Retail Business Plans

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Retail Business Plan Basics

 The best way to show bankers, venture capitalists, and angel investors that you are worthy of financial support is to show them a great business plan.

Make sure that your plan is clear, focused and realistic.

Then show them that you have the tools, talent and team to make it happen.

Your business plan is like your calling card, it will get you in the door where you’ll have to convince investors and loan officers that you can put your retail business plan into action.

Once you have raised the money to start or expand your retail business, your plan will serve as a road map for your success. It is not a static document that you write once and put away.

You will reference it often, making sure you stay focused and on track, and meet milestones.

It will change and develop as your retail business evolves.

Do I need a retail business plan?

Not everyone who starts and runs a business begins with a business plan, but it certainly helps to have one.

If you are seeking funding from a venture capitalist, you will certainly need a comprehensive business plan that is well thought out and contains sound business reasoning.

If you are approaching a banker for a loan for a start-up business, your loan officer may suggest a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan, which will require a business plan.

If you have an existing business and are approaching a bank for capital to expand the business, they often will not require a business plan, but they may look more favorably on your application if you have one.

Reasons for writing a retail business plan include:

Checkmark Support a loan application
Checkmark Raise equity funding
Checkmark Define and fix objectives and programs to achieve those objectives
Checkmark Create regular business review and course correction
Checkmark Define a new business
Checkmark Define agreements between partners
Checkmark Set a value on a business for sale or legal purposes
Checkmark Evaluate a new product line, promotion, or expansion

What’s in a business plan?

A business plan should prove that your business will generate enough revenue to cover your expenses and make a satisfactory return for bankers or investors.

Checkmark Executive Summary–features the highlights of your plan and sells your idea in two pages or less.
Checkmark Company Summary–a factual description of your company, ownership, and history.
Checkmark Products (or Services or both)–describes your products and/or services and how they stand out from competitive products and services.
Checkmark Market Analysis-provides a summary of your typical customers, competitive landscape, market size, and expected market growth.
Checkmark Strategy and Implementation-describes how you will sell your product, how you will put your plan into action, and establishes milestones.
Checkmark Management Summary-provides background on the management team, their experiences, and key accomplishments.
Checkmark Financial Plan-contains key financials including sales, cash flow, and profits.

What makes a successful business plan?

Checkmark A well thought out idea
Checkmark Clear and concise writing
Checkmark A clear and logical structure
Checkmark Illustrates management’s ability to make the business a success
Checkmark Shows profitability

How do you write a business plan?

Sitting down looking at a blank computer screen as you prepare to start your business plan can be daunting. You may want to look at some alternatives that will make the process a bit easier.

Hire a Professional
A professional consultant will create the business plan for you, but you still have to be prepared to think through your business and understand the underlying concepts in your business idea.

You will have to work closely with the consultant to ensure that he or she develops a good plan that accurately represents your business or business idea.

Buy a Book
There are many good books on the market that will help you to understand what needs to go into a good business plan.

You can read Timothy Berry’s “Hurdle: the Book on Business Planning”.

Use Business Planning Software
A good business planning software package will provide you with an outline for a well-developed, objective-based and professional business plan.

Software packages will remove the problem of starting from scratch by structuring your plan for you.

The software should ask you the right questions that will pull out the most important underlying concepts within your business idea. 



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