How to Write an Ecommerce Business Plan [Examples & Template]

Kayla Carmicheal

Published: April 03, 2024

If you have a promising idea for an online e-commerce business , it’s important to create an e-commerce business plan to ensure your vision has enough stock to be profitable.

online sales business plan

Having a business plan for your online store will help you define your target market, establish your monthly and quarterly sales goals, and increase the likelihood of long-term e-commerce success.

In this post, we’ll go over an online store business plan and how you can create one for your e-commerce startup. Let’s get started.

→ Download Now: Free Business Plan Template

What is an e-commerce business plan?

An e-commerce business plan is a document that outlines your business and its goals, analyzes your industry and competitors, and identifies the resources needed to execute your plan. It also lists the e-commerce retailers you’ll use to distribute your products and the marketing strategies you’ll use to drive sales.

Whether a company operates as a startup or has years of operations and growth under its belt, an e-commerce business plan is essential for evaluating a business and determining areas of improvement.

An e-commerce business plan is essential, with increasing numbers of shoppers conducting business online. It's estimated this number has reached over 2 billion . An e-commerce business plan keeps you organized and is useful when seeking investors who need to understand your company.

So, let’s dive into some examples of e-commerce business plans and what goes into writing one using our free template .

online sales business plan

Free Business Plan Template

The essential document for starting a business -- custom built for your needs.

  • Outline your idea.
  • Pitch to investors.
  • Secure funding.
  • Get to work!

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

E-commerce Business Plan Template

online sales business plan

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How to Make an Ecommerce Business Plan for Your Startup

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Darren DeMatas

February 28, 2024


In addition to receiving commissions generated through affiliate marketing, we are able to fund our independent research and reviews at no extra cost to our readers. Learn more.

So you’ve decided that you want to quit your day job and start your very own ecommerce empire. That’s great!

But before you become the next Jeff Bezos  (and definitely before you quit your job!), it’s worth spending some time thinking about a business plan. In this article, we’ll dive into the key elements of an ecommerce business plan, which is very different than writing traditional business plans.

Ecommerce Business Plan 2020

Why You Should Create a Business Plan

We know that starting an ecommerce business is exciting, and it can be tempting to jump right in without constructing a business plan. READ: PLEASE DON’T DO THIS.

If you haven’t put your ideas, questions and concerns on paper, then you haven’t given your business model enough thought .

Taking the time to write a business plan might seem like a lot of work, but it can save you a lot of time and money in the long run by better preparing you for potential challenges and opportunities that you’ll face as a first-time entrepreneur. Think of it as a roadmap for your new business venture.

It’s exciting to start your own ecommerce business. However, you want to be well prepared and not jump into anything without having a solid, foolproof ecommerce business plan in place.

After all, you wouldn’t jump out of a plane without a parachute, so why start a business without a safety device in place? That safety device is your business plan.

Quote 5 Jeff Bezos Retail Is Details

The business plan is the brainstorming process that ensures your concept and goals are realistic.

This is more than just mental notes. True business plans take your ideas , questions, and concerns and put those in writing.

As you start creating your business plan, you’ll soon understand that it’s more than a single piece of paper with handwritten details on it. It’s a clearly constructed format of how your business will be created, how it will operate, and what you hope the future holds in terms of a successful ecommerce business.

When you write your business plan, be sure to have a target audience in mind. Are you going to look for investors or put a Kickstarter campaign into motion and use this as your descriptive platform? If so, make sure that your business plan contains everything the audience would want to know about your business (and more!). Many traditional funding solutions require a business plan in order to give you capital. However, there are alternative solutions, such as  Payability  that specialize in ecommerce and don’t require credit checks, a business plan, or any complicated paperwork. They can also get you approved in as little as 24 hours.

When your business plan is completed, you should have achieved the following goals:

  • Knowledge:  A greater sense of knowledge of the business aspects.
  • Resources:  The resources you’re going to need to make your business successful, such as partners, money, employees, etc.
  • Road Map: Have clear set goals to take you from the very beginning of your business and onward.
  • Viability: In other words, is your business possible? Will you have enough profit margins to keep the doors open long-term?

Now that you know why you should create a business plan, it’s time to move on to how you can create your business plan and get started putting your ecommerce business into motion.

How to Start an Ecommerce Business Plan

At the very beginning of the planning stages, it’s a good idea to develop a framework for your business model. This business model will continue to evolve as you create each section of your ecommerce business plan, so don’t strive for a perfect completed plan on the first try. You will be making tweaks to the plan of certain steps along the way.

There are many ways to sell products online and different business models  to pursue. Research and learn from successful ecommerce business examples in the market. The exact business model you follow will be one that makes the most sense with your resources, skills, and interests.

In order to create the best online business plan with your product in mind, you need to figure out the following things:

What are you selling?

The first step to creating an online business is to learn the absolute basics of what you can sell.

  • Physical products: Clothing , shoes, home goods
  • Digital products: Software as a Service products, ecourses, ebooks
  • Services: Consulting services, home cleaning

Who are you selling to?

  • Business-to-Business (B2B): You are selling to organizations, corporations, and non-profits rather than individual customers
  • Business to Consumer (B2C): This means you are selling to individual consumers rather than businesses
  • Marketplace: You are acting as a middleman by bringing businesses and (B2B or B2C) customers to one website.

How are you sourcing your product?

  • Manufacture in-house: You make your product or service in-house
  • Third-party manufacturer: You outsource the manufacturing of your product or service to a third-party manufacturer
  • Dropship: You partner with a dropship manufacturer. Basically, this means that they make your product, package it and ship it directly to your customer while your company handles the entire customer relationship.
  • Wholesale : You buy goods or services from other companies in bulk and re-sell those products on your online store

Additional References

  • Entrepreneurship: Business & Marketing Plans
  • Small Business and Entrepreneurship
  • Entrepreneurship Resources
  • Business Plan Resources

Executive Summary

Ecommerce Business Plan Template Executive Summary

The executive summary will be written according to your goals, and it’s recommended that this is done at the very end of your business plan completion. This will ensure that you include all of the important factors about your business and present your ideas in a concise and complete way.

Some of the features you’ll include in the executive summary include information showing that you’ve done your research, you have concrete sales forecasts, and the main details about your brand.

Business Model

When you’re figuring out your business model, you have to consider four different areas:

  • Monetization strategy
  • Product/industry
  • Target market
  • Sales channel

Monetization Strategy

The monetization strategy delves into the methods you are going to use to sell your products.

This strategy will look at different product monetization methods, including white label, private label , affiliate marketing, wholesale, dropshipping, and even selling ads.


The product industry section is where you summarize your main niche.

For example, “Vegan Skincare Products.”

Target Market

In the target market section, you will write a sentence or so on who your target market, or ideal customer, is in the community.

If you’re selling vegan skincare products, your target customers might be women who embrace the vegan lifestyle and use natural skincare products in their daily beauty regimen.

Sales Channel

The sales channel refers to where you’re going to sell your products.

For example, you might be selling your products on your own website, and this should be entered in this section.

Business Overview

Ecommerce Business Plan Template Company Overview

This next section covers your company overview.

This section of your business plan will cover various features of your company, including the following:

  • Company type
  • Domain name
  • Value proposition
  • Brand traits

The brand name section lists your business name or brand name.

This is an extremely important aspect of your business plan as it’s what will set the tone for everything that follows.

Pick a brand name that’s simple yet unique and is something that can be used in a wordplay manner, if desired, but not pun-worthy.

Company Type

The company is how your business operates. For example, you might label your business as an LLC , S-corporation, sole proprietor, or some other type of business organization.

The best way to determine how you should categorize your company is to speak to your accountant. There are various tax and legal aspects to forming your business in a certain way.

Speak with the professionals in the company and corporation formation field to determine how to label your company and which company type best benefits your business in a variety of ways.

Domain Name

This section is where you list your domain name.

Choose a domain name that is memorable and embraces the overall traits and features of your business.

And, when choosing a domain name, be sure to think of SEO aspects when doing so. You’ll find out just how much all of these things tie together and ensure a frequently-visited website is the end result.

Keep in mind that with ecommerce, the domain name is just as important as the brand name. Maybe even more so!

Value Proposition

A value proposition is a short, crisp statement that will gauge how clear your idea is. Write this section as if you had one minute to explain your business to a potential investor or customer and then practice it over and over again.

The value proposition can be used on your ecommerce store as your company description.

Here’s a good example: Say you’re looking to start a hiking company called Atlas Hiking Co. which sells premium performance hiking shirts. A possible company description could be the following:

Atlas Hiking Co. is a lifestyle hiking company that produces high-performance hiking shirts for outdoor lovers. Our proprietary SPF40 fabric is one of the lightest fabrics on the market, providing mountain lovers with maximum comfort, both from a breathability and sun-protection standpoint. Our product is made in the U.S.A. and a portion of our profits are donated to preserve national parks around the country.

Pay special attention to all the sensory words !

The mission statement in your business plan is the “why” of it all.

For example, why you started the business, why you are selling the products you are selling, etc., can all be added to this section of your business plan.

You can make this portion as simple or detailed as you like. Just make sure to properly and clearly explain your business mission.

The vision part of the business plan is your “how” in the grand scheme of things. It is the dream you have for your company and the path you’re going to take to realize that dream.

When you write the vision portion of the business plan, think long-term. What are you hoping to achieve, not just in the near future but for the long haul of the life of your business?

Look into the future and plan out where you see your business in 5, 10, even 20 years from now.

This will help you construct the rest of your business plan if you know where you want your business to head, now and in the future.

Brand Traits

The brand traits section is a short section in your company overview.

Basically, in the brand traits section you’re going to want to list three to five words that describe your brand.

Think of your brand personality and describe it using a few separate powerful words.

The personnel section lists all individuals, including yourself, who will be involved in the daily operations of your business. You can create a separate section for a full operations plan or add that later.

Some business owners choose to handle all duties on their own or with a partner, while others will hire individuals to fill the following roles:

  • CEO (usually the business owner)
  • Management team
  • Customer service/logistics
  • PR/Social media specialist
  • SEO manager
  • Advertising manager

Competitive Market Analysis

Competitive Market Analysis

Here’s a fact you can bank on: there has never been a successful e-commerce entrepreneur that didn’t understand his/her target market cold.

That’s why this section is one of the most important in the entire business plan. It will force you to understand the industry in which you operate, the overall industry analysis and outlook, the existing competition, and your target customer demographic.

Market Segment

The market segment portion of the business plan will help you to put your ideas down on paper, make them more focused, and get your team together.

This area will include your niche selection, target market, and competitive analysis.

Niche Selection

The niche section  provides an overview of your niche, why you selected it, whether there’s a micro niche included, and the type of niche you’ve chosen.

The purpose of this section is to crystalize the ideas that you have and make sure they are understandable and viable.

The target market section covers an overview of your target market plus describes your market segments.

Ask yourself who your  target customer  is (population size, age, geography, education, ethnicity, income level) and consider whether consumers are comfortable with buying your product category online.

When listing the target market information, make sure to mention your target audience size as this is important for ensuring that your audience will be adequately covered.

Facebook Audience Size

Competitive Analysis

With the competitive analysis portion of your market analysis, you want to list your market leader and direct and indirect competitors.

After you mention who these entities are, you need to list the characteristics of each one, such as domain name, business model, monthly traffic, and pricing range.

However, before you even get started in writing this section, you need to spend several hours researching your target market.

Here are some of the most efficient ways to research a particular market:

Industry reports

Google is your best friend. Look for any recent industry reports on your market of choice. This will give you a good sense of how much growth the industry is experiencing, why this growth is happening, and what are the largest customer segments. In our example of Atlas Hiking Co., we should research the outdoor apparel market.

Outdoor apparel kids hiking hiking gear Google search Trends worldwide 2004-present

Let’s say that through our research of the outdoor apparel industry, we discovered that there was a huge boom in youth hiking apparel. Perhaps parents were increasingly concerned about their kids’ exposure to UV rays while hiking, so they began to spend more money on their kids. We could use this valuable information to guide our business strategy.

There’s only so much you can read online. Go to a nearby store that sells similar products to yours and interview the store representative. The store rep has interacted with hundreds of interested customers, which can lead to thousands of valuable insights! It’s amazing how these insights can translate into a meaningful business opportunity.

Here’s an example:

If I were going into Billy’s Outdoor Store to research the outdoor apparel market, I would probably ask Billy the following:

  • What are your best-selling products?
  • What are your worst-selling products?
  • Find products similar to yours and ask the representative his/her favorite features on products similar to yours.
  • How much are customers generally willing to spend on these types of products?
  • Do customers make repeat orders of any of these products?
  • Do you get a lot of customers that are looking to buy last-minute hiking gear before they go on a hike?


Create an Excel spreadsheet of all of your competitors. In your spreadsheet, you should have the following columns:

  • Competitor Name
  • Price point
  • Product Description
  • Key Features (e.g., fabric, waterproof, slim fit, etc.)

What is the competition missing? Is there a gap in the offering? Where you can add some additional value?

After conducting the competitor analysis, Atlas Hiking Co. might find that the competition’s hiking shirts offer very few features at a low price point, but no one offers a luxury hiking shirt with additional features at a higher price point.

This is just an example of the types of insights one can gain from market research which can drastically alter your business model.

Keyword Research

By using Google’s keyword planner  and trends pages, you can get a good sense of how in demand your product is and whether it’s trending upward or downward. Google is great for a general idea, just don’t bank on it.

Some other keyword tools you can use for keyword research include Ahrefs, JungleScout, and Viral Launch. Check out this list  for more ideas.

Trade shows

Are there nearby trade shows that you can go to? Again, creating connections with other people in your industry is a surefire shortcut to countless hours of reading on the internet. Trade shows are also a great opportunity to talk to competitors, meet manufacturers, and better understand where things are heading in your industry.

Once you finish researching the relevant industry, you should summarize your findings by answering the following questions:

General Industry

  • How big is the overall industry?
  • How big is the specific sub-industry in which you intend to operate?
  • Where has most of the historic growth in the market come from?
  • Why is this the right time to enter this market?
  • What are the sub-segments that are poised for future growth (e.g., youth apparel)?
  • How crowded is the product category with competition?
  • How is your competition distributing its product (online, retail, wholesale, etc.)?
  • What’s missing from the competition’s product offering?

Products and Offers

Ecommerce Business Plan Template Products and Offers

So we know we want to sell hiking shirts, but how do you research specific products?

But for some of us, we’re not quite sure what we should sell. To succeed in online retail, you need a product that is trending upwards in a growing niche.

Different types of products

Some of the different types of products include the following:

  • Convenience products: Frequent purchase products, little effort on buying
  • Shopping products: Less frequently purchased in between purchases, little more effort and planning, shop around
  • Specialty products: Strong brand preference and loyalty, will buy no matter what the price

The various types of niches include the following:

  • Hobby niches
  • Lifestyle niches
  • Problem niches
  • Weird/embarrassing niches

Existing products

Come up with detailed specifications for each product or service you intend to sell. If it’s a hiking shirt we’re selling, we would want to have:

  • Detailed sketches of the shirt
  • Fabric weight, materials, type
  • Key features (e.g., pre-shrunk, water-proof, SPF 40)

Future product pipeline

What are other products that you have in the pipeline? Perhaps once you’ve successfully sold hiking shirts, you’re able to leverage your manufacturing relationships to provide hiking socks and shorts. Include that information in this section.

The products and services section will cover the various selling categories of items.

These product offerings will include the following:

  • Core product

Each product group will have its own purpose in your sales catalog. For example, tripwire is the product that brings customers to your ecommerce store or online marketplaces  while the core product is your main seller.

Knowing what products you’ll include within each section allows you to have a firm grasp on what your main product will be and how the other types of products will work alongside your main product.

This section will also cover the search volume and Amazon pricing range.

You’ll need to calculate your true costs. You have to make sure you don’t overestimate your margins.

To tabulate your total true costs, you need to write down the costs in the following areas:

  • Target price
  • Supplier cost of the product
  • Total cost per unit
  • Net profit per unit
  • Profit margin per unit

Once you complete the pricing portion, you’ll have everything on one sheet and readily accessible whenever you need it.

Marketing Plan and Operations

Ecommerce Business Plan Template Marketing

So, now you’ve concluded that you have a great business idea, and it’s in a growing market. That’s fantastic – but how are you going to drive traffic to your ecommerce website and get customers to buy it ? And how much can you afford to spend on your product?

Marketing  is everything. It’s important that your marketing efforts match your business model.

If you have a website and no marketing, your site won’t have any visitors. With no visitors, you will make no sales. Then how do you grow and sell your ecommerce business (if that’s your long-term goal)? Even with the best possible products, nobody will buy them if they aren’t directed to them in some way.

In order to come up with a marketing strategy, you need to first know your customer inside out. You should be able to answer such questions as:

  • How old is your customer?
  • Where does your customer live?
  • What is the population of your customer base?
  • What is their education level?
  • What is their income level?
  • What are your customer’s pain points?

With so many channels to reach your customer, which one is best for you?

Once we know pretty much everything there is to know about our target customer, we can shift focus to our marketing strategy. You want to choose marketing strategies that equal positive conversion rates. What channels should you use to grab the attention of your customer demographic? Some of the key marketing channels include:

Paid Marketing

  • Pay-per-click – this online marketing typically involves using Google Shopping campaigns  and managing a product data feed.
  • Affiliate sales networks – Allowing other blogs and websites to sell your product for a cut of the revenue. List the different affiliate sale networks that you plan to promote through.
  • Facebook ads ⎯ Ads posted on Facebook to draw in buyers through social media means.
  • Influencer marketing ⎯ Hiring industry influencers to get the word out about your product through their social media platforms and contacts.

Organic Marketing

  • Social media (Facebook, Instagram , Pinterest, etc.): What is your strategy for social media, and where will you dedicate your attention?
  • Search Engine Optimization : Create and promote awesome content so people find your product organically through search.
  • Content marketing: Figure out how you’ll use content marketing in your business. Consider various article topics that will persuade your target audience to buy your products.
  • Blogger networks: could be organic or paid through affiliate sale programs.
  • Key bloggers: Develop a list of the key bloggers in your product category. For Atlas Hiking Co., this might be an influencer that blogs about the best hiking trails in America.

Finding the optimal mix of these advertising tools depends 100% on your customer segment as well as your product type. For example, a SaaS product targeting millennials will require an entirely different marketing strategy than an e-commerce physical product targeting baby boomers. Perhaps that should be a post on its own for another day!

How much should you spend to acquire a customer?

In order to understand this, we need first to discuss a concept known as customer lifetime value or LTV. In essence, this is a formula that helps you better understand how much an average customer will spend over time.

Here’s  a good read on how to calculate LTV.

It’s important to remember that for new businesses, you don’t have a lot of data on customer purchase habits so it’s a good idea to be more conservative with your assumptions in calculating LTV.

Let’s say, for Atlas Hiking Co., I determine that the average LTV per customer is $300. This means that over time, the average customer will spend $300. Let’s say, on average, if I receive $300 in revenue, $100 of that will translate to gross profit before I factor in my marketing costs (basically, I’m just subtracting the cost of making the shirts).

Knowing that my gross profit is $100 per shirt is a critical piece of information because it tells me that I can spend up to $100 in marketing to acquire a customer and still be profitable!

Some of the marketing options include social media marketing and content marketing.

Think about your business model and then line up your marketing budget. Your marketing budget may include the following items:

  • Sales/branded content
  • SEO/blog content
  • Facebook/Instagram ads
  • Influencer marketing
  • Marketing tools
  • Niche advertising

Choosing The Right Technology

With so much technology and SaaS products out there, it’s important to understand the various moving parts and diagram how they all integrate with one another.

Some of the different elements include:

  • Shopping Cart Platforms  – e.g., Shopify , BigCommerce , WooCommerce , or any open-source platform
  • Hosting – Nexcess , BigScoots , Kinsta , WPX
  • Payment Processo r – e.g., Stripe, Paypal
  • Fulfillment Center – e.g., Amazon, ShipBob
  • Apps – e.g., Zipify, BuildWooFunnels, Gelato
  • Accounting & Taxes  – e.g., Quicken, Xero
  • Marketing Automation – e.g., Klaviyo , Mailchimp
  • Marketing Tools – e.g.  Buzzstream, Ahrefs
  • Customer Loyalty Programs  – e.g., Antavo, Smile

Come up with a detailed list of the different products and services you need to run your business as well as the monthly and per-transaction cost of each of them. This will be important in understanding the impact of these services on your margins.

Matching your business model to your technology is essential, too. Certain website platforms are better suited for specific sales models.

Email marketing is another type of technology that should be carefully considered and matched up correctly with your business model.

Keep in mind that it takes, on average, 6-7 interactions with a brand before someone makes a purchase, so you need to keep using technology to get them back to your website.

As you explore the technology options and find out ways to draw potential customers in and keep them happy while they’re there, here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • What you say about yourself and your products with your website content
  • How you respond to questions on live chat and email support
  • How to make use of chatbots
  • How you connect on social media
  • The information you send through email marketing
  • What bloggers and influencers say about your brand
  • How existing customers review your company
  • How you advertise
  • How you establish loyalty beyond sales

After you figure out your technology methods, you have to come up with a technology budget.

The business plan must also include the operations side of things. Determine who will be your manufacturer, secondary manufacturer, and shipping and fulfillment  provider.

When looking at supply chain costs and options, ShipBob  is an ecommerce fulfillment provider you can consider.

Financial Plan

Ecommerce Business Plan Template - Financial Plan

When figuring out your financial plan, evaluating and pinpointing your startup costs  is essential.

The focus of the financial plan is how long it will take for you to make your money back. You also need to figure out if you need a business loan .

Traffic and conversion rates will help you determine how long it will be until you start making money back.

You’ll also want to use an income statement to detail financial information.

This section is used for financial projections, such as forecasting sales, expenses, and net income of the business. Ideally, you’ll want to create a monthly Excel balance sheet showing the following:

  • Projected revenue:  First, come up with your projected number of units sold and then come up with your projected revenue (Projected Revenue = # of Units Sold * Average Sales Price).
  • Fixed expenses:   these are expenses that are fixed no matter how much you sell. Typically, these relate to monthly SaaS subscriptions, employee salaries, or rent.
  • Variable expenses  – these expenses change in direct proportion to how much you sell. Common examples include the cost of goods sold and credit card payment processing fees.

