Simple Business Plan Template (2024)

Krista Fabregas

Reviewed By

Updated: Nov 30, 2023, 4:49pm

Simple Business Plan Template (2024)

Table of Contents

Why business plans are vital, get your free simple business plan template, how to write an effective business plan in 6 steps, frequently asked questions.

While taking many forms and serving many purposes, they all have one thing in common: business plans help you establish your goals and define the means for achieving them. Our simple business plan template covers everything you need to consider when launching a side gig, solo operation or small business. By following this step-by-step process, you might even uncover a few alternate routes to success.

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Whether you’re a first-time solopreneur or a seasoned business owner, the planning process challenges you to examine the costs and tasks involved in bringing a product or service to market. The process can also help you spot new income opportunities and hone in on the most profitable business models.

Though vital, business planning doesn’t have to be a chore. Business plans for lean startups and solopreneurs can simply outline the business concept, sales proposition, target customers and sketch out a plan of action to bring the product or service to market. However, if you’re seeking startup funding or partnership opportunities, you’ll need a write a business plan that details market research, operating costs and revenue forecasting.

Whichever startup category you fall into, if you’re at square one, our simple business plan template will point you down the right path.

Copy our free simple business plan template so you can fill in the blanks as we explore each element of your business plan. Need help getting your ideas flowing? You’ll also find several startup scenario examples below.

Download free template as .docx

Whether you need a quick-launch overview or an in-depth plan for investors, any business plan should cover the six key elements outlined in our free template and explained below. The main difference in starting a small business versus an investor-funded business is the market research and operational and financial details needed to support the concept.

1. Your Mission or Vision

Start by declaring a “dream statement” for your business. You can call this your executive summary, vision statement or mission. Whatever the name, the first part of your business plan summarizes your idea by answering five questions. Keep it brief, such as an elevator pitch. You’ll expand these answers in the following sections of the simple business plan template.

  • What does your business do? Are you selling products, services, information or a combination?
  • Where does this happen? Will you conduct business online, in-store, via mobile means or in a specific location or environment?
  • Who does your business benefit? Who is your target market and ideal customer for your concept?
  • Why would potential customers care? What would make your ideal customers take notice of your business?
  • How do your products and/or services outshine the competition? What would make your ideal customers choose you over a competitor?

These answers come easily if you have a solid concept for your business, but don’t worry if you get stuck. Use the rest of your plan template to brainstorm ideas and tactics. You’ll quickly find these answers and possibly new directions as you explore your ideas and options.

2. Offer and Value Proposition

This is where you detail your offer, such as selling products, providing services or both, and why anyone would care. That’s the value proposition. Specifically, you’ll expand on your answers to the first and fourth bullets from your mission/vision.

As you complete this section, you might find that exploring value propositions uncovers marketable business opportunities that you hadn’t yet considered. So spend some time brainstorming the possibilities in this section.

For example, a cottage baker startup specializing in gluten-free or keto-friendly products might be a value proposition that certain audiences care deeply about. Plus, you could expand on that value proposition by offering wedding and other special-occasion cakes that incorporate gluten-free, keto-friendly and traditional cake elements that all guests can enjoy.

simple business plan for retail sales

3. Audience and Ideal Customer

Here is where you explore bullet point number three, who your business will benefit. Identifying your ideal customer and exploring a broader audience for your goods or services is essential in defining your sales and marketing strategies, plus it helps fine-tune what you offer.

There are many ways to research potential audiences, but a shortcut is to simply identify a problem that people have that your product or service can solve. If you start from the position of being a problem solver, it’s easy to define your audience and describe the wants and needs of your ideal customer for marketing efforts.

Using the cottage baker startup example, a problem people might have is finding fresh-baked gluten-free or keto-friendly sweets. Examining the wants and needs of these people might reveal a target audience that is health-conscious or possibly dealing with health issues and willing to spend more for hard-to-find items.

However, it’s essential to have a customer base that can support your business. You can be too specialized. For example, our baker startup can attract a broader audience and boost revenue by offering a wider selection of traditional baked goods alongside its gluten-free and keto-focused specialties.

4. Revenue Streams, Sales Channels and Marketing

Thanks to our internet-driven economy, startups have many revenue opportunities and can connect with target audiences through various channels. Revenue streams and sales channels also serve as marketing vehicles, so you can cover all three in this section.

