markets strategy plan document also provides an essential function to a small business: it clearly sets a division of both labor and resources. Each target market should be assigned to specific personnel and also have an established amount of resources given the probability of successful sales to that specific market.

The target markets strategy plan should be reviewed and revised periodically based on the life cycle of your business. It can be amended and adapted as your business changes over time to include new or different markets.

The target market strategy plan should also comply with your overall marketing plan and should work in concert with the overall growth strategy of your business. The commitment of set amounts of dollars per product line for use in marketing for target markets should be included in your overall marketing plan for your business.

This portion of your marketing plan should be included in your target market strategy plan. This method allows for less ambiguity when determining the allocation of resources to each respective target market.

The target market strategy plan is very important in a small business setting because it sets the framework for allocating resources in ways that should maximize profit returns. I hope that this article will help in your respective small business to grow and to meet your sales and marketing goals.


The Knicks at the Mid – Point Part 2

“The Need for ‘Sheed”

The other key injury this season was to Rasheed Wallace, nicknamed ‘Sheed, and the Knicks are still dealing with this foot injury and the effect it has had on how they manage certain game situations. The loss of Wallace took away a role player who could score on the second unit, play solid defense, and get rebounds. The issue Coach Woodson faced after his injury was:  when Tyson Chandler got into foul trouble, having a substitute player to fill that void. He probably would have opted to go with Marcus Camby, but he was also injured, and Kurt Thomas has been largely ineffective for them.


Overall, I think if they can get Wallace back healthy and get Camby back, the depth issues will be remedied by the time the playoffs begin. The free agent market is pretty sparse for front court players who can play adequate defense and rebound.


However, as I write this post today, the update from the Knicks is that both Wallace and Camby practiced with the team for the first time in a long time (


The other piece of updated information out of the Knicks today was that they are believed to be exploring a trade with the Phoenix Suns for forward Jermaine O’Neal.  ( Now, should they acquire O’Neal he would give them a veteran player who can rebound the ball, and provide some needed scoring on the second unit.


O’Neal is available because he has a much publicized verbal altercation with the General Manager of the Suns. (


The team has to fix the issues it has with rebounding the basketball, and O’Neal as well as the return of Wallace and/or Camby should address that area of deficiency.


The rumor mill currently on sports radio is reporting that the team is looking to trade Iman Shumpert. (   I do not think that this makes sense to trade a young asset like him at this point.


I understand that Shumpert does not provide much offensively, but he is a great perimeter defender and I look at him, after years of watching this team, as someone who can fill a role. I also view him as a young player with a high ceiling who needs time to develop an offensive game.


In this analysis, it should not be overlooked that Carmelo Anthony has played great at points during this season. He can consistently score points even against top competition. Anthony has played well on the defensive end of the floor overall, and is a legitimate star player in the NBA.


The Knicks are also getting excellent contributions from Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler in the first half of this season. I remember watching the game against Philadelphia a few weeks ago, and although the Knicks lost, Stoudemire was the best player on the floor for them that night.


The Knicks are positioned to make a playoff run this season, and expectations are high for this team. It will be exciting to see how the second half of the season positions them for the playoffs, and how the Knicks will finish out this season.


The Knicks at the Mid-Point of the Season

When I designed Frank’s Forum, I have a few “super themes” and one of them is sports. I am passionate about sports and the teams that I follow. One of those teams is the New York Knicks, and they are at the mid-point of a very interesting season.

The team is in first place in the Atlantic Division, but has had some issues for stretches during the first half of the season. Some stretches have been plagued by inconsistent play, lapses in defensive intensity, and injuries to key players.

It is a well known fact throughout the league that the Knicks are too reliant on the 3 point shot in their offensive scheme. The Knicks attempt more 3 point field goals and make more 3 point field goals than any other team in the league. (

Anyone who played basketball on any level, even recreation league, is probably familiar with the term “falling in love with the 3” and the Knicks certainly have done that this season. That over-reliance on the 3 point shot can create some offensive scoring issues, when your top players invariably hit a cold stretch, and they cannot get that particular shot to go in with regularity.

A good example of that is a player like Steve Novak; he is a great long range shooter particularly from 3 point range. However he does not do much else, he is an average defender, does not really contribute any rebounds, and is an average passer. So when his 3 point shot is off, then you really have a problem with getting any output from his minutes on the floor.

The defensive lapses are a big issue for the Knicks too; I think their overall defensive play is much improved over recent years. I think Mike Woodson is a big part of that with his coaching emphasis on defense and his expectations for his players’ defensive play. That being stated, they have stretches as a team where they have struggled on defense, and that has resulted in them giving up too many points in some of these games, particularly against top caliber opponents.

The injuries have not helped this team either, and while they are part of any sport, it has impacted the Knicks depth. The injuries to Raymond Felton and Rasheed Wallace have been a big disruption to the depth of the team in the first half of the season.

The injury to Raymond Felton earlier this season was a key issue to the Knicks for many reasons: it caused the Knicks to play Jason Kidd more minutes than they had intended for a longer portion of games, it forced other players who were deeper on the bench to play extended minutes, and it altered their style of play dramatically.