This helps business owners better understand what they need to achieve to hit their profit goals. In reality, projections are usually always off the mark, but it’s good to give yourself some measurable goals to strive for.

This section should aim to answer the following questions about your product offering:

  • How much product do you need to sell per year to meet your income goals for the business?
  • What are the margins on your product? If you sell one hiking shirt for $50, how much do you make after paying your supplier, employees, and marketing costs?
  • What is the lifetime value of a customer?
  • How much can you spend to acquire customers? If you conservatively project that the average customer will spend $300 over time on your shirts, then you can afford to spend an amount less than $300 to acquire that customer using the paid marketing channels described previously.
  • Do you have any big capital expenditures early on that would require you to need to bring in investors?
  • Can you improve gross margins by making bigger orders from your suppliers?

There are various acquisition channels that will help your traffic to convert including:

Your revenue plan will contain a 12-month revenue forecast plan to help you map out each month of earnings.

There are different business earning models you can go through to determine how much you can make with your business.

You want to calculate how much traffic costs. This all depends on the methods you use to gain traffic to your site.

As you determine what your profit might be with your ecommerce business  or ecommerce businesses, there are certain math formulas to use:

  • The profit equation
  • Break-even analysis
  • Units needed to achieve the profit target

You should also consider how you will use fintech companies in your ecommerce business.

What are the key elements of an ecommerce business plan?

The main components of an eCommerce business plan include the executive summary, company description, market analysis, organization and management structure, product line or service, marketing and sales strategy, financial projections, and funding request, if applicable.

How do I create a budget for my ecommerce business?

Start by estimating your initial startup costs and ongoing expenses. Consider costs like website development, inventory, marketing, shipping, taxes, and any necessary licenses or permits. It’s also important to factor in a contingency plan for unexpected costs.

How do I find the right product to sell?

Research is fundamental. Look at market trends, customer needs, and competitor products. Use tools like Google Trends or social media platforms to understand what customers are currently interested in. Always consider your passion and knowledge about the product too, as this can drive your business forward.

How can I differentiate my product from competitors?

Differentiation can come from unique product features, superior customer service, better pricing, or a compelling brand story. Understand what your competitors offer and how you can do it differently or better.

Wrapping Up Your Business Plan

Careful planning is crucial to get your e-commerce business from the planning phase to the launch phase and to ensure its successful future.

Going through the exercise of writing a business plan will cement your own understanding of your business and your market. It will also position you to take advantage of lucrative opportunities while mitigating harmful threats to your business down the line.

Your turn! Have you written a business plan for your online store? Do you have anything to add? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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How to Start an Online Business in 5 Steps (2024 Guide)

Brian connolly.

December 16, 2023

Table of Contents

Step 1: research your product idea , step 2: build a financial plan for your online business, step 3: create compelling product listings , step 4: market your product, drive traffic, and build brand awareness, step 5: optimize your online business and plan for growth.

Aspiring entrepreneurs have looked for innovative ways to make money. Fortunately, Jungle Scout’s research has proven time and again that running an ecommerce business is a viable way to earn an income —and can generate enough profit to replace a full-time job. 

Ecommerce offers entrepreneurs the kind of flexibility a traditional retailer could only dream of. Online sellers set their own hours, pay what they want to launch and grow their businesses, and can work from anywhere in the world. They succeed at all ages and education levels , many with no prior business experience. 

Selling products online isn’t just accessible—it’s meeting an enormous surge in demand for online shopping. As more consumers shift to shopping on their phones, tablets, and even smart speakers, opportunities to launch ecommerce businesses will only grow. In fact, 57% of consumers shop online at least once a week. 

If you’ve been thinking about starting a business online, now is the perfect time to get the ball rolling. We’ll go over how to launch an ecommerce business in five detailed steps, plus how to plan for future growth—even if you have zero startup funds. 

The first step to launching your online business is often the biggest bottleneck: finding a profitable product to sell . 

Notice that step one of starting a business isn’t fundraising. You can start a business at virtually zero up-front cost—stay tuned to find out how. 

If you don’t have any product ideas yet, don’t worry! Thinking about how you want to sell online will inspire you. 

online sales business plan

Choose a business model

There are all kinds of ways to sell products online, but here are seven tried-and-tested, profitable options:

  • Private label : You rebrand or rename a product already in production under your own label. If you’ve bought a drugstore’s “generic” equivalent of a brand-name product, you’ve seen an example of a private-label business. It’s the most popular and profitable business model among Amazon sellers. 
  • Wholesale : You purchase brand-name products in bulk from a manufacturer, supplier, or distributor and resell them online as individual units to the end customer. It’s the second most popular model for Amazon sellers, and among the easiest to launch.
  • Retail arbitrage : You’ll purchase inexpensive or discounted products from a brick-and-mortar retail store, then resell them online. This is a relatively low-cost method—you just pay for the products the gas you burned driving to the store. 
  • Online arbitrage : Similar to retail arbitrage, except you purchase products from other online marketplaces and resell them online. 
  • Dropshipping : You’ll take online orders for a product on behalf of a manufacturer, supplier, or distributor. When a customer makes a purchase, you notify the supplier, who then fulfills and ships the order. Next to used items, dropshipping is the best business model if you want to start selling for free. 
  • Handmade products: You’ll sell your hand-crafted wares on handmade-friendly platforms like Etsy and Amazon Handmade. 
  • Used items : You’ll list still-functional items like furniture, video games, art, books, collectibles, and even cars for resale online. This model calls for virtually zero startup investment—the products are already sitting in your closet, garage, or bookshelves. You can also source hidden gems from yard sales, consignment shops, and estate sales for cheap.  

Your business model will help determine where you source your products, your marketing plan, and how much you stand to profit. Check out our guide to Amazon business models to learn more about each method’s popularity and profitability. 

Note that you can sell online in more than one way—for instance, you could start selling used items to earn enough money to develop your own private-label product. 

Validate your product idea with data

Here’s a gut check: Your product decision can’t hinge on a hunch. 

That’s right—you can’t just take the revolutionary idea you conjured in the shower and run with it. You have to validate its profitability through product research, even if your family, your friends, and your dog all think it’s a million-dollar idea.

Product research answers many of the necessary questions any ecommerce business owner should ask before launching their operations, such as the following: 

  • Is my product idea original? If similar products exist, is there an opportunity to improve on those products?
  • Will my product idea sell year-round, seasonally, or not at all? 
  • Where should I source my product, and how much will that cost? 
  • What fees will I have to pay to list and fulfill my orders? 

Product research estimates your dream product’s profitability before you seriously invest in selling it—a necessary, if time-consuming first step. Skip it, and you may end up building a business around inventory that will ultimately sit unsold in a warehouse (or your garage). 

Jungle Scout’s data-driven tools and free educational resources are here to handle the heavy lifting and guide you in your product research. While our software tools use data specific to Amazon, the product opportunities they reveal are transferable to virtually every ecommerce platform, whether it’s Walmart , eBay , Etsy , or Facebook Marketplace . 

With the Opportunity Finder , Chrome Extension , and Product Database , Jungle Scout users can examine competition and demand for specific product niches, forecast potential sales using real Amazon sales data, and ultimately uncover profitable product ideas they wouldn’t otherwise find. 

If you’re not a Jungle Scout user yet, you can still follow our free, in-depth guides to selling on Amazon, read about our data-driven ecommerce product ideas , and learn about how to discover niche opportunities . More guides will be linked throughout this article.  

We keep a finger on the pulse of the ecommerce industry through regularly-published data reports on consumer spending and seller behavior. You can view insights into what consumers are buying online in our quarterly-updated Consumer Trends Report . 

Data on how ecommerce sellers conduct their business can be found in our annual State of the Amazon Seller Report . Our seller guides draw from industry trends to give readers new opportunities to launch and grow their businesses. 

Find a supplier

Your supplier can be many things—a private-label product manufacturer , a wholesale distributor, or the local hardware store where you buy furniture-making supplies. Whatever your sourcing needs, the cost of procuring your product is a crucial aspect of product research. 

Reliability is important—you’ll want to develop a rapport with your supplier if possible, choose materials you can easily reorder, and stay within your inventory budget instead of banking on runaway sales to cover the cost of goods.  

  • Private-label sellers can easily find high-quality suppliers using Jungle Scout’s Supplier Database and on Alibaba . 
  • Arbitrage sellers looking for sourcing ideas can check out our guides to retail arbitrage , online arbitrage, and profitable seasonal products to sell. 
  • Wholesalers can check out this article for tips on finding a distributor. 
  • Our startup guides on eBay and Facebook Marketplace offer tons of ideas on where to find used items. 

Choose an ecommerce platform and fulfillment method

Thanks to ecommerce’s growing popularity, you can list your product on many different online marketplaces, where it can be viewed by thousands—if not millions—of potential customers.  

While online marketplaces tend to have some similarities, you’ll find that each one offers advantages depending on what kinds of products you’re selling. For instance, used items tend to do well on eBay and Facebook Marketplace, whereas private-label products sell well on Amazon and Walmart Marketplace .

Selling on Facebook Marketplace, or Instagram can also be lucrative; 54% of U.S. consumers have purchased products they first learned about on social media, and that figure is likely to grow.  

online sales business plan

Each platform offers different fulfillment methods. “Fulfillment” includes all the actions that occur after a customer clicks “purchase”: picking and packing the order, labeling the package, and shipping it to the customer. Done right, and it feels like a magic trick to the end customer—it’s a key determinant of customer ratings and reviews. 

The best fulfillment method for your business will depend on your finances and time. You can self-fulfill by storing inventory in your home or a rented space, and pack and ship orders yourself. You may prefer to outsource these tasks to a third-party logistics provider or use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). 

Whatever you choose to do, make sure you can reliably fulfill orders on time and at a reasonable cost to the customer, using packaging that ensures the product arrives intact.  

To that end, it can be helpful to have some inventory on hand in case there’s a sudden disruption with third-party fulfillment services. When COVID-19 interrupted FBA shipping speed, many Amazon sellers temporarily pivoted to FBM (Fulfillment by Merchant), packing and shipping orders from their homes to avoid losing their rank and ratings on Amazon. 

Choose a memorable brand name 

Think hard about your brand name—it’s an important piece of marketing. Use it to evoke what you want your customers to feel about your brand. 

It should be distinctive, memorable, and original. Be sure to check whether your intended brand name is already taken before you use it.

Not sure what to call your brand? Try riffing on branding trends and archetypes , or tell a personal story with a family name. If you’re stumped, play around with an online brand name generator— this one even suggests fonts and logos to match. 

Once you’ve validated your product idea, it’s time to get real about the numbers game—namely, how much it’ll cost you to launch and maintain your business, and when you can expect to start earning profits. 

It is possible to start an online business for free . But if you want to make a significant investment in inventory, legally register your business right away, or develop your own private-label product, you’ll incur some up-front costs. 

Having a budget for your business is important. Try not to get overwhelmed by all the line items that can accrue—making adjustments here and there to stay within your spending limit is part of the process. An up-front investment can feel like a huge risk, but with a well-researched product and optimized operations, it’ll pay off.   

Let’s go over what items you should consider in your financial plan. Loosely, they include: 

  • Cost of goods/sourcing costs
  • Seller fees and/or fulfillment fees (varies by marketplace)
  • Cost to form an LLC
  • Business insurance
  • Taxes 
  • Your estimated time-to-profit
  • Financing options

Seller fees, legal fees, insurance costs, and taxes

Depending on where you list your products, you may be subject to seller fees and insurance requirements . You’ll also want to think about legally registering your business as an LLC , as it comes with some tax advantages. 

Seller fees

On Amazon, sellers must pay “referral” fees—kind of like a commission—back to Amazon for each order. Typically, these fees come out to 15% of the product’s sale price. Amazon sellers also pay additional per-item fees or subscription fees (depending on their seller account type) and refund administration fees. And if they use FBA, there are fees for that, too. 

Not every ecommerce platform will charge as many fees. You can use a fee calculator to estimate your net profit—we recommend Salecalc . 

Here’s a rough breakdown of online seller fees outside of Amazon: 

  • Walmart: referral fee for each product sold, typically 15% of sale price; no monthly subscription fees
  • eBay: 13.25% of product sale price to list and sell most items; $0 monthly for a free seller account, $7.95+ per month for eBay Store subscribers 
  • Facebook Marketplace: no subscription fees; no referral fee for local sales; referral fee of 5% of the sale price if the product is shipped  
  • Instagram Checkout: selling fee of 5% per shipment
  • Shopify : monthly seller subscriptions start at $29.99
  • Etsy: listing fee of $0.20 for each item, plus a 6.5% of sale price transaction fee. Etsy Plus subscribers pay $10 per month
  • Craigslist: listings are free , except for a handful of regional fees for vehicles, housing, and furniture

Keep in mind that platforms often offer advertising programs to their sellers, which come with their own fees. We’ll discuss marketing in Step 4, but for now, keep in mind that advertising costs need to factor into your overall budget. 

If you’re in the U.S., it’s a good idea to register your business as an LLC (a Limited Liability Company). While you don’t technically need a business license to sell products in most ecommerce marketplaces, LLCs offer business owners protection, flexibility, and a simpler tax reporting process—not to mention the credibility of a licensed brand name. While it costs money to create and maintain an LLC, we recommend it. 

You can form an LLC all on your own, or you can hire a lawyer to help you. The price of forming an LLC varies by state , but typically falls between $50-200. Naturally, you can expect to pay more for the help of an attorney. 

Once you have your LLC set up, you’ll want to protect it from unexpected costs like accidents and lawsuits. On certain ecommerce platforms like Amazon , you may be required to maintain some form of business insurance. 

The type of insurance you’ll need depends on where and how you run your business—there are policies to protect you from lawsuits, property damage, and defective products. You should shop around to compare rates and benefits. 

All U.S. businesses must file taxes, typically on a yearly or quarterly basis. Our seller calendar can help you stay on track with quarterly business tax deadlines. 

If you’re operating as an LLC, you’re eligible to write off a significant amount of business expenses through deductibles. We recommend that you hire a professional accountant to handle your taxes, as they can be tricky to decipher.   

Startup costs and time to profit

So, after all of these fees and taxes, what should you expect to spend at startup, and how quickly can you make a return on your investment? Once again, it depends. 

You can start selling online for virtually no money—dropshippers, Amazon Merch sellers, and used item resellers (if they’re selling their own stuff) don’t have to spend a dime on inventory. 

Our data on Amazon sellers indicates that sellers using the wholesale or arbitrage models will pay up-front costs in the neighborhood of $500-$2,000. Private-label sellers tend to spend more, because it costs more to develop your own product. 59% of private-label FBA sellers invest at least $2,500 at startup on inventory, Amazon fees and storage, and advertising costs.

On the whole, over half of all Amazon sellers spend below $5,000 at launch, and nearly one quarter spend no more than $1,000.  

online sales business plan

Ecommerce isn’t a get-rich-quick tactic—it takes time to generate profits. While the majority of Amazon arbitrage, wholesale, and dropshipping sellers turn a profit within three months of launching their businesses, private label sellers usually take longer. 

But the outlook is generally positive: 63% of all third-party Amazon sellers achieve profitability within the first year of launching their business.

That said, if you’ve invested heavily at launch, make sure you’re ready to spend several months to a year before making that money back. While most Amazon sellers are profitable ( 89%, to be exact ), they didn’t get that way overnight. 

How to finance your online business 

There are many different ways you can fundraise the money you need to start an ecommerce business. 

Over three quarters of Amazon sellers funded their businesses using personal savings, a testament to ecommerce’s affordability for aspiring entrepreneurs. 

online sales business plan

A third took out family or business loans, which can range from $500 microloans to tens of thousands of dollars paid back over several years. 

It can be difficult for new ecommerce sellers to qualify for loans from a bank or the government, because they tend to require tax and credit histories that new sellers don’t have. 

Fortunately, Amazon and fintech companies like AccrueMe are developing investment solutions for online sellers that offer more flexibility. You can read more about how to fund your ecommerce business in our guide to financing options . 

Customers can learn about a product many different ways—by viewing ads, seeing a suggestion on Google or Amazon, reading a review from a satisfied customer, scrolling through social media, and even via word-of-mouth.  

Ultimately, brand awareness starts with your product listing —it’s the single best piece of marketing in your arsenal. Use your listing to tell customers why they need your product, communicate your brand identity, and build credibility with your audience.  

online sales business plan

Use keywords to boost visibility 

Your product listing should capture the relevant keywords and feature the data that customers use to find the products they want to buy. That way, it’ll actually show up in search results, instead of getting lost in a sea of competitors. 

Here’s how that works: when deciding what to display in search results, search engines like Google and Amazon check potential results for relevance—either by “crawling” text on a web page, as is the case for Google, or by scanning keywords and data associated with different products, as Amazon does with ASINs. 

One big difference between traditional search engines and ecommerce platform search functions is that the latter are product-focused. In other words, while Google seeks to answer questions with information (i.e. articles on the “best dog beds” or “top 10 dog beds”), Amazon wants to answer search queries with relevant products (i.e. the products most related to the customer’s search terms, like “dog bed”).

Because users come to Amazon to buy things, the search results need to facilitate a purchase, which means presenting the products most likely to satisfy the customer’s needs.   

In any event, this is true for both Google and Amazon: the more relevant your listing is to a customer’s search, the more likely it is to appear in search results.

A keyword-rich product listing boosts your product’s visibility to the millions of customers across the globe who shop online. A great keyword strategy can elevate your brand above your competitors, reach new audiences, and ultimately generate more sales for your business. 

You can do keyword research for free on ecommerce platforms and search engines. Here’s a great method to start: try searching Amazon for broad terms that describe your product, and see what its search algorithm suggests in the autofill drop-down box. For instance, if you’re envisioning selling a dog bed, type “dog bed” into the Amazon search bar, but don’t press “enter” just yet.  

online sales business plan

Amazon will suggest popular keywords associated with “dog bed,” so you can see exactly what real customers have searched for, design your product to suit that demand, and include those keywords in your product listing. 

If you already have ideas about your product’s design or features, you can search for more specific keywords, too. Say you want to sell a pink, fluffy dog bed that heats up.  Make your search more descriptive (“pink dog bed” or “heated dog bed”), and take note of the suggested keywords for those specific niches. You’ll want to include at least some of them in your listing. 

online sales business plan

Then, start browsing your competitors’ listings. Take note of how other sellers describe their dog beds: do they mention benefits for your dog, machine-washability, or other special features? Informative descriptions help convert customers, so be sure to include relevant details about functionality, advantages, and design features in your listing. 

You run a similar autofill search on Google. Be sure to also take a look at the “People also ask” feature to generate more keywords. This section pops up in Google search results and can offer details about how and why people are searching for a given product. You can translate those queries into keywords that indicate your product’s functionality or purpose.

online sales business plan

For example, people who Google “dog bed” want to know about proper firmness, best use, and accessories, so you should include keywords in your listing like “soft” “for crate” or “with blanket” if they apply to your product. 

The best way to do keyword research is to use a paid tool like Jungle Scout’s Keyword Scout. This tool does the work for you—it pulls advertising data directly from Amazon and suggests thousands of high-converting, top-ranked keywords to include in your listing.

To learn more, check out our top keyword strategies .  

Take great product images

Different marketplaces will have different image requirements for listings and ads. One thing is true wherever you sell: having high-quality images of your product will boost sales. 

You should also consider including video content of your product. Amazon allows sellers to upload quick, informative videos for ads and product listings.   

So, you’ve built an informative, keyword-rich product listing with compelling copy and stunning visuals. Now it’s time to let the world know about it! 

You want to drive as much traffic as possible to your listing so you have more chances at conversion—that is, you want to get as many people as you can to click on, view, and purchase your product. 

The broader your online presence, the more likely you are to attract online shoppers. So make sure to establish a digital foothold in at least three areas: on your own ecommerce storefront or landing page, on social media , and in online ad space. Once you start making sales, keeping your review count and ratings high will boost your brand’s legitimacy. 

online sales business plan

Build an ecommerce storefront

Your storefront is where customers can learn about your brand, and where you’ll convince customers that your brand is legitimate, with products worthy of their hard-earned cash. 

Essentially, you want to recreate the experience of visiting a physical store, but streamlined. Think about what a customer would want to know about your product or brand and what questions they’d have for the store clerk, and communicate that information somewhere within your storefront.

Typically, that means providing plenty of photos and videos of your products in action , links to product listings, and information about your return policy. You can include your brand story, customer testimonials, and even helpful tutorials on how to use your product. The goal is to gain the customer’s trust in your product—and ultimately, a purchase.

You can build a standalone website through hosting platforms like Shopify or Wix, or you can create a storefront on Amazon or eBay using their templates.   

Leverage social media

54% of consumers have purchased products they first learned about on social media, making a social presence a no-brainer for entrepreneurs looking to build brand awareness. 

Growing a following for your brand on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok exposes your products to millions of potential customers. 

You can link your storefront or individual product listings within your social media profiles so customers can easily navigate to your listings You can even sell products directly on Facebook and Instagram . 

Social apps also allow you to interact with viewers in ways that can feel more organic than with traditional advertising. For example, you can run polls on Instagram or Twitter to get feedback on your products, notify customers about sales and discount codes, or post engagement prompts to encourage comments. 

You can also use social media to notify customers about sales and other notable events. 

online sales business plan

Even if you don’t yet have a social media strategy to promote your brand, it’s important to claim the social media handles you’ll want to use (like “@junglescout”) before someone else scoops them up. 

Create ad campaigns 

Ads generate clicks, which in turn lead to sales. And in today’s competitive ecommerce industry, you have to maintain a solid advertising strategy to get noticed.  

Fortunately, ecommerce sellers have a ton of options when it comes to advertising their products. Amazon offers a wealth of pay-per-click (PPC) ad options to its sellers, as well as other marketing programs to boost visibility. You can even track inbound traffic to your listing from your off-Amazon ad campaigns. 

