Welcome back to the second installment of our “How to Write a Business Plan” series of blog posts. In the first post, we explored what’s involved in starting a business, including asking yourself if you’re ready to make the commitment it takes to start a successful business. If you are ready for the world of entrepreneurship stay tuned, in the next five posts we’re going to explore key areas of running a new business. In this post, we talk about one of the most important: creating a solid sales and marketing platform as part of writing your business plan.
The Importance of Sales
It’s hard to overstate the importance of sales to your business: if you don’t have strong sales in your business then you won’t survive. Sales is the starting point in analyzing the success of a business – if you’re not selling something to someone then you don’t have a business.
It’s no accident that the revenue that you generate through selling products and services is right at the top of your income statement – everything else is secondary in importance.
What Are You Going to Sell?
If you’ve put any amount of thought into starting your own business then you probably already have an idea of what products or services you’re going to sell. But when you’re writing the sales part of your business plan, you need to have more than just an idea, this is an area where you need to be intimately familiar with what you’re going to sell. Not only do you need to know what products and services you’re going to sell, but why people will buy them and what prices they’re willing to pay.
In addition to identifying why people are going to buy your products and services, you also have to determine why they will buy from you and not someone else selling similar things. Are you going to compete on price, or are you offering something different than everyone else? Be sure to understand why people will buy from you over everyone else because if you don’t know this then consumers won’t, either.
How Are You Going to Market Your New Business?
Once you’ve determined exactly what you’re going to sell and why people are going to buy from you, you have to understand how you’re going to market your products and services to them.
In the marketing part of your business plan, you should be as specific as possible in identifying who your buyer is, the reasons you should be telling them to buy your products and services, where you find these buyers, and how you should communicate with them. Consider that a message marketing enterprise level software to the CFO of a Fortune 500 company will be vastly different than if you’re marketing costume jewelry to teenage girls.
When you’re developing the marketing portion of your business plan you should be as specific as possible. The more specific you can be and the more accurately you understand your sales and marketing platform, the more likely you will be to hit the mark and successfully sell your products and services to your target consumers.
If you’re writing a business plan, the starting point is with sales and marketing: if you aren’t successful at selling your products and services then your business isn’t going to succeed. Try to be as specific as possible in defining who your buyer is, where you’ll find them, how to communicate them, and the reasons why they would buy your products and services over other vendors in the marketplace.
Check back for the next part where we’ll discuss finances of starting a new business.
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Have Your Say
Are you exploring exactly what products and services you’ll sell in your new business and who your buyer will be? If so, we’d love to hear from you! Tell us what you’ve learned as you make your way through this part of writing a business plan. Also, please share this article using the social media share buttons – other people also writing a business plan might benefit from your experience!