Selling online has become an important part of many businesses. If you are considering jumping into the online business, first check out what your competitors are doing online. This is for the purposes of giving you a guide and get to better what they offer. This means carrying out enough research to be informed. Drafting a strategic plan might seem like loads of work, but it will help save you from making mistakes as well as deviating from your original objectives. It does not have to be the long or even complex plan.
Now that you have established the importance of an e-commerce plan, let’s look at some areas that will help you draft a workable plan;
Write Your Value Position
Creating a brief and captivating value proposition simply shows the clarity of your ideas. While writing this up, you should do it as though you only had a minute to describe your business plan to an investor or a customer. Practice this several times until you are confident explaining it to someone else. You can take this to be your company description on your website.
Figure Out Your Business Model
It is great to initially come up with a framework for your online business model. Having gone through the sections of your strategic business plan and have carried out enough research, you will want to make some tweaks to your business model. There are a couple of ways of selling your product online and various models to be employed. Think critically about which model works best with your product. You can ask yourself the following questions;
- What am I selling?
- Who am I selling to?
- How am I sourcing my product?
Carry Out Market Analysis
This is one of the most vital sections of a business plan. Actually, you can never be a successful online business entrepreneur if you do not understand your market. A market analysis will push you to understand the industry you operate in, the outlook for the industry, your competitors as well as your target market. To do this, it means you have to carry out research and some of the efficient ways to do this is by checking out;Industry reports look for recent industry reports which will show you the growth of the industry, why the growth is happening and the largest customer segments.
Shopping- store representatives interact with hundreds of customers. Getting information from them can lead to valuable insights which can translate into amazing business opportunities.
Competitor Analysis- what is missing in the competition? In which areas can you put additional value?
Trade Shows-attending trade shows is a sure way to create connections with other people within the industry. This is where you get to meet manufacturers, competitors and also understand where the industry is heading to.
Business Plan Tools
If you find coming up with a business plan is giving you headaches, you can try checking out some tools online. Some useful tools may include;
· SCORE Business Plan Templates- it has a wide collection of free business plan templates in the form of PDF and Word for startups and established businesses.
· Bplans.com- if you are looking for free sample business plans, then this will work perfectly for you. It offers a wide range of business plans for all manner of businesses.
· LivePlan-this cloud-based business plan service offers document generation, planning tools, guidance resource and so much more. It gives guidance and instructions based on the objectives of your business plan.
· Rocket Lawyer- this tool lets you create your personal legal documents as well as provide access to different legal services.
Marketing and Sales
So now that you have established that you have an amazing business idea and it is in a growing market, what are you going to do to drive traffic to your site and turn visitors into potential customers? Having established your customer base, you need to find out the best channels to reach your customers. Look for the one that will steal the attention of your consumer demographic. Also remember to establish how much it will cost you to get one customer on board.
Products and Services
If you already know what you want to sell, then you have an upper hand. However, if you are still not quite certain of what to sell, you need to find a product that is upward trending in a growing niche. For existing products, you need to develop specifications for each and every product and service you provide.