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Last Updated: Monday, 14 November 2005, 00:47 GMT
Why research is key to business success
Holidaymakers coping with bad weather on an East Sussex beach
The vagaries of British weather can greatly affect many UK firms
For any new business to succeed you need to do a wealth of research.

As Russell Lawson from the Federation of Small Businesses explains, you should treat it almost as a military exercise.

And if you are in the tourism sector - keep a stern eye on the weather.

QUESTION
Jason Conibeer, Wales
I have seen a large amount of land for sale with planning permission for a holiday park/country park in west Wales.

I am thinking of selling up and starting a camping/holiday home business.

I realise that this can be a seasonal business and that it will take some time for the business to get established. I would like some advice on starting this type of business.

ANSWER
Russell Lawson, Federation of Small Businesses Wales
This is all pretty standard business plan stuff.

You'll need one at some point so this should be a useful exercise.

Buy yourself a decent map of the area your holiday park is going to be in, and conduct a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis.

Buy another map on a smaller scale to identify any other threats further afield.

Assess your target population. Your local tourist information office should have visitor statistics for the area and also the major attractions.

Is your site on a main road? How much traffic? Can it be seen? Consider signage.

Are basic utilities available - water, gas, electricity?

Are there facilities nearby or will you have to provide them? Is there room for expansion?

As for the seasonal element, look at weather stats/records. Hours of daylight, rain days, mean temperatures etc.

Finally, look out for signs of vandalism - know your area, you want your investment to be there tomorrow.


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