Here are some helpful guides to advertising your products on and off Amazon:

  • Amazon PPC Strategies – The Ultimate Guide for 202 4
  • 2024 Amazon Advertising Guide for Sellers
  • How to Use Facebook Ads for Amazon FBA (And Sell More Products)

Get reviews 

Product reviews matter more to your business’s long-term success than you might expect. 71% of U.S. consumers are influenced by products with the best ratings and reviews when shopping online, and 68% find reviews with photos or videos more compelling. On Amazon, getting a high volume of great reviews boosts your product’s ranking, which in turn affects sales. 

Getting great reviews starts with having a high-quality product. Ensuring timely fulfillment and returns processing, courteous communication, and beautiful brand help, too. 

We know getting reviews is hard, so we’ve published a few different articles about why reviews are important and strategies for boosting your review count.

Launching a business is a huge accomplishment that takes time, money, and patience. Congratulations on becoming an entrepreneur! 

Once you’ve gotten your business up and running, it’s important to regularly check in on its performance. You may need to make some changes in order to set yourself up for long-term success .  

Plan to check in on your business sometime in the first three months. But remember that while the majority of Amazon sellers get their businesses up and running relatively quickly, 23% take at least three months to launch their businesses, and over half wait six months or longer before turning a profit. 

Measure your business’s performance

Pull up your financial plan and start comparing it to how your business actually performed. Here are some questions to consider: 

  • Are you meeting sales estimates, exceeding them, or falling short?
  • Have you turned a profit? 
  • Is your current fulfillment method working for you and your customers, or do you need to find an alternative? 
  • Are you able to stay on top of your inventory, or do you regularly run out of stock? 
  • Is your profit margin above 20-30%? If not, how can you raise it? 
  • Are you getting plenty of positive reviews? Have you checked your reviews for helpful feedback or improvement opportunities? 

You’ll want to keep a close eye on performance metrics like sales volume, revenue, and ad spend, so you can spot trends and quickly identify hidden fees. Software tools like Jungle Scout’s Sales Analytics keep track of this for you, so you can focus on strategy instead of bookkeeping.   

If your product isn’t living up to your expectations, don’t panic. Investigate any changes you could make to improve its functionality, or try to get customer feedback on how it could be upgraded. If you’re selling multiple products, consider nixing one that isn’t selling well.  

Lower your fees and costs

If running your business is costing more than you expected, there are probably ways you can cut back. 

It’s easy for first-time ecommerce sellers to know they’re being overcharged for things like shipping fees, so we wrote a guide to help you get reimbursed . 

Here’s another way to cut back on overhead costs: try negotiating for better inventory costs with your supplier. 

Expand to other channels

Just because you start your business on one ecommerce platform doesn’t mean you have to stay there forever. You’ll be more competitive and attract a wider audience if you list your product on multiple ecommerce channels.

Hire freelancers or employees

Like any job, selling online comes with tasks you perhaps would rather not have to do. Thanks to freelancer hubs like Fiverr and Upwork, it’s easy to find high-rated, trained consultants to cover every imaginable aspect of running an ecommerce business. 

Start your online business today

Ecommerce is a rapidly growing industry with plenty of opportunities for newcomers with great product ideas. With a bit of product research and planning, you can join the ranks of profitable ecommerce sellers. In time, you may be able to replace your full-time job, like the 47% of Amazon sellers who are self-employed or earn income exclusively from ecommerce. 

If you’re ready to get started on your new business, check out our in-depth beginner’s guides to selling on different marketplaces: 

  • How to Sell on Amazon FBA , Amazon Handmade , and Amazon Merch
  • How to Sell on Walmart
  • How to Sell on eBay
  • How to Sell on Facebook Marketplace

If you need a product idea, get started here: 

  • Top 20 Ecommerce Business Ideas
  • Low Competition Niche Products to Sell on Amazon FBA

Do you have any questions about launching a business online that we didn’t cover in this post? Let us know in the comments!

Start your online business with Jungle Scout

Get everything you need to launch a profitable business on Amazon, including product research, competitive analysis, and more!

Ecommerce Expert & Writer at Jungle Scout

Brian Connolly is an Amazon seller, ecommerce expert, and writer for Jungle Scout. He lives in the New Jersey Shore area with his wife and cat. When he isn’t writing advice online for aspiring and experienced Amazon sellers for Jungle Scout, he spends his free time boating, fishing, and selling boating-themed items on his Amazon business.

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Table of Contents

1. Define your e-commerce business idea

2. set up your business, 3. source or develop your products, 4. set up your e-commerce website, 5. figure out order fulfillment, 6. market your e-commerce business, how much does it cost to start an e-commerce business, tips for starting an e-commerce business .

An e-commerce business sells goods, services and funds over the internet. Starting an e-commerce business is a lot like starting any company: You’ll need to create a business plan, get licenses and permits and set up dedicated finances. You’ll also need to choose an e-commerce website builder , source your products and market to online customers.

Follow these six steps to get your e-commerce business up and running.


The first step in starting any business is to hone your idea. Online business ideas can include selling physical or digital products as well as professional services. Whatever you choose, you’ll want to define your e-commerce business model and write a business plan that outlines your niche.

During this process, you’ll start to ask a lot of questions: How will you get your products or services to your customers? What sort of licenses or permits do you need? How much will it cost to get your business up and running — and how will you foot that bill? Your business plan should answer these questions and provide a road map for the coming months.

More resources to help shape your idea:

What is e-commerce? Understanding how it works  

Our picks for the best business plan software

Can your business idea actually make money?

Once you've solidified your e-commerce business idea, the next step is to set your company up for success.

This includes back-office steps like:

Choosing a business structure . There are benefits and drawbacks to each of these entity types, so talking to an attorney may be helpful as you choose the one that’s right for you.

Naming your business. Consult your local secretary of state's website as well as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to ensure that you're not choosing a name that belongs to another company. Check to see if your potential business domain name is available as well.

Applying for an employer identification number (EIN) . You can get an EIN from the IRS for free online or by mail, fax or phone. Not all businesses need an EIN, but having one can help you separate your personal and business finances.

Opening a business checking account . NerdWallet recommends all business owners have a dedicated bank account for their business.

Getting licenses and permits your city or state requires. This probably includes a business license, and if you perform services, you may also need an occupational license. Check your state or local government website for requirements for your area.

Answers as you set up your business:

Do you need a business license to sell online?

What’s the difference between an LLC and a sole proprietorship?

Our picks for the best free business checking accounts


Shopify Ecommerce

Next, you'll need to source the products you're going to sell. If you’re selling physical products, you may need to make them yourself or work with a manufacturer.

A key decision at this point: Are you going to order products in bulk and keep inventory in stock? If so, you’ll need to think about storage space and raising capital to order goods upfront. However, you’ll have the power to ship items yourself.

Other businesses choose to rely on dropshipping , in which products are manufactured or sourced at the time the order is placed. In general, dropshipping may keep your overhead costs lower, but it can be more difficult to manage since inventory levels and shipping will be out of your hands.

Other options for sourcing e-commerce products include:

White-labeling, or ordering items in bulk from a manufacturer and then branding them with your company’s identity.

Print-on-demand, or paying a third party to print your company’s designs on merchandise like T-shirts, mugs and posters. Print-on-demand normally functions like dropshipping, in that a customer places their order, then the manufacturer creates the product and ships it directly to the customer.

Retail arbitrage, or buying discounted items from retail sellers and listing them in your own store at a markup. 

If you're selling professional services, you might just have to describe and list what you offer on your business website. Still, you’ll need to figure out how much to charge and decide how many clients you can see each day or week.

More to help you develop products:

16 e-commerce business ideas

How to find products to sell on Amazon

How to make money on Shopify

Your e-commerce website will be your storefront. It’s where your customers will learn about you and your business, browse your products and make purchases.

The easiest way to set up a website is to use an online store builder . These platforms can walk you through the process of launching your website, from buying a domain name to managing your inventory to taking credit card payments.

Popular e-commerce website builders include Shopify , Squarespace , Square Online and BigCommerce .

If you’re a very small business or just experimenting with online sales, a free e-commerce website builder may be a good place to start. But to list unlimited products and access more robust suites of tools — which can help with things like shipping label printing, order management and sales analytics — you’ll typically need to spring for a subscription.

In general, many online store builders should be simple enough for someone without web development experience to navigate. But most offer the option to pay a professional designer or developer if you don’t want to build the website on your own.

The best e-commerce platform for you fits into your budget and is appropriate for your skill level.

Choosing the right website builder:

Our picks for the best e-commerce website builders

Wix vs. Squarespace: Head-to-head comparison

Shopify vs. Square Online: Head-to-head comparison

Order fulfillment is the process of getting customers’ purchases in their hands.

Most e-commerce website builders offer shipping label printing, which is the first step in the fulfillment process. Some also offer the ability to add shipping costs onto customers’ orders at checkout.

If you choose to handle order fulfillment yourself, research shipping rates so you have a sense of how much it’ll cost. Look for an online store builder that can help make the shipping process easier or research shipping software providers like Shippo .

Note, too, that e-commerce may connect you to customers across the world. If there are places you’re not willing to ship to, make that clear on your website.

If you don’t want to manage order fulfillment, you can outsource it to an e-commerce fulfillment center or use a service like Fulfillment by Amazon. Fees for fulfillment services vary depending on the size of your products, how far they’re traveling and how much you’re shipping.

More to help you manage orders and inventory:

Our picks for the best inventory management software

What is just-in-time inventory?

Shipping services that integrate with WooCommerce

Now that you've started your online store , you're ready to start serving customers — as long as they can find your products.

Your small-business marketing strategy might include:

Omnichannel commerce , in which you list your products on third-party marketplaces like Amazon and Instagram. Some e-commerce website builders can help facilitate this.

Influencer marketing, in which you pay popular social media creators to plug your products. 

Social media content or paid social media ads.

Optimizing your business website for search engines.

Sending email campaigns to past and future customers.

Many e-commerce website builders include some marketing features, which can help you do things like create social media ads or send emails to customers when they’ve abandoned their carts.

But if you want to develop more sophisticated campaigns, consider investing in marketing software . These tools can help you create email templates and campaigns, text customers, keep track of how individual customers are responding to your emails and more.

More help with marketing:

20 free marketing ideas for small businesses

Online marketing strategies and tips

Content marketing for small businesses

The cost of starting an e-commerce business can vary widely depending on what you’re planning to sell and in what volume. Your expenses may include:

Your e-commerce website. Subscription plans for online store builders generally start around $25 to $30 per month when billed annually. You may also need to spring for a domain name if your e-commerce website builder doesn’t include one — and make note of annual fees to keep your URL registered. 

Payment processing fees. In general, the company that provides your payment processing will take a cut of around 3% from each online sale. 

Stocking up. If you plan to order inventory in bulk, be prepared for significant upfront costs — even before you’ve started generating revenue. Inventory financing may be able to help you bridge the gap.

Order fulfillment. In general, you’ll pay a third-party service to fulfill each order, with rates varying depending on item size and weight. The more customers buy at once, the less you’ll have to pay per item. Order fulfillment services may also include warehousing, for which you’ll pay a per-item storage cost. 

Warehousing. If you’re buying more inventory than you can keep in your home or garage but not using an order fulfillment service that provides storage, you may need to spring for warehouse space of your own.

General costs of running a business. These could include monthly or annual fees for accounting software , business insurance , any employees or contractors you plan to hire and more. You may also need to set aside money for small-business taxes .

As with launching any business, starting an e-commerce business can feel overwhelming. Here are some tips for managing the transition.

1. Start simple

If you’re not certain e-commerce is the right path for you, set up an online store with low overhead first. This may mean starting with the free version of an e-commerce website builder, ordering a small amount of inventory or selling only one or two types of products. 

Starting small can limit how much startup funding you need and make it easier to pivot if your first idea doesn’t land. As your business starts to get traction, you can trade up to a more robust e-commerce platform and expand your product line.

2. Cultivate a loyal customer base

Your e-commerce business needs customers who appreciate your products enough to buy them more than once and, ideally, customers who will promote them to their networks.

Establishing a strong brand presence on social media can help you build a following. But the more information you can gather from your customers, the more you can market directly to them, whether that means creating an email marketing campaign, sending discount codes through text message or letting them know where your booth will be at an event in their region.

3. Invest in multichannel selling

Loyal customers may be willing to visit your website frequently. But to reach new ones, you might have to meet them where they are — which might be on Amazon, Instagram, TikTok or elsewhere. Start with the platforms where your customers are most likely to be, launch those integrations and then see how they perform. You can add platforms later if they fit into your business strategy. 

Keep in mind that selling in person is a channel, too. Craft fairs, local shops and industry or trade events may help you connect with new customers while generating some revenue.

A version of this article originally appeared on JustBusiness, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.

On a similar note...

One blue credit card on a flat surface with coins on both sides.

Sales | How To

How to Create a Sales Plan in 10 Steps (+ Free Template)

Published March 9, 2023

Published Mar 9, 2023

Jess Pingrey

REVIEWED BY: Jess Pingrey

Jillian Ilao

WRITTEN BY: Jillian Ilao

This article is part of a larger series on Sales Management .

  • 1 Establish Your Mission Statement
  • 2 Set Sales Goals & Objectives
  • 3 Determine Your Ideal Customer
  • 4 Set Your Sales Budget
  • 5 Develop Sales Strategies & Tactics
  • 6 Implement Sales Tools
  • 7 Develop Your Sales Funnel
  • 8 Create Your Sales Pipeline
  • 9 Assign Roles & Responsibilities
  • 10 Monitor Progress & Adjust Accordingly
  • 11 Examples of Other Free Small Business Sales Plan Templates
  • 12 Sales Planning Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
  • 13 Bottom Line

Sales plans enable businesses to set measurable goals, identify resources, budget for sales activities, forecast sales, and monitor business progress. These all contribute to guiding the sales team toward the company’s overall strategy and goals. In this article, we explore how to create a sales plan, including details on creating an action plan for sales, understanding the purpose of your business, and identifying your ideal customers.

What Is a Sales Plan? A sales plan outlines the strategies, objectives, tools, processes, and metrics to hit your business’ sales goals. It entails establishing your mission statement, setting goals and objectives, determining your ideal customer, and developing your sales strategy and sales funnel. To effectively execute your sales plan, assign roles and responsibilities within your sales team and have metrics to measure your outcomes versus your goals and objectives.

Ten steps to creating an effective sales plan

Download and customize our free sales planning template and follow our steps to learn how to create a sales plan to reach your company’s revenue goals.


Free Sales Plan Template

Sales Plan template cover

Thank you for downloading!

💡 Quick Tip:

Once you’ve created a sales plan, give your sales team the tools to execute it effectively with robust customer relationship management (CRM) software.

Use a CRM like HubSpot CRM to help your sales team collaborate on deals, develop sales reports, track deals, and create custom sales dashboards

1. Establish Your Mission Statement

A mission statement summarizing why you’re in business should be part of your action plan for sales. It should include a broad overview of your business’ products or services and your brand’s unique selling proposition. For example, you wouldn’t say, “We provide customers with insurance policies.” Instead, you might frame it as “We provide customers with cost-effective financial risk management solutions.”

It’s essential to fully understand your unique selling proposition before creating a mission statement. This allows you to learn why you’re different from competitors in your industry. It also helps you determine how your unique proposition suits a niche market better.

Steps on how to create a unique selling proposition

For instance, using the same insurance example above, you may realize specific markets are easier to sell based on that selling proposition. Therefore, it’s a good idea to narrow in on your mission statement by saying, “We provide startup businesses with cost-effective risk management solutions.”

2. Set Sales Goals & Objectives

Once you have summarized why you’re in business in a mission statement, begin setting sales goals . Typically, business goals will include one year, but may also include three- or five-year projections.

Steps on how to set sales goals

Here are a few options for how to set sales revenue goals for your business:

  • Set sales amount: You may have a specific amount in mind for a sales goal. For instance, you may determine that $200,000 is a reasonable sales goal based on prior sales and your company’s ability to generate new business.
  • Desired profitability: First, calculate the total anticipated expenses for the set time period to find the break-even point. From there, you can calculate how much revenue your team needs to bring in to make a certain profit margin. For example, if annual operating costs are expected to be $100,000, and you want to make a 30% profit, your sales goal is $130,000.
  • Projected sales forecast: Based on an industry-standard or estimates you attained by running a sales forecast, you may find it’s better to use a projected sales forecast as your sales goal.

Pro tip: Projecting sales can be challenging without a suitable sales forecasting model. Our free sales forecast templates help you create simple, long-term, budget-based, multi-product, subscription-based, and month-to-month business sales forecasts. Some customer relationship managers (CRMs) like Freshsales have sales goal-tracking functionalities that allow you to set and assign sales goals for your team.

Five-year sales forecast template example.

Five-year sales forecast template example (Source: Fit Small Business )

Freshsales sales goal tracking filter options.

Sales goal tracking in Freshsales (Source: Freshsales )

Sales goals must reflect new business revenue and sales from existing or recurring customers. Then, you must add specific sales objectives that identify and prioritize the sales activities your team needs to complete to meet sales goals. This creates an objective way to measure success in hitting goals at all levels: organizational, sales department, team, and individual sales rep, which is an essential part of sales management .

For example, imagine your total revenue goal is $200,000 in year two and $300,000 in year three. You then add an objective, such as stating you want your business’ revenue from existing customers to grow 15% in year three. This can be measured by evaluating your percentage of revenue from existing customers in year three compared to year two.

3. Determine Your Ideal Customer

Determining the ideal customer or target market is the next step of your business plan for sales reps. It may have been accomplished when you developed your mission statement, but also when you set your sales goals and discovered how broad your market needs to be to reach them. Describing your ideal customer helps dictate who you’re selling to and your selling approach.

One way to establish your ideal customer is by creating a series of unique customer profiles . Each profile specifies key demographics, behaviors, interests, job positions, and geographic information about one of your ideal buyer types. Based on your customer profiles, you can then develop more targeted marketing strategies for lead generation and nurturing to move leads through the sales process more efficiently and close more deals.

Pro tip: Making a customer persona can be challenging, especially if it is based on the wrong data or if you just focus on the demographics. Check out our article on creating a customer persona to help you define your company’s ideal buyer types and guide your lead generation and marketing activities.

4. Set Your Sales Budget

After establishing your objectives and identifying your ideal customer personas—and before developing your actual strategies and tactics—you must identify a sales budget to work with. It should include estimated expenses for salaries, travel expenses, and the cost of any software tools or service providers used to help with sales and marketing. While these are meant to be estimates, research and due diligence should be done to avoid financial errors.

One way to set your sales budget, particularly for software tools and services you may be interested in, is to create and issue a request for proposal (RFP). Issuing an RFP allows you to post a summary of your needs to solicit proposals on potential solutions. In addition to providing accurate budget estimates from various qualified vendors and contractors, it may also help you discover cost-effective or high-performing options you were previously unaware of.

5. Develop Sales Strategies & Tactics

A sales strategy explains how you plan to outsell your competitors and accomplish your sales goals. It defines specific, detailed tactics your team will use to pursue your sales goals. These may involve using Google Ads, cold calling, and drip email marketing campaigns as part of a lead generation strategy. Available strategies differ depending on your company’s resources, skill sets, sales operation, and product or service offerings.

Strategies and tactics should be personalized for your ideal customers based on their unique interests, behaviors, and the best ways to connect with them. For example, some customer profiles show your ideal buyer generally only makes purchases based on trusted referrals. In this case, you could implement a referral strategy that provides incentives to generate more customer referrals .

Plus, different sales strategies will be needed to acquire new business vs keeping existing customers. When selling to existing customers, for example, your strategy could include cross-selling tactics where additional products are recommended based on prior purchases. The short-term cross-selling tactics could require customer service reps to send 30 emails per week recommending a complementary product to existing customers.

For a new business strategy, sales reps might rely on emotional selling methods when using cold calling as a tactic. Instead of product features, cold calling scripts would be geared to evoke feelings that lead to buying decisions. Tactics could reflect the objective of having reps make 15 cold calls each week. They could use a script that opens with a story about how a purchase made a customer feel or how someone felt because they didn’t purchase the product.

Pro tip: Ensuring your strategies are properly executed requires excellent sales leadership and a healthy environment for sales reps to operate in. Our how-to guide for building a positive sales culture shows you how to create an environment that promotes high job satisfaction, low employee turnover, and profitability.

6. Implement Sales Tools

Your sales strategy template should reference the software, hardware, and materials you use to manage the sales operation and make each team member more efficient. One of the most notable tools to include is the customer relationship management (CRM) system . It allows your team to organize contact information, streamline sales tasks, and facilitate communication with customers and leads.

HubSpot CRM , for instance, makes it easy to organize information about leads, contacts, and deal opportunities. Additionally, from a HubSpot CRM lead profile, you can initiate a conversation with that contact by calling, emailing, or scheduling an appointment.

HubSpot CRM sample lead profile.

HubSpot CRM contact profile (Source: HubSpot )

CRMs are also used to monitor and report sales progress. For example, many have dashboards and functionality, such as alerts, which make it easy to identify where your team may be underperforming. These could also tell you which leads are most likely to convert and should be focused on. Sales information such as deals closed, revenue generated, and leads created can be presented in a detailed report .

These types of insights can also be shown on the CRM’s system dashboard . Pipedrive is an example of a CRM that has a customizable dashboard that displays both activity information and performance-based data. Activity data include emails sent, received, and outstanding tasks to be completed. Performance-based data, on the other hand, have deals lost or the average value of won deals.

Pipedrive’s customizable dashboard (Source: Pipedrive )

Other sales enablement tools can make your sales team more effective. These include voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) phone systems , lead generation platforms, email campaign tools, content creation platforms, and task automation software. These tools can be found within CRM software or through CRM integrations and standalone applications.

In addition to technology tools, sales and marketing templates should be used to streamline outreach initiatives. Scenario-based, premade sales email templates , for instance, allow salespeople to have an email already crafted for their specific situation.

Creating and storing business proposal templates in your CRM also streamlines the contact procurement and business proposal generation process . This way, whenever a prospect says they’d like to receive a quote or you’re responding to a request for a proposal, you already have a customizable template ready to go.

