How to Write the Business Plan Products and Services Section
The products and services section of your business plan is more than just a list of what your business is going to provide. Especially if you intend to use your business plan to get funding or find partners, your products and services section needs to showcase the quality, value, and benefits your business offers.
What's Included in the Products and Services Section
The products and services section of your business plan outlines your product or service, why it's needed by your market, and how it will compete with other businesses selling the same or similar products and services. Your product and services section should include:
- A description of the products or services you are offering or plan to offer
- How your products and services will be priced
- A comparison of the products or services your competitors offer in relation to yours
- Sales literature you plan to use, including information about your marketing materials and the role your website will play in your sales efforts
- A paragraph or so on how orders from your customers will be processed or fulfilled
- Any needs you have in order to create or deliver your products, such as up-to-date computer equipment
- Any intellectual property, such as trademarks, or legal issues you need to address
- Future products or services you plan to offer
Tips for Writing About Your Products and Services
This section of your business plan should excite those you're hoping will fund your business or work with you. To that end, here are a few tips to create a products and services section that appeals to the reader:
- Indicate why your product or service is needed. Especially if you're venturing into a new concept or invention, or a place where there is no current market, you need to explain the need for your product or service.
- Highlight the features of your product or service. A crucial part of success in business is the ability able to set yourself apart from other businesses that sell the same or similar products and services. What features, such as price point or level of service, do you offer that is unique to you?
- Focus on benefits. Unique features are important, but even more vital is how those features provide value to consumers. Translate your features (i.e., faster or cheaper) into benefits (i.e., get it now or save money). The goal is to highlight how your product or service will fix a problem or improve a client or customer's life.
- Be clear and concise. Don't let your business plan get bogged down in too much description and information. Use bullets or numbered lists to quickly and easily highlight important information.
- Show off your expertise, experience, and accolades. You not only want to describe your products and services but also share why you're the best person to provide them. Include anything in your education or experience that makes you an expert in this business. If you have testimonials, awards, or endorsements, share those. Finally, if you've applied for a patent, copyright, or trademark, include that as well.
- Be the expert, but talk in layman's terms. You should know your product, service, and industry well, but don't expect your potential funders and partners to have the same level of knowledge. Assume the reader doesn't know as much as you when you explain what you're offering. Avoid acronyms and jargon when outlining your products and services.
- Indicate anything extra special about what or how you'll provide your products or services. Will you be offering a special guarantee or refund policy? Do you have a quicker or more unique way of delivering your product or service?
- Write as if you're talking to your customer. While you don't want to write an advertorial, you do want to be customer-oriented when you write your products and services section.
The business plan products and services section is the centerpiece of your plan. While other sections of your business plan are important, the products and services section is the essence of your business and the point around which every other part of the business plan is built.