Product(s) / Service(s)

In this section, you have to illustrate how your product(s) and service(s) differ from the ones your competition is offering. Also, give some information about the level of development you product(s) and service(s) are in (if applicable) and describe the steps that are necessary to complete these product(s) and/or service(s).

Product Description

Describe your product(s) and/or service(s). Pay attention that your presentation is understandable. If applicable, deal with your product(s) and/or service(s) innovative features and how they stand out from your competition (so called “unique selling points”).

In doing so, compare your product(s) and/or service(s) strength and weaknesses with product(s) and/or services that are already available. The important part hereby is, to find advantages that can guarantee that your product(s) and/or service(s) will be a success and can stand the existing competition.

If your product(s) and/or service(s) involve(s) technology based concepts, your presentation should allow even non-technical people to understand it. Concentrate on the general manner of operation rather than giving technical details. Technical details should be given only to a limited extent or (even more details are necessary) in an attachment.

In order to make it easier for the reader to understand and comprehend, you can use illustrations, pictures and/or graphics (while paying attention to any possible copyright infringements).

If you (plan to) offer several (different) product(s) and/or service(s), structure them into practical business segments (sorted by product/service or customer group) and separate them from each other. The following categories should then be tailored to these segments.

Customer Benefit

Customers will only buy your product(s) and/or service(s) if these product(s) and/or service(s) can give them a lasting (or at least satisfying) benefit (use). That benefit (use) must be higher than the benefit (use) of product(s) and/or service(s) offered by your competition, or if the customer decides to forego your product(s) and/or service(s).

The product(s) and/or services you offer solve a customer’s “problem” and give an advantage respectively. In order to do that, you need to know the needs, wishes and problems of your potential customer.

Therefore, the “customer benefit” is a decisive factor for the success of your business. It is not only important that your offer has a “customer benefit” from your own point of view, but also that you can focus that benefit in a concrete manner to third parties. Not only the lender, but also (later on) your customers must be able to see and recognize that use.

Describe the customer “problem(s)” your product(s) and/or service(s) can solve (from a customers point of view) and try to point out what special benefit your product(s) and/or service(s) can provide. For example, how much time, capacity, material or money can be saved by buying your product(s) and/or service(s) over the product(s) and/or service(s) your competition is offering?

Or describe (if applicable), how your product(s) and or service(s) enable your customers to enter new technological grounds by using your product(s) and/or services, or that your product(s) and/or services are so new that there is not even any competition or that your product(s) and/or service(s) quality is surpassing the quality of everything else.

Have always in mind that a low price by itself can not be used as a “customer benefit” since it does not necessarily save money for your customer if (for example) your product(s) have a low quality and therefore break easily.

Customer Target Group(s)

From the description of the “customer use” you can derive your “customer target group(s)” since not everybody will have the same advantage from your product(s) and service(s). The presentation of your “customer target group(s)” will be the foundation for your market analysis and marketing.

Attempt to concentrate on few differentiated customer groups that have a particularly big benefit from your product(s) and/or service(s) and from whom you expect a successful response to your product(s) and/or service(s).

Development Stage

This chapter is especially important for businesses that do research and development for the product(s) that they are planning to sell. A description of the development stage for these product(s) is important information for lender since it enables the lender to draw conclusions from it about the potential risk of your project.

Explain the development stage of your product(s) and how many more steps are necessary to make the product(s) marketable. If there is a prototype, make sure to mention it explicitly. Also, mention any “beta customers” who might already use your product(s) as a trial period. For a better visualization, include pictures or drawings of your product(s).

There is a risk for the realization of your project if competitors copy your idea and/or if your product(s) and/or service(s) need to fulfill certain legal requirements and certifications (Public Health Department, Patent Office, etc.).

Therefore, always include if you need to obtain permits and/or licenses for your product(s) and/or service(s). If you already obtained or requested these items, include copies.

It is always recommended to describe what makes your product(s) and/or service(s) so innovative and what lead you have over your competition. Give information about granted or requested patents and/or utility- or taste model that can be used to protect your technology and/or ideas from the competition.

GUIDING QUESTION FOR “PRODUCT(S) / SERVICE(S)”
  • What are your product(s) and service(s) exactly?
  • What are your product(s) and/or service(s) main features?
  • Does your competition offer similar product(s) and/or service(s)?
  • What makes your product(s) and/or service(s) unique?
  • What are your product(s) and/or service(s) strength and weaknesses when compared with the competition?
  • Which of your customers “problems” or “needs” do you intend to “solve” with your product(s) and/or service(s)?
  • What are the benefits your customers can derive from your product(s) and/or service(s)?
  • What are your potential customer target groups?
  • What is the development stage of your product(s) and/or service(s)?
  • Is there a prototype existing?
  • Do you know anything about the development stage of similar product(s) and/or service(s) your competition might offer?
  • Do you need any permits and/or licenses in order to sell your product(s) and/or service(s)?
  • How do you plan to protect your product(s) and/or service(s) (patents, etc.)?
  • How do you plan to keep your technological/innovative lead over your competition?

From Customer Benefit to Revenue – The Central Thread

  • Create an Advantage for Your Customers = Customer Benefit

    The customer benefit is one of the most important parts in your business plan. Once it is defined and quantified, you can use it as a central thread in your concept.

  • Customer Benefit

    What advantage (benefit) do your customer have if the use your product(s) and/or service(s) over the ones offered by your competition? (For example: Saving time, capacity, money, etc.)

  • Customer Target Group

    Who is benefiting from your product(s) and/or services the most?

  • Market Analysis

    How many customers do you estimate have a need in your product(s) and/or service(s), per market segment (if your business is targeting several markets)?

    Revenue = Sold Quantity x Price

  • Marketing
    • How do you plan to reach your customers?
    • How do you offer your product(s) and/or service(s)?
    • How can your customer learn about your offers?
    • Are your product(s) and/or service(s) tailored to the demand of your customer?
    • How much are your customers willing to pay for the benefit your product(s) and/or service(s) can provide?

    Marketing-Mix:

    Product + Price + Distribution + Communication

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