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Whether you’re interested in launching a new e-commerce or print-on-demand business, or looking to refine and grow your existing one, having a business plan helps set the framework for success!
While creating one may feel daunting, the easiest, fastest way to simplify the work of writing a business is by using a template. There are a plethora of free tools, outlines, and templates to help you get started, some of which we will share below!
However, before we do so, here’s an overview of the key elements typical of traditional business plans:
- Executive Summary
Typically drafted at the end, the Executive Summary is a one-page summary of your business plan. In addition to the overview, the summary generally includes a description section that outlines your management team, business objectives and strategy, and other background information about your business or brand. You may consider including a mission statement as well.
- Market Analysis
Each business plan should include a market analysis wherein you analyze the market you hope to reach with your business idea. This analysis should cover everything from estimated market size to your target markets and competitive advantage. It should also feature a competitive analysis of your industry that details your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.
- Products and Services
This section highlights what you sell and outlines the most important features of your products or services. If applicable, it also includes any plans for intellectual property, like patent filings or copyright. This section should also include any current or future market research you plan to conduct for new products, product extensions, or services.
- Marketing Plan
The Marketing Plan should provide an overview of how you intend to market your business, the channels you plan to leverage, and any strategic decisions you have made regarding how you plan to position and price your products or services. It may include customer personas (including ages, demographics, lifestyle, etc.) as well as your sales plan and metrics for measuring success.
- Operations Plan
Logistics are the focus of this section. The Operations Plan details how you plan to source, produce, and deliver your products or services. For example, if your e-commerce business leverages print-on-demand, you would include your printing partner and how you plan to integrate with them. If your business is more service focused, you would discuss how you plan to share your skills, services, or training with customers.
- Financial Plan
This section of the business plan includes an overview of your financial projections, including both revenue and expense projections. This section also includes templates for three key financial statements: an income statement, a balance sheet, and a cash-flow statement. You may also communicate whether or not you need a business loan and, if so, the amount you will request.
As you work through the sections of your e-commerce business plan, it’s imperative to think critically about each facet of starting a new business. Doing so will help ensure you consider the full scope of running a business and help you identify functional areas you may not have considered, logistical challenges you may face, and areas you may need to level up in terms of training and growth.
To help you get started, we’re sharing some of the best, free, e-commerce business plan templates we’ve found:
There are numerous others, as well. Simply search for “free business plan templates for e-commerce business” or “free business plan template.” Happy business planning!