How to Write Your Business Plan - Part 2 of 3
If you’re following along with our posts about writing your business plan, you should already have read:
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Your Products and ServicesEvery product or service solves a problem that a consumer has, whether it’s looking for a good price of the best car polish or finding lessons that will make French easy to learn. You summarized information about your product and the problem it solves in the Executive Summary, but now you’ll go into more detail and answer questions that a prospective consumer might have.
Pinpoint the problem that your product solves. Describe the consumer’s main point, and address the reasons why competing solutions aren’t as good as yours. Perhaps what the consumer is currently using is:
- Too expensive
- Not as effective
- Not easily acquired
- More difficult to use
Describe your solution. Explain in detail how your product solves their problem. You could give examples of people who have used your product and highlight their positive responses. When your potential customer sees how others have benefited from your solution, they’ll be more likely to purchase from you.
Describe your competition. All businesses have competition. There’s no reason not to be upfront about that. Mention competitors and explain why your product solves their problem better.
A good technique is to draw a table that lists you and your competitors in the left column. Then add columns for the various features. Put check marks in the boxes to indicate whether a competitor has a particular feature or not. It goes without saying that your product should have more check marks than your competitors’ products.
Target MarketNow that your product or service has been described in detail, it’s time to focus on your target market. Who is your customer?
Please don’t answer that your target market consists of everyone even if you’re selling something as common as blue jeans. You need to define your ideal customer. Your ideal customer might like jeans that are:
- More comfortable than fashionable – or vice versa
- Designed specifically for slim bodies
- Designed to fit over cowboy boots
To Sum UpOnce again, write these sections as a draft at this point – not as a finished document. Keep notes about ideas that come to mind as you’re going through the process. After you’ve written the complete draft, you can take time to go back and revise the document in line with realizations that you had while writing your draft.
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