Product or Service
- Identify your product or service by what it is, who will buy it, how much they will pay for it and how much it will cost for you to produce it, why a consumer demand exists for your product, and where your product sits in comparison to similar products/services now available.
- Describe the marketplace rationale for the differences between your product and a competitors. Look at quality, price, new ideas/approaches, and how your product appeals to a specific customer base – both existing customers and new customers you hope to attract to the market.
- Be specific about how your product/service improves upon those already existing, your use of quality control, post purchase evaluation (and how you will obtain feedback) and the scope of service you will provide: responsibilities, liabilities and expectations.
- Identify the location of your business, why it is located there (strategic, competitive, economic objectives), your expected methods of distribution, and timing objectives.
- Different products have different shelf lives and your estimation of how long your product will remain on the shelf is an important one.
- Describe the type of promotional methods you will use to spread the word about your product. Identify techniques such as word of mouth, radio and newspaper ads.
- For radio, focus on a stations music format and its relationship to your products image, broadcast area, cultural focus, age focus, etc.
- For newspapers and other print mediums, consider the level at which you wish to advertise (local, regional, provincial, federal, cross-national, etc.), in what mediums (trade magazines, professional, recreational, cultural, hobby, special interest, etc.), how often, and the timing of such advertisements (seasonal, special issues, etc.).
- List accessible tradeshows that offer your business and opportunity to display banners and promotional literature.
- Explain your use of expensive mediums such as television and billboards. Both are highly expensive, while computer based “bulletin boards” and the Internet can provide a global audience.
- Promotion through associations and government support programs offer an opportunity for success stories to advertise.
- In store promotions, sidewalk sales, plant tours, free samples, openhouses, “point of sale” displays, acknowledgment in government programs, agendas, brochures and calendars are other avenues for promotion. Also, gimmicks like draws for free product samples and service visits also provide you with a mailing list for future considerations.
- Alliance campaigns between yourself and associated businesses (retailers, suppliers, etc.) provide you and some complementary businesses the chance to improve your market image and potential sales.
- The prices of your products or services should reflect your overall company strategy. Pricing should be competitive as well as a reflection of the quality, costs and profit margin.
- List the quality features of your product or service, as well as the associated cost component for each item or level of service.
- List strategies you plan to use, such as providing a discount on some items you sell in order to increase the sales in other areas.
- Show the predicted level of sales you expect to realize with and without the strategies you have outlined in the marketing plan. Show the natural level of sales as described in your business plan, and then show the expected increase in sales as they relate to specific marketing techniques you will use.
- Show the market share you will hope to attain, based on “high”, “medium”, and “low” estimates for the success of your marketing strategy.
- Forecast the “break even point” for each of the following 5 years, in the number of sales in dollars. This will demonstrate your need to realize a certain amount of sales in order to cover your expected costs for each of the next 5 years.
- Outline the areas of weakness in the financing of your business; the deficiencies that may be found in areas such as “operating capital”, outstanding loans, and insufficient credit.
- Provide appropriate suggestions for reducing the effect that these deficiencies will have on the successful operation of your business.
Tables, Graphs, Diagrams and Pictures
By presenting information in a picture format, some areas that are hard to express in words become easy to show to the reader. Here are some examples:
- A figure that shows where your company’s image lies in relation to your direct competition.
Advertising Examples and Other Promotional Materials
- Provide the reader with some examples of the type of artwork and advertising you hope to use to attract potential customers, and, to portray a particular image of your product/service.
- Such materials can demonstrate the effectiveness of your message, successful product/service recognition and packaging design.
Demographics, Consumer Statistics and Budgets
- Include appropriate demographic information such as populations, age distributions, projected population growth and household sizes.
- Include statistics covering family expenditures, personal income characteristics, employment figures, and spending and consumer patterns.
- Provide budget sheets for advertising campaigns, sales promotions, and expenses such as uniforms, business cards, logo designs, banners, flyers, billboards, etc.
- Include printing costs and expected reordering schedules.
- Demographics and other statistics can be found in Statistics Canada information, available at the local library.
- Relate the pricing of your products or services to your costs, profit margin, “break even point” in sales, competitor pricing schemes, consumer profiles and product/service expectations.
Separate the “fixed cost” components and your “variable costs”. Fixed costs are those that should remain stable over the next 5 years, while variable costs are those that adjust to external and internal pressures.