Essentials of business plan – Part II


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Products and/or Services

Clearly describe the products and services the business will provide. (Without products or services you have no company.) Highly detailed or technical descriptions are unnecessary – use simple terms and avoid industry buzzwords. Describing how the company’s products and services will differ from the competition is critical; so too is describing how your products and services are needed if no market currently exists.

Patents, copyrights and trademarks owned or applied for should be listed.

Key questions to answer:

  • Are products or services already on the market or still in development?
  • What is the timeline for bringing new products and services to market?
  • What makes the products or services different? Are there competitive advantages compared to other offerings from other companies? Are there competitive disadvantages that must be overcome in some other way?
  • Is price an issue? Will operating costs be low enough to allow a reasonable profit margin?

Think of it this way; Products and/or Services answers the “What?” question for a business.

Market Opportunities

Market research is critical to business success. A good business plan analyzes and evaluates customer demographics, purchasing habits, buying cycles, and willingness to adopt new products and services.

Key questions to answer:

  • What is your market? Include geographic descriptions, target demographics, company profiles (if business to business)… in other words, who are your customers?
  • What part of your market will you focus on? (In other words, what niche will you attempt to carve out?) What percentage of that market do you hope to penetrate?
  • What is the size of your intended market? (Population, spending, etc.)
  • Why do customers need – and will be willing to purchase – your products and services?
  • How will you price your goods or services? Will you focus on being the low cost provider, or on providing value-added services at a higher price?
  • Will your market potentially grow? Why?
  • How can you increase your market share over time?

Market Opportunities answers the “Who?” question.

Sales & Marketing

Offering great products and services is wonderful, but customers must know those products and services exist. Marketing plans and strategies are critical to business success.

Key questions to answer:

  • What is your budget for sales and marketing?
  • How will you determine whether marketing efforts are successful? How will you adapt if initial marketing efforts are unsuccessful?
  • Will you need sales representatives to promote your products?
  • What public relations activities do you plan (if any?)

Some business plans include examples of marketing materials: Website descriptions, print advertisement samples, etc. While including samples is not necessary, the exercise of creating actual marketing materials can help focus and shape overall marketing plans and objectives.

Sales & Marketing answers the “How will I reach them?” question.

***Note to readers: This is a four part series, wherein we will highlight every aspect of business plan ***

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Satinder Panesar
Entrepreneur & founder of GWT systems pvt ltd. Satinder's pragmatic approach helped the company not only to survive the worst IT crises but also managed to increase the clientÈle. Satinder is currently working with green companies, around the world, and is promoting Green computing.


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