Online sales are a hot market and still growing, as people look for more unique products and reliable customer service from online vendors. Just having a website and a payment method, however, does not guarantee sales.
You need a plan to bring customers in the door and grow your business. For your plan, you’ll want to do some research and set a deadline for completion to stay on track.
One way to build an ecommerce business plan is to start with an outline like the one below and to fill in each section what you already know and what you plan to learn before you start your business.
1) Map Your Financial Goals
While you might feel tempted to write a single dollar figure in the middle of a sheet of paper and call it your financial goal, this is a good time to break down your goal into how you see yourself arriving at that number. Do you need investors? What do your sales look like at that income? Are there ways to lower the variable costs as you scale up?
2) Identify Your Potential Roadblocks
Your potential roadblocks could include internal weaknesses, like too much of your own time spent on business activities that don’t grow potential. They should also include factors outside your control but likely in the current environment. These might include inflation and competitors entering the market.
3) Create Contingency Strategies
You should add contingency strategies into your ecommerce business plan. Your plan should include steps to move away from weaknesses as you build your company. For external threats, you might need to do some research on how other companies have mitigated these scenarios.
4) Build Projected Timelines
There is always more planning to do, but at some point, you have to launch. By building timelines, you can ensure that you’re collecting the information you need at each stage of the process toward opening your business.
5) Chart a Pathway to Growth
Just as your timelines push you to start your business, your pathways to growth should encourage you to continue growing your business after launch. You’ll want to ensure you’re growing marketing, operations, and sales together in your ecommerce business plan, so that no one area leaves your business below its potential.
6) Calculate Your Expenses and Cash Flow
One of the most important calculations in your ecommerce business plan is whether sales will meet the expenses of your business. Do this calculation carefully and be sure to factor in fixed costs, including anything you purchased and need to pay off, and your own salary.
7) Collect Your List of Marketing Tools
Since so much of your business will depend on a successful marketing strategy, take time to carefully research and consider yours. You won’t get clients until they learn the URL of your website. You’re likely to have the greatest success with digital and online marketing strategies, so research the best platforms for your intended audience.
Build the Ecommerce Business Plan that will Lead You to Success
Now that you know the components of a business plan, you’re well on your way to starting an ecommerce business. Do your research and track your finances in advance for the greatest success.