The Netherlands has around 50,000 web stores and this number continues to grow! But as an entrepreneur you soon discover that setting up a webshop has more feet in the way than initially thought. To ensure that everything runs smoothly, writing a solid business plan is essential for your future web store. Not only does this provide good insight into the webshop in question, it also touches all facets so that you don’t miss anything. But how do you ensure such a strong and successful business plan?
What does success begin with?
Winners have a plan, losers have excuse. And this also applies to successful entrepreneurs. They have a plan that they start with. Internet sales are still rising; people opt for convenience and plenty of choice. You are also considering starting a webshop. Maybe you already have a physical store and want to start selling cross-channel. You must have a plan anyway because the fact that you may already have a good physical store is no guarantee for a good web store. So make a good strategic business plan that contributes to success.
Before you write your business plan it is a must to do market research. With that you answer the question whether it is useful to start with this at all. You think about who your target group is and how large it is. Make sure you immerse yourself in their purchasing behavior and whether they are willing to shop online. You also identify your competition; what is your competition, what do they do and do they do this successfully? You also look at the purchasing options, especially if you don’t have a physical store yet. If after this preparation you are still positive about your own web shop then the real work will start; writing a business plan for a webshop
How do I write a business plan?
You can write your plan using the following steps to ensure that you do not miss any important information.
With the purchasing process you think of things like:
1: How do you handle procurement and what are the margins that you use?
2: Who will become your suppliers?
Make sure you do not purchase too much from 1 supplier. This causes too great a dependence. For example, you may run the risk that you no longer have products if this supplier stops. Also make agreements about what you should purchase as a minimum and check whether it is possible that you can place interim orders to keep your stock in order.
3: How much inventory can you handle and where do you keep your inventory?
You may have your entire inventory at home, but you may also have to rent storage space for this. And that naturally entails costs.
Turnover & Sales
Step 2 in your plan is about sales and sales. Describe which goals you set with regard to sales figures, turnover and visitor numbers. Which turnover do you expect to make in which period? How much revenue do you need to get out of the costs and how much to make a profit? Calculate here with various scenarios so that you get a real picture of possible profits.
Order, pay, send, return
How can people order? How do you process orders? Do you do the shipping yourself? And if that is not the case, which company do you have the shipment done for? Look at which company you can make good agreements. What will your delivery times are and how can you guarantee these? What are the payment options that you use and what are the costs involved? And not unimportantly, describe what your return options for orders are.
What costs do you incur when starting your web shop (starting capital) and which ongoing costs do you have to deal with? Consider the costs for design and realization of your web shop and that of the required software. Software for the web store (that which your customers see) but also software that is needed to do the bookkeeping. Also try to indicate how you are going to finance this.
Write an (online) marketing plan and indicate the costs for various marketing efforts. Make good choices about where to put your marketing efforts. SEA can be very useful if you have a clear view of your target group. Of course there are various options for bringing your webshop to the attention of your target group. This includes SEA, SEO, Social Media, Affiliate Marketing and e-mail marketing.
You want your customers to be recognizable. Make sure you have a good house style and let it come back in all expressions. It is quite a process to properly set up your web store. Think carefully about which parts of setting up your webshop you can handle yourself. What should you also outsource? Do you provide the content yourself (product photography, visual material and the web texts)? It can be useful to delve into SEO, so that you can write good texts yourself.
Target group, competition and marketing communication
Describe your target group, market and competitors. And very important; what are your unique characteristics that distinguish you from your competition? What is your marketing strategy? This strategy must ensure traffic to your web store. Starting entrepreneurs will often do this themselves. Take a good look at the possibilities of using your own social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Focus your marketing on the (social) media where your target group is located. Once traffic is generated to your webshop, find out how you can optimize the conversion as far as possible so that a healthy ROI can be achieved.
Business plan route map to success
With a business plan you therefore map out the feasibility of your own business as well as possible. By writing a plan you ensure that you are not confronted with surprises. Doing business means taking risks. You do not have a 100% guarantee of success. You can visualize the chance of success as much as possible with a business plan that includes all the aspects mentioned. With this document you can – if necessary – go to the bank for financing. But it is much more than just that. The plan provides guidance during the establishment of your webshop and it helps you shape your shop in the future. Therefore, ensure that the objectives are formulated SMART: Specific, Measurable, Acceptable, Realistic and Time-related.
Whatever applies to your business plan: make sure it matches your ambitions. The greater your ambitions, the more you have to invest in terms of time and money. Something to think about!