Revenue Streams

Revenue streams are the many ways you can make money in your business. In your plan template, list how you’ll make money upon launch, plus include ideas for future expansion. The income possibilities just might surprise you.

For example, our cottage baker startup might consider these revenue streams:

  • Product sales : Online, pop-up shops , wholesale and (future) in-store sales
  • Affiliate income : Monetize blog and social media posts with affiliate links
  • Advertising income : Reserve website space for advertising
  • E-book sales : (future) Publish recipe e-books targeting gluten-free and keto-friendly dessert niches
  • Video income : (future) Monetize a YouTube channel featuring how-to videos for the gluten-free and keto-friendly dessert niches
  • Webinars and online classes : (future) Monetize coaching-style webinars and online classes covering specialty baking tips and techniques
  • Members-only content : (future) Monetize a members-only section of the website for specialty content to complement webinars and online classes
  • Franchise : (future) Monetize a specialty cottage bakery concept and sell to franchise entrepreneurs

Sales Channels

Sales channels put your revenue streams into action. This section also answers the “where will this happen” question in the second bullet of your vision.

The product sales channels for our cottage bakery example can include:

  • Mobile point-of-sale (POS) : A mobile platform such as Shopify or Square POS for managing in-person sales at local farmers’ markets, fairs and festivals
  • E-commerce platform : An online store such as Shopify, Square or WooCommerce for online retail sales and wholesale sales orders
  • Social media channels : Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest shoppable posts and pins for online sales via social media channels
  • Brick-and-mortar location : For in-store sales , once the business has grown to a point that it can support a physical location

Channels that support other income streams might include:

  • Affiliate income : Blog section on the e-commerce website and affiliate partner accounts
  • Advertising income : Reserved advertising spaces on the e-commerce website
  • E-book sales : Amazon e-book sales via Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing
  • Video income : YouTube channel with ad monetization
  • Webinars and online classes : Online class and webinar platforms that support member accounts, recordings and playback
  • Members-only content : Password-protected website content using membership apps such as MemberPress

Nowadays, the line between marketing and sales channels is blurred. Social media outlets, e-books, websites, blogs and videos serve as both marketing tools and income opportunities. Since most are free and those with advertising options are extremely economical, these are ideal marketing outlets for lean startups.

However, many businesses still find value in traditional advertising such as local radio, television, direct mail, newspapers and magazines. You can include these advertising costs in your simple business plan template to help build a marketing plan and budget.

simple business plan for retail sales

5. Structure, Suppliers and Operations

This section of your simple business plan template explores how to structure and operate your business. Details include the type of business organization your startup will take, roles and responsibilities, supplier logistics and day-to-day operations. Also, include any certifications or permits needed to launch your enterprise in this section.

Our cottage baker example might use a structure and startup plan such as this:

  • Business structure : Sole proprietorship with a “doing business as” (DBA) .
  • Permits and certifications : County-issued food handling permit and state cottage food certification for home-based food production. Option, check into certified commercial kitchen rentals.
  • Roles and responsibilities : Solopreneur, all roles and responsibilities with the owner.
  • Supply chain : Bulk ingredients and food packaging via Sam’s Club, Costco, Amazon Prime with annual membership costs. Uline for shipping supplies; no membership needed.
  • Day-to-day operations : Source ingredients and bake three days per week to fulfill local and online orders. Reserve time for specialty sales, wholesale partner orders and market events as needed. Ship online orders on alternating days. Update website and create marketing and affiliate blog posts on non-shipping days.

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6. Financial Forecasts

Your final task is to list forecasted business startup and ongoing costs and profit projections in your simple business plan template. Thanks to free business tools such as Square and free marketing on social media, lean startups can launch with few upfront costs. In many cases, cost of goods, shipping and packaging, business permits and printing for business cards are your only out-of-pocket expenses.

Cost Forecast

Our cottage baker’s forecasted lean startup costs might include:

Gross Profit Projections

This helps you determine the retail prices and sales volume required to keep your business running and, hopefully, earn income for yourself. Use product research to spot target retail prices for your goods, then subtract your cost of goods, such as hourly rate, raw goods and supplier costs. The total amount is your gross profit per item or service.

Here are some examples of projected gross profits for our cottage baker:

Bottom Line

Putting careful thought and detail in a business plan is always beneficial, but don’t get so bogged down in planning that you never hit the start button to launch your business . Also, remember that business plans aren’t set in stone. Markets, audiences and technologies change, and so will your goals and means of achieving them. Think of your business plan as a living document and regularly revisit, expand and restructure it as market opportunities and business growth demand.

