10 Facts About the Department of Human Services
The Department of Human Services, which is officially known as the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), is one of the largest civilian departments in the U.S. government. How much do you know about it? Here are 10 basic facts.
The annual HHS budget accounts for nearly one out of every four federal dollars, or money borrowed from the Federal Reserve, states AllGov. This makes it one of the best funded government departments, and it gives out more grants than every other agency combined.
It’s America’s Biggest Health Insurer
Medicare, which is administered by HHS, is the biggest health insurance provider in the US, with 25 percent of Americans on its books. reports AllGov. In fact, it handles more than a billion claims every year.
Its Earliest Precursor Was Set Up in 1798
Various federal programs and agencies set up throughout U.S. history can be seen as the preamble to HHS. The earliest of these was an act passed in 1798 to provide assistance to sick or disabled seamen.
It’s Responsible for Food and Health Care
The HHS has a large amount of responsibilities. Some of them include the regulation of the food and pharmaceutical industries (FDA), the provision of health insurance (Medicare/Medicaid), the containment of disease (CDC) and the funding of medical research (NIH).
Much of the Money Goes to Defense Contractors
Interestingly, a number of defense contractors are listed among HHS’ biggest recipients of funding, according to AllGov. These include Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, each of which has received more than a billion dollars since 2010.
A Lot Goes to Big Pharma Too
The majority of the companies funded by HHS are in pharmaceuticals and related industries. Examples include GlaxoSmithKline, Merck and Wyeth. Merck alone has received upwards of $2.3 billion since 2010, states AllGov.
It Also Provides Grants for Research
In addition to its spending on drugs/biologicals and telecommunications/computer services, HHS also funds biomedical research and laboratory equipment. Since 2010, it has spent more than $6.8 billion on these.
Regions One to Four Are Served by Offices in Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Atlanta
There are 10 HHS Regions in the US, each served by a Regional Director. The Boston office serves Region One (CT, ME, MA, NH, RI and VT). The New York office serves Region Two (NJ and NY, as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands). The Philadelphia office serves Region Three (DE, MD, PA, VA and WV, as well as the District of Columbia). The Atlanta office serves Region Four (AL, FL, GA, KY, MS, NC, SC and TN).
Regions Five to Seven Are Served by Offices in Chicago, Dallas and Kansas City
The Chicago office serves Region Five (IL, IN, MI, MN, OH and WI), and the Dallas office serves Region Six (AR, LA, NM, OK and TX). The Kansas City office serves Region Seven (IA, KS, MO and NE).
Regions Eight to Ten Are Served by Offices in Denver, San Francisco and Seattle
Region Eight (CO, MT, ND, SD, UT and WY) is served by the office in Denver. The San Francisco office serves Region Nine, the largest region (AZ, CA, HI and NV, as well as American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Palau). Region Ten (AK, ID, OR and WA) is served by the office in Seattle.
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How to Write a Business Plan for a Service Business
10 min. read
Updated November 13, 2023
Free Download: Sample Administrative Services Business Plan Templates
If you’re starting a business that sells a service, writing a business plan is one of the first steps you need to take. Whether you are starting a consulting business, a car repair shop, or a construction firm, a business plan will help you figure out your strategy, develop your marketing plan and figure out the all-important financial forecasts so that you can be successful.
Writing a business plan can seem complicated at first. There are multiple topics you have to cover and you want to impress your readers with a complete plan. Whether it’s a loan officer reading your business plan or a potential business partner, you need to make sure you get your plan right.
That’s why we put this guide together. Business planning doesn’t have to be intimidating and we’ll guide you through the process of pulling everything together for your new service business.
- What is a service business?
A service business typically focuses on selling services to customers instead of products. For example, a consultant or lawyer typically sells their time and expertise to customers. A repair business typically is selling the service of fixing broken equipment and appliances. Event planners are selling the service of planning and managing events such as weddings and corporate retreats.
Service businesses don’t just have to sell services. Many service businesses sell a mix of products and services. Take a car repair shop, for example. They’ll sell the service of repairing your car in addition to the parts required to get your car serviced. Even though the repair shop sells parts, it’s different from an auto parts store that only sells parts and doesn’t sell any repair services.
