Real Small Business
V. Sales and Marketing
This section of your business plan describes both the strategy and tactics you will use to get customers to buy your products or services. Sales and marketing is the weak link in many business plans, so take your time with this section. A strong sales and marketing section can serve as a roadmap for you, or as assurance to potential investors that you have a workable plan and the resources for promoting and selling your products and services. The three components of your sales and marketing section include:
Once you've defined your product, positioning, pricing, target customer, market, and competition, you need to wrap up all those assumptions into a cogent sales and marketing strategy. Think of this statement as an action plan for how you will get customers to buy your products.
Your strategy may be only a few sentences in length, or it can be a couple of paragraphs. Important elements for a sales and marketing strategy include who you are targeting with your initial push and what customers you have designated for follow-up phases. Other elements of a sales and marketing strategy are:
Method of Sales
Describe available distribution channels and how you plan to use them.
Many entrepreneurs fail to give adequate thought to method of sales. How you get the products to the end user - your method of distribution and sales - is one of the most important elements of your plan. In this section you demonstrate the ability and knowledge to get your products into the hands of your target customers.
Will you be selling directly to your customers? Will you be using sales representatives, distributors, or brokers? Do you plan to have a direct sales force in place? See the list of definitions for some help in determining what method of sales to use.
You must also elucidate your plan for reaching your distribution channels. Will you be selling directly to your customers? Will you be using sales representatives, distributors, or brokers? Do you plan to have a direct sales force in place? See the list of definitions for some help in determining what method of sales to use. Will you use a "ground service" like UPS? Will you use a next-day delivery service? Parcel post? A trucking company? Make sure to include these costs when you calculate your financials later in the plan.
Advertising and Promotion
Your advertising and promotion campaign is how you communicate information about your product or service. This section should include a description of all advertising vehicles you plan to use - newspapers, magazines, radio & TV, Yellow Pages, etc. - as well as your public relations program, sales/promotional materials (such as brochures and product sheets), package design, trade show efforts, and the like. If you're using an advertising and/or a PR agency, be sure to discuss their talents and what efforts they are contracted to make on your behalf.
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Small Business Guide
- Starting Up Your Business
- Structuring The Business
- Creating a Business Plan
- Your Company's Public Relations
- Effective Competitive Analysis
- Managing Purchasing to Maximize Cash Flow
- Bidding Basics
- Hiring Staff
- Small Business Insurance
- Small Business Resources
- Vacations and Taking Time Off
- Preparing for Tax Season
- Cash Flow
- Your Company's Credit
- Getting Funding
- Employee Compensation