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I'm looking for some market research on our topical domain. Usually I can find a couple year old report but all I am finding are the current ones and I'm not made of the cash to spend $900 just so I can make my plan shiny.

Anyone have a lead or source on available data? Trying to ratchet up my business plan and get all our goals in alignment for the road ahead. What started as fun in 07, pilot testing in 08, and a nice 09 under us we need to really get a lead on our targets or we might start feeling like we're in groundhog day!

Other insights or data points welcome!


Tags: 31133, chocolate, data, plan, report, research, startup

Views: 174

Replies to This Discussion

This may sound like a dumb question, but why do you need these numbers specifically? How will they help you specifically? Are you thinking of calling it quits? Expanding? Or getting a loan? For my market research, I have learned from the past that all industry numbers are just baseline for the market as a whole. If you are a large, multi market company then they will be of good use to you. Otherwise they will have little, if any, bearing on what YOU will actually do or even how you do it. The only real thing they are for (for a small company like yours) is to make bankers happy and for deciding if you want to get into or out of the industry. Instead of industry stats (deeper than what you can easily get of the intranet), study your specific market (town, or area) and see how local businesses in similar and competing trades are doing. Go talk to them. Also look at the stats of your local demographics, such as wage, disposable income, and spending patterns. Both of these types of numbers are free at your local chamber of commerce or city hall. This will tell you how and why you can set your price points, merchandise selection, and most other important business decisions.

For a deeper understanding of how you are doing and what your customers want, try asking them. Do a survey or hold a contest for ideas on what your next new product should be. Stuff that gets the feedback coming in. Also figure out what kinds of services your customers want/need. This is the quickest way to grow your business and add to your loyalty base. Just remember that spending money is rarely the answer. Understanding your customer is always the key.

Hope this helps...

No you're exactly right. I'm looking at it as foundational research into a business we participate in so that we can better understand how to communicate that with anyone from real estate to loan officers. I've always done fundamental market research on the industry I'm a part of as part of an inclusive business plan. If our area was flush with chocolate makers I'd look closer at regional information but there are maybe 8 in the state (not chain oriented).

You're also right in that there are a lot of good demographic places to look for numbers and ways of asking consumers but this style of targeted market information is far more valuable to me at the moment as it's something I've overlooked for too long. In taking my business plan from a sheet of paper and looking to turn it into a real living document I need to know how the industry as a whole is performing and general statistics that are held within. Whether we end up going for a loan or waiting it's good to have some general idea of your surroundings.
Hi Andy - I have one of the $900 reports from 2005 that I'm happy to share. Send me an email: amoorhouse (at)

Some stuff from Google that we used in our UK premium chocolate business plan:

"At the same time, luxury chocolate has also seen sales bubble up, rising 46 per cent over the two years to 2007, when the UK market reached £140 million. Small niche players, such as Kshocolat, Hotel Du Chocolat and Plaisir Du Chocolat, have reinvigorated the premium chocolate market and have helped Britain become a nation of real chocolate buffs."

"The global premium chocolate market is forecast to reach a value of US$12.9bn by 2011. This represents an increase of more than 85% in value terms compared with present levels, and provides an indication that the market in many parts of the world has only just started to develop towards its potential. This forecast is supported by the opinions of Nestlé, which claims the global market for premium and luxury chocolate may reach even higher at US$14bn within the next decade."
Hard to find data on just the artisan shops. So now I understand how uber big the whole industry is but damn if I can find any real intel on how local small shops exist and thrive. Working on converting our weekend and catering numbers to try and equate into what daily sales would look like is making my head hurt.

I am working on my business plan right now for a micro loan and I am looking for the same kind of data. Did you ever have any luck finding some?


Nothing relevant to our size.  Found numbers for large businesses but that's really irrelevant to the startup/small business.  The best we did was extrapolate our numbers we earned for the past 3 years at farmers markets and then built growth ratios based off of expectations.  Would have been nice to have some startup -> medium biz to gauge against but our industry is rather small.

Thank you. Thats what I found too. But Tought I would chcek with you in case you'd had more luck then me!


I hate business plans with a passion. Unless you are entering a well-known market, it's all guesswork. Fiction. Most of the industry reports are just educated guesswork.

In good IT startups, prototyping and quick learning is valued over planning. Because artisan chocolate is such a new, small segment, the same rules apply.

Can you start selling for an investment less than $5,000? Prove you can manufature, condition and sell - whether it be at farmer's markets, online, etc. This might be more than enough to convince lenders.



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