Pro tip: Effective cold calling scripts sales reps can use as a guide when placing calls to new leads is a tremendous sales tool to include in your action plan for sales. Get started using our guide for writing a cold calling script , which includes examples and free templates.

7. Develop Your Sales Funnel

Setting up a sales funnel within your sales strategy template lets you visualize the stages of the customer journey, from becoming aware of your business to buying from it. By creating and understanding the different statuses of your leads, you can track progress and determine how effective you are at converting leads to the next stages in the funnel.

Using a sales funnel with conversion rates also makes it easier for you to adjust your sales strategies and tactics based on how effectively you’re getting leads through the funnel. For instance, let’s say you have 100 leads in the awareness stage of the funnel. You decide to cold call 50 of them and write a sales email to the other 50 to qualify leads by setting up a product demonstration.

After each campaign, you find you were able to qualify seven of the leads that were cold-called and only two of the leads you had emailed. Based on these funnel conversion rates of 14% (7/50) from cold calling and 4% (2/50) from emailing, you would likely adjust your tactics to focus more on calling instead of emailing.

Do you need help creating a sales funnel for your business? Our guide to creating a sales funnel explains the step-by-step sales funnel creation process and provides free templates and specific examples.

8. Create Your Sales Pipeline

Once your sales process’ sales funnel stages are identified, develop the sales pipeline stages . These stages include your team’s sales activities to move leads through the funnel. For example, you need to get a lead from the sales funnel stage of brand awareness to show interest in learning more about one of your services. To do this, you could add a sales pipeline activity like setting up a demo or presentation appointment through a cold call.

Adding your sales pipeline to your sales strategy is essential because it describes all the activities your sales reps need to do to close a sales deal. CRM systems like Freshsales allow you to create and track the pipeline stages for each lead or deal within the lead record.

Funnel view of Freshsales’ deal pipeline (Source: Freshsales )

Listing each pipeline stage also helps you identify tools and resources needed to perform the activities for each stage. For example, if you use phone calls to initiate contact with or introduce a product to a lead, you could develop outbound sales call scripts for your team.

After the initial contact by phone, you may use email to follow up after a call and then nurture leads throughout the sales process. As part of your follow-up, create and automate a sales follow-up email template to get them to the next pipeline stage.

The sales funnel shows where a lead is in the sales process. The sales pipeline, on the other hand, lists activities needed to drive leads to the next stage in the sales funnel. Both should be used in your sales strategy when defining the repeatable steps required to generate leads and close deals. Check out our article to learn how to create a winning sales process with insights on both creating a sales process and measuring its success.

9. Assign Roles & Responsibilities

Regardless of the size of your business or sales operation, your business plan for sales reps should include the role and responsibility of each person in the sales team. Each role should have a name, such as someone being a sales development representative (SDR). There should also be a summary of their responsibilities, such as “the SDR is responsible for setting up sales appointments using the activities listed in the sales pipeline.”

Measuring the performance of any sales position is simple through key performance indicators (KPIs). Specific KPIs should be used to measure performance for each role and should be included in your plan. Below are some examples of KPIs that can be used by the members of the sales team and their respective responsibility:

  • Sales development representative: Responsible for introducing products and services, qualifying leads, and setting up appointments for the account executive. Performance is measured by calls placed, emails sent, and appointments generated.
  • Account executive: Responsible for nurturing qualified leads, delivering the sales pitch , sending quotes, and closing deals. Performance is measured by business proposals sent, the average time in the proposal consideration stage, deals closed, and deal closing rate.
  • Customer service representative: Responsible for managing customer needs, handling billing, and managing service tickets by assisting customers. Performance is measured by customer satisfaction, retention rates, and total tickets resolved.
  • Sales manager: Responsible for the entire sales operation or team for a specific region or product/service line. Performance is measured by job satisfaction rates of sales reps, pipeline and funnel conversion rates, team sales deals closed, and team revenue growth.

While assigning roles in your plan, a sales rep’s territory could be based on geography, industry, potential deal size, or product/service line, creating more specialization for better results. Our six-step process on proper sales territory management is an excellent resource for segmenting, creating, and assigning sales territories.

This section of the business plan is also a prime spot for individually setting sales quotas for each rep or team needed to hit your organizational sales goals. Sales quotas should be a specific KPI for that sales role and be set based on the experience, skill level, and resources of that individual or team. These quotas should also be based on your organizational, department, and team goals and objectives.

10. Monitor Progress & Adjust Accordingly

Once the strategic business plan is in motion, monitor its progress to make any required adjustments. For instance, while your sales operation is running, you may find certain sales tactics are working better than expected, and vice versa. Your sales goal template should account for using that tactic more, as well as any new sales tools, budgetary changes, new roles, and possibly even a new sales goal.

As in the earlier example, if you found that cold calling was significantly more effective than emailing, reduce or abandon the email method in favor of cold calling. You could also invest in sales tools especially useful for cold calling, such as power dialing using a voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) phone system, or hire additional staff to place calls. All of these will be part of your updated business plan.

Pro tip: Focusing on the big picture by creating, executing, and adjusting a strategic business plan is one of the most critical traits of an effective sales leader. For more insights on what it means to be a sales leader and how to become one, check out our ultimate guide to sales leadership .

Examples of Other Free Small Business Sales Plan Templates

Apart from our free downloadable sales strategy template, other providers have shared their version of a free strategic sales plan examples. Click on our picks below to see if these templates fit your business process better:

HubSpot’s free sales planning template helps users outline their company’s sales strategy. It contains sections found in most sales plans, as well as prompts for you to fill out your company’s tactics and information. These include company history and mission, team structure, target market, tools and software used, positioning, market strategy, action plan, goals, and budget.

HubSpot sales plan template

HubSpot sales strategy template (Source: HubSpot )

HubSpot’s sales plan template with the mission, vision, and story of the company

HubSpot’s sales goals template with the mission, vision, and story of the company (Source: HubSpot )

Visit HubSpot

Asana’s free sales plan template helps organizations analyze their current sales process, establish their sales objectives, identify success metrics, and plan actionable steps. The sales business plan template is embedded within Asana’s platform, automatically integrating aspects such as goals and measuring them against results or sales performance.

Asana sales plan template

Asana sales plan example (Source: Asana )

Visit Asana

Sales Planning Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is sales planning.

Sales planning is creating a document that outlines your sales strategy, objectives, target audience, potential obstacles, and tools to achieve goals within a specified period. This may include your daily, monthly, quarterly, yearly, and long-term revenue objectives.

What is included in a sales plan?

A sales strategy plan template typically includes the following key elements:

  • Target customers, accounts, or verticals
  • Stock-keeping units (SKUs)
  • Revenue targets or forecasts
  • Strategies and tactics
  • Pricing and promotions
  • Deadlines and directly responsible individuals (DRIs)
  • Team structure and coordination
  • Market conditions

What are the different types of strategic sales planning?

The type of strategic planning for sales that you choose for your team ultimately depends on different factors. These include your revenue goals, available resources, the ability and bandwidth of your sales team, and your personal commitment to your plans. Once you have determined the details of these factors, you can choose from these types of strategic sales planning:

  • Revenue-based sales action plan template: This is ideal for teams aiming for a specific revenue goal. It focuses on in-depth sales forecasting, improvement of conversion rates, and closing more deals.
  • Sales business plan based on the target market: This plan is best for businesses that cater to several markets that are different from each other. In this situation, you must create separate sales goal templates for enterprise companies and small businesses.
  • Sales goals plan: This focuses on other goals such as hiring, onboarding, sales training plans, or sales activity implementation.
  • New product sales business plan: This plan is developed for the launch and continued promotion of a new product.

Bottom Line

While any business can set bold sales goals, creating a sales plan outlines how your team will achieve them. By following the best practices and 10-step process laid out above, your sales goal template defines what your sales process will look like. It will help establish baselines for accountability and identify optimal strategies, tactics, and the tools needed to make your team as efficient as possible.

About the Author

Jillian Ilao

Jillian Ilao

Jill is a sales and customer service expert at Fit Small Business. Prior to joining the company, she has worked and produced marketing content for various small businesses and entrepreneurs from different markets, including Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Singapore. She has extensive writing experience and has covered topics on business, lifestyle, finance, education, and technology.

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Creating a Stellar Ecommerce Business Plan for Your Online Store

Choose the Right Ecommerce Platform

For years, you’ve purchased items from online businesses or marketplaces like Etsy, eBay and Amazon and thought to yourself, “I could do something like this, too.”

Starting your own ecommerce business may seem intimidating — writing a business plan, even more so.

However, a business plan allows you to validate your business idea, assess your financial position and create a concrete action plan for how you’ll deliver a product from the original source to the end consumer.

In other words, while the business plan might seem like it’s ultimately meant for other people’s benefit — potential investors, business partners or well-meaning family members who keep pestering you to write one — in reality, the business plan benefits you, the business owner, the most.

You’ll shape the vision and mission for your business and map out how you’ll get there. One study by Harvard Business Review found that entrepreneurs who write a formal business plan are 16% more likely to achieve viability than those who don’t.

An ecommerce business plan is a document that outlines your business purpose and goals, analyzes your industry and competitors and identifies the resources needed to execute your plan.

For example, which suppliers will you work with? What types of products will you stock? Who is your ideal buyer? How will you advertise your business? Can you afford to provide free shipping and still make a profit?

Here’s a step-by-step primer on how to write a business plan for your ecommerce store, what elements to include and how to use your own business plan to increase your chance of success.

How to Create An Ecommerce Business Plan

Business plans help entrepreneurs maintain focus on their goals and shape the day-to-day running of a new business. The key elements of an ecommerce business plan template describe blueprints for growth, projected timelines and financial goals — clarifying topics like cash flow, expenses, marketing tools and distribution channels.

Draft an executive summary.

An executive summary provides a concise rundown of the key points in your business plan. In short, it should summarize your chosen industry, business purpose, competitors, business goals and financial position. Executive summaries average 1-3 pages and are ideally under two pages.

What does your business do?

Explain the raison d’être for your startup. What problem will you solve for your customers? Who is the target audience? Where do you want your business to be in one, five, or 10 years?

Here are the main elements of an executive summary:

The problem statement or business opportunity : Describe a pain point or gap in the market that you are uniquely qualified to fill. (“As someone who used to own a convenience store, I heard many of my customers complain about the lack of healthy food options while traveling domestically.”)

Your business idea : State how you plan to approach the problem (“XYZ is a ready-to-eat meal company that lets travelers order and pack healthy meals ahead of trips so they can avoid eating fast food.”)

Company history : Describe what milestones you have achieved. Are you already working with suppliers? What is your current revenue? (“In 2021, XYZ fulfilled over 10,000 orders, generating $150,000 in revenue.”)

Industry and market analysis : Outline the trends in the market that affect your business, market size, and demand for your product. (“In 2022, the global health and wellness food market was valued at $841 billion and is projected to increase to one trillion by 2026.”)

Competition : Explain who your competitors are, outline their strengths and weaknesses, and make it clear how you will differentiate.

Timeline for key milestones : Project when you plan to achieve goals like breaking even, launching an IPO, or other key milestones.

Financial plan (if you are seeking funding from investors or banks).

What goals does your business want to achieve?

Set short- and long-term goals for your business, such as achieving a certain amount of revenue or testing a new product idea. Business goals can be general and high-level or they can focus on specific, measurable actions (SMART goals).

The most realistic goal-setting approach is to set short-term goals as stepping stones to your long-term goals. For example, your short-term goal to decrease website bounce rate by 25% within 12 weeks might help you reach the long-term goal of growing conversions by 50% within one year.

Timeframes for short-term goals can range from a few hours to a year, while long-term goals generally take 1-5 years to achieve.

What products do you sell?

Outline your product offerings and specify where you’ll source each item. Some ecommerce businesses manufacture products in-house. Others work with wholesalers, manufacturers or print-on-demand businesses to resell their products.

Curate a tight product line that demonstrates your value proposition. Why should someone buy from your online store rather than another brand? Why would someone choose your products over a substitute if you don't produce goods in-house?

Ecommerce companies sell three types of products: goods, services and digital products. Tell your readers what you intend to sell and why. List each item and its purpose. For each, you want to answer the question “why?” Why are you choosing to offer these specific products and services? How do you plan on fulfilling orders?

If you’re offering a service, explain what you do and where. Are you local? Do you travel to your customers? Will you partner with similar service providers in other areas?

How will customers access the item if you're offering a digital product? Will they download software or education videos from your site? Will they pay a subscription or usage-based fee? What about licensing requirements? Mention intellectual property ownership (if applicable) including trademarks, patents and copyrights.

Who is your audience?

Describe your ideal customer. Define your product or service from their point of view. What problems does your product solve for them? What benefits or features do customers look for when shopping for that product type?

Create customer profiles that summarize your target audience in terms of demographics (age, location, gender, etc) and psychographics (pain points, interests, buying patterns). Consider creating customer segments based on shared characteristics if you cater to a wide audience.

Demographic data should include the following points:

Education level.

Relationship status.


Meanwhile, discover your target customer’s motivations, needs and wants as much as possible. Psychographic data should include the following points:

Where are you going to sell your products?

Outline your sales channels, both future and existing. For example, your main point-of-sale might be your ecommerce site. Be sure to include stats on site traffic and conversions so readers know how your site is performing.

Still, you might also offer your products online on marketplaces like eBay, Amazon and Etsy. Explain how each of these channels is performing and how you’re optimizing them for product discoverability and conversions (eg: following SEO best practices, using high-quality images, highlighting user-generated content).

Identify your company overview.

Tell your brand's story , its purpose, and how the company was founded. In addition to the company description, provide details on how you currently run the business. List your business partners and employees and describe the business's legal structure.

The best brand names are memorable and communicate the essence of your business. Brand names gain icon status because they represent an excellent product or service, so don’t obsess over it.

That said, the right brand name can be your brand’s most valuable asset, driving differentiation and speeding acceptance. In fact, 71% of consumers prefer to buy from brands they recognize.

If you’re struggling to come up with a name, try using an online brand name generator as a jumping-off point. Remember, you’re not locked into a single brand name forever.

Business structure

Describe the legal structure of your business. Is it a sole proprietorship, LLC, an S-Corp or a partnership? Consider speaking to an accountant if you’re not sure. Who is in charge of the business? List founders and officers and their contributions (both capital and expertise) to the company. Who works for the company? Include an org chart that illustrates who currently works for the business and the roles you plan to hire for . List their responsibilities, salaries and terms of employment (freelance, full-time, part-time).[

Your business structure]( ) affects how much you pay in taxes, your ability to raise money, the paperwork you must file and your personal liability in the event of business bankruptcy, so this information is important to lenders. Also mention if you have filed or plan to file for any applicable licenses or permits.

Domain name

Register a unique domain name for your business. A catchy brand name is essential because the domain is less likely to have been claimed by another business. Keep your domain name as short as possible and ensure it includes your brand name for SEO purposes.

Your mission describes the fundamental purpose of your business. It should tell people why the business exists and how it benefits its customers. For example, LinkedIn’s mission statement is “connect the world’s professionals and make them more productive and successful.”

However, be careful not to exaggerate. An overly aspirational mission statement is disingenuous and wishy-washy — no single corporation or small business will single-handedly “change the world.”

A vision statement is a declaration of what you want your business to achieve in the future by fulfilling its purpose. It describes your company’s “why,” while the mission statement describes the “who” and “what” of the business.

Your vision statement should define your values as a business (eg: reducing waste generated by single-use toiletries) and future goals (achieving a zero-waste world by implementing a circular economy).

Background information

Tell the story of how you conceived your business idea. Say you’re a former school teacher who discovered your artistic flair from making handmade pottery in your garage on weekends. Describe how your business has grown and changed since you first started it.

Your team and key people

List the key personnel in your company. Aside from the founders and executive team, who keeps the business running each day? Here are a few examples:

Company owner — that’s probably you.

CEO — that’s probably also you.

Management team.

Customer service manager.

Logistics manager.

PR and social media specialist.

Advertising manager.

SEO manager.


Conduct market research.

Ecommerce businesses face intense competition and are liable to market disruptions because they rely on third parties (suppliers, shipping companies, wholesalers) to deliver a product or service. Knowing the market in and out will help you build a more resilient business.

A market analysis considers your ideal customer (their purchase habits and behaviors), competitors (their strengths and weaknesses), market conditions (industry trends and long-term outlook), and how your business fits into this landscape.

The point of a target market analysis is to:

Identify the most and least valuable markets.

Develop buyer personas.

Find gaps in the market to fill.

Assess the viability of a product or service.

Improve business strategy .

Market opportunities

The first step to identifying your target market is determining your total addressable market (TAM) — the maximum market size for your product or service. Who are your customers? What are their demographic and psychographic traits? When and how often will they buy your product?

The best way to obtain a high-level overview of your customer base is to consult your social media and web analytics. These dashboards show where your customers live, their age, gender, general interests and more. You can also use U.S. Census Bureau data to pad up this information.

Competitive analysis

Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your current and potential competitors. First, find out who your direct and indirect competitors are. You can perform a Google search of businesses that sell similar products or scope out rivals in your local area.

Here’s what you need to know about your competitors:

What markets and segments they serve.

What benefits they offer.

Why their customers buy from them.

Details of products and services, including pricing and promotional strategies.

Search for publicly available information about your competitors. Aside from that, do some of your own primary research. Visit their website and complete an order or visit their physical outlet.

Next, analyze the information. Is there a segment of the market your competition has overlooked? Is there a product they don’t supply? Did you have a bad customer experience when you walked into the store?

Detail your competitive advantage in your business plan. Don’t just list things that your competitors do — that’s not analysis. The competitive analysis section aims to persuade the reader that you are knowledgeable about the competition and that your business idea has a significant advantage over the competition.

Products and services

List the products and services you provide and how customers will access them. If you’re selling digital products, will customers have to stream or download the content? Do they pay a subscription fee to access a content platform or do they pay for each individual content piece? If you’re providing a service, will you provide it on physical premises or will you travel to customers’ homes? Will you sell physical products in a physical store or online? What is your website like? List each product, including a short product description and pricing information.

Develop a marketing plan.

You need a go-to-market strategy if you haven’t already launched your business. How will you spread the word about your business? How and where will you advertise and what is your budget? If you run social media ads, for example, what platforms will you use and who is your target audience? Will you do content marketing and SEO? A thorough marketing plan answers all of these important questions.

Marketing channels

Define which channels match your consumer demographic. Do your potential customers spend time on Facebook or do they prefer YouTube? First, figure out where your potential customers are. Next, create attention-grabbing marketing strategies and use them to reach your customer base.

Paid marketing channels

PPC advertising : Advertise on Google’s search engine and pay only once someone clicks on your ad. You can bid for ad placement in the search engine’s sponsored links when someone searches a keyword related to your business offering.

Affiliate marketing : Embed links to another business’s products in your content and receive a commission when someone makes a purchase using your unique affiliate link.

Social media ads : Run paid ads on social media apps and platforms like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to reach targeted audiences. Ads can use different creatives such as images, videos and GIFs.

Influencer marketing : Work with a popular influencer who will promote your products to their followers. Influencers are paid based on conversions or reach.

Organic marketing channels

Brands must use an organic marketing strategy to build brand awareness and engagement and drive website traffic.

Examples include:

Search engine optimization (SEO) : Optimize your website, web pages and blog posts for maximum discoverability on search engines. This involves doing keyword research for your industry, creating high-quality content that attracts and converts and using keywords in the right places.

Social media posts : Organic social media posts build brand awareness and humanize the brand by providing a behind-the-scenes look at the company and allowing you to share engaging visual content to inspire, educate and entertain.

Blogger networks : Collaborating with trusted bloggers on link exchanges can help you build website backlinks, improving your search engine ranking.

Content marketing : Organic content includes blog posts, white papers, SEO pages, and more. This gives you content to post on social media and improves the discoverability of your website. Websites that publish high-quality content consistently rank higher in search results.

Email marketing : Create email templates for new and potential customers, cart abandonment, promotions and announcements and more.

Logistics and Operations plan

This portion of the business plan covers what you physically need to run your ecommerce company. Basically, it outlines how you’ll manage the flow of goods from the supplier (you or a third party) to the consumer. You cannot start a business without an established supply chain.

Your logistics and operations plan should cover the following:

Suppliers : Where do your raw materials or products come from? Do you work with a manufacturer who produces your product idea or are you reselling products from a supplier, wholesaler or distributor? What is the minimum order value? Do they require payment upfront or after the sale? Do you have a backup supplier in case demand spikes or there is a problem with fulfillment?

Production : Will you create your own products or use a third-party manufacturer or dropshipping company? If you’re creating your own products, where will this be done? What assets and equipment do you need? What are your operating costs?

Shipping and fulfillment : Outline how the product will reach the end consumer. How long will it take you to pack and ship products to customers? Will you use a third-party shipper? Will you ship internationally?

Inventory : How much inventory will you keep on hand and where will you put it? How will you track incoming and outgoing inventory? Do you need warehouse storage space?

Establish a financial plan.

The financial section of your business plan is where you prove the feasibility of your business idea and calculate your startup costs. It includes financial projections and statements that show your business’s current financial position and project where you hope to be in the future. This is one of the essential components of the business plan, particularly if you are seeking investment funding, a bank loan or a business partner.

Income statement

In this document, you’ll forecast the company’s revenues and expenses during a particular period. Total revenue is the sum of both operating and non-operating revenues while total expenses include those incurred by primary and secondary activities.

If you subtract your expenses from your revenue sources, you’ll come up with your bottom line (profit or loss).

Balance sheet

A balance sheet helps you calculate how much equity you have in your business. It summarizes your company’s assets (what you own), your liabilities (what you owe) and equity (money invested into the business plus profits).

A balance sheet enables you to calculate your net worth. All of your assets (machinery, inventory, business premises, etc.) go in a column on the left and your liabilities (accounts and wages payable, business loan repayments, business credit card payments, taxes) go in a column on the right. If you subtract your liabilities from your assets, you get your business’ shareholder equity.

