Crucial to business plans designed to secure funding or partnerships, your products and services section needs to showcase the quality, value, and benefits your business offers.
It’s not just a list of what your business is going to produce or provide. Instead, it outlines what you make or do, why your market needs your products or services, how you will compete with other companies selling the same or similar products or services, and what you will charge.
What To Include In The Products and Services Section
When looking at how to write the Products and Services section of your plan, be sure to include:
- A description of the products or services you offer or plan to offer
- A pricing model for your products or service, including how you set your prices and how you will make a profit. Include a breakdown of your Costs of Goods (COG) and Costs of Services (COS), what your contingency plan is in the event of a shift in market conditions, changes to laws, or availability of supplies, and your markup strategy.
- A comparison of your competitors’ products or services against yours, including a survey of what your competitors charge for similar items, along with a discussion explaining your pricing strategy
- Any sales literature or marketing materials you will use, including your website’s role in your sales efforts.
- An outline of how your orders will be processed or fulfilled.
- Any needs required to create or deliver your products (for example, up-to-date computer equipment)
- Any intellectual property (trademarks) or legal issues needing to be addressed.
- Future product or services
How to Make The Products & Service Section Appealing
Ideally, this section should elicit excitement in your reader and entice them to fund your business or work with you.
Here are few ways to accomplish this when deciding how to write the Products and Services section of your business plan:
- Showcase why there is a need for your product or service. Doing so is especially important if you’re introducing a new concept or invention or introducing your product or service into a place where there is currently no market for it.
- Emphasize the features of your product or service. How does it differ from that of your competitors in terms of make, shape, form, or appearance? Or price point? Or the level of service? What makes it unique?
- Focus on benefits. Once you’ve identified what features make your product unique, it’s vital to show how those features provide value to consumers. Is your product cheaper? Is your service faster? You want to clearly indicate how your product or service will fix a problem or improve a client or customer’s life.
- Be clear and concise and talk in layman’s terms. Avoid getting bogged down in lengthy descriptions or unnecessary details. Use bullet points and numbered lists to highlight important information. Don’t assume that your potential funders, partners, or customers have the same level of knowledge. Instead, consider the reader doesn’t know as much as you do when explaining your offering. Stay away from acronyms, jargon, industry buzzwords, and aim to be customer-oriented. If you have to use acronyms or jargon, always provide a definition.
- Highlight your expertise, experience, and accolades. Make sure you are answering two questions:
- “Why are you the best person to provide your products and services?”
- “What education or experience do you have that makes you qualified to provide them?”
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Don’t forget to include any testimonials, awards, or accolades you’ve received as well as any patents, copyrights, or trademarks you own or have applications for. Have you had the product tested or certified? Gotten approvals from industry experts? Including these details adds credibility to your overall business plan.
- Identify any liability issues: A liability lawsuit can significantly change the landscape of your business. Even if you don’t foresee any liability issues, include a statement to that effect rather than not address it at all. If there is a liability issue, real or apparent, acknowledge it and describe how you’ll deal with it. Let the reader know you will take all necessary steps to protect your business, your products, and yourself from litigation.
- Be precise in your product or service descriptions. For example, you don’t want only to say, “I sell shoes.” You want instead to say, “I sell leather boots targeted at women aged 16 – 25 who buy online”. Wherever possible, also include pictures of your products.
Questions to Answer in Your Products & Services Section
- Are your products or services in development or existing and on the market?
- If they currently aren’t on the market, what is the timeline for bringing them to it? Do you have a prototype?
- What makes your product or service different? What are your competitive advantages? What are your competitive disadvantages, and how will you overcome them?
- Is your pricing an issue? Are your operating costs low enough to allow for a reasonable profit margin?
- Where are you acquiring your products? Do you manufacture them, or do you assemble them using third-party components? Do you purchase from suppliers or wholesalers? If demand increases, do you have a steady supply of products available?
- How are you going to sell your product or service? Will it be available online or in retail stores? Do you have any vendors lined up?
Once you’ve answered these questions, stop and reread the section. Ask yourself if you’ve tried to answer why a client would want your product or service. Consider whether your offering will make your customers’ lives better or more accretive.
Examine the need you are fulfilling or the problem you are solving. More importantly, does the section give the reader a clear understanding of why you’re in business, what you sell, and how you differ from your competitors?
After completing this exercise, if you’re still unsure or would like more support about how to write the Products and Services section of your business plan, we invite you to reach out to our team at Bsbcon.
We are available to help small-medium-sized enterprises worldwide tackle their most critical challenges and capture their most significant opportunities. We make a point to understand new trends, digital options, and partnerships that help our clients today and tomorrow. Call us toll-free at 1(888) 880-1898, write [email protected], or fill out our contact form here.