A production plan is usually included if the business is involved in manufacturing a product. It contains information that allows for budgeting for such costs as labour and materials. In non-manufacturing companies, this section would cover new service development. This is where an entrepreneur should begin to sell their idea by generating some excitement about the product/service. They need to be factual, but also enthusiastic. The main sources of information for this section can include technical specification and drawings, prototypes, SWOT analysis, customer surveys, competitor product/service matrices, interviews with experts in the marketplace, including buyers, suppliers, sales representatives, wholesalers, distributors, and retailers.
- Features – This section of the business plan should include all the product/service features. It should have descriptions of all the important attributes, such as ease of use, innovativeness, or speed. There should be a section about customer service or tech support the company will provide. There should be information about production, delivery, and packaging. This section should also include explanation about the payment terms and prices. Entrepreneurs should try to paint a picture of why their product/service is unique.
- Benefits – This section should describe the benefits to the target market. When considering the benefits of a product/service, remember that features are not the same as benefits. Benefit is an advantage or profit gained from using a product or service. An entrepreneur should think about the impact on the target market’s feelings (emotions) and pocketbook (finances). There could be a helpful features and benefits table. For each of the important features, there should be the corresponding benefits.
- Stage of development – This section should briefly describe the current status of the product or service. Where is the product in its lifecycle (early, growing, mature, declining)? Is it ready for the market, or is it still in development? If in development, how far along is it? What obstacles remain?