Welcome to the first lesson in the Online Business Planning Crash Course. Over the next few days, we will receive go over several lessons that will help you learn the ins and outs of planning your online business for success.
In this first lesson, we are going to talk a little bit about developing a plan for your online business.
Whether you are creating a new business or you are expanding your existing business online, it’s a good idea to create a business plan as part of your development and preparation process.
Just like a traditional business, your online business plan needs to provide details about your venture along with a list of goals and supplies you’ll need to get started.
Generally, a business plan is created to solicit capital for your project from potential investors. However, it does more than that.
It forces you to thoroughly analyze how effective your business idea really is and makes you accountable to carry out the plan for developing it.
According to the SBA, creating a business plan is one of the most important steps you will take because the plan serves as your road map for the early years of your business.
A solid plan generally projects 3-5 years ahead and outlines the route the business intends to take to reach its yearly milestones, including revenue projections.
As you are creating your online business plan there are a number of sections you need to put together to ensure you have a plan you can follow to keep your business on track towards success.
You may be surprised to learn that many business owners come up short during the planning stages, which often ends up in a non-starter or complete failure.
Perhaps this because they are uncertain of what they want to achieve.
In addition to taking, the time to outline what your business will look like and how it will function, you also need to think about financing. Working capital is critical to your startup.
Keep in mind that how much working capital you need will depend on your specific project.
Your business plan will help determine how much capital you already have, how much more you may need and what your operating costs will be.
For instance, if you are taking your existing business online you may only need a small amount to set up a website and cover related costs like domain hosting and processing fees.
But, if you are starting a brand new business you may need special licenses and additional inventory on top of the basic costs associated with running an online business.
Other Online Business Factors
Setting up and e-commerce website has its own set of challenges that aren’t usually seen in more traditional business models. You have to be at least a little tech-savvy or be prepared to hire someone who is to get your website set up and ready for customers.
There are also additional resources needed to conduct business online. For example, payment systems, customer management, email, and demographic tracking software.
Like any other business, you shouldn’t invest time and money unless you have done the proper research and understand the risks and rewards.
You need to know or at least have a pretty good idea of what’s needed to develop the business to ensure a good return on your investment.
Here are some other important aspects of an online business to consider:
– The unique working environment of the internet.
– The advantages of doing business online.
– The disadvantages of doing business online.
– The cost of running your business online
– The potential profit and loss margins
– Understanding your audience online purchasing habits.
The SBA (Small Business Administration) has a wealth of free information about starting a business. You can check out all of the available resources here: https://www.sba.gov
We have a lot to go over in the next few posts if you want to learn how to plan your online business for success, so make sure you look for your next lesson soon.
Next, we will be talking about tools that make writing your plan a breeze.