The Knicks got Jason Kidd, a veteran NBA guard who is 39 years old, to enhance their roster with an experienced player to mentor the younger guys and to play a key role in the playoffs. They had to thrust him into a much different role when Felton was injured.

Their style of play was altered without Felton as their point guard because Felton is able to get very effective penetration to the rim area. This skill provides the Knicks with several options where he can either take it to the basket for a scoring opportunity, or pass the ball to an open teammate with a clean shot.

The other guards on the Knicks roster do not have that same capability of getting that deep into the opposition end of the floor, so they had to alter their offensive approach and run other play sets. Most of that new play set featured Carmelo Anthony in isolation type plays from strategic areas on the floor.


I will continue my analysis in a separate blog post featuring the Knicks injury to Rasheed Wallace, and contribute my thoughts to their outlook for the second half of the season.

The Capability Statement and Federal Government Contracting

The Capability Statement for Federal Government contracting is a very specific document which needs to be formulated within a very stringent framework. When submitting a bid for a Federal Government contract or sales opportunity, the Capability Statement is the most critical component of the process.


In my previous experience in developing Capabilities Statements for these types of Federal contracting opportunities, the most important aspect to consider is the length of the document.  An important consideration when drafting this type of document for your respective business, if your draft is longer than two pages it will be disregarded.


The Capabilities Statement for a Federal, State, or U.S. Military contracting opportunity can be a maximum of two pages. Most of the government or military contracting officers that have dealt with businesses I have previously worked with, have a preference that the document be one page in length.


Some of those same contracting officials have indicated that a double sided document with the Capabilities information on the front side. The product names and code numbers as well as the NAICs codes, SIC codes, and CAGE code for your company would be on the reverse side as an acceptable format.


The one to two page length requirements can be particularly problematic when you must also format the document to include specific information which is broken down into sections. The group, TargetGov, has a very good website and excellent training webinars on this subject, I participated in a webinar they hosted back in 2009.  Their site is and it is a great reference point.


The five sections that are customarily expected for an acceptably formatted Capability Statement are as follows:

  1. Core Competencies
  2. Past Performance
  3. Differentiators
  4. Corporate Data
  5. Contact Information


The Core Competencies section is essentially answering two questions “Who are you?” and “What do you do?” and in order to fit with the other sections, it allows only 2 -3 sentences to provide those answers.


The Past Performance section is a source of some disagreement in my experience with the document. The contracting people that have dealt with companies I have worked with in the past, tend to only want to see this section included in the document if the experience applies directly to the contracting opportunity.


For example, your company provides electrical lighting equipment and your past performance is working with hotel chains.  Now you are bidding to supply lighting equipment to military bases. I would not mention your work with the hotel chains in the past performance section. I would only mention work done with the government or military.


It has to be very specific past experience or references that directly correlate to the contracting opportunity to be acceptable for mention in this section of the document. In my experience, the contracting officer prefers to have the section read as a reference list for an employment opportunity: contact name, project name, company name, phone, e-mail, and website.


Now the question I have been asked in the past, “If I do not have specific experience with the contracting opportunity, what do I write?”  My answer is that if you do not have specific past experience, then I would eliminate the past performance section entirely. The benefit to doing that is you have more space on the page to expand on the other sections to convince them of your capability to do the work required and exceed their expectations.


In my opinion, having developed capabilities statements in the past, the Differentiators section is the most difficult section to write. This is due to a few factors:  the type of product being marketed, gaining consensus on what factors separate your business from the competition, and compelling the contracting officer in two or three sentences.


For instance, if you are marketing extension cords to the government and your competitor is also, what is the difference? You both market and sell extension cords. In those cases you should use the Differentiators section to point out that your distribution center is closer in proximity to the government agency that needs the product. Therefore, you can save them money on shipping, get the product delivered faster, and with shorter lead times.


That is one example, but it should focus on some point of difference between your business and your competition. In the event that several points of difference exist, then it is critical to gain consensus among your team on which factor is the strongest given the specific opportunity.


In my experience, the most important section of the document is the Core Competencies section. This is where my prior blog posts on Mission Statements and Vision Statements will really help your cause. Those two statements are used most frequently when developing this section of the capabilities statement for federal or state government contracting bid opportunities.


The Core Competencies section must summarize, in a couple of sentences, the core values of your company. It is critically important that all the words are carefully chosen and that everyone is comfortable with this section before proceeding.


The Capabilities Statement must be unique to each contracting opportunity it cannot be a template or boiler plate type document. Each time your business submits for a government contracting bid, the capabilities statement must be unique to that potential opportunity. It is an important document that if developed correctly, can bring new opportunities in government contracting to your small business.


Vision Statements and their value to your small business

The Vision Statement for your small business can be a daunting task to undertake. In my consulting and professional experience developing vision statements for various businesses, it takes a concerted effort by the top executives and each department in the company to develop it successfully.

The vision statement is much different than the mission statement and the process of developing the vision statement is much different as well.

