Ideally a feasibility study should be conducted at different stages of a company's lifecycle. A startup feasibility study identifies whether the business model is good enough to pilot, a mid-size company will want to do a feasibility study to understand the next investment or market directions and a large company may want to conduct a feasibility study to understand whether an acquisition will bear desired result.
A feasibility study encompasses many different factors. The key aspects covered in a feasibility study follows:
• A clear definition of all the products or services produced by the company
The consultants should understand the company offerings. There can be several types of products and all of these should come out clearly in the study. This section should be detailed and include all product parameters, where it fits and the benefits. The same approach should be taken if it is a services company.
• Market Opportunity for the products
There should be a viable market opportunity for the products. The feasibility study services provider should do a detailed analysis of the market for the products that should include factors like industry where the products fit, the overall size of the market, the market growth and the possible geographical locations where the products can be targeted. This can give a good idea to the management and the probable investors about the how successful the company will be in the long run.
Another very important factor is identifying the risks of the business. This is one of the most critical aspects of the business. Any company is always optimistic and wants to launch new products and expand. However a very thorough risk analysis will help to understand how real the optimism is and whether the products will succeed in the market. The risk analysis will help the management to see the challenges and make any necessary changes in the strategy.
• Key Success Factor
The key success factors separate an ordinary organization from a great organization. What makes Google such a successful company. It can be innovation, branding, marketing, human resources or a combination of any of these. The feasibility study should cover the key factors that can make the company successful and differentiate it from others in the industry. These factors will ultimately make the organizational great and help it excel in what it does.
• Financial Forecasts
The financial forecasts depending upon the market projections and certain assumptions help to get the projected revenue and expenditure of the company. It also helps to derive important financial parameters such as cash-flow statements, balance sheet and key financial ratios.
One of the most important aspect that business owners and investors can see from the financial snapshot is where we are heading with a month-on-month cash flow position. If the cash at the end of the month is not showing healthy numbers then there is trouble for the business.
Once we have all these above parameters in one place business the probability of how successful this business can be can be analyzed easily. Some of the key areas that we can determine from the feasibility study are listed as below:
I. Whether a market actually exists for the business
II. If “Yes” how big is the market
III. Do our financial projections help us to sustain the business in the short to medium term
IV. What are the capital requirements to run the business
V. Have we arranged the capital
VI. Is this equity or debt capital
VII. How soon can the business be successful
VIII. The best, worst and the optimum scenario
If we know the answers to all of these queries we can set-up and run a successful venture. It requires a great deal of analysis based on the data that we have on hand that helps us to understand the business environment better. However, it is easier said than done and there needs to be a pragmatic approach when we are running a business. Entrepreneurs need to be sure that the plan in place will work. Once that is done, it is easy to convince investors to put money into the business and that is when the actual story will start.