Do You Really Know What You’re Selling?

Want to get a jump start on your Business Plan? Start by describing exactly what you are selling and what you are not selling.  Sounds simple, right?  It’s harder than you think.

Huddle Productions would have missed a revenue opportunity if their plan only focused on marketing the company’s core product: selling sponsorships for shows they produce & televise.  The seven time Emmy award winners began dabbling in online videos & social media as something to do between seasons.  Huddle Productions is able to quickly produce compelling video for small businesses because they have an extensive background in broadcast news.  Adding it to their official product offering was a no-brainer.

Need help deciding what business you’re really in? Try these tips:

* Avoid defining your product in terms of the value it brings
* Describe the product & services you sell
* Identify the product & services you don’t sell

Avoid describing your product in terms of the value it brings.  Disney doesn’t sell magic, memories & happiness – they sell theme park tickets, hotel accommodations and very expensive t-shirts, among other things.  Magic and memories are strategies Disney employs to market their products.  Why is this important?  Try doing a competitive analysis on the sale of magic & memories.

Describe the products & services you sell in clear, direct language – but don’t under think it.  If you blithely state that you sell widgets, it would be hard to believe.  Does anybody just sell widgets these days?  Think about Sprint – they sell widgets, and  service plans for widgets, and accessories for widgets, and insurance plans for widgets and – just in case you’re not having enough fun with your widgets – they sell applications for widgets.  Is there an additional product or service that your company already offers to customers?  Is this something you should be marketing?

Identify related products & services that you don’t sell. Why is it important to know what products the company does not sell?  In this economy, diversification is tempting when customers are asking for services that we’re not accustomed to offering.  Sprint can afford to introduce and managing multiple revenue streams. Can you? Before jumping into a new line of business, take some time to analyze the opportunity before investing time and money.

  • Is there a market for the product?
  • If you pursue the opportunity will it distract you from your core business?
  • Is it a natural fit for your background and talent?

A thorough and honest evaluation of what business you’re really in can save you money and time.  Your business plan will start to take shape once you’ve clearly described what you are actually selling.

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