The products or services section of your business plan should clearly describe what you are selling with an emphasis on the value you're providing to your customers or clients. Include an in-depth look at all of the elements related to what you are selling.
Describe and Compare
The section needs to explain exactly what you are selling and how it fits in the marketplace. It's easier to describe the value provided if you are the only business in the area selling the product or service in question, but it is likely competitors are doing something similar.
Provide information about your competitors' offerings, how they are similar to yours, and how they are different. It's possible your business has a slightly different take on the product or service or is targeting a slightly different audience. It's also possible what you are offering is almost identical to what your competitors are offering, but demand in the marketplace is high enough to support multiple businesses doing the same thing. Explain your situation.
In addition to describing the actual products or services, break down how much they will cost. Products may come in different sizes, quantities, or varieties that will impact price, and services might be more or less extensive depending on the price being charged.
Address what competitors are doing in this regard as well. Perhaps you are offering higher or lower quality for a different demographic, but be clear about the cost and who can afford it.
Explain what happens once someone purchases what you are selling. If it is a product, they might buy it from a retail store, have it delivered from your online shop, or perhaps they submit a custom order in advance and pick it up at a later date.
If you are offering a service, it might be something that involves clients coming to you, or you might go to them. Whatever the details, make sure the process is clear.
If special technology is involved, outline what it entails. This could be specific technology you need in order to provide your services, or it might be technology clients or customers need in order to take advantage of what you're selling.
For example, if signing up clients for a training seminar, you might need specific hardware and software for a presentation. Perhaps you are selling software that requires the latest version of a particular operating system. Be sure these details are provided.
Tips for Writing the Products or Services Section
Make your description of available products or services an effective part of your business plan by following these tips:
- Focus on the customer: The purpose of the products or services section is to clearly express the benefits you're providing to your customers or clients. Focus on that goal by addressing how what you are selling benefits your customers. Show how it makes their lives better, easier, or more profitable.
- Get to the point: State the value upfront, then elaborate throughout the rest of the section while providing supporting materials. For example, if the primary benefit of what you are offering is that it saves time, state as much right away. Follow this statement with details about how it saves time and data to support the claim.
- Keep It simple: Assume the reader has little to no understanding of your industry and product or service. You're the expert in the industry, but the basics may not be as clear to those reading your business plan.
- Show what makes you unique: While describing similar products and services that are already in existence, take some time in your description to express how your product or service stands out as something different.
- Include the fine print: While the bulk of your products or services section should focus on the end result, you also should include information about your pricing and how you arrived at that price point.