- Why you should write a business plan for a service business
It’s tempting to just dive right in and start building your business. A business plan can seem like a waste of time and it’s certainly more fun to start working on things like logos, business cards, and finding office space. But, it’s important to remember that a business plan is a vital step in the process that will prevent you from wasting precious time and money as you get your business up and running.
Taking a little time to plan now can save you from making critical mistakes and prevent you from wasting thousands of dollars. Even though it may not be as “fun”, it’s worth every minute. Here’s why you’ll want to plan:
1. Clearly define your offering
Although you may have a good idea in your head for the services you’ll be offering, it’s important to write down exactly what you plan to offer to your customers and what you plan to charge. Especially for service businesses where you may be selling your time, it can be tempting to take on any job. That can lead to distractions and lead you away from your core business. You also want to ensure that business partners are on the same page as you and that you agree on the services you are providing, what you’re going to charge, and how you are going to deliver those services.
2. Create a marketing plan
A clear marketing plan is crucial for getting your service business up and running. You’ll need to know not only how you plan on landing your first customers, but also your hundredth customer. Taking the time to describe your ideal customer and craft a marketing plan to reach them in a smart and cost-effective way is the key to a business that can grow efficiently over time.
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3. Know your numbers
Before you start any business, understanding what it’s going to take to make money is a crucial first step. As you create a sales forecast and expense budget, you’ll be able to see what it will take to become profitable. Understanding how much it’s going to cost to start your business is also a critical number to know. For some service businesses, startup costs can be high. Looking back at our car repair service business example, startup costs may be significant. This business will need to purchase a workspace, tools, and other equipment before it can offer any services. In contrast, a consulting business may not have many startup costs. You may be able to simply work from home and offer your services online , avoiding the need for any physical overhead costs. Regardless of whether your startup costs are low or high, understanding what level of sales you’ll need to make money is something a business plan will tell you.
4. Build your business strategy
A business plan helps you outline your business strategy . Knowing your strategy before you start helps you focus on building your business the right way from the beginning. Figuring out your strategy while you’re trying to build your business is somewhat like building an airplane while you’re headed down the runway. It’s potentially possible but very difficult to do.
Your business plan will force you to think through and answer the questions you need to answer to have a successful business.
- How is a business plan for a service business different from a product business plan?
Although business plans for service businesses are fairly similar to plans for product businesses, there are a few key differences.
Often, service businesses have fairly low cost of goods sold . This is how much it costs you in parts, products, or other tangible items to make a sale. Most service businesses have low costs to deliver the service and therefore have fairly high-profit margins. Software-as-a-service businesses are a perfect example of this because the incremental cost of a new customer is so low.
Service businesses often have little or no inventory as they are focused on selling their service, not a product. That said, this isn’t always the case. Any kind of repair service usually has to have replacement parts on hand. But, lawyers and accountants almost never have any kind of physical inventory.
For some service businesses, overhead expenses can also be very low. Many service businesses don’t need storefronts, warehouses, or other expensive real estate.
- What you should include in your business plan
A good business plan includes six key chapters. Following this business plan outline will ensure that you have a complete and effective business plan.
1. Executive Summary
Every business plan should have a short executive summary . Your executive summary is an overview of your entire business and a preview of the rest of your plan. Ideally, your executive summary can be used as a stand-alone document that you can use to introduce your business to investors who don’t have the time to read a complete business plan. Your executive summary should describe the services that you are offering, who your target market is, and provide a snapshot of your sales goals and profit projections for the coming year. If you’re raising money to launch your business, be sure to include how much money you need to get the business launched. Write your executive summary last, after you’ve written the rest of your plan. Because it’s just a brief summary – two or three pages at most – writing it last will ensure that you cover all the key points in the rest of your plan.
2. Problem and Solution
The first major chapter of your business plan will cover the problem that you solve for your clients and describe the services that you provide. If you’re starting a landscaping service, the problem you’re solving is your customers’ desire for a well maintained, beautiful lawn and garden when they don’t have the time to do it themselves. A headhunting firm helps businesses find and recruit new employees without having to have a large HR department. When you describe the services you provide, make sure to describe your pricing and how you stack up against the competition. What makes your services better than other businesses that provide similar services? What sets you apart?
