by Chrisy Bossie.
Establishing a business plan and goals is something everyone must do. Your goals need to be reasonable, yet challenging. Any new business requires an investment of time and money, and online selling is no exception. You can’t just list products for sale and run off and put your attention elsewhere and expect to make a profit. A customer base takes time to build up. Developing your business plan, doing the research, and making products takes time too. Some of the ideas you use will work, some won’t, but you won’t know until you try them. But if you invest your time now and think in terms of long term, you will reach your goals.
When I first started selling jewelry online I was still working a 9-5 job. I told my parents my plans, and they gave me some words of wisdom. They said, “It’s a great idea, but don’t plan on being able to make a living off of it for at least two years.” They had a point. It wasn’t a point most people care to hear, but it was a logical, sound, valid point. I tried selling online without a business plan for awhile, and had a few meager sales, but in January 2011 I laid down New Year’s Resolutions to take my business seriously, and I revamped my business. I dumped money into my business. Not much at first, but I started upgrading my materials and product quality, I took a look at my pricing and priced my items to make a profit, and I started throwing money at advertising. Once I put my business plan into place my sales skyrocketed. In April 2011 I had my first profitable month, $94.75 of net profit after all the expenses. It would have been sooner, but I poured most of my sales income back into advertising and materials and increased them each month. Three months later my net profit was over $1600 for the month. It’s still climbing. And over 75% of my business is from repeat customers. But none of it happened until I made a good business plan and focused all my attention on it.
How to Plan a Business Plan: Setting Priorities
- You need an idea. Brainstorm!
- You need a product. Create!
- You need a place to sell it. Set up shop.
- You need to find potential customers. Advertise.
- You need sales. Brag. Yep, seriously. Toot your own horn.
- You need to turn those new customers into repeat customers. Provide excellent customer service.
- Go back to #1 and repeat.
Do not mess with the schedule of priorities. There’s no sense in creating products if your idea stinks and there is no market for them. There’s no sense advertising if you don’t have any products in your shop.
Once these priorities are in place and they’re working for you, then it’s time to add:
8. Look for new growth opportunities.
9. Or, if you’re happy with the level you’re selling at, take a day off, get that pedicure you’ve been wanting, and enjoy your success!
How to Plan a Business Plan, by Chrisy Bossie, http://www.earthegy.com/
If you are looking to raise money from your business plan, see this related article from Entrepreneur: How to Plan a Business Plan that will Turn Investors’ Heads