Is there a template for a business plan?

You can copy our free business plan template and fill in the blanks or customize it in Google Docs, Microsoft Word or another word processing app. This free business plan template includes the six key elements that any entrepreneur needs to consider when launching a new business.

What does a simple business plan include?

A simple business plan is a one- to two-page overview covering six key elements that any budding entrepreneur needs to consider when launching a startup. These include your vision or mission, product or service offering, target audience, revenue streams and sales channels, structure and operations, and financial forecasts.

How can I create a free business plan template?

Start with our free business plan template that covers the six essential elements of a startup. Once downloaded, you can edit this document in Google Docs or another word processing app and add new sections or subsections to your plan template to meet your specific business plan needs.

What basic items should be included in a business plan?

When writing out a business plan, you want to make sure that you cover everything related to your concept for the business,  an analysis of the industry―including potential customers and an overview of the market for your goods or services―how you plan to execute your vision for the business, how you plan to grow the business if it becomes successful and all financial data around the business, including current cash on hand, potential investors and budget plans for the next few years.

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Krista Fabregas is a seasoned eCommerce and online content pro sharing more than 20 years of hands-on know-how with those looking to launch and grow tech-forward businesses. Her expertise includes eCommerce startups and growth, SMB operations and logistics, website platforms, payment systems, side-gig and affiliate income, and multichannel marketing. Krista holds a bachelor's degree in English from The University of Texas at Austin and held senior positions at NASA, a Fortune 100 company, and several online startups.

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Retail Business Plan Template

Written by Dave Lavinsky

Retail Business Plan

You’ve come to the right place to create your retail business plan.

We have helped over 10,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans and many have used them to start or grow their retail companies.

Retail Business Plan Template & Sample

Below is a retail business plan template to help you create each section of your retail store business plan.

Executive Summary

Business overview.

Artisan Home & Decor is a startup retail shop located in Pasadena, California. The company is founded by Joyce Hernandez, a retailer who has worked as a store manager of a local home decor store for nearly a decade. Joyce has recently graduated from California University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. Now that she has gained real-world experience managing a store and the education on how to run a retail business, she is inspired to start her own company, Artisan Home & Decor. Joyce is confident that her ability to effectively manage employees, customer relationships, and retail operations will help her establish a profitable retail store. Joyce plans on recruiting a team of highly qualified sales associates, accountants, and buyers to help manage the day to day complexities of retail – marketing, sales, budgeting, sourcing, and purchasing.

Artisan Home & Decor will provide uniquely curated home decor products created by local artisans. The home decor shop will be the ultimate choice for customers in Pasadena who value one-of-a-kind pieces for their homes. Artisan Home & Decor will provide its customers with a refreshingly personalized shopping experience they can’t get anywhere else. The shop’s sales associates will be able to help customers find the perfect pieces to suit their individual preferences and styles.

Product Offering

The following are the products that Artisan Home & Decor will provide:

  • Lamps & Lighting
  • Throw Blankets
  • Photo Frames
  • Cookware Sets
  • Kitchen Gadgets
  • Kitchen and Bathroom Fixtures
  • Waste Baskets
  • Soap Dispensers

Customer Focus

Artisan Home & Decor will target home decor shoppers looking for a personalized experience and unique pieces in Pasadena. The company will target boomer, millennial, and gen z  consumers looking for unique decor for their homes, apartments, or condos. They will also target businesses looking for special pieces to furnish their corporate offices, waiting rooms, and lobbies. No matter the client, Artisan Home & Decor will deliver the best communication, service, and high quality products.

Management Team

Artisan Home & Decor will be owned and operated by Joyce Hernandez, a retailer who has worked as a store manager of a local home decor store for nearly a decade. Joyce has recently graduated from California University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. Now that she has gained real-world experience managing retail stores and the education on how to run a retail business, she is inspired to start her own company, Artisan Home & Decor.

Joyce Hernandez has recruited her former assistant manager, Melissa Jacobs to come on board to help her manage Artisan Home & Decor. While Joyce will oversee the employees, day-to-day operations, and client relationships, Melissa will be the Inventory Manager. She will be in charge of sourcing, purchasing, and pricing all inventory. Melissa will work directly with suppliers to stock the retail shop with unique artisan pieces.