The vision statement is focused on the future, so the initial step is to gain consensus within your small business regarding the goals for the future of your respective business. This is a complex process because some partners or department heads may disagree over the direction of the business. It is imperative that consensus is reached before you set out to approve a vision statement that will be seen by the rest of the company and other stakeholders in your business.

The challenge in developing vision statements, in my experience, is that they have to be short but clear and powerful. It can be difficult to deliver the goals of the future of a company in a sentence or two. It can be done with concerted effort, compromise, and the right freelance writer providing the service.

I worked on a vision statement for a company a few years ago where the partners could not agree over two words in the final draft. Some of the partners wanted to replace it with two very different words. It took several days of discussion, and a compromise version which I proposed, to work out the dispute.

The vision statement is also forward looking – it deals with where you want your company or business to go in the years ahead. In contrast, a mission statement functions strictly in the present, and is very short term by nature.

The vision statement has a long term functionality that can be, and usually is, more difficult to gain consensus within a company or organization than the mission statement. In my experience, it is difficult to get several people to agree on the long term future of a business especially in our rapidly changing culture.

The other big issue with vision statements, in my experience, is that they cannot be altered or changed.  A mission statement can, and very often does, change where the vision statement will not change for the rest of the life cycle of the business. This weight of finality inherent in the vision statement, in my interaction with it, creates a whole other set of decisions in the developmental process.

A business, large or small, must ask itself: “Where do we want to be in 5 years?” and “What kind of company do we want to be in 5 years?”  Those questions can be difficult to answer and gain agreement upon to move the vision statement forward.

In the end, I find that the best vision statement is one that ties the values of the business to the future outlook of the industry within which the business operates. The vision statement is a critical aspect in order to develop the long term strategic goals of your respective business.



Mission Statements and their role in a small business

The Mission Statement is the most critical component of any business, particularly a small business. My experience has required me to craft mission statements for new businesses, small businesses, a small college, and non-profit organizations.

When developing your Mission Statement it is critical to gain consensus from the other partners and key decision makers in your small business.

In my experience, there is nothing worse than producing a Mission Statement that nobody is going to believe in or invest their talents in its message.

The main focus of the Mission Statement should answer what your company is going to do; it should provide the purpose of your company and its relevance to the marketplace.

A college or non-profit entity has a slightly different process in the development of their respective Mission Statement. In these types of organizations it needs to provide the goal of what the respective entity is going to achieve.

For example, “XYZ Foundation will provide assistance to the underserved populations in Central New Jersey to aid in housing placement, food security, and access to quality healthcare”.

This example provides the goals of the foundation, the specific area in which it will provide service, and who it will be working with to achieve the objectives.

A Mission Statement is essentially a blueprint for developing your business or non-profit organization. It provides the path to achieving your respective goals.

This is critical in a small business or small non-profit because with a lean workforce sometimes daily operations can tend to pull the focus away from those goals. The Mission Statement is what reframes the focus and provides some definition of the course of the business or non-profit organization.

Another important aspect of the Mission Statement is that it can be adapted and amended in the event that your main goal(s) need to change for any reason.

I worked with a small business that only had the capability to distribute products, so that was reflected in the Mission Statement I developed with them.

Then, a few years later, they entered into a strategic agreement with another company who had the capability of developing products for them. So they changed the Mission Statement to reflect their commitment to developing first class products in their industry.

In fact, I recommend reviewing your Mission Statement periodically, and if it does not fit the construct of what your business is currently actively doing, then it needs to be adjusted accordingly.

I hope that this has been a helpful article for the development or redevelopment of this critical component of your business operation.


Hello World, I am here

Hello World, I am here…

Frank’s Forum is a blog created by me, Frank Maduri, based on my experiences in writing both professionally and creatively. It is also a place where I invite you to have an interactive exchange of ideas on a wide range of issues and topics.

So I am here, but who am I? I am a freelance writer and business development consultant by day and a creative writer the rest of the time. I have been writing for years and I have honed my voice, but I am still not satisfied.

I continually challenge myself with creative writing projects and business writing assignments, but I am left seeking something more. So I decided to start this blog and set about searching for answers as well as sharing my business experiences on some of these topics that I am passionate about.

I have worked in a variety of industries from pharmaceuticals, a healthcare non-profit, and a “green” products distributor. I have worked for both large and small businesses, and I find that I liked elements of each type.

I was raised and still reside in New Jersey, my family is here and I will write about my home state often. I also had the misfortune of being a victim of Hurricane Sandy recently, which also makes you take a different view of life and what is truly important.

In setting up Frank’s Forum I could not settle on just one theme because my interests and passions are too diverse and varied. Then I read other bloggers who had the same dilemma and made their own rules to address a solution.  So here are the “Super Themes” of this blog:

  1. Marketing trends
  2. Environmental / Social Issues
  3. Poetry & Creative Writing
  4. Challenges facing Non-Profits & Small Businesses
  5. Sports

I have some rules, all views have to be non-political and not disparaging to any race or group of people. If you are going to comment on my submissions it must be solution driven and positive content. My goal is to focus on the solutions rather than the problems.

It should be an exciting journey that I am ready to embark on, so for now I will leave you with an invitation to take this journey with me. I am not sure what I will find along the way but it is well worth the risk.