In the very beginning of the planning stages, it’s a good idea to develop a framework for your business model.
There are many ways to sell products online and different business models to pursue. The exact business model you follow will be one that makes the most sense with your resources, skills and interests.
In order to create the best online business plan with your product in mind, you need to figure out the following things:
What Are You Selling?
- Physical Products: Clothing, shoes, home goods and etc.
- Digital Products: Software as a Service products, e-courses, e-books and etc.
- Services: Consulting services, home cleaning and etc.
Who Are You Selling To?
- Business to Business (B2B): You are selling to organizations, corporations, and non-profits rather than individual customers
- Business to Consumer (B2C): This means you are selling to individual consumers rather than businesses
- Marketplace: You are acting as a middleman by bringing businesses and (B2B or B2C) customers to one website.
How Are You Sourcing Your Product?
- Manufacture In-House: You make your product or service in-house
- Third party Manufacturer: You outsource manufacturing of your product or service to a third party manufacturer
- Wholesale: You buy goods or services from other companies in bulk and re-sell those products on your online store
Now that you have an idea of the scope and content of a business plan, here’s how to write one for your own e-commerce store. We’ll start with the broadest aspects of your business, and then focus in on the important details. We highly recommend that you use the e-commerce business plan template and follow along with the walk-through below to create a your own custom business plan.
This part will include detailed information of your business details that may be a part of this point can be the manufactured items or services that the company is dealing with, the target audience, and the benefits that the company will have (in the form of a brief financial report). In this synopsis, you must include:
- List the owners of your e-commerce business. If the business has multiple owners, list them separately. Make a note of each owner’s level of ownership and the responsibilities they’ve agreed to take on.
- List the founder(s) of your e-commerce business, and what drove them to start the business in the first place.
- List the people that are responsible for operating your business (if different than the owners).
- List your business model – are you selling directly to customers, or using a business to business (B2B) model?
- List your type of business – e.g. solo proprietorship, partnership, LLP.
You already provided a brief synopsis of your company, so you must have mentioned the amenities which you are going to provide. Now, this segment will provide a detailed view of the service within the company. The major points you must incorporate are:
- The Place to source your Products – you will also provide an explanation of products. For example, whether the things will be produced in your factory or bought from a wholesale market.
- A Detailed Analysis of the costs that you will require to produce or buy the stuff – you may provide costs of the required resources.
- The life cycle of the Products – you might want to mention how long the products will last or if they can be recycled.
3. Target Audience
This is an important component which should be written carefully. You must perform deep research regarding your targeted clientele. The supply method should also be included in the scrutiny. This part requires you to give finer details concerning the clients who will buy from you.
The main wings to be covered are:
- Segmented analysis of the audience along with their demographic, age range, economic status, and personality.
- An assessment of the industry – an analysis of the current situation which you can perform based on the survey of your rival companies forms the main portion.
- You must also study the companies that are in your competition – their performance, strategy, and their current financial status will be important to consider.
You need a plan for your operations to work properly. This pertains to the logistics and ‘moving parts’ of your business – how you’re getting your products from the manufacturer to your customers.
- Where will your business operate? List any physical locations related to business operations. This may be your home office, a rented space, a new headquarters, etc.
- List your staff and management team
- List your product suppliers, or how you will create/acquire what you’re selling.
- List your packaging providers
- List your storage spaces
- List your shipping providers
- List third-party service providers (such as your e-commerce provider, subscription-based tools, etc.)
- Create brief descriptions of the fulfillment, shipping, and payment collections processes.
This is where you really dig in and figure out how much your business will make over the next five years. As an established business, you will include historical data and be able to make your predictions based off of that. Coming up with these numbers could be a huge motivation boost and keep you working towards a specific goal as opposed to just seeing what happens. This is important for stakeholders, as they must be convinced that this deal will bring them profit. The following should be considered:
- The cost for raw materials and operational machines.
- The current funds that are present.
- Previous profits and future prognosis.
- The costs that you will spend while attracting a customer.
- The funds for advertising and different promos.
- The rate at which you intend to make changes or scale up in business.
6. Funding Request
This is the part of the plan where you define your outside funding needs and exactly how you plan on using those funds as well as pay them back. Even if you’re just investing your own money into your business, this can help you really focus your spending so it is all allocated and documented properly. The following should be considered:
- Mention the reasons to believe and trust in you;
- Describe the profits that the executive board investors can expect;
- Outline the steps to be taken in case of crisis (risk assessment);
- Go over the things you have achieved in the past or intend to achieve in the particular time-frame.
When you have been through the 6 steps of this process, your e-commerce business is up and running with potential access to a world market of billions of consumers. Rather than the end of a process, this is the beginning of a new adventure.