Melissa is a graduate of the University of California with a Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design. She has been working at a local retail home decor company for over a decade as an assistant manager. Melissa has an eye for design and keen organizational skills that will allow her to effectively manage Artisan Home & Decor’s one-of-a-kind inventory. Her communication skills will enable her to establish and maintain working relationships with artisans and suppliers.

Success Factors

Artisan Home & Decor will be able to achieve success by offering the following competitive advantages:

  • Friendly, knowledgeable, and highly qualified team of sales associates and interior design experts that are able to provide a personalized customer experience and help each client find the right home decor pieces to suit their preferences.
  • Artisan Home & Decor will bring fresh inventory into their retail store on a regular basis so there will always be something new for customers to check out. In addition to in-store sales, the company will sell pieces online through its website.
  • Artisan Home & Decor offers one-of-kind pieces created by local artisans to suit a wide variety of home decor styles and tastes. By purchasing from the shop, customers are supporting these local artisans and getting fresh decor that no one else will have.

Financial Highlights

Artisan Home & Decor is seeking $210,000 in debt financing to launch its retail business. The funding will be dedicated towards securing and building out the retail space and purchasing the initial inventory. Funds will also be dedicated towards three months of overhead costs to include payroll of the staff, rent, and marketing costs for print ads, website and SEO marketing initiatives, and association memberships. The breakout of the funding is below:

  • Retail space build-out: $25,000
  • Retail store shelving, displays, equipment, supplies, and materials: $40,000
  • Three months of overhead expenses (payroll, rent, utilities): $120,000
  • Marketing costs: $15,000
  • Working capital: $10,000

The following graph below outlines the pro forma financial projections for Artisan Home & Decor.

simple business plan for retail sales

Company Overview

Who is artisan home & decor.

Artisan Home & Decor is a newly established retail company in Pasadena, California. The new home decor shop will be the ultimate choice for people looking for uniquely curated one-of-a-kind furniture and other home products crafted by local artisans. Artisan Home & Decor will provide its customers with a refreshingly personalized shopping experience they can’t get anywhere else. The shop’s sales associates and experienced interior designers will be able to help customers find the right pieces to suit their preferences and styles.

Artisan Home & Decor will be able to provide a personalized shopping experience for serving customers in-store and online. The team of professionals and sales associates are highly qualified and experienced in interior design, home decor, and the customer experience. Artisan Home & Decor removes all headaches and issues of the home decor shopper and ensures all issues are taken care off expeditiously while delivering the best customer service.

Artisan Home & Decor History

Artisan Home & Decor is owned and operated by Joyce Hernandez, a retailer who has worked as a store manager of a local home decor store for nearly a decade. Joyce has recently graduated from California University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. Now that she has gained real-world experience managing retail stores and the education on how to run a retail business, she is ready to start her own company. Joyce is confident that her ability to effectively manage employees, customer relationships, and retail operations will help her establish a profitable retail store. Joyce has begun recruiting a team of highly qualified sales associates, accountants, and buyers to help manage the day to day complexities of retail – marketing, sales, budgeting, sourcing, and purchasing.

Since incorporation, Artisan Home & Decor has achieved the following milestones:

  • Registered Artisan Home & Decor, LLC to transact business in the state of California.
  • Has a contract in place to lease the retail space.
  • Reached out to numerous local artisans to advise them on the upcoming retail shop in order to start getting supplier contracts.
  • Began recruiting a staff of sales associates, interior designers, an accountant/bookkeeper, marketing director, and assistant manager to work at Artisan Home & Decor.

Artisan Home & Decor Services

Industry analysis.

The retail industry in the United States is valued at over $4T currently and is forecasted to reach $4.9T by the end of 2022. This is up from $3.8T in 2019. After a decade of retail decline between 2010 and 2020, the market is rebounding at a surprising rate. There were twice as many store openings as closings in 2021 alone. The number of brick-and-mortar retail establishments is increasing even as ecommerce shopping has grown by 70% in the last three years.

The role of retail stores is evolving and industry operators are discovering in-store experiences are still vital from the customer perspective. Successful brick-and-mortar industry operators are incorporating ecommerce into their business models. Trends include providing ship-from-store and buy online, pickup in store options to give customers more flexibility in the way they can shop. Key success factors include the level of customer satisfaction, product selection, prices, and convenience.

Customer Analysis

Demographic profile of target market.

