Tips and Advice on Creating an Online Shop Business Plan
The business plan forms an important basis for many startups, and even if you’re “just” starting an online shop, you would profit from creating a business plan. You can develop a professional business plan for your online shop by collecting specific information, facts and figures. Please have a look at the business plan components outlined below. You will be able to notice quickly if there are any gaps, which means further research or corrections are required. On this note, you should also check out our guide on how to create a market analysis and creation of market entry strategies for startups. These articles offer many more tips and information on the topic of “components of a business plan.”
Your online shop business plan is about to come to life. The business plan is the tool that allows you to monitor and modify the direction your business is taking. Setting up an online shop is very expensive, especially if you’re using modern online marketing channels. The business plan serves as the basis, upon which to request funding from banks.
Your business plan for your online shop / eCommerce business should contain the following information:
Online Shop Business Plan / eCommerce Business Plan: Start-up Plan Description
Describe what made you decide to set up an online shop. Explain what you want to sell and why (Products / Services). Convince the reader that you’ll be able to “go with the flow” on a wider platform. Explain how you want to stand out from the crowd and how you see your chances to grow on this market.
Define your shop system (finished shop, rental shop or open source solution). An online shop thrives on regular updates (who runs it?).
Make your schedule clear for the start-up period; define the stages. Describe your business idea with enthusiasm. Your excitement is catchy!
Define your product groups (brand, label) or service. Why did you choose an online shop to sell them (niche products, perhaps an online retail business plan is more lucrative)? What logistics will you utilize? How and where is the service provided (manpower, time, regional or national, is there a hotline available)? This information should be provided in the service business plan.
Online Shop Business Plan: Target Group and Client Advantages
Provide precise and accurate data pertaining to your future target group and the advantages to clients, possibly even multiple advantages. This data follows from the description of the products / services to the target group and the benefits. (Products: craftsman, handyman, exclusive and unique products, children’s clothing, lifestyle, etc.) (Services: home service, mobile service, child care, pet care, caretaker, senior, looking after sick people, handyman service, etc.)
Online Shop Business Plan: Market and Competition
Describe how your start-up could be positioned on the highly competitive online market. Mention your competitors and how you differ from them (USPs, niche products for specific buyers, exceptional, complex services, special services).
Clarify your market analysis and point out the sources of information. Then assess your opportunities and risks.
Online Shop Business Plan: Marketing and Sales
Online marketing is a key factor for your success, especially for an online shop. The emphasis is on communication. What targeted marketing channels are you planning to use? (Email, newsletter)? What conversion rate do you expect for your marketing campaigns? Which marketing channels do you intend to use. What measures do you intend to take to achieve long-term customer loyalty and what customer lifetime value do you expect? Do you plan on product range extension after the initial phase of the startup? What costs do you expect?
Are you aware of the legal aspects (right to cancellation)? Elaborate on this issue, particularly in terms of the service.
Tip: Bankers are not always e-commerce experts. We advise you to have the technical terms explained in writing.
What are your approaches to distribution? Do you plan print ads, editorials, flyers, opening discounts for a certain period? This information should be part of your sales business plan.
Online Shop Business Plan: Pricing
Your quality and price range are key to the viability of your products or services. Quality has its price, and this also goes for online stores. Higher prices generate higher profit. The other way around, your profits are lower. Sometimes comparable offers (products / services) will cost more. There are all kinds of offers on the Internet. Describe the price segment you want to see your online store in.
Also note the “hit item” in your product range. Provide data on details like the purchase price, operating costs, personnel costs, financing costs, etc.
Online Shop Business Plan: Site
Describe the place and location of your head office. Specify whether it is your own or rented and why you have chosen this site (enough storage space, convenient logistics, convenient transportation, adequate parking spaces, affordable rent etc). Add maps, photos and sketches of the site.
Online Shop Business Plan: The Founder
The e-commerce business plan, just like a business plan for IT services, is decisive in terms of success. To this end: Give details of your founding story, professional / academic background, additional qualifications and specific industry knowledge. The CV in table format should be attached to the business plan. The CV in the business plan itself should be only about half a page long per manager / associate. Restate your strengths and focus on your entrepreneurial spirit as USP.
If you have a co-founder, describe him well too. At the same time, specify the planned legal form and how the division of tasks will be achieved.
Online Shop: Finance Plan, Profit Outlook, Liquidity Plan
These considerations are important when creating a business plan for your online shop. They lie at the heart of loan interviews with banks and / or other investors.
Describe the amount of capital required for your online shop (equipment costs, monthly costs for server products, maintenance of the website, personal drawings, and amortization). Quantify the upfront costs and the means of financing (own/external). State the amount of financing you require. Identify funding opportunities from your perspective, involving collateral you can provide as well as funding programs that could facilitate your efforts.
If personnel costs are to be accounted for, split them into temporary, part-time and full-time employees. Provide information about their qualifications and areas of responsibility.
Your online company business plan should include data on projected revenue, cost and profit in the next 3 years or longer.
It is best to create tables in xls format. Excel formulas make it easy to express values and make your own calculation models. Moreover, you must list the figures accurately and in detail. No need for dream figures here. You could attend a start-up seminar or speak with a start-up consultant and tax consultant. This will help you achieve the best business development plan.
Possible attachments to the business plan for your online shop as mentioned above:
- CV in table format
• Contracts (leasing, rental, shareholders)
We hope this brief insight into creating your online shop business plan has helped you. In addition to the ideas in this guide, check out our related articles on the topic, “How to become self-employed without equity” and our advice on how to succeed in a loan interview. Do not hesitate to contact us if you need business plan writing services and / or business plan consulting.
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