9 Keys to a Great Retail Business Plan

If you want to start or grow a retail business, you need a business plan. Your business plan will map out your growth plans and answer the key strategic questions needed to take your business to the next level. Plus, if you need funding, lenders and investors will want to review your plan.

Your retail business plan template should include nine sections as follows:

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Company Overview
  3. Industry Analysis
  4. Customer Analysis
  5. Competitive Analysis
  6. Marketing Plan
  7. Operations Plan
  8. Team
  9. Financial Plan

Within each section, you must answer several questions. But for each section, there is one question that’s of supreme importance. These key questions and the sections in which they belong (listed in parentheses) are detailed below.

Why is your retail business uniquely qualified to succeed? (Executive Summary)

This is the most important question your business plan must answer. If nothing is making you unique, you won’t survive.

Fortunately, many attributes can make your retail business unique such as:

  • Distinctive branding
  • Customer loyalty
  • Experienced management team
  • Great location
  • Amazing staff
  • Unique product mix
  • Special relationships with suppliers

Importantly, you should always be thinking about how to add additional unique success factors since this is how your retail business will enjoy lasting success.

What has your retail business accomplished to date? (Company Overview)

The best indicator of future performance is past success. So, detail the successes your company has achieved to date.

Milestones such as the date you launched your store, the date you reached $X in sales, etc. are great past milestones.

If you’re just starting, document the date you conceived your retail concept, the date you designed your logo, and the date you found your retail space or secured your domain name.

Are any market trends affecting your industry and if so, how are you planning to manage them? (Industry Analysis)

Many retail businesses have been hurt by trends such as shifts towards buying online. Importantly, you must research and identify market trends and ensure your business is positioned to benefit from or address them.

Who precisely are your target customers? (Customer Analysis)

The more you know about your customers, the more you can cater to their preferences and needs, and the better you can attract them.

Spend time really understanding your customers. Find out where they congregate offline and online and learn about their needs. Incorporate these needs in your promotional efforts and product mix.

What are your areas of competitive advantage? (Competitive Analysis)

Similar to the first question about your unique qualifications, think about areas in which you have a competitive advantage, as “me too” businesses rarely survive in the long term.

Think through from a customers’ perspective why they should choose you over competitors. Strategize how you could make choosing your company the natural decision.

What promotional strategies will allow you to most cost-effectively attract new customers? (Marketing Plan)

New customers are the lifeblood of retail businesses. While it’s easy to reach customers with an unlimited marketing budget, your budget is probably limited.

Think through the best ways to attract customers with a limited budget. Can you use pay-per-click advertising? Social media promotions? Online review sites? Offline magazines?

Figure out the methods that most cost-effectively reach your target customers and will encourage them to visit your retail shop.

What systems will you install to streamline your operations? (Operations Plan)

Your operations plan should detail how you will most effectively run your business. Will you install a retail POS system? Will you use HR software to most effectively hire and manage your staff. Think about ways and systems that will allow you to grow your business without burning out yourself or your managers.

Why is your team qualified to execute your plan? (Team)

This question once again relates to the first question about your unique qualifications. In this case, you need to answer the question specifically as it relates to your team.

Is your current team qualified to grow your retail business and execute your plan? Do they have the skills? The experience? The aptitude? The vision?

The greatest plans in the world won’t be realized if your team can’t execute them. If your current team has what it takes, great. If not, strategize what you need to do to fix that. Do you need to better train and/or motivate them? Do you need to add new staff and/or replace existing ones?

What are your 5-year financial forecasts and are they realistic? (Financial Plan)

In your business plan, you need to layout growth assumptions and forecast your sales and profits for the next one to five years. This planning process is critical. It lets you know if additional funding is needed and what infrastructure you need to put in place.

For example, rarely can you grow sales five times with your existing team and systems. Rather, to grow, you’ll need to employ new systems, processes, and staff members.

While determining your five-year projections, think about what your business must look like to reach those goals. Will your marketing team be able to achieve those results? What systems will need to be upgraded? What new team members must be added?

Make sure your financial projections seem realistic and that you have plans in place to build the infrastructure required to support them.

Creating your retail business is hard work, but should be an enjoyable process. You get to envision a really successful version of your business and make strategic decisions regarding how to best get there.

Author Bio

Dave Lavinsky is the president and co-founder of Growthink. Over the past 20+ years, Growthink has helped over 1 million businesses develop business plans to launch and grow through its business plan consulting and business plan templates.

By POS Highway Staff | July 24th, 2023 | Point of Sale | 0 Comments

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