3. Target Market
The target market chapter of your business plan focuses on the customers that you are selling to. A good business plan describes your business’s ideal customer very specifically. No business sells to “everyone”. Instead, good businesses know the type of customer that they are after and where to find them. For example, a financial planning service business might target millennials that work in technology companies who like to communicate mostly online. When you describe your target market, make sure to indicate how large the market is . You’ll want to make sure that there are enough potential customers for your services out there so that you can grow your business.
4. Marketing and Sales
Once you’ve defined the problem you are solving for people, how you solve that problem for them and described exactly who your customer is, you’ll have a great platform for creating a marketing and sales plan . With your target market information, you should know where and how to reach your ideal customer so that you can come up with a marketing plan to reach them. If your business is local, focusing on local advertising and social media groups might be a good idea. If your services are expensive, you’ll also want to describe your sales plan since customers most likely won’t just sign up for your services immediately after hearing about you. You’ll most likely need to deliver information about your services, create bids, and have a follow-up strategy for closing deals. Use this chapter of your business plan to create your marketing and sales roadmap so that you can start executing on your marketing plan when your business is up and running and have sales processes in place so you make sure that you maximize your marketing efforts.
5. Company & Team
Your idea is surprisingly not the most important part of your business. It’s actually the people that build the business and run it that are the most important. Even the best idea that’s poorly executed is likely to fail, so it’s critical that you assemble the right people to make your business a success. In this chapter of your business plan, describe who is behind the business and why this team is the right team to build it. Investors often focus more on the team than the idea because they assume that a smart and motivated team will adjust and refine an idea to make it successful, even if the first iteration isn’t perfect.
6. Financial Plan
Finally, your business plan needs a financial plan . This plan should include:
- Sales forecast
- Profit and Loss
- Cash Flow Forecast
- Balance Sheet
If you’re starting a subscription service, include a forecast for subscriptions, renewals, and cancellations — otherwise known as “churn”. Your Profit and Loss statement will show your sales and expenses so that you can calculate your predicted profits. The Cash Flow Forecast will predict how cash moves in and out of your business and will help you identify potential cash flow problems that may occur in the future. The Balance Sheet will detail the assets and liabilities that your business is predicted to have over time.
- Free business plan examples & templates
It might be helpful to explore how other service-based businesses have written their business plans. Check out our free library of sample plans and templates for service businesses . You can download any of these documents in Word form and get some structure for your own plan.
See why 1.2 million entrepreneurs have written their business plans with LivePlan
Noah is currently the COO at Palo Alto Software, makers of the online business plan app LivePlan.
Table of Contents
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Service Business Plan Template
Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 10,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans to start and grow their service businesses. On this page, we will first give you some background information with regards to the importance of business planning. We will then go through a service business plan template step-by-step so you can create your plan today.
Download our Ultimate Business Plan Template here
Before we get into how to write a service business plan, here are links to several service business plan templates:
- Beauty Salon Business Plan
- Car Detailing Business Plan
- Car Wash Business Plan
- Catering Business Plan
- Cell Phone Repair Business Plan
- Child Care Business Plan
- Cleaning Services Business Plan
- Computer Repair Business Plan Template
- Construction Business Plan
- Consulting Business Plan
- Day Care Business Plan
- Dog Daycare Business Plan
- Dog Grooming Business Plan
- Financial Advisor Business Plan
- Hair Salon Business Plan
- Indoor Playground Business Plan
- Insurance Business Plan
- Janitorial Business Plan
- Landscaping Business Plan
- Massage Therapy Business Plan
- Nail Salon Business Plan
- Photography Business Plan
- Plumbing Business Plan
- Salon Business Plan
- Spa Business Plan
- Staffing Agency Business Plan
- Tutor Business Plan
What Is a Service Business Plan?
A service business plan provides a snapshot of your service company as it stands today, and lays out your growth plan for the next five years. It explains your goals and your business strategy for reaching them. It also includes market research to support your company plans.
