After the introduction of the internet, our lives became more easy and it also became easy for merchants to create online stores as well.
It’s known as e-commerce.
So if you want to start a new e-commerce or if you have already begun selling, and need more profits. Then no worries just create a business plan.
“Why Do I Need a Business Plan?”
Having a comprehensive business plan will definitely you to establish a clear roadmap for your business outset. You can access yourself and your progress, while you can identify all the requirements and resources that you need.
Finally, it will save you a lot of trouble, time, and money.
Get Started: 1-Page eCommerce Business Plan
Swiss business theorist by the name of Alexander Osterwalder created a tool called canvas for designing 1-Page eCommerce Business Plan. Well, it’s not the complete plan but it’s a good place to start.
Business Model Canvas Structure
Here we mention the different sections of the business model canvas:
- Key Partners: Who is necessary for your business to be successful?
- Key Activities: What does your business need to do or achieve to be successful?
- Key Resources: What can you use to benefit your business?
- Value Proposition: What is your unique selling point?
- Customer Relationship: What is important in your customer relationships?
- Channels: How do people hear about your business?
- Customer Segments: How do you differentiate between customers?
- Cost Structure: Where will the money go?
- Revenue Streams: Where does the money come from?
You can check a few examples from the internet.
How to Use the Business Model Canvas
Let us see how to use the canvas model.
You can use the answers of the following questions for filling the canvas.
- What do you plan to do?
- What needs are you satisfying?
- What is your unique selling point?
Later throw in some keywords. Make sure that your model is flexible enough to adapt to new conditions.
After filling this, your initial model is complete. Use this canvas as a reference for your original or traditional business model.
The Traditional Business Plan
It’s time for some formal work. This might sound scary but this is quite easy. Do know that having business model help you get loans and will also give you an edge our your counterparts.
Now let us see about the six sections that you should include in your business plan.
Section 1. About Your Company
This is all about your company and what others need to know about your firm, ranging from missions to visions and other goals as well. Including a little bit of history about your company.
But do always follow a structured manner. Starting from why the customer should choose you over others?
Vision, mission and value proposition may sound similar but they are different.
Value Proposition: why the customer should choose you.
Mission Statement: why your business exists right now.
Vision Statement: what your business hopes to become in the future.
After adding these three, you can follow the following list.
- Is your company a sole proprietorship, LLC, or corporation?
- What date was your business established?
- What do you sell?
- What is your industry?
- What is your businesses history?
- What are your objectives – short and long-term?
- Who is your team?
And other business related data.
Section 2. The Market and Your Competition
This section is mostly about marketing. And your competition.
You can use the tools like PEST and SWOT for analysis.
PEST: Is used find the growth of the factors like political, economic, social, and technological factors.
While SWOT will help you in recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of your business.
You can use the following data for SWOT.
- strengths – what is working for them?
- weaknesses – what isn’t working for them?
- opportunities – what are they ready to take advantage of?
- threats – what are they worried about?
You can find the templates for both the PEST and SWOT online.
Section 3. Your Marketing Plan
Let’s talk about customers.
It’s crucial that you have a plan for getting more customers for your site. You can do a little bit of research about this. The best way to get excellent data is to think like the customers or do a customer interview so that you can know and replicate their tastes in your site. So that more people will be attracted to your site.
You can use the SALES FUNNEL to achieve the same in a more efficient and easier way.
Section 4. Your Business Operations
In this section, you should be able to create a plan that will reflect all your operations from manufacturing to the production. Including your contingency plan and production process.
For more reference, you can take a look at this questions.
- How long it will take to produce a specified number of units of product.
- What has been done to unify customer feedback into the production of your product or service?
- What strategy do you have in place to handle a major increase in demand for your product or service?
Later include the following details as well.
- Suppliers: the people or businesses, who will be providing the materials you won’t be making yourself.
- Facilities: where you’ll place your inventory or offices.
- Personnel: your staff and their duties.
- Equipment: the tools and technology you need to run your business.
- Fulfillment: the delivery method you’ll be using to get orders fulfilled.
- Inventory: how much inventory you’ll keep on hand or stored with a third-party and how you’ll track it.
- Customer Support: how will customer support requests and complaints and refunds be tracked and integrated?
Section 5. Business Finances
This section is all about creating a budget for your business. And plan that will get you profit.
Income Statement: it will show you your expenses, profits, and losses including your income.
Balance Sheet: all of your assets, net worth and liabilities are shown in this sheet.
Cash Flow Statement: it’s the same as income statement but the major difference is that it takes into account the actual date that money comes in and goes out.
Section 6. Measuring Your Success
Finally, we are at the last stage of this plan. Sometimes our plans fall apart or our goals may not seem realistic enough. But must include these two things into your plan.
- You will stay on target and be able to celebrate your smaller victories.
- You will be able to respond quickly when you fall behind schedule.
When you feel like you are falling behind then revise your plans once again. If necessary start from the scratch.
That’s how you design a business plan for e-commerce 🙂