Cash-flow statement

This document shows how much cash is generated and spent over a time period. Cash flow determines whether your business is primarily gaining or losing money. Positive cash flow and profit margins are important because it enables your business to repay bank loans, purchase commodities and keep the lights on.

How to Increase Ecommerce Sales

Explore our collection of free resources designed to help you scale smarter and accelerate your online growth from $1 million to $100 million.

The Final Word

Writing a comprehensive business plan is crucial not only for staying on track in the first year or so after launching your business but also for securing funding, finding a business partner and evaluating the viability of your business idea.

FAQs About Ecommerce Business Plans

Who needs an ecommerce business plan, what are the benefits of creating a business plan, how do i start an ecommerce business with no money, browse additional resources.

online sales business plan

How To Start an Online Retail Business in 8 Steps

Ready to be a business owner? Now is a great time to get going.

Many people feel it’s overwhelming to try and learn how to become an online seller. Here’s the truth: while it isn’t the easiest thing you’ll ever do, it can definitely be one of the most rewarding.

The biggest obstacle is taking the time to do your research and understand what’s required before you dive in. And then, you’ll need to use the old-fashioned “trial and error” method before you find success.

The name of the game is being prepared and ready for what’s in store. That way, you can be confident that you’re making great decisions that bring you closer and closer to your dream life .

That’s why I’ve outlined eight steps that will help you on your way to being an ecommerce entrepreneur. I’ve also included plenty of links to resources, guides, and articles you can bookmark for further reading on the topics we discuss here.

Let’s do this.

online sales business plan

Start selling online now with Shopify

online sales business plan

1. Find a Market Need to Fill

When it comes to starting an online retail business, you have a lot of options. A whole lot.

Before you dive in, make sure there’s a need in the market for the products you want to sell. Doing this research might seem time-consuming at first, but it’s a non-negotiable part of finding good online retail business ideas.

→ Click Here to Launch Your Online Business with Shopify

There’s no point in having a beautiful store if nobody makes a purchase, right?

There are loads of places where you can do market research to validate market need for your ideas and find inspiration for new ones.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Google Trends
  • Google Keyword Planner (you’ll need to open an Ads account, but it’s free!)
  • Keyword Surfer , a Google Chrome plugin
  • Searching product demand on social media and marketplace websites like Amazon and Alibaba

find online retail niche

2. Get to Know Your Target Audience

No customers , no revenue. It’s a simple formula that everyone can understand. But what’s not so simple is figuring out how to find potential customers, get them to visit your online store, and convert them into paying customers.

There’s virtually an infinite amount of ways to make this happen. But it all starts with having a deep understanding of who your ideal customer is.

The main thing to understand is your customers’ pain points and needs. Once you know these, you can make sure that your online retail business is truly reliving those pains and solving those needs.

Facebook’s Audience Insights tool is an incredible resource, with a lot of user data and targeting capabilities to help you find your ideal customers quickly – even down the pages they like on Facebook. If you decide to run Facebook Ads , this tool will be a big help.

Facebook target audience research

You can use other market research resources like D&B Hoovers , Nielsen , and the U.S. Census Bureau .

3. Research Business Logistics and Requirements

While it’s great for you to dream big about your online retail business opportunities, you also need to ground those dreams in reality.

There are several things for you to consider before you can be sure that your idea will work. Do some research to make sure you understand all the laws, regulations, resources, and logistics of your store idea.

Here’s a short list of things to look into:

  • Business registration , licenses, and permits for your country or region
  • Number of SKUs (stock keeping units) for your product line
  • Shipping weight and costs
  • Shipping restrictions for the types of products you want to sell
  • Production costs and overhead
  • Business and sales tax
  • Trademark, copyright , and patent considerations

If you’re unsure of anything in particular, it wouldn’t hurt to seek out advice from a professional. Better safe than sorry, as they say.

4. Write a Business Plan

An online retail store business plan is a must-have. Creating a business plan will help make sure you’re looking at all the important parts and planning for them appropriately.

It’s also a great way to give yourself accountability and benchmarks. When you lay everything out, you’ll be able to know if you’re on the right path toward meeting your goals or if you need to make some changes along the way.

Here are some notes to consider when creating your online retail store business plan:

  • Executive summary
  • Description of the company
  • Products and services
  • Market and competitive analysis , including a SWOT analysis
  • Sales and marketing plan
  • Company management and operations
  • Financial projections and requests for funding

Shopify has a great video tutorial on how to write a business plan . You can also check out our business plan template .

5. Find a Manufacturer or Supplier

If you’re interested in manufacturing your own products, you’ll need to find a trustworthy and reliable manufacturer. 

Keep these considerations in mind as you explore your options:

  • Domestic vs. overseas: Many online retail business owners choose overseas manufacturers to save on costs. But keep in mind that shipping times will increase, and it might mean a decrease in quality.
  • Do your research: Search for a manufacturer on websites like Alibaba , or directories like ThomasNet , Kompass , and Sourcify . Find wholesale retailers on Alibaba . And of course, a Google search is always your friend.
  • Ask questions: When you have your eye on a manufacturer for your online retail business, ask them any questions that come to mind. You should also check out their reviews and see if you can speak with any other customers with positive reviews (or negative ones… dun dun dun).

If you’re dropshipping, you don’t need to worry about designing, manufacturing, or storing your products. You’ll just need to find a supplier who’s willing to dropship their products directly to your customers. Find dropshipping suppliers on platforms like DSers .

6. Develop a Brand

Design and branding are the glue that holds your customer relationships together. It’s easy to think of branding as the last step – but don’t. It should be something you start thinking about even as you’re writing your business plan, before you start building your company.

Use this checklist to guide your branding process:

  • Make a killer logo that sets your brand apart while still being simple and clean.
  • Catch your visitors’ eye with stunning visuals, like product photography and illustrations.
  • Use a color palette that compliments your brand’s personality. There’s a hidden psychology of colors and what they mean to us – use it to your advantage.
  • Connect and build relationships with copywriting that speaks to your audience’s likes, needs, and wants.
  • You brand is more than just a logo. Think about your broader brand strategy , like your company’s vision, mission statement, and the core values your company represents.

As you learn how to start an online retail business, you’ll come across a lot of inspiration from other brands. I suggest keeping a running list of companies that absolutely smash their branding and messaging, as well as companies who fail miserably.

Write down what you like and don’t like so you’ll have an idea bank as you build your own brand.

Check out Shopify’s free tools for brand-building on a budget, like their Logo Maker and Online Video Maker . 

7. Build Your Online Retail Store 

Now for the fun part! Bring all your ideas to life.

Sign up for an ecommerce platform like Shopify . If you’re dropshipping, you can also sign up for DSers ,  which was built to supercharge the whole dropshipping process on Shopify stores.

Here’s a checklist of things you’ll want to build out in your online store:

  • Unique and engaging product descriptions for each item you sell
  • Beautiful product photos for each item you sell
  • Killer landing pages , like your website’s homepage and the pages you lead visitors to when they click your ads and other marketing materials
  • Legal stuff: terms and conditions , privacy policy , shipping policy, and return policy
  • Set up shipping considerations, like rates and zones
  • Set up the checkout page and payment gateways

The cool thing about ecommerce platforms like Shopify is that there are plenty of themes, templates, tools, and resources to help you build a store, even if you’re not a professional web developer or designer (and you don’t have the extra budget to hire one right now).

start online retail store on Shopify

8. Create a Marketing Plan

One you have a store, the next step is to get people to it.

Your marketing plan can range from almost $0 to thousands of dollars. If you’re bootstrapping your business and aiming to start an online store with no money, there are plenty of low-cost and free ways to get exposure for your brand.

Email marketing is a great way to build long-term relationships with your subscribers. Just make sure you’re not spamming them with sale announcements. Try to add value to their day in a way that’s related to your brand.

Influencer marketing can be inexpensive if you choose to partner with “micro-influencers” instead of mega influencers who will charge big bucks. Micro-influencers will often post a shoutout for your brand if you send them free products to test out and have a photoshoot with. Instagram is a great influencer marketing channel.

Social media marketing is a way to build a following of engaged people, who might eventually turn into customers (if they’re not already). Post content that matches your brand image . And remember – add value to their life instead of only talking about your awesome products in every post.

If you have some budget to spend, Facebook Ads is a great place to start. Just keep in mind that it won’t happen overnight. If you have less than $500–$1,000 to spend, you might have trouble gaining momentum.

Online Retail Business Examples

Let’s look at a few examples you can use as inspiration as you learn how to start an online ecommerce store.

Tentree is a great example of an online retail business that leads with branding. The company is driven by a social awareness mission to plant one billion trees by 2030. They even built the mission into their name: they plant 10 trees for every item purchased.

The brand also showcases their sustainable environmental and ethical commitments. On top of that, the site is filled with high-quality, often nature-inspired photography and images. All these elements create a trustworth and laid-back feel that matches the personality and passions of their target audience.

Online Retail Business Examples

William Abraham

This store is a perfect example that you don’t need to sell a bunch of different products to be successful. William Abraham offers one thing: men’s luxury socks.

This type of niche strategy can help to simplify several aspects of your online retail business. For example, the audience is significantly narrowed in comparison to a general store that sells several types of products. This makes it easier to find your target audience and work on building a connection.

And the manufacturing and product management aspects of the business are less complicated too.

William Abraham

SoYoung has a unique offering: bags, packs, and coolers for stylish parents and their stylish children. It’s clever when you think about it: if you’re selling children’s products, your target audience is their parents (unless we have some incredibly digitally-savvy toddlers on our hands).

By offering products for children and their parents, SoYoung is offering a certain level of convenience that many stores don’t give their customers. Plus, the average order value is likely higher for this store, as many parents are shopping for more than one person. 

And that means more revenue. Cha-ching.

soyoung online business

Taking the Steps to Starting an Online Retail Business

Learning how to start an ecommerce retail business is more attainable than most people think.

The most important thing to keep in mind as you make the leap is that it takes time and work to meet your goals. To be honest, it’s likely that you’ll fail in some way. Or many ways. (Just ask any ecommerce entrepreneur who has a success story to share.)

But as long as you have a mindset that’s focused on growth, learning, and resilience, you’re setting yourself up for success. 

It might seem intimidating, but you’ll never know until you try. So go for it.

Want to Learn More?

  • How To Start an Online Jewelry Business in 2021
  • How to Pick the Best Shopify Theme for Your Online Store
  • 30 Amazing Examples of eCommerce Website Design
  • 10 Online Stores to Use as Inspiration for Your First Store

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Market Research

Business planning, website development, product or service selection, marketing and promotion, is it a good idea to start an online business, can i start an online business with $100, what are different types of online marketing strategies, the bottom line.

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Starting an Online Business: A Step-by-Step Guide

Crafting a Winning Business Plan: Setting Goals and Strategies

online sales business plan

Katie Miller is a consumer financial services expert. She worked for almost two decades as an executive, leading multi-billion dollar mortgage, credit card, and savings portfolios with operations worldwide and a unique focus on the consumer. Her mortgage expertise was honed post-2008 crisis as she implemented the significant changes resulting from Dodd-Frank required regulations.

online sales business plan

If you want to get into the online business game, it’s a good time to start. The COVID-19 pandemic reshaped online consumer spending, including how people shop online and how they research products.

Today, 76% of Americans buy products online. Furthermore, roughly a third of people purchase items online weekly. From setting up an ecommerce business to offering web design services, there are countless avenues to explore as an entrepreneur.

Below, we’ll walk through each step to building an online business.

Key Takeaways

  • When starting an online business, comprehensive market research is critical for identifying your target audience and learning how to resonate with your customers and understand their needs.
  • Creating a business plan is an important step for outlining your business goals. It also includes your product description, target market, and financial projections, among other core components.
  • Building your website involves setting up a domain name, finding a hosting company, and designing a strong website with consistent branding that allows your customers to navigate it intuitively.
  • Choosing the right product or service to sell is essential. It’s important to think about how you’re addressing an unmet need.
  • Several digital marketing strategies can be utilized, from content marketing to paid advertising, to help your business grow.

Successful online entrepreneurs study hard in order to have a thorough understanding of their market. This is important for knowing exactly how to reach your target market , because these are the people who will buy your products and drive your business growth.

At its core, market research is about understanding your customers’ needs, pain points, and solutions. It is designed to help your business better meet these needs.

Steps to Conduct Market Research

Market research involves understanding key aspects of your current and future customers. To get a clear sense of your target market, outline the characteristics of your audience—for example, age, location, gender, income, job title, and key pain points.

Once you have identified your target audience, conduct research on the following topics, which will tell you about how they make decisions and how you can better position your business:

  • What are the challenges that your target market faces?
  • Where do they research a given product or service?
  • What are their views on pricing for this product or service?
  • What factors influence their decision to make a purchase?
  • Who are your competitors?

To put this market research into action, there are a number of different avenues you can take:

  • Focus groups
  • Competitive analysis
  • Brand awareness research
  • Market segmentation research

Consider the following questions that may be asked in an interview or focus group to learn more about your audience:

  • “How do you search for that product?”
  • “How useful was it?”
  • “What words do you use when you search on Google?”

When you have completed your market research, identify what you have learned as well as your next steps based on these insights.

Creating a business plan is a key first step for all business owners . It is important for companies looking to secure funding resources. It also serves as a blueprint to summarize your key business objectives and goals.

To write a business plan , incorporate these eight main sections, which are often found in traditional templates:

  • Executive summary : This is typically a one-page section that explains your objectives and includes your mission statement, core team, and why your company is positioned for success.
  • Company description : This describes what you offer, your competitive advantages, and your business goals.
  • Market analysis : This is where you explain your target market, market size, market trends, and competitive landscape.
  • Organization and management : Explain who is working on your team and their professional background and experience.
  • Service or product line : Describe the product or service you are offering, including any copyright or plans for patenting.
  • Marketing and sales : Discuss your marketing and sales strategy. Discuss your pricing, key metrics, and sales plan.
  • Funding request : If you are a company looking for funding, here is where you outline the capital you are requesting and where it will be allocated.
  • Financial projections : Include projections for your company’s revenue and expenses. Consider including an income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement in this section.

A business plan is important because it helps clarify your action points, who you are, and what you offer, all in a coherent template.

Getting your business online is the next key step. In an ever-changing environment, it is important to know the tools, trends, and strategies for building a strong online presence to allow your business to grow.

Registering Your Domain

The first step is registering your name, or your website address. This can be in the form of your business name “.com.” To purchase your domain name, you can go to sites like GoDaddy or Namecheap . If you decide to build your website using WordPress, you will need to use a site such as these to host your website.

Web Hosting Companies

Alternatively, you can buy your domain name at a hosting company. These are companies like Shopify , Wix , or Amazon Web Services , that may also offer tools to build your website and release content on them. 

Website Design

A well-designed website is important for many reasons. Using a website builder, such as Mailchimp or Squarespace , can allow you to choose a theme, customize your pages, create relevant content, and set up a payment page.

Other key aspects of your website design include its functionality, simplicity, and ease of use. Allowing your potential customers to navigate the site intuitively will be key to their experience. Brand consistency—in your logo, colors, and typeface, for example—is also key to creating a unified brand.

Another essential part of website design is its mobile application. You’ll want to ensure that your website runs smoothly on mobile, that images load properly, that the text is legible, and that buttons are intuitive to click.

This step focuses on how to choose the right product or service to sell. At the heart of this choice is the goal of solving a customer’s problem. But there are a number of strategies you can use to identify your product idea.

For example, you might consider analyzing companies with high-profit margins, products that align with your passion, burgeoning trends, items trending on online marketplaces, and/or customer reviews.

With this in mind, analyze how this product will get to your customers. Additionally, you may consider products that are not available in stores in your local market but are offered in communities such as Europe or Japan, for example.

Marketing strategy and promotion is an essential driver of business growth. As the digital landscape evolves, it’s important to have an effective marketing plan that resonates with changing consumer preferences and needs.

Here are questions that companies can consider as they create their marketing strategy, navigating today’s environment:

  • Impact, value, and growth : What are the goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) that will measure success for your business? How will you explain the value that the business provides to its customers and/or society? Create an “elevator speech”—a 30-second description of what you offer and why it’s special.
  • Customer need and brand promise : How does the brand meet a customer’s need through its products and services?
  • Customer experience : How will the business deliver the best experiences at each stage of the customer journey?
  • Organizational model : How will the business operate to serve the customer with the most impact?

These will help you understand what types of strategies can have real impact.

Types of Marketing Strategies

Consider the following digital marketing strategies that can be used for your online business:

  • Email marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Paid advertising
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Content marketing
  • Influencer marketing

Each of these presents a different way to reach your target audience, drive conversions, or build brand awareness, depending on your marketing goals.

You need to determine that for yourself. But before starting an online business, it’s important to assess the time, investment, and resources you’ll need to get it off the ground. While the barrier to entry can be quite low, it’s worth considering your goals and strategies for making it a reality.

However, compared with starting up a traditional brick-and-mortar business, the risks of launching an online business may be reduced due to lower upfront costs such as rent, staff, and materials, among others.

The short answer: yes. While it depends on the type of business you hope to pursue, there are many ways to set up an online business at very little cost. For example, you could offer your services doing freelance work, photography, bookkeeping, or personal training. The primary costs involved include setting up your business website, which can cost as little as $2 to $20 each year with companies such as GoDaddy.

There are a number of digital marketing strategies that online businesses can use, such as content marketing, email marketing, paid advertising, SEO, and influencer marketing. Each of these strategies can be useful, depending on your product and goals.

Starting an online business can be a powerful way to launch a new product or service while reaching a wider audience. With market research, a solid business plan, a strong website, and a digital marketing strategy, you can get started in growing your company effectively. As customers increasingly make decisions virtually, building an online business is vital to any business owner’s success.

Pew Research Center. “ For Shopping, Phones Are Common and Influencers Have Become a Factor—Especially for Young Adults .”

U.S. Small Business Administration. “ Market Research and Competitive Analysis .”

U.S. Small Business Administration. “ Write Your Business Plan .”

Ogilvy. “ Getting Future Ready with Marketing Transformation ,” Page 15.

GoDaddy. “ How Much Does a Domain Name Cost? Find Out! ”

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online sales business plan

  • Marketing and Sales Strategy
  • 11 July, 2022

10 Steps to Create a Complete Sales and Marketing Business Plan [Templates included]

Anmol Sachdeva

Jump to the end of the post to get access to our free sales and marketing business plan templates.

Turning an idea into a functional business requires laser-sharp focus. You must take care of development, marketing, sales, customer success, and whatnot. 

While most entrepreneurs start with some form of a plan, they often forget about it soon after. 

Blame it on changing dynamics, trial and error to find a product-market fit, or blatant ignorance. But overlooking the planning process is a sure shot reason for failure — as the common saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail.

An essential part of this document is the sales and marketing segment. The sales and marketing plan outlines everything you need to do to promote your products and generate revenue for your business. 

Why do you need a sales and marketing plan? 

Having a revolutionary product that solves a genuine problem is great. But it won’t mean anything if people don’t know about you. 

A sales and marketing plan helps you get discovered, structure your activities, and move forward with your growth goals. 

It’s more or less like a roadmap about what you should do to make things work in your favor. 

Your sales and marketing plan will help you: 

  • Identify the bridge between where you are today and where you want to reach your business goals. 
  • Get much-needed clarity and avoid conflicts and confusion in case of any disruptions.
  • Gain and document insights about your target audience, industry, trends, costs, etc. 
  • Justify your business model in front of investors and lenders in case you need to raise funds.
  • Stay focused on a north star metric, improvise growth tactics and achieve harmony between various growth activities. 
  • Promote sales and marketing alignment.

Your sales and marketing plan would also help you avoid distractions and save time and money lost. 

And you know how easy it is to lose direction and get distracted when starting or running a startup. Documenting everything as a plan will help avoid confusion and add clarity to your everyday affairs and long-term mission. 

However, different companies need different plans based on the stage of operations and their unique growth goals. 

A clear marketing and sales plan promotes alignment between marketing and sales departments at every stage . This reduces resource waste and creates fewer “blame-game ” occasions in your meetups. 

What to include in the marketing & sales plan? 

Planning is a subjective activity. 

You’d receive several different answers if you read, talk to, and consult multiple experts on what to include in your marketing and sales plan. 

So, how should you decide which elements to include in your marketing/sales plan? 

Let’s take a step back and understand the “why” of planning. 

You need a plan so you don’t get confused and can keep walking towards your goal.

Your plan should: 

  • Serve as a roadmap for everything related to sales and marketing for the first few months if you’re just starting. 
  • Outline and articulate the core strategies you’ll experiment with, the desired outcome, and the KPIs to measure performance. 
  • Set realistic KPIs, outcomes, and objectives based on market understanding, competition, funding requirements, and your target audience’s pain points. 

Marketing plan for your startup: The what and why

In an ideal world, every penny you spend in marketing should enhance your visibility, take you closer to your audience,  and increase your conversion rates. 

But in reality, it takes a lot of effort, time, and investment to make it happen. 

A marketing plan helps you navigate through the tricky maze called marketing without getting lost in the process. 

Basically, you build a marketing plan to gain enlightenment about how you’ll promote and stay relevant to your audience. 

You do it beforehand so that when things get tricky, you have a directional beacon to guide you.  

Creating any plan should start with an understanding of the purpose. The same applies to marketing, too. Try to find the reason behind marketing your product – why are you working towards your goal. 

Knowing your why would help you gain clarity – an essential element for the success of any activity on the planet. Before you begin, you should try to find answers to the following questions: 

  • Why are you making the marketing plan?
  • What do you want to accomplish with the marketing?
  • What will be the value proposition? 
  • What are the goals that we want to achieve?

These answers will allow you to think better and prepare for strategizing your plan with a better perspective. 

Also, while at it, remember that your marketing plan is not a rigid document etched in stone. Instead, it’s a result of an iterative process that depends on five fundamental aspects: 

1. Product: What are you marketing? 

The product section should explain what you are selling exactly. 

  • What do you sell? 
  • How is your offering different from your competitors?
  • What are the benefits your potential customers would derive from your offerings? 
  • What is your core USP? 

