Creating a Business Plan for your Online Boutique
A business plan is a comprehensively written detail of the business. There is no set pattern for writing and documenting a business plan. It can be a simple one-page business plan or it could consist of 30 pages. There is no specific length of a business plan.
Do you really need a business plan?
Everyone always asks for your small-sized online boutique I really need a plan? It’s just me and I and I know what I want to do so why create one? And how a business plan can help your online boutique?
The short answer is NO, no one is going to hold you to have a business plan but……No matter how small online boutique you intend to create, you shouldn’t do it without a business plan. A business plan should be the first thing that you should start off with and if you’ve already started go back and create a plan.
A business plan will help you in making decisions related to finances, buying, selling, marketing, target audience, what products to sell, where to buy those products, when to buy those products, what pricing model you need to use, how to handle shipping, customer support, customer engagement strategies and everything else.
A business plan is the basic informational document that has all the details about your online boutique. You can share your business plan with stakeholders. You can refer to it in case of any ambiguity.
How to use your business plan?
A business plan serves many purposes. A well-written and a well-defined business plan has the potential to drive the business.
- A business plan provides future focus and vision.
- It serves as the basic guideline for managers or potential partners.
- Business plan defines the objectives of your business.
- It defines your target audience, marketing strategies and financial resource allocation.
- It helps to define the culture of the business.
- It’s necessary to present when approaching banks for loans, looking for investors, and larger corporations for sponsorship and support
How to Create an Online Boutique Business Plan
Now let’s see how you can create a solid business plan for your online boutique.
1. Executive Summary
The executive summary is the first part of your business plan but it is recommended to write it at the end. It should be no more than 2 pages. It should be a short summary of your entire business plan. It is a shorter version of your business plan that should be written in a presentable and concise manner.
2. Company Description
This is the first section of your business plan. This section should have all the details about your online boutique stores including:
• Boutique name
• Mission statement
• Goals and objectives
• Business philosophy
• Your target market
• Your major competitors
• The major strengths and weaknesses of your online boutique
• Details about the owner(s)
3. Products and Services
In this section include all the details about your products and services. It should be a detailed section having even the most minor details of the products.
• Product pictures- here are some great product photo tips
• Product specification
• Product features
• Product quality
• Product price
• Buying structure
• Selling structure
• Delivery channels
4. Operational Plan
The operational plan refers to the day-to-day activities of your online boutique that runs your boutique. Make this section as detailed as possible.
• Product production/product leasing/product buying
• Product location
• Warehousing details
• Payment processing
• Order processing
• Website updating
• Quality control
• Employee salaries
• Inventory details
• Supplier details
• Credit details (selling)
• Accounts receivable
5. Marketing Plan
This is the section where you need to state your complete marketing plan for your online boutique.
• Secondary market research
• Primary market research
• Market size
• Market demand
• What products to market
• Who are the customers
• Customer details
• Customer demographics
• Competition details
• Competitor strengths and weaknesses
• Marketing strategy
• Marketing budget
• Marketing tools
• Promotional tools and methods
• Advertising methods
• Geographical details
• Sales estimation
Who will manage the business? Who owns the business? How to handle the business in case of absence of the business manager and/or business owner?
7. Financial Management
Financial management section should include all the details about the finances of your online boutique.
• Personal finance
• Initial investment
• Start-up cost and expenses
• Breakeven point
• Financial plan
• First year’s estimated profit and loss statement
• Projected cash flow statement for the first year (how much do you want to make)
• Balance sheet (day-to-day)
You can find information on the cost of starting a boutique here.
8. Online Store
This section should include all the details about your website and online store.
• What ecommerce platform to use- check out my recommendation for building websites here.
• How many people to hire
• Who will manage the website on daily basis
• Website designing
• Website layout
• Web content
• Website updates and upgrade
• Email responses
• Email formats
This is just a basic format/template of a simple business plan for an online boutique. You can delete or add any new section s or chapters.
In the end, write a very concise and to the point summary of the business plan which should be used as an executive summary. Once it is all done, keep in mind that a business plan can be amended and it should be upgraded from time to time basis.
Do you need more help with getting your boutique started? Grab this step by step checklist
GET the FULL CHECKLIST
Download this handy PDF that you can use through out your Boutique Journey
The steps you need to start working towards your online retail boutique today.
If you want to see other really good business plan examples, check out this Restaurant marketing plan for opening a new restaurant.