Figuring out how to start an e-commerce business can be overwhelming. There are a lot of aspects to consider, and you are also under pressure to create an e-commerce site that appeals to your potential customers and matches with the big names in the field, like Amazon and Etsy.
So let's give you something to get started. Create a business plan that details how you are going to deliver a product from its manufacturer to the person/customer in need. The business plan should also consider your current financial situation and should be viable to start with.
Here's how you can put together an e-commerce business plan that actually works:
1. Start by drafting an executive summary
The first step is to draft a clear and concise executive summary that details your industry of choice, your major competitors, the primary mission of your business, the business goals your plan to achieve with a proper timeline, and your current financial status.
Ideally, an executive summary can be anywhere between one to three pages.
You write it as a summary, pointers, or question or answer. Here are some of the commonly included questions in an executive summary.
- What does your business do, or what business opportunity do you look forward to filling in?
- What is your current business status? If you have any suppliers you are already in touch with, list them out.
- What is your business idea, or how are you planning to approach this business?
- Who are your direct competitors? Mention the relevant ones and sort them based on their share in the market.
- What business goals do you plan to achieve, and mention the time frame in which you plan to achieve them. You could also list the steps you will take to achieve those milestones.
2. Setting out relevant goals
Setting out relevant goals is crucial to any business, and that also applies to an e-commerce business. This is an integral part of your business plan as it makes or breaks your business. If you set unrealistic goals, you might get burned out within a few months or demotivated when your efforts don't bear fruit. On the other hand, if you don't set reasonable goals, you might not scale up your business at all. So how do you set up realistic, workable goals?
Break down your long-term goals into short milestones. Classify them as short-term goals. Consider these as stepping stones to your ultimate long-term goal.
Short-term goals are those that can be achieved within a couple of hours to a maximum of 1 year. Long-term goals are those with a time frame above one year, and that lasts for about 5 years.
3. Get clarity on what products you are selling.
Identifying the right products to sell and stocking up the inventory is another crucial part of an e-commerce website. It would be best if you were all stocked up to face the demand. Mostly this decision surrounds your business idea and opportunity.
If you notice that there's a scope for consumer electronics, then mainly your inventory will be constituted of consumer electronics that are in demand.
On the other hand, if you are producing the products in hand, or rebranding them under your name, then your load increases a bit more, as you are putting in a lot of risks. Manage your pricing in the same way as well. Make sure you analyze your competitors and then stock up on the products.
4. Identifying the right audience
Identifying and targeting your audience is the most essential part. You need to set detailed instructions on who your ideal customers are and how you are going to identify them from the crowd.
If your store is skincare e-commerce, You could mention your target customer like this in your business plan. The ideal customer is a female aged 18 to 30 based in these areas and interested in skincare or makeup.