Setting up on an online business is a very easy process. After all, you only need to secure a domain name and web space, and then build a website, right? The truth is that online stores can benefit just as much from a business plan as can their offline counterparts, because an online business is still a business, despite the fact that it is being operated online. Furthermore, in constructing a business plan, your online business will have the strong foundation it needs to succeed.
Still Think You Don’t Need a Business Plan for your Online Store?
Believe it or not, even if you’re not seeking funding immediately and have no one to submit it to, creating a business plan is a good decision for the long-term viability of your business.
If you’ve already started your business and are making sales, the creation of a business plan at this stage can provide you with a compass for the future growth of your venture, as well as help you see an overall picture of your business.
You may have been working at your online business for a number of years, but notice that your sales have hit a plateau. What is the next step? Without some kind of business plan, your plateau could continue. But with one, you can look beyond your business’s daily operations to possible new markets and revenue-boosting products.
For businesses that are beginning a downward spiral, the business plan can help you alter your trajectory, as well as assist you in identifying problem areas which may be causing the slide. Indeed, having a business plan even at this stage can help you change the inner workings of your business and point it away from failure.
Now that we’ve convinced you to create your plan, what’s next?
Building your Online Store Business Plan
Your online business plan will have many of the same sections as other plans do. You will need an executive summary, description of your company, the products you sell, and an operation plan, to name but a few.
Executive Summary and Company Description
Your executive summary will describe your business plan in a few sentences, and so will be the last thing you write. However, the summer will appear at the top of your plan. Next is the description of your company. This is an overview which should take no more than 30 seconds to read. The company description will be the ‘elevator pitch’ of your plan that explains why your business is a viable and exciting one.
Industry and Market Research
If you have yet to research your industry and the consumers in your target market, this is your chance to do so. The market analysis section can also be used to identify who your target customers are if you have not already done so.
The operational plan section should cover everything from the location of your business (even if it’s at home) and how long it is open (even if it’s open around the clock) to daily accounting and other such vital processes.
The Main Players
Who manages and organises your business? This is what you will need to determine in this section. Use it to help you define who the main players are so that all in your company understand their role.
Your Products, Sales and Projections
Now comes the time to concentrate on the financial aspects of your business. What are you selling, for how much, and how do you expect those sales to improve over the next period of time? This section will require a lot of thought and real numbers to back as many of your statements as possible.
Even though you may think that it isn’t necessary to craft a plan for your online store, a business plan expert will tell you that it can be the key to your success.