Answering these questions would help you craft a great positioning statement and marketing message for your marketing campaigns. 

2. Place: Where are you available? 

This section should outline where you will sell or market your products. How will you get customers to reach out to buy your product or service? 

Though this will depend on the nature of business — online or offline, manufacturing or services, answers to the following questions would help you gain clarity: 

  • Where will you be available for your customers? 
  • Which distribution channels would you use to be more accessible to customers? 
  • What percentage of sales/conversions do you expect from different distribution/marketing channels? 

3. Price: How much will you charge? 

This is an essential part of your planning process. Your pricing decisions would decide how you will generate revenue for your startup . 

Your pricing decision should be based on market analysis, competition, value offering, buying behavior, etc. 

  • What will be the pricing model you’ll adopt to generate revenue? 
  • What is the most favorable price point that your customers are ready to pay for your offering? 
  • Will you make any profit/loss at this price point? 
  • How soon can you break even based on your pricing strategy? 

4. Promotion: How will you promote your offering? 

You can have the best product, but no one would care if you’re not promoting it. 

Moreover, one of the primary reasons to create a marketing plan is to help you promote your offering. 

  • Who is your target audience? 
  • How will your reach your target audience? 
  • What strategies will you adopt to convert your audience into customers? 
  • Which channels of promotions will you use to promote your offerings? 
  • How much will you spend on promotions and marketing? 
  • What will be your team structure for the next quarter, year, and long term?
  • How will you track the marketing effectiveness? 

5. People: Who will do the marketing?  

While most marketing plans you see out there would cover the traditional 4Ps of marketing, often the fifth P, people, is ignored. 

online sales business plan

And you know there’s no growth or promotion without your team – your people. 

This aspect should help you understand your current capabilities and the resources needed in your team. Think about how you will find them, their responsibilities, and where they stand in the big picture. 

  • Who will do the marketing for you? 
  • What do you look for in a human resource?
  • At what point do you start expanding the team? 
  • Who are you going to hire first?
  • How do you plan to hire for marketing? 
  • What will be the core responsibilities and KPIs for your team? 
  • How will you set KPIs/OKRs and analyze your team’s performance? 

Sales plan for your startup: The what and the why

Your sales plan would help you generate revenues from your marketing efforts by completing the journey from generating leads to turning them into customers. 

A sales plan defines your sales goals, the strategies you’d bet on, your desired results, your challenges, the solutions you have for them, and the structure (people, budget, process, and tools) you need.

Your sales plan would cover everything you need to register sales and generate revenue for your business. 

A sales plan is created to: 

  • Provide a strategic direction to your sales team
  • Define the core objectives and goals in terms of sales 
  • Outline roles and responsibilities
  • Analyze and measure your wins in terms of sales. 

These reasons help you succeed more than experimental businesses that beat around the bush while trying to make things work in a world where everyone’s selling something. To ensure your sales plan is effective, it should include: 

1. Sales goals — What do you want to achieve? 

Like any other activity in the world, your sales planning process should also revolve around the end goals for sales

Saying that you want more customers is a generic goal that doesn’t have any tangible metrics attached. Moreover, saying that you wish for more sales is too broad a goal that would involve outlining several action steps. 

So, it’s always better to have a SMART goal and break it down into tangible, measurable, and KPI-driven objectives. You can say that you want to: 

  • Nurture 10% more MQLs into SQLs, and ultimately, customers.
  • Reduce your churn rates by 5% before the end of Q1.
  • Expand your sales team with 3 people to nurture and convert leads faster — reduce time to conversion by 5 days.
  • Increase the customer lifetime value through upsells or cross-sells by $200.
  • Expand your sales activities into new territories or regions.
  • Optimize your pricing strategy to improve your conversion rates by 8% for new accounts.

2. Tactics — The process and activities

This segment will include the specific tactics, processes, and activities you’ll use to generate revenue for your business . 

A solid understanding of your target audience, goals, and capabilities would help you discover exciting and profitable tactics for your industry. 

Try to pick and choose the tactics in line with your ideal customer profile. You can conduct a survey and get insights from your marketing team to align your sales efforts accordingly. 

An aligned sales and marketing team will help you accelerate sales enablement and strike gold with more leads, higher conversions, and better results. 

Interested in exploring new sales tactics? Read this blog on popular sales strategies and techniques for your business. 

3. Timelines — The time you’ll need to make things happen

A plan without a timeline is just a wish. You must link your goals, tactics, and sales strategies with realistic deadlines. This will ensure that everyone’s motivated to work towards your goals. 

Keep all the stakeholders in the loop by developing a realistic growth goal and attaching a practical timeline to it. 

While you’re at it, don’t forget to assign one person who’ll be responsible for ensuring compliance. 

This tactic is known differently in business circles. 

Some call it a key Point of Contact (POC) for an activity; others call this person a Directly Responsible Individual (DRI). 

Another popular approach includes assigning OKR (Objective and Key Results) to an individual in a team who owns up the responsibility of making this happen. 

Whatever you may do, make sure you are realistic, practical, and sensible in creating achievable deadlines for your sales teams. 

Failure to do so would lead to dissatisfaction among sales team members, ultimately harming your bottom line. 

4. KPIs — the metrics you’ll track to determine success 

KPIs will help you understand if your sales tactics align with your revenue generation goals. These metrics help enhance sales teams’ performance, optimize the sales funnels, and improve conversion rate. 

If you want a solid sales plan, you need to tie everyone (and everything) to a tangible sales metric. 

You also need to ensure proper sales and marketing alignment so that all your marketing spends get attributed to some kind of improvement in KPIs. 

Here are some questions and corresponding KPIs you can think of adding to your sales plan: 

If you track these KPIs well, you’ll understand the challenges better, predict future problems, and get better at generating revenues from your sales activities. 

Moreover, the answers you gather and the KPIs would help you keep an eye on the overall efficiency of the sales process and build a strong sales team. 

Apart from these standard inclusions to your sales plan, you can also add the following information: 

  • Team structure: How big your sales team should be, and what will be the responsibility (job role and KPIs) of each member of the team? 
  • Resources/tools required : What tools and resources do you need to execute the sales tactics and strategies you’ve planned? 
  • Current market trends: How is the present market regarding customer interest in your product, competition landscape, and overall sentiment in your industry? 

Rethinking the traditional plan for digital businesses, service companies, and SaaS startups 

The traditional ways of creating a sales and marketing plan are geared more toward the product economy. 

Today, most businesses don’t even have a physical “product”.

Distribution and conversion cycles are not so simple, too.

The sales and marketing ecosystem has transitioned from a single-sales mindset to a culture of lead nurturing , upsells/cross-sells, and experiences to enhance the customer’s lifetime value. 

Even users don’t look at companies, products, and solutions like they used to anymore. 

Don’t you think the old ways should be reimagined? 

In his book, Subscribed, Tien Tzuo mentions how the world economy is transitioning to a digital era powered by subscription-based startups and digital businesses.

Naturally, with changing consumer mindset, the traditional business planning models (including sales and marketing plans) should change, too. 

There has been a hot debate about reimagining marketing and sales operations for the future — digital businesses, SaaS products, and the subscription economy. 

PADRE is a promising framework with all the elements of a traditional business plan, reimagined for the modern digital economy. 

The PADRE framework keeps the customer at the heart of everything and divides all activities (including sales and marketing) into eight subsets: 

  • Position: How will you create awareness, turn it into demand for your product and build a pipeline of leads? 
  • Acquire: What is your ICPs buyer’s journey? How will you address their pain points and turn them into customers? 
  • Deploy : How will you onboard , service, and delight your customers as efficiently as possible so they can use your product, service, or SaaS quickly?   
  • Run:  How will you ensure that your customers get what they expect (and deserve) from your product or service? 
  • Expand: How will you grow your company through retention, growth, and customer advocacy? 
  • Product: How will you evolve your product, service, or offering and manage everything? 
  • People:   How will you recruit, onboard, train, and retain the best talent to serve your customers? 
  • Money: Where and how will you fund and fulfill your need for running and growing your business most efficiently? 

online sales business plan

If you look at the PADRE model carefully, it has almost all the elements discussed above for sales and marketing plans, just in a different way. This differentiation makes more sense for a dynamic digital business than the traditional sales and marketing business plan. 

You can take ideas from the PADRE model to create your version of a dynamic business plan based on your unique business idea. 

10 steps to create a solid sales and marketing plan

Regardless of your approach to creating a business plan, you will have to gather data, make some important decisions, and collate everything together. 

Remember, your sales and marketing plan is a living document that should be revisited repeatedly for optimization. 

Here are the steps you can take to create an actionable plan based on the insights shared above: 

Step 1: Gather data based on company insights and external trends

“Always measure the depth of the pool you’re diving in!” 

Before you start planning your sales and marketing observing and documenting macro-level industry trends is a must. It will give you an understanding and insight into what to expect in the future. 

You can use industry insight to strengthen your assumptions, understand the market, add clarity to your sales and marketing mix, and refine your plan. 

Always look for industry insights around sales and marketing trends — what worked in the past, how things are changing, and what future trends will drive growth. While industry trends are not a full-proof solution, it gives you a direction to provide a concrete shape to your plans. 

Use industry trends to add “meat” to your hypothesis, and see if you can get data about: 

  • Consumer behavior and psychology that drives sales. Use the Facebook Ads manager audience tool to find your audience’s topics of interest and behavior trends.
  • Psychographic analysis of your target audience.
  • Marketing effectiveness of different channels. You can use platforms like Similarweb to peak into the traffic sources of your competitors and get an estimated idea of the volume.
  • Sales trends of lateral and complimenting businesses. 
  • Competitor analysis, including their past financial performance and effectiveness in generating revenue. 

Step 2: Create your ideal customer profile (ICP) 

As a business owner, you must know everything about your target audience. 

Without a deep understanding of your ICP, you could end up like a door-to-door salesman trying to sell but end up annoying everyone. 

This information helps you take the necessary steps to add context and relevance to your marketing and sales plan. 

You should break up your ideal customer persona (ICP) into several sections covering all aspects of your persona’s — the demographic profile, what they think, believe, and trust in, their needs, motivations, drives, and psychographic profile. 

Sample questions for building an Ideal Customer Profile

Knowing your audience allows you to talk the way they want to be talked to. Also, you get to understand what makes them buy, their problems and pain points, and where they spend most of their time. All this is crucial for creating an effective marketing strategy. 

online sales business plan

You can even use this knowledge to segment your audience personas and personalize your marketing campaigns — a powerful tactic to market your brand in 2022. 

Step 3: Assess your current situation 

Once you’ve gathered data and foresight, start the self-introspection process. 

Ask yourself where you stand in your startup journey. 

✓ How is your business performing right now? 

✓ Are you performing according to your revenue estimates and KPIs? 

✓ Do your business and revenue generation efforts align with market and industry trends? Do they need to align?

✓ Are you marketing and selling where your customers are looking for options? 

✓ What are your strengths and weaknesses? 

✓ What challenges are you facing in getting your business to the next level? 

✓ Is there any better way of doing things than you do now? 

All these questions will give you ideas to start the actual planning process. Moreover, you’d understand if whatever you did was even worth it. 

Step 4: Define metric-driven objectives and goals

Have you ever traveled without a destination? 

Well, maybe you have. But that’s not how you run a business. You need to have an exact destination in mind — where you’re headed to. 

That’s why having an objective and goal is essential for making a sales and marketing plan. Tangible and realistic goal-setting should be the #1 priority of anyone trying to succeed as an entrepreneur. 

Your goals will will allow you to track if you’re making a real impact on your business. Plus, having a metric-driven goal gives you an understanding of what you need to do for success. 

Your goals and objectives should be tied to your business vision and mission.

Often, we see there’s a misalignment between sales and marketing objectives. That leads to confusion and, thus, poor performance. Hence setting a SMART goal is critical for ensuring clarity.

SMART objectives for your sales and marketing plans should be: 

  • Specific: The goal is clearly defined, and everyone within your team understands the goal and its importance. 
  • Measurable: The goal/objective should be tied to key performance indicators (KPIs) and visibly measurable.
  •  Achievable: Being realistic is an important factor in setting an attainable goal. Look at your team’s ability, budget, and current situation to ensure the goal is within your limits. Setting the bar too high will only lead to disappointment and wasted time and effort. 
  • Relevant: Your objectives should be aligned with your business vision and mission. If your marketing and sales aren’t aligned to your bigger picture, it will lead to losses (and potential conflicts). 
  • Time-bound: Any objective you define must have a clear timeline, which means there should be a start and end date. Without that, your goal is just a wish. 

Step 5: Determine metrics for success (KPIs) 

You know you need to measure your goals and objectives in real-time. 

That would ensure everything’s on track and help you red flag any deviations from your desired path. 

But setting a measurable KPI for any business is a tricky business in itself. Especially when there’s a lot to plan in sales and marketing, and every business is different. 

KPI or key performance indicators should be planned based on industry best practices, prevailing marketing trends, and taking stakeholders in confidence. 

You can align standard industry KPIs with your business or marketing/sales goals to create your version of KPIs that will objectify your success figures. 

Standard Goals and KPIs you should track

Always ensure that each KPI you track links to the bigger picture — where and how it contributes to your business’s mission and mission. This will add relevance to your sales and marketing plans giving you more accurate insights for the future periods.

Step 6: Build a forecasting model

Forecasting is an activity that predicts what your sales and marketing efforts will lead to on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis. 

Creating a sales or marketing forecast involves taking the opinions of industry leaders, financial consultants, CPAs, marketers, sales managers, and your team members. It also will involve studying and analyzing the insights you gathered in step one.

A forecast will help you make better hiring decisions, budget for your expansion in a better way, and linearly predict your revenues. You can also add dynamic variables to the forecasts to analyze how your KPIs would perform under real-life situations. 

Creating a forecasting and budgeting model for your sales and marketing team is highly essential to keep things in check. However, it would be best if you didn’t fall into the lure of creating forecasts for more extended periods as things are changing quite rapidly, especially after COVID-19. 

Better to create a forecast for a quarter, review it based on actual expenses and performance, and keep iterating. You can also take advantage of popular forecasting tools for more accurate models. 

Step 7: Identify gaps within your assumptions 

By this step, you’d have a clear idea about your capabilities, the goals you want to achieve, the industry trends and the forecasts for the future.

This will give you an opportunity to get a bird’s eye view of your sales and marketing activities in terms of your revenue growth. 

You can use this information to plug in gaps because of your assumptions and biases, analyze what’s required and the challenges you’d face to make things happen. 

Identifying gaps between your existing situation and your goals based on forecasts would help you make informed decisions. 

You can choose to hire more people in sales and marketing, increase your budget, try new marketing tactics, or even start an entirely different lead generation and nurturing channel to achieve your goals. 

Step 8: Create a team structure and involve stakeholders. 

The most important part of the planning process is to understand your capabilities. If you’ve assessed your current scenario correctly, you’ll have a clear picture of who’s responsible for growth, marketing, sales, etc. 

And if you’re just starting, this is a great time to start planning a structure for your marketing and sales team, starting with: 

  • How many people will be needed for each team? 
  • Who will be responsible for specific KPIs?
  • What will be the responsibilities of each member of the team? 
  • How will teams communicate with each other and ensure alignment between efforts? 
  • How will the performance be measured? 
  • What are the challenges marketing and sales teams face in your company (or industry)? 
  • How will expansion needs be identified?  

Remember, if you’re just starting to build a team and have existing team members, take them in confidence and involve every stakeholder before creating a structure.

The more aligned and closely knit your sales and marketing, the faster you achieve your growth goals. 

  • Build a Strong B2B Marketing Organization Structure for Modern Teams
  • Sales Operations Responsibilities: Roles, duties, and obstacles
  • Revenue Operations Roles: Who do you need to build a RevOp team?

Step 9: Outline action items 

By this step, you’re almost done with the planning. You just need to answer two more questions:

  • What do you need to do to achieve your goals? 
  • How will you do what you need to do? 

This means outlining action steps, developing marketing and sales tactics, and finalizing the cogs required to run your marketing/sales engine. 

You can start by putting together a rough draft of all the insights you’ve gathered, the available resources, the budget, best industry practices, trends, and growth projections. This will give you foresight into what can work in your favour. 

Build a list of action steps that you need to take to move in the direction of your goals. 

Step 10: Identify and implement tools and systems

Okay! This is the last step of the planning process. After this, you will be left with the exact steps you need to take daily to achieve your KPIs. 

But don’t take this step lightly. Think of this as the building blocks of a bridge that would take you from “here” to “there”. 

You’ll need to make a list of tools, systems, and solutions you’d need to make things happen. 

For example, if you’ve concluded that you need to set up a lead nurture campaign , you need a tool or platform that makes that happen. 

You’ll need to evaluate the available options and pick a tool that aligns with your goals and budget. 

While picking up any tool, make sure that it should: 

  • Save time, money, or effort for your marketing and sales team members.
  • Have prominent success stories and case studies that closely relate to your goals, tactics, and life stage.
  • Is reliable and doesn’t use any under-the-hood tactics to make things happen. 
  • Has an active developer and customer success team.
  • Is supported by a thriving public community of happy users. 

Make sure that whatever tech stack you’re finalizing has a solid mechanism to track success and your KPIs. 

This will help you ascertain success quicker. Also, communicate with all the stakeholders about the tools and success metrics. 

Ready-to-use sales and marketing plan templates

To make things easy for you, we have prepared comprehensive templates for both your sales and marketing plans. To download the template click on the links below and duplicate the document. Then, fill in the blanks.

Download the Marketing Plan Template

Download the Sales Plan Template

Your sales and marketing plan is a living document. Keep revisiting! 

If you’ve come this far with your planning, you should have a functional plan for supercharging your marketing and sales operations in the coming weeks and months.. 

But remember, sales and marketing planning isn’t a one-time activity. Keep optimizing your plans with fresh insights to stay on track with changing dynamics. And don’t forget to track the right metrics and KPIs.

A marketing automation platform like Encharge can help you to execute your marketing and sales plans. Don’t believe us. Check the success stories to see how others businesses are amping up their marketing and sales game now.

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Download Sales Business Plan Template for Strategic Growth

Anisha N

Published: April 13, 2023

We're all guilty of subscribing to a myriad of newsletters and blogs by sales gurus who will guarantee that their practices will bring you success – whether it's personalizing your newsletter format, cold emails, or changing the 'Buy Now' button.

News flash – these aren't actual sales business plans or even sales strategies.

Building and developing a solid sales business plan is the foundation of your business. A sales plan outlines your future goals–be it revenue targets, sales targets, or even a marketing strategy–a sales business plan will propel you to always be two steps ahead of the game.

Whether you're focused on eCommerce, B2C, inbound, outbound, or even enterprise companies–a business plan is essential to survive.

So, what's a sales business plan? How do you build it (and stick to it)?

By the end of this guide, you'll be armed with the right plan to win the fight for your business and stay ahead of the curve at all times.

Let's dive in.

What is a Sales Business Plan?

A sales business plan is a strategic document that outlines the goals, objectives, and strategies of a company's sales team to achieve its revenue targets. The plan serves as a roadmap to guide the sales team in achieving their targets by outlining the steps they need to take in order to achieve success.

Here are a few sales business plan statistics -

  • Only 22% of companies feel that their salespeople have the necessary resources to be successful. (CSO Insights)
  • Companies with a documented sales process generate 18% more revenue than those without one. (HubSpot)
  • Salespeople who use social selling techniques are 50% more likely to meet or exceed their sales quotas. (LinkedIn)
  • 73% of sales teams say that the ability to collaborate is critical to their success. (Salesforce)
  • Companies with a formal sales methodology in place have a win rate that is 28% higher than those without one. (HubSpot)

A sales business plan typically includes a SWOT analysis, which helps to identify the company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in the market. It also includes a target market analysis, which helps to identify the customers the company wants to target and how to reach them.

In addition, a sales plan outlines the sales team's objectives, which include the revenue targets they need to achieve, the products or services they need to sell, and the metrics they need to track to measure their success.

The plan also details the strategies and tactics that the sales team will use to reach their goals, including lead generation, prospecting, nurturing, and closing sales.

Overall, a sales business plan is a critical tool for any sales team, as it helps to focus their efforts, track their progress, and identify areas for improvement.

What is the Structure of a Sales Plan Template?

Sales plans vary from business to business, depending on their niche, the industry they are in, and more, but typically, they include the following sections -

1. Executive Summary

The executive summary is a critical part of a sales business plan that provides a high-level overview of the plan's key elements to stakeholders.

The executive summary should be brief, clear, and compelling, with a maximum of two pages. To create an effective summary, highlight the key points of the plan, including sales goals, target market, sales strategy, and revenue projections. Use simple language and include a call-to-action to encourage stakeholders to take the next steps, such as investing or partnering.

The executive summary is like an elevator pitch, and it needs to grab the reader's attention, communicate the plan's essence, and encourage action.

2. Company Overview

The company overview is a section in the sales business plan that provides an introduction to the company, its history, and the products or services it offers. This section aims to give the reader an understanding of the company's background, goals, and vision for the future.

Here are some pointers to help create an effective company overview -

  • Briefly describe the company's history, including how and when it was founded and any significant milestones achieved to date.
  • Explain the company's mission and values, highlighting what sets it apart from competitors.
  • Provide a brief overview of the products or services the company offers, outlining their unique features and benefits.
  • Highlight any key partnerships or collaborations that the company has established to help achieve its goals.
  • If the company has any notable achievements or recognition, mention these briefly to help build credibility.

3. Market Trends and Analysis

The market analysis is a crucial section of the sales business plan that provides a comprehensive understanding of the industry and the company's place within it.

This section should cover the following -

  • Define the target market by describing the ideal customer, including their demographics, psychographics, and behavior patterns.
  • Analyze the industry by identifying its size, growth potential, and key trends. This analysis should also include an overview of the competitive landscape, including the company's main competitors and their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Conduct a SWOT analysis to identify the company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This analysis should help the company understand its position in the market and determine potential strategies for growth.
  • Determine the market share and sales potential by analyzing the company's current and potential customers, the competition, and the overall market size.
  • Identify any regulatory or environmental factors that could impact the industry, including government policies or changes in consumer behavior.

