This third post in our blog series, “Blueprint for a Killer Business Plan,” (here are Part 1 and Part 2.) will help you write the part of your business plan that tells How You’re Going to Make Money. It defines what products or services you are selling and what marketing strategies you’ll be using.
What to Include in the Products or Services Section
This section should include all of the elements related to the products or services you are selling, broken down into the following parts:
- Easy to understand description of your products or services
- Brief comparison to similar products or services in the market
- What your range of prices (price points) might be for your products or services
- Overview of any special equipment, supplies, software, training or technology that is required to deliver your product or service
- Outline of potential for future products or services
Five simple product or services writing hacks:
- Focus on your target customer: Clearly express the benefits you’re providing. Ask yourself, “Why would my ideal customer want what I am offering? How will my product or service make his/her life better, easier or more profitable?”
- Cut to the chase: Don’t beat around the bush…get to the point fast. What is the primary purpose of your products or services? Outline the need you are fulfilling, the problem you are solving, and the overall reason for buying your product or service.
- Keep it simple…stick to the fundamentals: Don’t over-explain or over-complicate. Sure, you are the expert in the industry, but don’t overlook the essential elements when describing your products and services, because you’re too familiar with them. Remember, the basics may not be as clear to others. Assume the reader has little to no understanding of your industry and product or service so tell the whole story in comfortable, natural language.
- What makes your offering unique? Take some time in your description to express how your product or service is different, better, and unique.
- Details, details, details: You should also include information about your pricing, how you arrived at that price point, and why it’s a good value. How will you make profits? Be sure to include details about how the product will be sold (i.e. retail, online, etc.).
What Marketing (and Sales) Strategy Will You Need?
You have great products or services that fill a need and are fairly priced. How do you plan to sell them?
A post in Entrepreneur alerts us to just that concern. “One problem is that most entrepreneurs don’t have marketing experience. They may be skilled tradesmen, savvy financial advisers or talented writers—expert in the niche they plan to build their business around—but they’re not marketers. Some don’t realize that executing a solid marketing strategy is essential to any venture’s success. Others know it’s important but don’t know where to begin.” That’s why it’s critical to ask yourself:
- What is my message…why is my product or service great?
- How will I employ a consistent brand message?
- Who is my target audience? Demographics? Research? What are the appropriate media outlets to let them know about what I am offering? (Include social media.)
- What’s my budget? (Can I handle it myself or can I afford outside help?)
- Will I need employees or outside support or can I do it myself…and why?
- What offers will I support?
- How will I support a sale? Payment methods? Distribution? Delivery? Other?
- How will I get referrals?
Don’t worry! The Small Business Administration tells us that, “There’s no single way to approach a marketing strategy.” Your strategy should evolve and change to fit your unique needs. So be creative in the ways you’ll use to attract and keep customers, and be open to change as your business grows. But always focus on providing unique solutions in unique and enticing ways.
By being creative with your products and services and your marketing, you will soon find your target customers opening up their wallets for you.
We’ll be back with the Part 4 (and final post) in our Business Plan series soon!