Why You Need a Business Plan
If you’re looking to start a service business or grow your existing business you need a good business plan. A business plan helps you attract investors to satisfy your funding requirements, and plan out the growth of your entire business in order to improve your chances of success. Your service business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes.
How to Secure Funding for a Services Business
With regards to funding, the main source of funding for a services business are personal savings, credit cards, bank loans, and angel investors.
With regards to bank loans, banks will want to review your service business plan and gain confidence that you will be able to repay your loan and interest. To acquire this confidence, the loan officer will not only want to confirm that your financials are reasonable, but they will want to see a professionally written plan. Such a plan will give them the confidence that you can successfully and professionally operate a business.
Angel investors are wealthy individuals who will write you a check. They will either take equity in return for their funding or, like a bank, they will give you a loan.
How to Write a Business Plan for a Service Business
The traditional service business plan format includes these 10 key elements:
Your executive summary provides an introduction to your business plan in 1 – 2 pages, but it is normally the last section you write because it provides a summary of each key section of your plan.
The goal of your executive summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the type of services business you are operating and the status. For example, are you a startup, do you have a services business that you would like to grow, or are you operating a chain of services businesses?
Next, provide an overview of each of the subsequent sections of your plan. For example, give a brief overview of the service industry trends. Discuss the type of service business you are operating. Detail your direct competitors and your competitive advantage. Give an overview of your ideal customers. Provide a snapshot of your marketing plan. Identify the key members of your team, and offer an overview of your financial plan.
In your company description, you will detail the type of service business you are operating.
In addition to explaining the type of service business you operate, the company analysis section of your service business plan needs to provide background on the business.
Include answers to questions such as:
- When and why did you start the business?
- What milestones have you achieved to date? Milestones could include sales goals you’ve reached, new store openings, etc.
- Your legal structure. Are you incorporated as an S-Corp? An LLC? A sole proprietorship? Explain your legal structure here.
In your industry analysis, you need to provide an overview of the service business.
While this may seem unnecessary, it serves multiple purposes.
First, researching your specific niche of the service market educates you. It helps you gain insights and understand the market in which you are operating.
Secondly, market research can improve your strategy particularly if your research identifies market trends. For example, if there was a trend towards more eco-friendly services, your company might want to emphasize its environmentally friendly initiatives.
The third reason for market research is to prove to readers that you are an expert in your industry. By conducting the research and presenting it in your plan, you achieve just that.
The following questions should be answered in the industry analysis section of your service business plan:
- How big is the service business (in dollars)?
- Is the market declining or increasing?
- Who are the key competitors in the market? What is your market share?
- Who are the key suppliers in the market?
- What trends are affecting the industry?
- What is the industry’s growth forecast over the next 5 – 10 years?
- What is the relevant market size? That is, how big is the potential market for your service business. You can extrapolate such a figure by assessing the size of the market in the entire country and then applying that figure to your local population.
The customer analysis section of your service business plan must detail the target market you serve and/or expect to serve.
The following are examples of customer segments in the service industry:
- Businesses in need of a specific service, such as computer repair or consulting
- People who have a need for a service that is not currently being met
- People who are price conscious and are looking for the best deal on a service
- People who want to support businesses with social responsibility values
As you can imagine, the customer segment(s) you choose will greatly depend on the type of service business you operate. Some of your clients may want different pricing and product options and would respond to different marketing promotions compared to other target customer segments.
Try to break out your target market in terms of their demographic and psychographic profiles. With regards to demographics, including a discussion of the ages, genders, locations, and income levels of the customers you seek to serve. Because most service businesses primarily serve customers living in the same city or town, such demographic information is easy to find on government websites.
Psychographic profiles explain the wants and needs of your target customers. The more you can understand and define these needs, the better you will do in attracting and retaining your existing clients.
Your competitive analysis should identify the indirect and direct competitors your business faces and then focus on the latter.
Direct competitors are other businesses that provide similar services.
Indirect competitors are other options that customers have to purchase from that aren’t direct competitors. This includes businesses that provide an alternative solution to the services that you provide, but not the exact service. Think do-it-yourself and public options for similar services. You need to mention such competition to show you understand that not everyone who needs the specific services will engage your service business.
