Chapter Eight. Products and Services

Prior to addressing in detail the company’s plans regarding such areas as marketing and operations, it is useful to devote attention to the company’s products and services. Such attention is merited on the assumption that, regardless of strategic considerations, a business cannot succeed without an appealing set of products and/or services.

Because the entrepreneur is likely to be far more familiar with his or her chosen field than is the reviewer, it is important that the characteristics and the appeal of products and services be communicated in a clear and simple fashion. The following information is generally included in this section:

  • Physical Description. In the case of a product, a description of physical characteristics is usually appropriate. It is often helpful to include a photograph, drawing, or brochure. In the case of a service, a diagram sometimes helps to convey what is being provided by the business.

  • Use and Appeal. Having described the product or service in a literal sense, the entrepreneur should comment on the nature of its various uses and what constitutes its appeal. This is an opportunity to emphasize the unique features of the product or service and establish the potential of the venture.

    In some instances, appeal may be based on tangible, functional benefits. For example, a certain product might accomplish a task faster or more effectively than competitive products. In other cases, appeal may depend on less tangible attributes—perhaps ...

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