4. Sales Strategy

By developing a clear and effective sales strategy, the company can ensure that its sales efforts are aligned with its overall goals and objectives. A well-crafted sales strategy can help the company achieve its sales targets, expand its customer base, and gain a competitive edge in the marketplace.

  • Define the sales goals by setting specific, measurable targets for revenue, market share, and other key performance indicators.
  • Identify the target customers and their needs, including their pain points and motivations for purchasing the company's products or services.
  • Determine the sales channels the company will use to reach its target customers, including direct sales, online sales, and third-party sales channels.
  • Outline the sales tactics that the company will use to reach its target customers, including advertising, promotions, and pricing strategies.
  • Detail the sales team structure, including roles and responsibilities, hiring plans, and training programs.
  • Provide a sales forecast that outlines expected revenue and sales growth based on the sales strategy.

5. Sales Forecasting

The sales forecast predicts future sales performance and is a critical component of the sales business plan. This section should provide a detailed analysis of the company's sales projections, including historical sales data, market demand, sales channels, sales team, pricing strategy, and external factors.

By creating a detailed sales forecast, the company can set realistic sales targets, monitor performance, allocate resources effectively, and adjust its sales strategy as needed.

The budget section of the sales business plan outlines the financial resources needed to achieve the sales goals.

This section should cover the following:

  • Estimate the costs associated with the sales strategy, including marketing expenses, sales team salaries, and travel costs.
  • Identify any capital investments required to support the sales strategy, such as new equipment, technology, or facilities.
  • Outline the expected revenue and profits based on the sales forecast and sales strategy.
  • Develop a cash flow projection that details the timing and amount of cash inflows and outflows associated with the sales strategy.

By creating a detailed budget, the company can ensure that it has the financial resources needed to execute its sales strategy effectively. The budget can also help the company prioritize its spending, identify potential areas of cost savings, and monitor its financial performance against its sales goals.

7. Implementation Plan

The implementation plan outlines how the company will execute its sales strategy and achieve its sales goals. This section should cover the following:

  • Identify the specific actions required to implement the sales strategy, such as developing new sales materials, hiring additional sales staff, or launching a new product.
  • Assign responsibility for each action item and establish timelines for completion.
  • Establish a system for monitoring progress and evaluating the effectiveness of the sales strategy.
  • Develop contingency plans to address any potential obstacles or challenges that may arise.

The implementation plan can also help the company track progress, identify areas for improvement, and make necessary adjustments to the sales strategy as needed.

8. Metrics and KPIs

Metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are used to measure the success of the sales strategy and provide insight into the performance of the sales team. This section should cover the following:

  • Identify the metrics and KPIs that will be used to evaluate the success of the sales strategy, such as sales revenue, sales growth, customer acquisition cost, or customer lifetime value.
  • Establish a system for tracking and analyzing these metrics and KPIs regularly.
  • Develop a process for using this data to make informed decisions about the sales strategy and identify opportunities for improvement.
  • Assign responsibility for monitoring and analyzing these metrics and KPIs to specific individuals or teams within the company.

With the right metrics and KPIs, the company can track the success of the sales strategy and make data-driven decisions to improve performance.

9. Risks and Challenges

The risks and challenges section of the sales business plan identifies potential obstacles that could impact the success of the sales strategy.

It assesses the likelihood and potential impact of each risk or challenge, develops contingency plans to address them, and assigns responsibility for monitoring and addressing these risks or challenges to specific individuals or teams within the company.

By doing so, the company can develop contingency plans to minimize its impact, adapt to changes in the market, remain competitive, and achieve its sales goals despite potential obstacles.

10. Conclusion

The conclusion section of the sales business plan summarizes the key points and highlights the overall value of the sales strategy. This section should cover the following:

  • Recap the key points of the sales business plan, including the company overview, market analysis, sales strategy, sales forecast, budget, implementation plan, metrics and KPIs, and risks and challenges.
  • Emphasize the value of the sales strategy, including the potential impact on sales revenue, market share, and customer acquisition.
  • Provide a call-to-action that encourages stakeholders to support and implement the sales strategy.
  • Thank stakeholders for their time and commitment to the sales business plan.

The conclusion section provides a final opportunity to reinforce the key points of the sales business plan and inspire stakeholders to take action.

How to Write a Winning Sales Business Plan Template: A Step-By-Step Blueprint

Writing a sales business plan template may seem like a lot of work, but once you do, you've already skipped leaps and bounds to take your business to the next level.

Let's break down this process, step-by-step, to help you write a winning sales business plan template -

1. State your Company's Mission

Your company's mission statement should explain what your business does, why it exists, and how it aims to achieve its goals.

Here are some tips for creating a compelling mission statement -

  • Keep it short and simple.
  • Use strong and clear language.
  • Make sure it aligns with your company's overall vision and goals.
  • Communicate how your business is unique.
  • Focus on the benefits you provide to customers.

Your mission statement should inspire and motivate your team while also communicating your values to potential customers. It sets the foundation for the rest of your sales business plan, so take the time to craft a mission statement that accurately reflects your company's goals and values.

2. Set Objectives and Timeframes

In this section, you should identify specific, measurable goals for your sales team, and establish a timeline for achieving them.

Here are some tips for setting objectives and timeframe -

  • Identify both short-term and long-term goals.
  • Make sure your goals are specific and measurable, such as "increase sales by 10% in the next quarter."
  • Set realistic and achievable goals.
  • Assign each goal to a specific team member or department.
  • Establish a timeline for achieving each goal.

By setting objectives and a timeframe for achieving them, you can motivate your sales team and provide a clear roadmap for success. Make sure to regularly track your progress toward these goals and adjust your strategy as needed to ensure you're on track to meet them.

3. Identify your Team Structure

The third step in creating a sales business plan is to identify your team structure.

This involves identifying the key players in your sales team, outlining their roles and responsibilities, and providing a brief overview of their experience and qualifications.

Here are some tips for describing your team -

  • Identify the key players in your sales team, such as sales representatives, account managers, and sales managers.
  • Outline each team member's role and responsibilities in the sales process.
  • Provide a brief overview of each team member's experience and qualifications.
  • Consider including a chart or diagram that illustrates the structure of your sales team.

By clearly defining your sales team and their roles, you can ensure that everyone is on the same page and working together toward your sales goals. Additionally, highlighting your team's experience and qualifications can help build confidence in your ability to deliver results.

4. Define your Target Market

The fourth step in creating a sales business plan is to define your target market.

This involves identifying the specific group or groups of people that your products or services are intended for and understanding their needs, preferences, and behaviors.

Here are some tips for defining your target market -

  • Start by analyzing your existing customer base to identify common characteristics such as age, gender, location, income level, etc.
  • Conduct market research to gain a deeper understanding of your target market's needs, preferences, and behaviors.
  • Develop buyer personas that represent your ideal customers, including their goals, challenges, and pain points.
  • Consider the size and growth potential of your target market, as well as any trends or changes that may affect their behavior.
  • Identify any gaps or unmet needs in the market that your products or services could address.

By defining your target market, you can create more targeted and effective sales strategies that are tailored to the needs and preferences of your ideal customers. This can help you build stronger relationships with your target audience, increase customer loyalty, and ultimately drive sales growth.

5. Evaluate Resources

This step involves taking stock of the resources you have at your disposal and assessing how you can leverage them to achieve your objectives. Here are some key aspects to consider:

  • Human Resources : Consider the size and skill set of your team. Determine if you have enough people with the right skills to achieve your sales goals, and if not, consider hiring or outsourcing.
  • Financial Resources : Assess the financial resources you have available, including cash on hand, lines of credit, and investments. Determine if you have enough funds to achieve your sales objectives or if you need to secure additional financing.
  • Technology Resources : Evaluate the technology resources available to your team, including hardware, software, and other tools. Determine if you have the right technology to support your sales efforts and if any upgrades or investments are necessary.
  • Intellectual Property : Consider any patents, trademarks, or other intellectual property that can support your sales efforts. Determine if you have any competitive advantages that can be leveraged to increase sales.
  • Facilities and Equipment : Evaluate your physical resources, including office space, production facilities, and equipment. Determine if you have enough space and equipment to support your sales efforts, or if any upgrades or investments are necessary.

By evaluating your available resources, you can determine what you have at your disposal to support your sales strategy and identify any areas where you may need to invest or make changes to achieve your objectives.

6. Carry Out Competitive Analysis with Competitors

This involves taking stock of the resources you have available to support your sales efforts, as well as identifying any additional resources you may need to acquire.

Here are some key things to consider when evaluating your resources:

  • Sales Team: Evaluate the skills and experience of your sales team to ensure that they are capable of executing your sales strategy effectively.
  • Marketing Materials: Assess the quality and effectiveness of your existing marketing materials, including brochures, websites, social media channels, and other promotional materials.
  • Customer Data : Analyze your customer data to identify trends and patterns that can inform your sales and marketing strategies.
  • Sales Tools and Technologies: Determine whether your team has the right tools and technologies to support their sales efforts. This could include customer relationship management (CRM) software, sales automation tools, or other sales technologies.
  • Training and Development: Identify any gaps in your team's skills or knowledge, and develop a plan to address them through training and development initiatives.

By evaluating your resources in this way, you can identify any gaps or weaknesses in your sales process and develop strategies to address them. This will help you ensure that you have the resources you need to achieve your sales objectives and drive growth for your business.

7. Set the Budget

The seventh point is to set a budget for your sales business plan.

This step is essential to ensure that you have the necessary resources to implement your sales strategy effectively. Here are some tips on how to set a budget for your sales plan:

  • Determine your Revenue Goals: Your revenue goals will guide you in setting a realistic budget. Consider the size of your market, the competition, and your pricing strategy.
  • Calculate your Expenses: You need to estimate your expenses to set a budget. Make a list of all your expenses, including salaries, marketing, technology, and travel expenses.
  • Prioritize Expenses: Once you have calculated your expenses, prioritize them. Identify the essential expenses that you must incur to implement your sales strategy.
  • Allocate Resources: Allocate resources based on your priorities. Make sure that you have enough funds to cover your critical expenses and have some funds set aside for unexpected expenses.
  • Review and Adjust: Regularly review your budget and adjust it as needed. Make sure that you are on track to meet your revenue goals, and adjust your expenses accordingly.

Setting a budget is crucial for the success of your sales business plan. It will help you allocate resources effectively, prioritize expenses, and track your progress toward your revenue goals.

8. Define your Organization's Marketing Strategy

Marketing strategy is an essential component of a sales business plan as it outlines the approach a company will take to promote and sell its products or services to its target customers. The following are some key elements to consider when defining the marketing strategy for your sales business plan:

  • Value Proposition: Define the unique value proposition of your product or service, and identify the key benefits and features that set it apart from competitors.
  • Target Audience: Determine the specific demographics, needs, and behaviors of your target audience, and how your product or service can address their needs.
  • Positioning : Define the position of your product or service in the marketplace, based on factors such as pricing, quality, and features.
  • Channels : Identify the channels through which you will reach your target audiences, such as social media, email marketing, or direct mail.
  • Budget : Determine how much you will allocate to marketing activities, and how you will measure the return on investment.
  • Marketing Tactics : Define the specific tactics you will use to promote your product or service, such as advertising, content marketing, or event sponsorships.
  • Metrics : Identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) you will use to measure the success of your marketing efforts, such as website traffic, lead generation, or sales conversion rates.

By clearly defining your marketing strategy in your sales business plan, you can ensure that your efforts are focused, efficient, and aligned with your overall business objectives.

9. Figure Out the Sales Strategy

This step involves developing a detailed plan for selling your product or service to your target market.

Here are some things to consider when developing your sales strategy -

  • Sales Channels: Consider the best channels for selling your product or service, such as online marketplaces, social media, direct sales, or distribution partnerships.
  • Sales Process: Outline the sales process, including how you will generate leads, how you will qualify leads, how you will make your sales pitch, and how you will close deals.
  • Sales Team: Determine who will be responsible for sales, their job descriptions, and how they will be trained and compensated.
  • Sales Goals: Establish specific, measurable sales goals and objectives, such as revenue targets, sales volume, or customer acquisition.
  • Sales Forecast: Develop a sales forecast based on your target market, pricing strategy, and sales goals. This should include projections for monthly, quarterly, and annual sales.
  • Sales Metrics: Determine the key performance indicators (KPIs) you will use to track your sales success, such as conversion rates, customer lifetime value, and customer acquisition cost.

By developing a clear and comprehensive sales strategy, you will be better equipped to execute your sales plan and achieve your business goals.

10. Define an Action Plan

The final step to writing a sales business plan is to define an action plan.

This step involves determining how the objectives will be achieved and what actions need to be taken to implement the sales strategies outlined in the previous steps. Some key elements of this step include:

  • Assigning Tasks and Responsibilities: Determine who will be responsible for implementing each aspect of the sales plan and assign tasks accordingly.
  • Setting Timelines: Establish specific timelines for each action item to ensure that the sales plan stays on track and progresses toward achieving its objectives.
  • Monitoring Progress: Regularly monitor progress towards the objectives and make adjustments to the action plan as necessary.
  • Identifying Potential Roadblocks: Anticipate any challenges or roadblocks that may arise during implementation and develop contingency plans to address them.
  • Identifying Metrics: Establish metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of the sales plan and adjust the action plan accordingly.

By defining a clear action plan, a sales business plan can be effectively implemented, and the sales team can work towards achieving the objectives and targets set out in the plan.

Why Do Organizations Need a Sales Plan?

Organizations need a sales business plan for several reasons -

1. Clarity of Goals and Objectives

A sales business plan provides a clear roadmap for an organization to achieve its sales goals and objectives. Defining the steps that need to be taken helps ensure that everyone in the organization is working towards the same goals.

2. Resource allocation

A sales business plan helps organizations allocate resources effectively. By knowing where the company is headed, it can identify the resources required to achieve those goals and allocate them accordingly.

3. Improved decision-making

With a sales business plan, organizations can make informed decisions about their sales strategy. They can assess the viability of different sales channels, sales techniques, and sales campaigns based on the data they have collected.

4. Better risk management

A sales business plan can help organizations identify and manage risks more effectively. By forecasting sales revenue and expenses, companies can develop contingency plans to address potential risks.

5. Improved Communication

A sales business plan provides a clear and concise way to communicate the organization's sales strategy to stakeholders. This ensures that everyone in the organization is on the same page and working towards the same goals.

4 Examples of Sales Business Plan Templates

Here are a few examples of sales business plan templates that you could take inspiration from -

30-60-90 Day Sales Plan

A 30-60-90 day sales plan is a detailed outline of the tasks and goals a salesperson hopes to accomplish within the first 30, 60, and 90 days of starting a new job or taking on a new sales territory. The plan is designed to help the salesperson quickly ramp up their productivity and start making meaningful contributions to the team.

Here is a template for a 30-60-90 day sales plan -

First 30 Days

  • Meet with my manager and team members to gain an understanding of the company's products, services, and sales processes.
  • Study the company's existing customer base and their needs.
  • Begin establishing relationships with key customers.
  • Attend sales training sessions to further develop my skills and learn more about the company's offerings.
  • Develop a list of potential prospects in my assigned territory.
  • Schedule meetings with the manager and team members.
  • Analyze the company's existing customer data.
  • Make a list of key customers to reach out to.
  • Attend scheduled sales training sessions.
  • Create a list of potential prospects.

Second 30 Days

  • Start making sales calls to prospects and schedule appointments.
  • Follow up with previous prospects and leads.
  • Conduct thorough research on potential prospects to understand their needs and pain points.
  • Develop a clear understanding of the competitive landscape.
  • Refine my sales pitch and value proposition.
  • Make at least [X] several sales calls per day.
  • Schedule appointments with interested prospects.
  • Follow up with previous leads.
  • Research potential prospects.
  • Analyze the competition and develop strategies to differentiate from them.
  • Work with my manager to refine my sales pitch and value proposition.

Third 30 Days

  • Close deals with interested prospects and achieve sales targets.
  • Continue building relationships with key customers.
  • Develop a pipeline of potential future sales.
  • Develop strategies to retain existing customers.
  • Identify areas for improvement and provide feedback to the team.
  • Create a customer retention plan.

2. Monthly Sales Plan Template

A monthly sales plan is a document that outlines the sales activities, goals, and strategies for a specific month. It is a crucial part of a company's sales strategy and helps the sales team to stay focused and accountable for their performance.

Here is a template for a monthly sales plan -

I. Overview

  • Month: [insert month]
  • Sales team: [list the sales team members]

II. Monthly Sales Goals

  • Revenue goal: [insert revenue goal for the month]
  • Sales target: [insert sales target for the month]
  • Key performance indicators (KPIs): [list the KPIs that will be tracked for the month]

III. Sales Strategies

  • Marketing activities: [list the marketing activities planned for the month]
  • Sales activities: [list the sales activities planned for the month]
  • Promotions and discounts: [list the promotions and discounts planned for the month]

IV. Sales Forecast

  • Projected revenue: [insert projected revenue for the month]
  • Sales pipeline: [list the sales opportunities in the pipeline for the month]
  • Sales conversion rate: [insert the sales conversion rate for the month]

V. Resources

  • Sales tools and technology: [list the sales tools and technology that will be used during the month]
  • Sales team training: [list the training sessions planned for the month]

VI. Risks and Challenges

  • Potential obstacles: [list the potential obstacles that may hinder sales performance]
  • Mitigation strategies: [list the strategies to mitigate the potential risks and challenges]

VII. Action Plan

  • Weekly sales goals: [list the weekly sales goals for the month]
  • Assigned tasks and responsibilities: [list the tasks and responsibilities assigned to each sales team member]
  • Deadlines: [list the deadlines for each task]

VIII. Conclusion

  • Recap of monthly goals and strategies
  • Next steps and follow-up actions.

3. Territory Sales Plan Template

A territory sales plan is a comprehensive strategy designed to outline the sales objectives, goals, and tactics that will be implemented in a specific geographic area or "territory."

This plan should provide a clear roadmap for how a sales team will approach and engage with potential customers in their assigned area, and outline the resources needed to achieve the desired outcomes.

A template for a territory sales plan might include the following sections -

  • Executive Summary: This section provides a brief overview of the territory sales plan, including the purpose, objectives, and key strategies.
  • Territory Analysis : This section should provide a detailed analysis of the assigned territory, including information about the market, competition, target customers, and other relevant data.
  • Sales Goals: This section should outline the sales goals and objectives for the territory, including revenue targets, customer acquisition goals, and other key performance indicators.
  • Sales Strategies: This section should provide a detailed overview of the strategies and tactics that will be used to achieve the sales goals outlined in the previous section. This may include details about lead generation, customer engagement, sales presentations, and other sales-related activities.
  • Resource Allocation: This section should outline the resources required to implement the sales strategies outlined in the previous section. This may include budgetary requirements, staffing needs, and other resources necessary to support the sales team.
  • Implementation Plan: This section should provide a detailed timeline and action plan for implementing the sales strategies and achieving the sales goals outlined in the previous sections.
  • Performance Metrics: This section should outline the key performance metrics that will be used to measure the success of the territory sales plan, including sales revenue, customer acquisition rates, and other relevant data.
  • Conclusion : This section should summarize the key points of the territory sales plan and highlight the expected outcomes and benefits of implementing the plan.

By using a template such as the one outlined above, sales teams can create a plan that is tailored to their unique needs and objectives, and that can be easily communicated to stakeholders and team members.

Wrapping Up,

Effective planning is crucial for the success of any business, and this is especially true when it comes to achieving sales targets. Before promoting your product or service, it's essential to establish clear goals and determine the strategies that will help you achieve them.

With a well-defined plan in place, you'll have the clarity and direction necessary to make informed decisions and stay on track toward achieving your objectives.

Don't leave the success of your sales plan to chance - schedule a demo with one of Salesken's experts today and discover how our innovative solutions can help you achieve your sales targets.

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When starting a new business, there are many important decisions to make and many rules and procedures that must be addressed. While there is no single source for all filing requirements, the following steps have been developed to assist you in starting your business.

It is helpful to begin with a business plan. A business plan is a blueprint of every aspect of your business. Sales, Marketing, Advertising, Promotion and Location are just some of the categories to consider when creating a plan. Go to the U.S. Small Business Administration website to find a tutorial on how to create a business plan.

If you would like help deciding on a location for your business, contact the California Business Investment Services unit of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GO-Biz) . The California Business Investment Services unit provides tailored site selection services for businesses, real–estate executives, and site selection consultants.

Choose a business structure. A brief overview of the following types of legal business structures available in California can be found on our Entity Types website:

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  • Sole Proprietorship

Your next step will be to file your tax and employer identification documents .

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How to create a sales forecast for your small business

July 25, 2023 | 7 minute read

What you know about tomorrow can help you make better decisions about running your small business today. A sales forecast can be a helpful tool in estimating future sales, so you can take that information into account in your planning. Simply put, a sales forecast estimates the quantity of goods and services you can reasonably expect to sell over a specified period, the cost of those goods and services and the potential profit. It’s based on your sales in the past, industry benchmarks and market conditions. 

A sales forecast is an invaluable tool for better  managing your cash flow , spending, staffing and more. Once you complete your forecast, you’ll have a better sense of what’s driving your revenues and profits, know where to put your time and resources and be able to identify efforts that are not fueling growth so you can consider eliminating them. 

Why sales forecasting is important

A sales forecast helps you understand your financial position. It can be a good starting point for setting goals and provides guidance in many areas of your business, such as planning for new hires, purchasing inventory and equipment, knowing when to preserve cash, increasing your marketing budget or alerting you that you need to find new  ways to make more money . It can also help you illustrate your business’s potential to investors.

What factors impact a sales forecast?

A forecast is really an educated guess. There are any number of conditions that might shake up your projections, such as new laws and regulations. A downturn in the economy could mean a change in business conditions, making it harder to get credit. A dip in consumer confidence could lead to less spending on your company’s goods and services. New competition in your market, a drop in customer satisfaction or extreme weather (a major storm that essentially shuts down a city for a few days, for example) could all make a difference in what you thought was going to happen. Something like seasonality can also impact your forecast. Internal factors like new production processes and procedures can also keep you from hitting your target. 

