Business Plan Writing Guide: Describing Business and Product or Service LineupSmall Business, Small Business How to Guides Thursday, March 10th, 2011
This part of the business plan is meant to present a description of your business and the products and/or services that you will be selling to the potential customers. This is the stage to present the solution that your business offers to customers.
The Business Description section will actually be a detailed version of the elevator pitch that you will present in your business plan’s executive summary. This is where you present to the reader the specifics about the business you’re in and what it does. You will also explain the need for your business and why do you think your business will be successful.
The answer to the question about the need for your business will be derived from the needs or problems faced by the potential customers which you would have already described in the Business Opportunity section. This needs to presented along with the key factors that you think will make your business a success. While writing these factors, try focusing on your business’s competitive advantages which could be a better product/service, brilliant executive team, strong R&D resources etc.
Product and Service Description
In this section you will answer the question “What are you selling?” You will need to provide a detailed description of the products or services that you will be selling.
By description, we don’t mean that you need to provide an endless list of features of your product. Just provide a list of key features and focus on the benefits to the customers; for example, if you were selling cars, you would like to emphasize on the fuel efficiency, the acceleration, driving comfort etc. rather than providing the technical specifications. Remember, users don’t pay for features, they pay for the benefit or satisfaction that they get from the features present in a product or service.
Apart from the basic description, you should provide details about:
Development Stage: Which stage the product or service is currently in? Is it just an idea, a prototype or a fully functional offering that is ready to be sold.
Competitive Strengths: Explain how your offering is superior than those of competitors and how it will better satisfy the needs of customers.
Intellectual Property: Are you going to crate any intellectual property such as patents, trademarks, copyrights etc. This is a key aspect to focus on if you are writing a business plan to raise funds from venture capitalists. Even if you are not writing the plan for raising funds you should focus on creating some type of intellectual property as it acts as an entry barrier to the competition.
Future Plan: Describe the future plan for development of products and services. How you will improve the current offering? Provide details about the research and development capabilities that you have.
Needless to say that the claims that you make about your business, product or service need to be backed with solid data. You don’t have to include all that data here as that should be a part of the Appendix.
It is said that businesses are more comfortable explaining the features of their products than their business itself. To check whether you have written a good business, product or service description, make one of your friends, who doesn’t know anything about your business, read the description. If he/she can understand what business you are in and what are you trying to sell by reading the business, product and service description then you have got it right.
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