In your business plan you will describe the different types of products or services offered and provide a brief description of each, including costs and patent or copyright information.
However, before you can discuss your products and services, you must clearly explain the product line or list of services. For example, the items sold in a bakery or furniture store are typically straightforward. However, numerous technology-based businesses, consulting firms, and health-related services deal in highly specialized areas. Someone starting an Attention Deficit Disorder/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/HD) coaching business, for example, should explain precisely what coaches do to help individuals with ADD/HD. Even a new spa may opt to list equipment and services offered that are unfamiliar to the infrequent visitor. Every industry has its share of products that most people know very little about.
While you do not want to appear condescending, do not assume that everyone reading your business plan is familiar with the terminology for your industry. Therefore, you need to examine your description from an objective perspective and ask yourself:
- Am I being too technical?
- Am I assuming readers will have too great a knowledge base?
- Am I using terms that are unfamiliar to anyone outside of the industry?
- Am I using "buzzwords"?
- Do I adequately describe the primary function and benefit(s) of the product or service?
- If I am introducing a new product or concept, am I including a comparative reference point? (For example, the new seats at the spa will resemble airline seats.)
One of the best ways to evaluate your products and services section is to simply ask other people to read the section and explain in their own words their understanding of the products or services you sell and their benefits. Clarity is the key.
Explaining your products and services in layman's terms will allow you to reach out to a wide range of investors, including those who know little about your industry but can spot a potentially profitable business. In sharing your business plan with your employees, clarity in this section allows everyone to have a clear understanding of the business and its products and services.
For assistance in preparing or refining youir business plan, you can check the AllBusiness.com in-depth guide "Tools that Can Help You Write Your Business Plan," which includes templates, PC-based "wizards," and other helpful software.