With a broad definition of the products or services that your business will offer, you can be more specific as to what you will offer in the first year of operation. For example, if you're opening a child-care center you may begin with weekday care for parents who work Monday through Friday. You goal may be to someday offer extended hours, but your current services will be offered weekdays.
Many small businesses are successful by offering both products and services. If the discount store offers only products, consider value-added services that can entice customers to buy from you. Options include technical advice, fast delivery, free delivery, gift wrapping, special orders, satisfaction guarantees, and so on.
Think about the first or next year of your business as you define the current products or services that it plans to offer. Investors will want to know what your short-term plans are. For example, if you're opening an independent bookstore, what types of books will you offer in the first year? Will you focus on a specific genre such as cookbooks, mysteries, or bestsellers? Or will it be a general bookstore? In the first year, will you offer gift certificates, promote reading groups, or offer related products such as bookmarks or reading lights?
Also define what markets you will test during the coming year. For example, if you focus on selling automatic widgets, will you also test the local market for manual widgets? Will you offer gift-wrapping services? Will your automotive oil-change service branch out into simple auto repairs? How can you expand your business by solving additional problems for your defined customer base?
Your business plan can include longer-term product and service goals as well. The purpose of defining these components is to help you focus your business and help investors understand its long-term goals. Before you can sell your customers, you must first sell your investors.