Before you start any business, there’s a whole bunch of things people say you need.
You need the right licensing or certification, you need a product, you need some cash to invest, and… you need a business plan.
But… is it just me, or does the phrase “business plan” sound super intimidating?! It sounds like some super complicated, 50-page presentation with graphs, charts, and A LOT of numbers.
Sure, some business plans DO look like that. But you don’t have to go super in-depth to put together a quality business plan to set your online boutique up for success. (Though if you’re planning on using your online boutique business plan to secure funding from investors or a bank, the more detail the better.)
Most business plans include at least 5 sections: an executive summary, opportunity, execution, company summary, and financial plan. Chances are, you’ve already gathered most of the information necessary to write these out – but if not, this will be a good exercise in figuring out what exactly your online boutique will accomplish.
We’ll walk you through how to write each of those sections and successfully create a business plan for starting an online boutique.
1. Executive Summary
Your executive summary should go first in the structure of your business plan, but most people write this section last. It’s a short overview of your business and your plans, summarizing the other four main sections.
This section outlines what you’re selling, the problem you’re solving, who you’re selling to, and your competition. Ideally, this section will show that there really is a need for your online boutique, despite competition. You’ll also want to use this section to illustrate what sets your solution apart from all the rest.
This section answers the HOW. How are you going to make your business work? How are you going to reach your target customer and solve their problems? It should include marketing and sales plans, your pricing strategy, and specific goals you’re hoping to achieve in the near future.
4. Company Summary
This section gives an overview of your company’s structure and key team members. When you’re just starting out, it might just involve you, but you can still include positions you’re planning on filling in the future as your company grows. You’ll also want to include a short company overview, including your mission statement, business location, and a brief history of the company.
5. Financial Plan
Sounds a little scary, right? Don’t worry – this doesn’t have to be complicated. Simply make an estimate of your startup costs and a forecast of how much you think you’re going to sell over the next 12 months. (Graphs are handy for this section, but not totally necessary – a simple chart will do!) If you’re looking for funding, figure out how much you’ll need to start your business and create a chart outlining how you’ll plan on using that money.