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10 Steps to create an online sales business plan

10 min read
Vlad Kovalskiy
February 9, 2023
Last updated: January 17, 2024
10 Steps to create an online sales business plan

Table of Contents

10 Steps to create an online sales business plan
  1. Compose an online sales business plan executive summary
  2. Define your company’s mission, vision, goals, and values
  3. Characterize your target audience in your online shop business plan
  4. Perform a market analysis for your business plan for an online shopping website
  5. Outline your business structure in your online sales business plan
  6. Make a list of the products and/or services your online sales business offers
  7. Build a simple, easy-to-follow financial plan
  8. Create a marketing plan in your business plan for the online store
  9. Devise a logistics and operations plan
  10. Construct an appendix for your online sales business plan
FAQ

Whether you’ve been a veteran business owner for years or are just starting with your own little venture, or if you’re still putting together the master plan for your startup, a good, solid online sales business plan can help you get guaranteed success. Up to 70% of business owners find that having a business plan built before everything else is a tremendous help. However, determining how to create an online business plan can be as intimidating as going onto the market itself. But never fear! In this article, we will help you get it done. 

Some business owners do not see the need for a business plan; thus, they do not have one. Things should be fine for a while, but, as the old adage says: The failure to plan is a plan to fail. Keep in mind as well that this is not exclusive to brick-and-mortar firms. You will also need a business plan for online shopping websites. If you want to take your company to amazing heights and mind-blowing achievements, get yourself together and construct an online shop business plan.

Prepare your online store business plan

Building a business plan for your online shopping website is definitely something you can do on your own as the owner. Since your business venture is a result of your passions and interests, the main bulk of the plan should come from you. Hiring a professional to proofread and edit the document is also an option, but the groundwork should be done by you. 

Before you start sweating, read up and pay attention – we’re here to help you. Below are the 10 steps you can take to create an online sales business plan. 

1.  Compose an online sales business plan executive summary

Typically, one page or less, the executive summary is oftentimes the most crucial part of an online sales business plan. Because it condenses the essential parts of your business plan for the online shopping website, urging readers like potential investors to keep reading and pay attention. 

The executive summary usually includes some, if not all, of the following items: 

  • What your business does, or what it’s for

  • The mission and vision, as well as the goals of your business venture

  • Your products and/or services – what do you sell or offer, and what sets your offerings apart?

  • Target market or who do you want to sell to and serve

  • How do you plan on reaching your customers?

  • What does your online sales business currently make in revenue?

  • How much money do you need from investors?

  • Who’s involved in your online store business? Introduce your team

2. Define your company’s mission, vision, goals, and values

This part of your business plan for an online shopping website only needs to answer two questions: Who are you? and What do you plan to do? Doing this delineates why you’re in business, what sets you apart from your competitors, and why investing in your online store is a good idea. A good example of this is something called Letter from the CEO. 

The core of why you’re in business and what you hope to achieve should be stated here. For this part of the online sales business plan, you need to look outward to your customers, suppliers, employees, etc., to be able to see who you are as a company clearly. 

Some of the items below should also be included in your company identification: 

  • Your business structure (sole ownership or partnership, etc.)

  • Your business model

  • The mission and vision for your company (be sure to review this from time to time to keep it current)

  • The goals and targets of your online business

  • Your company’s history

  • The objectives for your business, both long and short term

  • Your team and their salaries

3. Characterize your target audience in your online shop business plan

The next step of the online store business plan is to list down what makes your target audience. By this time, you already have an idea of the type of people you want to sell to or serve. If you don’t know who your target audience is yet, now is a good time to find out. 

This is also where your investors or potential partners will have some questions for you, so be prepared with the answer to these:

  • Will your customers be consumers or other businesses?

  • Will they be loyal or one-off customers?

  • Have you spoken to anyone in your target audience? 

If, by chance, you have conducted feasibility or focus group studies for your business, be sure to add the particulars in this part of your business plan for the online store. 

4.  Perform a market analysis for your business plan for an online shopping website

The key to any online store business plan is choosing the right products and/or services for the market you want to launch in. It has to have plenty of customers for you – customers who have a need for what you’re offering and an understanding of its usefulness in their everyday lives. Be sure that you comprehend what your ideal customer looks like, whether it’s another business or a buyer, do your research on market trends, and conduct a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis. Also, this is the part of your online sales business plan when your competitors’ analysis should be. 

Timing also is key. You should be ready to launch at the right time to make a dent in the market and create an impact. Choosing the wrong market at either the wrong or right time can both spell disaster for your business, and you may find yourself struggling to stay afloat. Your potential investors may also see this as a sign of unreliability and bail out instead. 


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5. Outline your business structure in your online sales business plan

Simply put, your organizational chart. This is the part in your business plan for an online shopping website where it is shown. If you have management and leadership teams, their job titles or designations should also be presented here. 

Be as detailed as you can be to show the finer points of your business. Start from the rank-and-file. Then, work your way up and out, demonstrating the professional relationship between each employee and every department or team. Include their roles and responsibilities and establish how each person will contribute to your firms’ triumph in the market. 