With regards to direct competition, you want to detail the other service businesses with which you compete. Most likely, your direct competitors will be service businesses located very close to your location.
For each such competitor, provide an overview of their businesses and document their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you once worked at your competitors’ businesses, it will be impossible to know everything about them. But you should be able to find out key things about them such as:
- What types of customers do they serve?
- What products and services do they offer?
- What is their pricing (premium, low, etc.)?
- What are they good at?
- What are their weaknesses?
With regards to the last two questions, think about your answers from the customers’ perspective. And don’t be afraid to stand outside your competitors’ locations and ask customers as they leave what they like most and least about them.
The final part of your competitive analysis section is to document your competitive advantages. For example:
- Will you provide superior services?
- Will you provide services that your competitors don’t offer?
- Will you make it easier or faster for customers to book your services?
- Will you provide better customer service?
- Will you offer better pricing?
Think about ways you will outperform your competition and document them in this section of your plan.
Traditionally, a marketing plan includes the four P’s: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. For a service business plan, your marketing plan should include the following:
Product : in the product section, you should reiterate the type of service business that you documented in your Company Analysis. Then, detail the specific services you will be offering. For example, in addition to a lawn care business, you may offer to trim trees, bushes, and hedges.
Price : Document your business’s pricing strategy including the prices you will offer and how they compare to your competitors. Essentially in the product and price sub-sections of your marketing plan, you are presenting the services you offer and their prices.
Place : Place refers to the location of your service business. Document your location and mention how the location will impact your success. Discuss how your location might provide a steady stream of customers.
Promotions : the final part of your service business marketing strategy is the promotions section. Here you will document how you will drive new customers to your location(s). The following are some promotional methods and marketing materials you might consider:
- Advertising in local papers and magazines
- Reaching out to local bloggers and websites
- Social media advertising
- Local radio advertising
- Pay per click advertising
- Banner ads at local venues
Your service business plan should discuss not just how you will find clients, but how you’ll hold on to them and discourage them from switching to one of your competitors. After all, it should be much less expensive to keep a client than to market and sell services to a new one. Some methods of retaining customers involve creating the perception of switching costs; that is, that they will lose money and time when switching to a new service company. Others involve fine-tuning your customer service skills into a system designed around retention.
Creating a loyalty program is a positive way to retain customers. This could involve a punch card system where customers receive a free service after a certain number of visits, or it could involve a points system where customers accumulate points that can be redeemed for discounts or free services. Other loyalty programs offer exclusive deals and privileges to members, such as special access to new services before they are made available to the general public.
Premium Customer Levels
Another related retention strategy is to reward the frequency and/or the amount of money that customers spend with your service business. This is often done by creating different customer levels and providing perks to customers who reach a certain level. The higher the customer level, the more exclusive the perks. Common perks include discounts on services, express service, access to unique services or products, and early notice of promotional deals.
A referral program is a great way to keep customers happy and encourage them to refer their friends and family members. This could involve rewarding customers with a discount or free service for every new customer they refer, or it could involve giving customers a set amount of credit for each referral. Either way, the referral program should be designed to be as simple as possible for customers to participate in.
Finally, customer testimonials can be a powerful retention tool. As potential customers research your service business, they will likely come across your website and online profiles. Seeing positive customer testimonials on your website and across the internet will help convince them that you provide outstanding customer service. You can create a separate page on your website that is dedicated to client testimonials, or you could set up a separate social media profile that features client testimonials and allows customers to provide feedback through a special email address.
Simply tracking the numbers and percentages involved in your customer retention can yield valuable information about what you’re doing right or wrong and how successful new initiatives are over time. Statistics to track may include client complaints, the average speed of complaint resolution, the percentage of customers in a given month who were using your services last month, 3 months ago, 6 months ago, a year ago, etc, and so on. When your staff is aware of these statistics and is given targets to work towards, the message that customer service and retention is a priority is heard loud and clear.
While the earlier sections of your service business plan explained your goals, your operations plan describes how you will meet them. Your plan should have two distinct sections as follows.
