When opening your business, whether its small or big, writing a detailed business plan is an essential. Not only for investors or loaners, but for yourself, to get all of your thoughts and ideas into one place.
There are many resources and templates online that you can use that best fits your business niche. But they all can be confusing and complicated.
So here are my tips and tricks and what to include when writing your business plan.
Disclaimer: I am not a professional, nor I have a business degree. I am a startup small business owner, and this is how I did it.
When you find the right template online, you do not have to use every little part of the business plan. If you find yourself stuck or confused, move on to the next area. You can always come back and research.
Write down every vision you have for your business before writing down the whole thing. Just find a notepad and write EVERYTHING down. Later, you can organize them in category.
Don’t rush, you’ll have many drafts before you actually have the final one. Take your time with each section of the business plan.
Get it detailed and organized as much as you can, use pictures clip arts and drawings if you wish.
Have it checked by someone you trust just to have a different perspective on it (this is the best because they will give you tips)
Here are the list of main top questions you need to have answers for:
- What is the name of your store/brand?
- What will you sell?
- What can you do to be unique from other similar online shops?
- How will you get the word out?
- Who will buy your items?
- Where would you source your items? (Wholesale/distributer/Drop-ship)
- What will be the price range?
- Where would you get packaging from?
- How much can you invest in your business?
- What will be your return policy?
Once you have answers to all of those questions, you can start categorizing each and add more detail in each section.
Have a to do list of EVERYTHING you need to do before launching your store.
Here are the main sections to include: (you can add more if you prefer)
Executive Summary (face of the whole document, recommended to write at the end)
Value Proposition: (Why would a customer would choose your product?)
Mission: (What is your goal for your business?)
Products: (What kind of products or services would you provide?)
Differentiators: (What makes you unique from other competitors?)
Marketing Plan: (How are you going to promote your business?)
Target Market: (What kind of people are going to be your audience?)
Projected Financial State: (Current budget and expectation of sales)
Back Up Plan Projected Financial State: (What is your plan if the expectation revenue is not met?)
Company Type: (LLC, Sole Proprietorship)
Domain Name: (Make sure to check if your domain is available)
History of the Brand: (optional)
Audience Segmentation (Who is your audience?)
Competitive Analysis (Who are your competitors?)
Value to stand out: (How are you different from your competitive?)
SWOT Analysis: (Strength, weakness, opportunities and threats of the company)
Industry Analysis (Research on your industry growth)
SEO: (on-site and off-site)
Social Media (Which social media would you use to promote your business?)
Promotions (What kind of promotions would you be doing to get the word out?)
Products and Services
Main Product Lines: (What will you be selling?)
Differentiation: (How are the products different from your competitors?)
Product Sourcing : (Where will you source your products?)
Cost: (How much will your products be?)
Logistics & Operation
Suppliers & Production: (Who are your inventory and packaging suppliers?)
Facilities: (Will you be running your business from home or have an office?)
Inventory: (How many inventory are you planning to start with?)
Logistics steps: (Things to do from start to launch)
Third Party Services (E-commerce platform, email marketing, photo editing, domain provider, etc)
Start Up Expense (Everything you will need to purchase to start your business; tools, packaging supplies, inventory, stationary, permits, online services)
Fixed Expense: (Services you will be paying monthly or annually that the price does not change and it is fixed, for example e-commerce platform or domain charge)
Variable Expenses: (Purchases that has different price such as shipping fee, packaging supplies)
Projected Profit and Loss (How much are you spending on one item and how much you are selling for? How much are going to get as profit? You want to make sure you don't sell item as the same price you bought/made/designer for?)
You goals for the business. (first sale, first 100 sale, first customer tagged photo)
I hope the template above will help you get started, I tried to summarize and make it simple as much as I can. I will provide helpful business plan tips below for more information on each section. If you have any questions, contact me.