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Step-by-Step Guide To Create Ecommerce Business Plan 2020
Every business needs a plan. Without a proper plan you can’t build a successful business. With a proper business plan and business model, you can run your business for long term.
What should you hope to get out of a proper business plan?
- Knowledge. A better sense of what you know and more importantly, what you don’t know.
- Resources. The resources you’ll need to make your online business successful (e.g. money, partners, employees).
- Road map. Helping you set clear goals for your business from the outset.
- Viability. Probably the most important thing – once you write your business plan, you should have a better sense of the viability of the opportunity in the market.
So, how to create a business plan to start an ecommerce business? what are all should be included in that?
Let’s discuss everything in detail here,
Before starting business plan. You should have an idea, what exactly you want to do. For all these you need to create summary before going to write business plan in detail. Below are the few common things you need to document while summarizing your idea.
In the summary write down objectives of the business, start date, Founders list and key Players who are going to involve in the business.
Write down list of products you are going to sell from your ecommerce platforms, from where to procure products, logistics, warehouse details.
List down your competitors, write down, how your business is different than them? How you can compete with them to drive traffic to your site.
Also write down about growth plan. You should have a pictorial data that where you want to see your business in next 5, 10, 15 and 20 years.
Company description is the overview of your business, with the fewer high-level goals and with more details about the company structure.
A company’s description may include:
Ownership: Who owns your business? Is this same as the founders or share holders or investors? Do you have multiple owners? If yes, do they and you have enough knowledge on the business and products which you decided to sell? If you don’t have much knowledge on this, check how to gain education on this. How you and your co-founders learn about the business. If possible, take some online courses, relevant to the roles they are going play in your business.
Operations: Get to know how to operate your business. Write down each and everything about operating business from day one. How you can utilize your investments, time and resources to improve the business process.
Need: Find out what tools, equipment, software required. How many employees you need to run your business at starting stage and when your business grow in future.
Don’t spend money on unnecessary resources which are not required right now. When you grow you can buy or rent stuffs accordingly.
Business Model: Decide what type of ecommerce business you want to run. Business-to-Business (B2B), Business-to-Consumer (B2C), Direct-to-Consumers (D2C). Your products are physical or digital products. How you can procure, from manufactures, dealerships or you going to manufacture your own products. Write down complete business model.
Products to Sell
What is the main part of an ecommerce business? Yes, products. Describe what actually you want to sell. Prepare a high-level plan about the products which you sell now along with the products which you want to add in the future.
Acquisition: Check how you can acquire products which you want to sell. From which manufacturer, does they provide a great quality product.
If you want to manufacture products yourself, understand do you have enough skills on that. If you don’t have, take online or classroom trainings on the same.
Competitors’ Products: Understand your competitor’s products. From where they are procuring, how much they are spending time to identify write product, procure or manufacture that.
Cost of the product: Identify cost of final product. After spending money on buying or manufacturing products, marketing, logistics, check how much you get. Is it worth to sell that product to make profit and stick to business long term.
Life cycle of products: Learn what is the life cycle of the product which you sell? How many months, years, you can keep them in stock. Does products design or taste or something will change every time? If yes, then identify how much you need to buy or manufacture per month. Also find-out how often you target market with new type of products.
Market Analysis of your Ecommerce Business
Now let’s identify market value of your business. What really your customers want to buy? Are you selling exactly same or identical products which visitors to your ecommerce website are looking for?
Have you done industry analysis? Check how market is growing with your niche product. How much your competitors making profit from this? How much other companies holding in the market?
Do some research, read white paper or you can also use Google Trends to find out the market value and growth of the ecommerce industry and the products you sell.
Also analyze whether you can compete with differentiators or not. If you want to compete, document the ways and strategies.
Marketing Strategy for Ecommerce Business.
I will write in detail about marketing strategy in coming articles. Now we will focus in brief.
Building a marketing strategy is very important for any business. Below are the few you need to concentrate to promote your ecommerce website and drive traffic to it:
- Content Marketing: Write blog for your ecommerce industry. This is the platform where you can explain your customers that how you are different than others. About new products launch, discounts and many things you can tell your customers.
- SEO: Search Engine Optimization for ecommerce business is the main technique to drive traffic from search engines. There are lots of SEO techniques you can apply to improve your search results. We will discuss about this in coming posts.
- Email Marketing for ecommerce business: Email Marketing is still alive. And more traffic you can drive from it. This is the best communication media to communicate with your customers and identify what they want. You can also provide latest updates, order updates when your customer buy products and about new products launch.
- Social Media Marketing: More than 50% people are using social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. You can advertise your business to increase your sales.
- Mouth-to-Mouth Marketing: One of the most powerful marketing strategies is mouth-to-mouth marketing. Once you identify how to use it, you no need to spend much on any other marketing strategies. Live example is Apple, their drive sales easily without spending much on advertising. With a quality product, they make more than 50% of sales just by using mouth-to-mouth marketing strategy.
E-Commerce Business Operations
Business Operations is looks boring part in any business but it’s important. Using your creative brain, you can run operations very easily.
The main part is operations hours. From which time-to-time you want to run your business every day. Most of the ecommerce businesses run 24x7 but it’s not mandatory.
Identify how many human resources you want to run your business; how much you can automate the tasks.
Customer support for E-Commerce business: Customer support plays very important role in ecommerce business. Gather right tools and resources to satisfy your customers needs, resolve issues like late delivery, payment errors etc.
Management team in ecommerce business: Decide who will manage the business, you or your co-founders or you want to hire managers to run the business. Management is a difficult but important position in any business. A right management team with right decisions makes any business successful.
The last and high-level in ecommerce business is logistics. Now days customers hate those companies who deliver their products late. Fast delivery, high quality products and best customer support experience are key areas in a ecommerce business to hold customers trust.
Funding and Financial Planning For ECommerce Business
Most difficult part of any business plan is financial planning and arranging funds to start and run the business.
List out the resources and equipment and other things.
Analyze the market about those things and write a rough amount required. I suggest as much as possible rent the equipment instead of buying. If you rent, you can easily upgrade to latest technology without spending much every year.
Note down, how much you required to run your business for next 5 years, even if your business not making much profit as you expected. This is very important. Because, as long as you stay in the market, you can increase customers trust and slowly start making profits.
Collect data how much you need to spend for marketing your business.
With all the above data, create a plan to ask funds from investors but when you starting out most of investors step back to invest in your business. In the initial stages get funds from your friends, family and co-founders. As your business grows day-by-day you can call investors to fund in exchange of some shares in the company.
Progress of ecommerce business
Milestone of your business is important to measure progress of your business. Progress of business influence you to motivate and celebrate whenever your business makes good sales.
You always compare your previous growth with the current.
Check how much sales when you made first day and 100th day. Check sales growth based on daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. This gives you clear picture whether your business is going in a right and expected path.
So, with the all the above points keeping in mind, go ahead and create a best plan for your ecommerce business.
Create a great ecommerce store and build your empire.
Have any questions about writing your business plan or have you already written a business plan which worked for your store. Let us know by commenting on below.