Everyday short-term processes include all of the tasks involved in running your service business such as serving customers, procuring supplies, etc.
Long-term goals are the milestones you hope to achieve. These could include the dates when you expect to serve your 100th client, or when you hope to reach $X in sales. It could also be when you expect to hire your Xth employee or launch in a new city.
To demonstrate your service business’s ability to succeed as a business, a strong management team is essential. Highlight your key players’ backgrounds, emphasizing those skills and experiences that prove their ability to grow a company.
Ideally, you and/or your team members have direct experience in the service business. If so, highlight this experience and expertise, but also highlight any experience that you think will help your business succeed.
If your team is lacking, consider assembling an advisory board. An advisory board would include 2 to 8 individuals who would act as mentors to your business. They would help answer questions and provide strategic guidance. If needed, look for advisory board members with experience in a service business and/or successfully running small businesses.
Your plan should include your 5-year financial statement broken out both monthly or quarterly for the first year and then annually. Your financial statements include your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statements.
Income Statement : an income statement is more commonly called a Profit and Loss statement or P&L. It shows your revenues and then subtracts your costs to show whether you turned a profit or not.
In developing your income statement, you need to devise assumptions. For example, will you serve 20 customers per week or 50? And will sales grow by 2% or 10% per year? As you can imagine, your choice of assumptions will greatly impact the financial forecasts for your business. As much as possible, conduct research to try to root your assumptions in reality.
Balance Sheets : While balance sheets include much information, to simplify them to the key items you need to know about, balance sheets show your assets and liabilities. For instance, if you spend $50,000 on building out your service business, that will not give you immediate profits. Rather it is an asset that will hopefully help you generate profits for years to come. Likewise, if a bank writes you a check for $50.000, you don’t need to pay it back immediately. Rather, that is a liability you will pay back over time.
Cash Flow Statement : Your cash flow statement will help determine how much money you need to start or grow your business, and make sure you never run out of money. What most entrepreneurs and business owners don’t realize is that you can turn a profit but run out of money and go bankrupt. For example, let’s say a company approached you with a massive $100,000 damage restoration contract that would cost you $50,000 to fulfill. Well, in most cases, you would have to pay that $50,000 now for supplies, equipment rentals, employee salaries, etc. But let’s say the company didn’t pay you for 180 days. During that 180 day period, you could run out of money.
In developing your Income Statement and Balance Sheets be sure to include several of the key costs needed in starting or growing a service business:
- Cost of equipment to perform the service
- Cost of maintaining an adequate amount of supplies
- Payroll or salaries paid to staff
- Business insurance
- Taxes and permits
- Legal expenses
Attach your full financial projections in the appendix of your plan along with any supporting documents that make your plan more compelling. For example, you might include any insurance company affiliations or remediation licenses.
Service Business Plan Summary
Writing a business plan for your service business is a worthwhile endeavor. If you follow the template above, by the time you are done, you will truly be an expert. You will really understand the service business, your competition, and your potential customers. You will have developed a marketing plan and will really understand what it takes to launch and grow a successful cleaning services business.
How to Finish Your Service Business Plan in 1 Day!
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Service Business Plan FAQs
What is the easiest way to complete my service business plan.
Growthink's Ultimate Business Plan Template allows you to quickly and easily complete your Service Business Plan.
What is the Goal of a Business Plan's Executive Summary?
The goal of your Executive Summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the type of service you are providing and the status; for example, are you a startup, do you have a service that you would like to grow, or are you operating a chain of service locations?
Other Helpful Business Plan Articles & Templates
Service Business Plan Template [Updated 2023]
Service Business Plan Template
If you want to start a Service business or expand your current Service business, you need a business plan.
The following Service business plan template gives you the key elements to include in a winning Service business plan.
You can download our Business Plan Template (including a full, customizable financial model) to your computer here.
