Please note: the sound on this recording is a little low, you may wish to listen through headphones.

The next part of the business planning process is to get more specific about your key products or services.

Getting specific about your key products or services helps with later business planning activities such as marketing, and also ensures you have all your related expenses pinned down for your financials. 

In this section we’ll look at: 

  1. Features and benefits of each product or service.
  2. Overall pricing strategy.
  3. Your roll out plan.

If you have difficulties with any of the following activities, it may be an indication that more time researching your products or services is necessary. 

​Let’s get started with the first activity on the list, defining your features and benefits. 

Think about your product or service in terms of Features and Benefits. 

I can’t emphasize enough how much this will help you with your Marketing Plan later from deciding on appropriate branding to selecting advertising styles and platforms, from writing copy for your website to designing packaging. 

For this activity, try to find at least 3 features and benefits for each of your key products or services. 

Here’s a little more information: 

  • A Feature is usually a factual descriptor for your product or service eg it’s made of top quality plastic, it’s 1 meter wide, each appointment is an hour long, etc. 
  • A Benefit is usually a positive outcome the customer will associate with that product or service eg you’ll have more energy, you’ll have more time, the item will last longer (as it’s top quality), etc. 

Next on the list of activities to consider is your pricing strategy. 

Thinking about how you are going to price your products or services now will help you plan how to approach your market. 

Here are just some of the options to consider: 

  1. Undercut the competition. Is your strategy to significantly undercut your competition with cheaper products and hopefully sell more?
  2. Launch sale or special offer. Do you want to have a different pricing strategy at launch, or a specific special offer, then revert to a different strategy later?
  3. Buy more for less. Will your business do better offering discounts for larger volumes?
  4. Price high for a superior market. Do you prefer the idea of providing premium services with a price tag to match? 
  5. Free samples. Do you want to offer a free sample or “pink spoon offer” to attract clients up front? 
  6. Pay what you can. Do you offer the sort of service (personal coaching for example) that encourages clients to choose their own pricing for certain services or products? 

Which strategy you choose very much depends on the market segment you are focusing on and how your competition is serving that market. 

Finally, part of thinking about your pricing strategy, is to make sure you understand exactly how much it will cost to create your product or service.

You’ll need that information later when you move on to Operations and Financial Plan activities, so why not start compiling that list now? 

Create a list of all the items and associated costs for providing each of your products or services, and put at least a ball park figure next to each item (you can work on accuracy later). 

Don’t forget to account for your time! 

Once you’ve completed that exercise, review your pricing strategy – does it still look good? 

Finally, your roll-out plan may not be top of your list of things to consider, but once you get to your marketing and operations plan it will help you enormously to have already considered some of your options. 

Here are some options to consider: 

  1. Big Bang. Launching all products or services in one go. It can be cost effective to do this in terms of an Opening Day launch but could cost more in terms of getting each product or service full developed and ready to sell on day one. 
  2. Drip Feed. Launching products or services one by one. A benefit of this is to build on the previous release. It gives you time to course correct if a specific launch isn’t that successful so that the next product or service in the clue can benefit from this knowledge and be adjusted. 
  3. Pilot. This is a test launch. A single product or service is launched, potentially on a limited basis (see Limited below). It another way to see how the market receives the product or service in order to perfect it for a wider audience later.
  4. Limited. This launch limits the product or service to a specific geographical area or section of your audience. All or some of the products or services may be released as part of this style of launch. Limiting your launch this way can help you learn about your audience and limit costs. 

When thinking about your roll out plan, don’t just think financials, also consider your familiarity with your market, your capacity, and your confidence levels. 

Once you have decided on a launch style, you may wish to start thinking about the activities you need to complete in readiness for your launch, and even put a few dates to those activities. 

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