6. Make a list of the products and/or services your online sales business offers

Probably the most read- and talked-about part of your online shop business plan. For this reason, it is valuable to give it its pride of place. Furnish the readers with a section that illustrates key details about them. 

If you plan on selling many items, include general information about each product line before getting more specific for each product. Publish clear photos, fact-based but enticing descriptions, and other pertinent product information. Chronicle how new products or services will be launched and when along with how they will impact and hopefully improve your company’s profitability. 

7. Build a simple, easy-to-follow financial plan

The survivability of your business venture relies heavily on its financial health. It doesn’t matter how good your products or services are. Investors and employees alike will want to be associated with a shop that is financially viable for a long time to come. 

A sound financial plan contained in your online shop business plan often includes the following items: 

  • Income statement – revenue sources and expenses to illustrate your firm’s profits and losses

  • Balance sheet – to show how much equity have in the business

  • Cash flow statement – very much like an income statement, except it accounts for when revenues are collected and expenses are paid

8. Create a marketing plan in your business plan for the online store

Taking your inspiration from your ideal customer, you should be able to construct effective and fruitful marketing efforts and campaigns. Your marketing plan should clearly demonstrate your decisions for the company’s present and future strategies, focusing on how they fit your optimal client. 

Most marketing plans include details on five key topics. Each topic depends on your target audience or dream patron and your business. These key topics are: 

  • Price – how much do your products or services cost? Why is it priced as such?

  • Product – what are you selling or what services do you offer, and what makes you different from the market?

  • Promotion – How will you make your products or services known to your model purchaser?

  • Place – where will you be selling your products or offering your services?

  • Profit – how much money do you think you’ll make over a certain period of time?

9. Devise a logistics and operations plan

Product prototypes, organizational charts, and starting capitals will get you nowhere unless you have reliable logistics and operations workflows. Just think: How can you hope to make a profit if you can’t even get your products or services to the end user? 

This area of your online store business plan is meant to indicate to the reader that you have a solid understanding of your supply chain and that you have sound contingency plans for emergencies and delay-causing events. This plan should contain:

  • Suppliers – where your raw materials or products come from

  • Production – will you be making your products, or will they be dropshipped? How many alternate products do you have?

  • Facilities – where is your company based? Do you have an office or a physical store as well?

  • Equipment – the tools and technology you will be using on a daily basis

  • Shipping and fulfillment – will you and your team be handling this part yourselves, or will you be getting a third-party provider?

  • Inventory – how much do you keep on hand, and where will your stocks be stored?

10. Construct an appendix for your online sales business plan

The last section of your business plan that should be allotted for an online store is the appendix. This is where readers will find additional information and supporting documents that cannot be found or accessed anywhere else. Attach a table of contents to save time and energy when trying to locate a document. While you’re at it, make sure that the business plan is stored in a secure place while also being viewable from anywhere at any time by keeping it online. These resources may include: 

  • Bank statements

  • Contracts

  • Business credit history

  • Legal documents 

  • Leases

  • Licenses

  • Letters of reference

  • Permits 

  • Patents 

  • Resumes 

  • Receipts

Creating the best online sales business plan

Knowing the importance of an exceptional business plan might make the actual exercise of putting it all together more tedious and stressful. You can get started with the following tips: 

  • Get to know your audience – who will be reading your online sales business plan and keep them in mind while you’re putting things together

  • Have a clear goal – what is the business plan for – more funds or just for you and your team to have a guide?

  • Research – tap into the wealth of information available online to access research and studies to aid in your business plan

  • Keep it short and concise – a business plan for an online shopping website should be no longer than 15 to 20 pages at most

  • Use a software – work with a tool that will help you produce a logical and reasonable online shop business plan 

FAQ

What is a business plan?

A business plan is a document that outlines a business’ identity, mission, vision, and values along with its products or services on offer. A business plan also defines how a business will make money, its leadership and staffing structures, financing and operations models, and the other ingredients to its success. 

Who needs an online sales business plan?

Ideally, any enterprise about to be launched needs an online sales business plan. Though you may be working with a small team or even on your own from your home, you will need an online store business plan. It’s a clear roadmap to success for you and your store. 

Why do you need a business plan?

Here are some of the many good reasons why you need a business plan, regardless of the size of your team or company: 

  • To make your ideas clear
  • To anticipate problems and create solutions
  • To gather feedback from others – employees and customers alike
  • As a formal, documented plan for your venture to present to investors and other contacts
  • To serve as a guide as your business grows

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Table of Content
Table of Contents Prepare your online store business plan 1.  Compose an online sales business plan executive summary 2. Define your company’s mission, vision, goals, and values 3. Characterize your target audience in your online shop business plan 4.  Perform a market analysis for your business plan for an online shopping website 5. Outline your business structure in your online sales business plan 6. Make a list of the products and/or services your online sales business offers 7. Build a simple, easy-to-follow financial plan 8. Create a marketing plan in your business plan for the online store 9. Devise a logistics and operations plan 10. Construct an appendix for your online sales business plan Creating the best online sales business plan FAQ What is a business plan? Who needs an online sales business plan? Why do you need a business plan?
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