Below are links to each of the key sections of a Service business plan example:
I. Executive Summary II. Company Overview III. Industry Analysis IV. Customer Analysis V. Competitive Analysis VI. Marketing Plan VII. Operations Plan VIII. Management Team IX. Financial Plan
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Service Business Plan Outline
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- Building Your Business
- Becoming an Owner
- Business Plans
How to Write the Business Plan Products and Services Section
Get tips on writing the products and services part of your business plan
- The Products and Services Section
- What to Include
- Tips on Writing the Section
The products and services section of your business plan is more than just a list of what your business is going to provide. This section of your business plan should include details about how you'll price products and services, how you'll fulfill orders, and other details that investors need to hear before you can get funding . Learn more below.
- Business plans include details about products and services you'll offer, including exactly how you plan to market, sell, and deliver on customer orders.
- The best business plans are clear and concise.
- The products and services section of your plan should show off why your product or service is needed.
- The products and services section should also convey the expertise and experience you have to succeed.
Why You Need a Products and Services Section in a Business Plan
The business plan products and services section is the centerpiece of your plan. While other sections of your business plan are important, the products and services section is the essence of your business and the point around which every other part of the business plan is built .
What to Include in a Products and Services Section
The products and services section of your business plan outlines your product or service, why it's needed by your market, and how it will compete with other businesses selling the same or similar products and services.
Your products and services section should include a description of the products or services you are offering or plan to offer (including future products or services). You should explain how your products and services will be priced and a comparison of the products or services your competitors offer in relation to yours.
You should also include the sales literature you plan to use. Detail your marketing materials, and clarify the role your website will play in your sales efforts.
The products and services section will include a paragraph or so on how orders from your customers will be processed or fulfilled, as well as any needs you have to create or deliver your products, such as up-to-date computer equipment. If your process depends on intellectual property or legal issues, such as trademarks , then those need to be addressed.
Tips on Writing the Products and Services Section
This section of your business plan should excite those you're hoping will fund your business or work with you. To that end, here are a few tips to create a products and services section that appeals to the reader.
Indicate Why Your Product or Service Is Needed
Especially if you're venturing into a new concept or invention, or a place where there is no current market, you need to explain the need for your product or service.
Highlight the Features of Your Product or Service
A crucial part of business success is the ability to set yourself apart from other businesses that sell the same or similar products and services. What features, such as price point or level of service, do you offer that are unique to you?
Focus on Benefits
Unique features are important, but even more vital is how those features provide value to consumers. Translate your features (i.e., faster or cheaper) into benefits (i.e., get it now or save money). The goal is to highlight how your product or service will fix a problem or improve a client or customer's life.
Be Clear and Concise
Don't let your business plan get bogged down in too much description and information. Use bullets or numbered lists to quickly and easily highlight important information.
Show Off Expertise, Experience, and Accolades
You not only want to describe your products and services but also share why you're the best person to provide them. Include anything in your education or experience that makes you an expert in this business. If you have testimonials, awards, or endorsements, share those. Finally, if you've applied for a patent, copyright, or trademark, include that as well.
Be the Expert, But Use Layman's Terms
You should know your product, service, and industry well, but don't expect your potential funders and partners to have the same level of knowledge. Assume the reader doesn't know as much as you when you explain what you're offering.
Avoid acronyms and jargon when outlining your products and services.
Indicate What's Special About Your Products or Services
Will you be offering a special guarantee or refund policy? Do you have a quicker or more unique way of delivering your product or service?
Speak to Your Customer
While you don't want to write an advertorial, you do want to be customer-oriented when you write your products and services section.
Examples of a Products and Services Section
The Small Business Administration offers business plan examples that you can draw from to help guide your writing. Here's an example of a products section for someone creating "Wooden Grain Toys."
Wooden Grain Toys will sell wooden toys made from solid hardwoods (maple, beech, birch, cherry, and oak) and steel rivets. The toys are handcrafted and designed for small children to easily use. Our line currently includes the following nine models:
- All-Purpose Pick-Up Truck w/movable doors and tailgate
- Dump Truck w/functioning dumping mechanism and box
- Biplane (two-seater) w/movable propeller
- Steam engine with coal tender - additional cars available separately: caboose, flat car w/logs, box car, tank car, coal car
- Flat-Bed Truck w/logs
Wooden Grain Toys will offer its products for the following prices:
- All-Purpose Pick-Up Truck w/movable doors and tailgate - $25
- Dump Truck w/functioning dumping mechanism and box - $30
- Biplane (two-seater) w/movable propeller - $20
- Additional train cars (single car) - $5
- Additional train cars (three cars) - $12
- City Bus - $12
- Tow Truck - $18
- Flat-Bed Truck w/logs - $35
- Sports Car - $20
- Sedan - $20
What Is Product and Service in a Business Plan?
