Sales and Marketing

A key component of your business plan will be to articulate your supply chain. Providing a list of consumers and suppliers will give the reader a clear picture of how your business interacts with other firms. This is also very important information to track as there may be opportunities to save by constantly monitoring your supply costs. Potential funders will also want to see who your consumers are and where your distributing so they can assess the feasibility of the business and likelihood of a return on their investment. 

If applicable, provide a list, including name and address, of your distributors. If your business services a single market of customers directly, provide a brief overview of that market.

If applicable, provide a list, including name and address, of your suppliers with some indication of the product or service they provide.

Public Engagement

A key component of a sales and market plan includes how your co-operative interacts with the public, especially customers. How your co-op advertises and promotes it business is important for letting readers know what outward image you’ll project about your organization. The costs and distribution network attached to your goods should reflect your market and production capabilities. Customer service is a critical part of your business’ success as underserviced or unsatisfied consumers are much more likely to take their business elsewhere.

List any strategies that are relevant for raising awareness of your co-operative business. This may include signage, web content, social media, flyers, tradeshows, and other forms of member engagement.

You don’t necessarily have to give specific numbers here, what’s important is knowing where your pricing stands compared to your competitors and others in the industry. Offer some insight into your distribution network including sales outlets and purchase patterns. While this might be basic information, it is important to continually re-visit to make sure you’re not undervaluing your product and are remaining competitive.

All businesses need some feedback forum for customers to interact with a business. This might include a 1-800 number, responsive social media and e-mails, surveys, or engaged customer service staff. In some cases, co-operative businesses have an advantage as they can engage with their member-owners regularly and get feedback at member’s meetings.