Sales forecasting methods

There are several methods to creating a sales forecast. Here are three that many small businesses use:

Historical forecasts

This method is based on your business’s past performance. If you’ve been in business for a year or more, you can look back at data by the week, month, quarter or year. If you’ve launched your business recently, this option won’t work well because you won’t have enough data available. 

Bottom-up forecasts

To come up with these forecasts, you must project the number of units you will sell, then multiply that figure by the average cost per unit. If you run a larger small business, you can also include metrics like the number of locations, sales representatives or online interactions. The rationale behind a bottom-up sales forecast is to begin with the smallest components of the forecast and build up from there. The advantage of this type of forecast is that if any variables change (like cost per item or number of reps), the forecast is easy to adjust. 

Top-down sales forecasts

Start with the total size of the market and estimate what percentage of the market the business can capture. If the size of a market is $20 million, for example, a company may estimate it can win 10% of that market, making its sales forecast $2 million for the year. If you’re a natural optimist, it’s a good idea to ask an advisor to provide a reality check on the percentage of customers in your market that you can reasonably expect to attract and serve so that your projections are more accurate. 

How to create a sales forecast

Once you’ve selected a sales forecasting method, you’ll want to take several steps.

1. List the goods and services you sell

In a sales forecast, you’ll want to account for each product or service that you are selling so your forecast is accurate. 

2. Quantify your sales

Each sales forecasting method has its own way of estimating future sales: 

In  historical forecasting , you will need to project the quantity of each product or service you will sell and multiply the unit price by that number. In this type of forecasting, you can base your estimate on the sales figure you brought in last month as long as nothing major has changed in the marketplace. So, if you sold $50,000 worth of your product in July, you might estimate selling $50,000 worth in August. 

In  bottom-up forecasts , you must first estimate the total number of orders that customers will place for your products or services through your website, social media channels and other places you make sales. Then you estimate the average price minus any discounts you offer. Finally, you must multiply the estimated number of orders for each item by the average price to get estimated revenue. 

In  top-down forecasts , you start by estimating the total market for each item you sell. For example, if you were lucky enough to capture 100% of the sales, how much would you have sold? Then project how much of that market you can realistically capture. So, for instance, if the total addressable market for what you sell is $1 million, and you capture 7% of that with your product, your estimated sales will be $70,000. 

3. Make adjustments

Some owners adjust their forecasts to reflect projected market conditions, regulatory changes, new marketing efforts and other variables.

4. Subtract costs

Business owners will typically subtract the costs of creating each good or service they sell from their estimated sales forecast to understand how much profit would be generated from sales. Let’s say you sell a backyard game you invented by outsourcing the manufacturing to a local factory. You might subtract  overhead expenses , such as paying the factory and buying materials, from your projected revenue to anticipate how much money would be left over as profit. Or if you run a social media agency that has taken on new clients who’ve hired you on retainer, you might subtract costs, such as paying freelancers to write social media posts and subscribing to a website that provides stock photos, to get a clearer picture of future profits. 

Tools for sales forecasting

If you haven’t done so already, you might want to consider software to help with sales forecasting. 

Sales forecasting software

Sales forecasting software can use historical business data and trends to create a report of expected sales revenue. Forecast reports can compare sales targets with actual sales. 

Ideally, sales software can help you answer questions like: 

What is your expected revenue? 

Which forecasting method produces the most accurate forecast for your business? 

How did actual sales compare to expected sales?

Sales pipeline forecasting software

With sales pipeline forecasting software, you’ll get an analysis of existing opportunities and a calculation of your success rate in pursuing them, helping you prioritize your efforts. This method focuses on pipeline management and calculates a historical win-rate percentage based on the value and age of the opportunity and the sales representative working on it. Some software programs include features that will give you the ability to view pipeline activity and internal sales data or save you time, letting you integrate information from third-party sales software, for instance. You can create sales forecasts using software such as QuickBooks, Salesforce Sales Cloud, Zoho CRM and Pipedrive.

Historical sales forecasting software

Historical sales forecasting software analyzes previous company performance to calculate a mean (or average) sales level you can expect for the following month, quarter or year. It emphasizes historical trends and seasonality of products and services sold, but it does not consider the opportunities in your pipeline. This software is ideal for small businesses that don’t have big swings in their monthly sales. 

Bottom line

Your sales forecast can be a vital tool as you make plans to grow your business or adjust to challenges. By comparing your actual performance to your forecasts, you’ll be able to get a clear handle on your success and failures, fine-tune your strategies and capitalize on what is working for you so you can keep your business moving to the next level. 

Explore more

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8 Steps to Create an Effective Sales Training Plan for 2024

Picture of Ben Aflalo

Head of Product at Gloww

  • Published on May 6, 2024

8 Steps to Create an Effective Sales Training Plan

Struggling to execute a sales strategy? If you haven’t invested in an effective sales training plan, you stand little chance of achieving your objectives. A sales team can only sell if they’ve been given the skills and resources they need to thrive. While some people have an innate ability to convert customers, sales team development gives you the chance to upskill entire departments. 

Below, we’ll take a look at what it takes to create an effective sales training plan in 2024. 

Benefits and Importance of Sales Training 

A sales enablement training plan provides your team with the resources needed to convert leads into customers and close more deals. By helping your team improve their communication skills, they’ll be better able to connect with colleagues and customers alike. Sales training also ensures your team is fully versed on the USPs of a particular product or service, giving them the best chance of sealing a deal with a customer. 

Struggling with high turnover? Sales training opportunities are an attractive prospect to employees, while professional development pathways will also appeal to top talent looking for their next appointment. 

8 Steps to Create an Effective Sales Training Plan 

To get the best results from sales training, you’ll need to create an ironclad plan. Below are some of the most important things you’ll need to consider. 

1. Identify Needs Through Assessment

Before you can create a training plan , you need to get a handle on what areas your team is struggling with. With a skills gap analysis, you’re essentially comparing what you need against what you have, spotlighting the shortfall that training needs to address.  

2. Define Training Objectives (SMART goals)

Does your stream struggle with securing new customers or have issues with customer retention? Perhaps some find it hard to deploy hard-sell tactics. Whatever areas you choose to focus on, make sure you’re considering SMART goals. An acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely, a SMART framework serves as the foundation for creating a successful training strategy. 

3. Consider Experience Levels, Learning Styles, and Team Dynamics

When it comes to training, a one-size-fits-all solution rarely works . Your team is going to have wildly different levels of experience. Some are going to prefer to be mentored, while others will thrive with independent learning. Even the way your team interacts with each other on a daily basis can inform training. Consider all these factors when deciding on the best way forward.

4. Choose the Right Training Format 

Asynchronous learning can be cost-effective and time-efficient, but the lack of trainer oversight and direct connection can cause problems. For most companies, a hybrid approach that brings together independent learning with guided training will deliver good results. 

5. Consider Industry Experience, Training Experience, and Ability to Engage Your Team

If you’ve opted against third-party support, you’ll need to assign people from within your organization to trainer and mentor roles. However, an experienced employee isn’t always the best choice. They’ll also need to have mastered employee engagement and coax less confident team members out of their shells. Finding the right fit is often a case of trial and error.  

6. Develop Engaging Training Materials 

Your team is going to respond better to training if you’ve created compelling learning content. Reams of text aren’t the most inspiring tools for learning, so lean heavily on infographics and images that will help with visualization. People often learn best from real-life sales scenarios, so including case studies is also a good idea. 

7. Include Interactive Exercises, Role-Playing Scenarios, and Simulations

Role-playing exercises are a tried and tested approach, while training simulations can give you a clear idea of how well someone will fare in a live sales setting. 

Include Interactive Exercises, Role-Playing Scenarios, and Simulations

8. Implement, Monitor, and Refine

The process isn’t over just because training is. Monitor sales performance and track success by keeping an eye on key performance indicators. If productivity is flatlining or customer satisfaction levels are still plummeting, it’s time to head back to the drawing board and make some changes. 

Essentials for Ensuring Your Team Understands Sales Training 

Sales is a multifaceted vocation. If you want your team to succeed, they’ll need to master a suite of vital skills. 

Sales Funnel 

Good salespeople need to understand the difference between unqualified leads from qualified ones. Only the latter group can be converted into loyal customers. 

Sales Methodologies 

Having a grasp on key sales methodologies like solution and conceptual selling will ensure your sales team knows how to act in any given scenario. 

In-Depth Understanding of Products 

If a salesperson doesn’t understand a product, they don’t have a chance of promoting its USPs to potential leads. As such, investing in product training for your sales team is a must. 

In-Depth Understanding of Products

Understanding the Needs of the Customer

Some customers are simply looking for a service provider. Others are more indecisive, and unsure of their wants and needs. A skilled salesperson should be able to quickly sniff out what kind of customer they’re dealing with in order to seal the deal. 

Building Rapport and Establishing Trust with Customers

The best salespeople know how to strike the right note with customers, secure their trust, and maintain long-lasting relationships that continue to bring in revenues and generate fresh leads. 

Sales Techniques and Tools

Whether it’s proactive selling or a more personal approach that speaks to the customer as an individual, all manner of sales techniques can be deployed to close a deal. An effective sales team should also be armed with an arsenal of arsenal tools, such as client relationships and marketing automation software. 

Mindset and Motivation 

A successful sales mindset encapsulates confidence and determination to convert leads into paying customers. However, great salespeople need more motivation than this. Sales is more than a numbers game, with those who offer added value to their customers generally more successful. 

Five Common Methods for Sales Training 

Is your sales training curriculum falling short? Below are five useful methods for turning new recruits into top sellers. 


Role-playing is one of the most effective ways to train a sales team and instill good habits. For best results, craft scenarios to promote a particular sales technique skill, such as dealing with a tricky customer or demonstrating the USPs of a product. 



Do you already boast top-tier salespeople within your team? Shadowing is a great way of onboarding fresh recruits , letting them learn the ins and outs of the job from the best possible people. 

E-Learning Modules

As well as being cost-effective, asynchronous learning is ideal if you can’t commit to many business hours for training. Perfect for independent learners, e-learning modules are also the only way forward if your business operates remotely. 

Group Discussions

Pick a topic like common sales stumbling blocks or pitching a new product and open the floor for discussion. Your team can then share their experiences, offering their own unique approaches to inspire colleagues. 

Feedback and Reviews

While receiving feedback from managers and colleagues can seem intimidating, it’s a handy tool for sales training. If someone is struggling to convert leads into customers, encourage other members of your team to offer their insights and opinions to help them improve. 

Streamline Sales Training with Gloww

Is it time to rethink your approach to sales training? With Gloww, you have everything you need to execute an effective sales training strategy . Perfect for connecting with remote teams, our full-featured video conferencing platform has all the tools you need to upskill and enhance existing talents. 

You can create tailored training sessions in just a few clicks or take your pick from a huge library of ready-made templates. Want to make things more interactive? Add live polls, trivia rounds , or classic games to increase engagement . 

You can start creating your online training sessions today. If you want to learn to unlock Gloww’s advanced features, why not take a look at our premium pricing tiers ? Do you have a question about the platform? Get in touch with the team. 

Picture of ben aflalo

Ben Aflalo heads Gloww's product team with over two decades of leadership experience. Passionate about leveraging innovative technology, he is committed to building products for the greater good.

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Collaborative, powerful project management enabled by Copilot in Planner (preview)

Get started quickly with Project Plan 3 and have powerful project management capabilities, assisted by Copilot in Planner (preview), to plan and manage your organization’s projects from anywhere.

online sales business plan

Copilot in Planner (preview)

With simple, natural language prompts, you can generate and add tasks, goals, and buckets or create a complete plan. Then, use Copilot to break down the work into actionable steps and analyze progress, risks, assignments, and more.

online sales business plan

Rich task management capabilities

Create advanced task dependencies with lead-lag, identify progress and changes with task history, and leverage critical path to prioritize resources and assignments.

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Ready-made project templates

Use prebuilt templates available in Planner and Project for the web or go to for access to ready-made project plans.

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Collaborate in a simple, unified experience

Manage all your tasks, to-do lists, plans, and projects across Microsoft 365 apps in a single, familiar experience. Use Planner, Project, and Microsoft Teams 3  to collaborate on projects with file sharing, chat, meetings, and more. *

online sales business plan

Visual, interactive roadmaps

Visualize progress across projects, programs, and portfolios by connecting different projects within a single view. Choose the initiatives you want to see and add phases, milestones, and key dates.

online sales business plan

Make informed decisions

Use baselines to help you track and compare actual progress to the original project plan.

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Create reports

Get insights, communicate information to stakeholders, and achieve results with help from powerful built-in reports.

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Tailor your project management

Leverage the Microsoft Power Platform to customize your project management needs to best suit your organization.

More about Project Plan 3

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Manage all your tasks, to-do lists, plans and projects across Microsoft 365 apps in a single, familiar experience. Seamlessly share project plans, manage tasks, chat, and meet without switching between apps.

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Flexible and scalable

Use your preferred view and create plans with powerful scheduling and resourcing tools. Improve resource assignment based on dependencies. Get big picture views and leverage Power Apps to automate and extend.

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With Copilot in Planner (preview), use next-generation AI and natural language prompts to generate new plans, set goals, track status, and react to changes as projects evolve.

  • [1] While final pricing for Copilot in Planner has not been announced, users with a Project Plan 3 or Project Plan 5 license will be able to preview Copilot in Planner capabilities once it is rolled out to their organization.
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  • [3] Microsoft 365 apps, such as Microsoft Teams, are sold separately. Prices shown are per month. If you are a global or billing administrator, an annual commitment is required to purchase online. You can choose to pay monthly or annually. Within the Microsoft 365 admin center, global and billing administrators can choose either annual or monthly commitment plans.
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  1. How to Write a Sales Plan in 8 Easy Steps (with FREE Template)

    online sales business plan

  2. 32 Sales Plan & Sales Strategy Templates [Word & Excel]

    online sales business plan

  3. 32 Sales Plan & Sales Strategy Templates [Word & Excel]

    online sales business plan

  4. Online Sales Plan Maker Map

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  5. Sales Planning Process: Steps, Tips, And Tools

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  6. How to Create a Sales Plan: Template + Examples

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  1. How to Write an Ecommerce Business Plan [Examples & Template]

    Strategize your marketing plan. Create a sales plan. Outline legal notes and financial considerations. 1. Give an executive summary. An executive summary is a one-to-two-page overview of your business. The purpose of an executive summary is to let stakeholders know what the business plan will contain.

  2. How to Start an Online Business Profitably From Home (2023 Guide)

    Why Start An Online Business From Home. Online businesses can be profitable with low startup costs. The ecommerce market is growing, especially due to COVID-19, offering many opportunities. Some of the richest people in the world got their start with online businesses. With the right business plan and commitment, you can reach customers worldwide.

  3. A Better-Selling Ecommerce Business Plan (Template, Guide ...

    Ecommerce Business Plan Example. Below is an example business plan that we've written for a fictional cookware business. You can see how it breaks down the most important parts of a business - overall business model, competitive advantages, messaging guidelines, target audiences, budgets, key personnel - in a highly summarized, accessible format.

  4. Ecommerce Business Plan (FREE How To Guide + PDF Sample Template)

    How you establish loyalty beyond sales. After you figure out your technology methods, you have to come up with a technology budget. The business plan must also include the operations side of things. Determine who will be your manufacturer, secondary manufacturer, and shipping and fulfillment provider.

  5. How to Write the Ultimate eCommerce Business Plan

    Writing an eCommerce business plan is one of the first steps you should take if you're thinking about starting an online business. Whether you're opening an online-only shop or adding an eCommerce component to your brick and mortar store for an omnichannel retail experience, there's never been a better time to sell online.. The numbers don't lie: since 2014, the number of digital ...

  6. How to Start an Online Business in 2024

    Step 2: Build a financial plan for your online business. Step 3: Create compelling product listings. Step 4: Market your product, drive traffic, and build brand awareness. Step 5: Optimize your online business and plan for growth. Aspiring entrepreneurs have looked for innovative ways to make money.

  7. How to Start an E-Commerce Business in 2023: A Step-by-Step Guide

    You'll also need to choose an e-commerce website builder, source your products and market to online customers. Follow these six steps to get your e-commerce business up and running. 1. Define ...

  8. How to Create a Sales Plan in 10 Steps (+ Free Template)

    New product sales business plan: This plan is developed for the launch and continued promotion of a new product. Bottom Line. While any business can set bold sales goals, creating a sales plan outlines how your team will achieve them. By following the best practices and 10-step process laid out above, your sales goal template defines what your ...

  9. Ecommerce Business Plan: How to Write + Strategies for Success

    Draft an executive summary. An executive summary provides a concise rundown of the key points in your business plan. In short, it should summarize your chosen industry, business purpose, competitors, business goals and financial position. Executive summaries average 1-3 pages and are ideally under two pages.

  10. How To Start an Online Retail Business in 8 Steps

    Start selling online now with Shopify. Start your free trial. 1. Find a Market Need to Fill. When it comes to starting an online retail business, you have a lot of options. A whole lot. Before you dive in, make sure there's a need in the market for the products you want to sell.

  11. Sales Plan

    Your sales plan is a roadmap that outlines how you'll hit your revenue targets, who your target market is, the activities needed to achieve your goals and any roadblocks you may need to overcome. Many business leaders see their sales plan as an extension of the traditional business plan. The business plan contains strategic and revenue goals ...

  12. Starting an Online Business: A Step-by-Step Guide

    Starting an online business can be a powerful way to launch a new product or service while reaching a wider audience. With market research, a solid business plan, a strong website, and a digital ...

  13. 9 Stunning Sales Business Plan Templates to Close Deals

    1. New Product Sales Plan. Plan the sales strategy for a new product with a new product sales plan template. Put together a strategy to promote the new product to existing clients and new prospects. Look at the data from previous campaigns and use it as the foundation for future product launches and sales plans.

  14. 10 Steps to Create a Complete Sales and Marketing Business Plan

    Nurture 10% more MQLs into SQLs, and ultimately, customers. Reduce your churn rates by 5% before the end of Q1. Expand your sales team with 3 people to nurture and convert leads faster — reduce time to conversion by 5 days. Increase the customer lifetime value through upsells or cross-sells by $200.

  15. Retail & Ecommerce Business Plans

    Children's Website Business Plan. Cigar Manufacturing Business Plan. E-commerce Internet Business Plan. E-Commerce Retailer Business Plan. E-Commerce Start-Up Business Plan. Ecommerce Fabric Store Business Plan. Fish Breeder Business Plan. Home, Garden Gifts Online Business Plan. Horse Reseller Business Plan.

  16. How to Write a Winning Sales Business Plan

    Here is a snapshot of the winning sales business plan that helped shape Nimble into the industry leader it is today: Objectives- To provide a single, socially enriched system of record that helps businesses and small business teams cultivate relationships at scale. Customer Focus- Small business teams working primarily in small businesses ...

  17. How to Create a Sales Plan: Strategy, Examples and Templates

    A sales plan is a strategic document that outlines how a business plans to convert leads into sales. It typically details the target market, customer profile, and actionable steps that must be taken to achieve revenue targets. Here's a great example of a sales plan that includes all these elements neatly packed into one document.

  18. Create Your Custom Business Plan Online

    1. Create a free Venngage account using your email, Google or Facebook profiles. 2. Select the perfect business plan template from our library of professionally designed templates. 3. Use our online Business Plan Creator to add your information, data and more to your business plan template.

  19. Sales Business Plan: Create a Killer Plan

    4 Examples of Sales Business Plan Templates. Here are a few examples of sales business plan templates that you could take inspiration from - 30-60-90 Day Sales Plan. A 30-60-90 day sales plan is a detailed outline of the tasks and goals a salesperson hopes to accomplish within the first 30, 60, and 90 days of starting a new job or taking on a ...

  20. Simple Business Plan Template (2024)

    Our simple business plan template covers everything you need to consider when launching a side gig, solo operation or small busi ... Product sales: Online, pop-up shops, wholesale and (future) in ...

  21. Plans & Pricing for Zoom Workplace

    Zoom is the leader in modern enterprise video communications, with an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, chat, and webinars across mobile, desktop, and room systems. Zoom Rooms is the original software-based conference room solution used around the world in board, conference, huddle, and training rooms, as well as executive offices and classrooms. Founded in 2011 ...

  22. Starting a Business :: California Secretary of State

    It is helpful to begin with a business plan. A business plan is a blueprint of every aspect of your business. Sales, Marketing, Advertising, Promotion and Location are just some of the categories to consider when creating a plan. Go to the U.S. Small Business Administration website to find a tutorial on how to create a business plan. Step 2

  23. How to create a sales forecast for your small business

    Once you've selected a sales forecasting method, you'll want to take several steps. 1. List the goods and services you sell. In a sales forecast, you'll want to account for each product or service that you are selling so your forecast is accurate. 2. Quantify your sales. Each sales forecasting method has its own way of estimating future ...

  24. How To Sell A Business Quickly

    Step 1: The best time to plan your exit was when you started your business, the second best time is now The journey towards preparing and selling your business for maximum value begins the moment ...

  25. 8 Steps to Create an Effective Sales Training Plan for 2024

    Below, we'll take a look at what it takes to create an effective sales training plan in 2024. Benefits and Importance of Sales Training . A sales enablement training plan provides your team with the resources needed to convert leads into customers and close more deals.

  26. Sales Planning Software

    Free up hours and eliminate data transcription errors during the initial setup of a plan with the direct connection of Sales Planning. Use templates that draw directly from Salesforce Enterprise Territory Management, Role Hierarchy, or Manager Hierarchy. ... Navigating business shifts and ensuring that sales can operate effectively requires ...

  27. Buy Microsoft Project Plan 3

    With Project Plan 3, manage projects in the cloud, have up to five concurrent installations for each license, and virtual access anywhere via browser. ... Talk with a sales expert To speak with a sales expert, call 1-855-270-0615. Available M-F 6 AM to 6 PM PT. ... OneDrive for Business, and SharePoint Online are sold separately. Prices shown ...