A products and services section of a business plan clarifies exactly what your business will produce , how much it'll sell for, and other details along those lines.
What Are Examples of Products and Services?
A product or service can be anything a business creates to turn a profit. Some businesses have both products and services. For example, a restaurant's services include cooking for and serving customers. The restaurant's products are the dishes and drinks it creates.
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Customer Service Business Plan Template
Finding the right customer service business plan template is the first step to creating a customer service plan. 3 min read
Finding the right customer service business plan template is the first step to creating a customer service plan. A customer service plan is the policy or contract that is included with the purchase of an item, typically for an additional fee. Using a template to develop the plan can help ensure all important factors have been included in the plan.
How to Create a Customer Service Plan
The first step in creating a customer service plan is to understand the needs and expectations of the customer. A proper service plan should address the client's immediate needs, as well as long-term needs. Considering both will help avoid any future issues for the customer. The next step is to utilize the feedback to create clearly defined steps for executing the service plan.
Advantages of a Customer Service Plan
There are numerous advantages to creating a customer service plan. Several of the advantages include:
- Increased employee efficiency
- Higher morale and employee satisfaction
- Reduced confusion of expectations
- Minimized stress from misunderstood expectations
- Maintaining customer satisfaction
- Competition with other businesses
- Assessing customer opinions effectively
- Creating a successful customer strategy
Steps to Create a Customer Service Strategy
1. Create a Customer Service Vision
It's important to begin by understanding the vision and customer service goals of the organization. This information should be communicated to the employees in order to help them provide the best customer service. The business should include all customer-facing employees in training that covers the expectations and company vision.
2. Assess the Customer's Needs
Assessing the needs and expectations is a vital part of business. Misunderstanding the needs of the customer, or blatantly ignoring them, can cause many problems for the business. Some of these problems includes:
- Wasting valuable resources
- Not meeting customer expectations
- Not meeting customer needs
- Creating unnecessary products or services
- Loss of sales
There are a few ways to assess customer needs, such as sending out surveys, holding focus groups, or providing customer comment cards. Customer expectations and needs can change quickly and drastically, so it's important to pursue feedback regularly, and assess the results for changes. Using outdated feedback could be just as bad as not collecting feedback at all, or possibly even worse.
3. Hire the Right People
Not everyone has a customer service mindset, so it's important to search for potential employees who have strong customer service skills. Of course some skills can be taught through training and experience, but that's not the case in all situations. To avoid hiring delays or mistakes, the customer service expectations should be clear in the job description and verified during interviews. When going through the hiring process , managers should focus on hiring people of who already have the right skills.
4. Set Customer Service Goals
Understanding the company's goals will help the employee align their efforts with the most important areas. When employees understand how to focus their effort, they will be able to help the company achieve its overall goals . For example, if the company strives to resolve all customer service phone calls within 5 minutes, the employees should be aware of the goal and be held accountable. Creating an environment with recognition of meeting the goal is also a great way to motivate them.
5. Provide Customer Service Training to Employees
Customer service training should outline the expectations and criteria the employees should strive for. Training should be provided for all new employees. In addition, retraining should happen semi-frequently to keep the information fresh for all employees. Training should also be updated as changes are made to the expectations.
6. Hold Employees Accountable
As with providing recognition for success, it is also necessary to hold employees accountable for meeting the expectations. If employees are not meeting goals regularly, they should be notified and actions should be taken to help them achieve the goals effectively.
7. Recognize Employees for Good Service
It's important to provide recognition and feedback to the employees so they understand their situation and performance when it comes to customer service expectations. The frequency of this feedback may vary by business type, but at the very least should be given in a yearly review format.
If you need help with a customer service business plan template, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.
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