The precise demographics for Pasadena, California are:

Customer Segmentation

Artisan Home & Decor will primarily target the following customer profiles:

  • Millennial customers looking for one-of-a-kind home decor
  • Boomer customers looking for one-of-a-kind home decor
  • Gen z customers looking for one-of-a-kind home decor
  • Businesses looking for unique decor for their offices, waiting rooms, or lobbies

Competitive Analysis

Direct and indirect competitors.

Artisan Home & Decor will face competition from other retailers with similar business profiles. A description of each competitor company is below.

Pasadena Home Decor

Pasadena Home Decor provides high-end home decor for the conscientious consumer. Located in Pasadena, California, the home decor retailer is able to provide a tailored shopping experience for its customers. The store’s list of products includes tables, chairs, wall hangings, rugs, vases, photo frames, candles, office decor, and paintings by local artists. Pasadena Home Decor sells online and in-store to give customers flexibility.

Pasadena Home Decor’s promise is to deliver high quality pieces that will stand out. Customers who purchase furniture and home decor from Pasadena Home Decor will be delighted with the customer service, cleanliness of the store, and personalized design services the company offers.

Home Shoppe

Home Shoppe is a California-based home decor retail store that provides outstanding pieces for discerning clientele. Home Shoppe stocks unique furniture and other decor items that are 100% hand-crafted. The owners of Home Shoppe are experienced craftsmen themselves, so they know how quality furniture and home decor pieces should be made. Clients can depend on their selection of products for durability, style, and eco-friendly materials. Choose Home Shoppe for your next home decor project and let the sales team take the stress out of the redecorating process by helping you select the best products for your home.

Redecorating For You

Redecorating For You is a trusted Pasadena retail company that provides superior home decor products for shoppers in Pasadena and the surrounding areas. The shop offers an extensive inventory of home decor items in a variety of styles so there is something for every taste. Redecorating For You is able to provide premium pieces that fill every space with elegance and style. The shop also eases the stress of redecorating by providing in-store pickup and delivery options for busy customers.

Competitive Advantage

Artisan Home & Decor will be able to offer the following advantages over their competition:

  • Artisan Home & Decor will bring fresh inventory into the store on a regular basis so there will always be something new for customers to check out. In addition to in-store sales, the company will sell pieces online through its website.
  • Artisan Home & Decor offers one-of-kind pieces created by local artisans to suit a wide variety of home decor styles and tastes.

Marketing Plan

Brand & value proposition.

Artisan Home & Decor will offer the unique value proposition to its clientele:

  • Artisan Home & Decor will make redecorating easy for customers by providing in-store shopping, pickup, delivery, online shopping, ship-from-store, and buy online-pickup in store options.
  • By purchasing from the shop, customers are supporting local artisans and getting fresh decor that no one else will have.

Promotions Strategy

The promotions strategy for Artisan Home & Decor is as follows:

Social Media Marketing

The company will use various social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Snapchat to promote the shop, feature artisans, and show off new pieces. The marketing director will oversee the social media marketing activities to grow the customer base.

Professional Associations and Networking

Artisan Home & Decor will become a member of professional associations such as the National Retail Federation, California Retailers Association, and the Home Furnishings Association. The company will focus its networking efforts on expanding its network of clients, designers, and artisans.

Print Advertising

Artisan Home & Decor will invest in professionally designed print ads to display in programs or flyers at industry networking events, in home decor publications, and direct mailers.

Website/SEO Marketing

Artisan Home & Decor’s marketing director will be responsible for creating and maintaining the company website. The website will be well organized, informative, and list all of the products currently available for purchase online.

The marketing director will also manage Artisan Home & Decor’s website presence with SEO marketing tactics so that any time someone types in the Google or Bing search engine “Pasadena home decor retailer” or “home decor store near me”, Artisan Home & Decor will be listed at the top of the search results.

The pricing of Artisan Home & Decor will be premium and on par with competitors so customers feel they receive value when purchasing the one-of-a-kind products.

Operations Plan

The following will be the operations plan for Artisan Home & Decor.

Operation Functions:

  • Joyce Hernandez will be the Owner and Manager of the store. She will oversee all staff and manage day-to-day operations. Joyce has spent the past year recruiting the following staff:
  • Melissa Jacobs – Inventory Manager who will be responsible for sourcing, purchasing, pricing, and maintaining the inventory.
  • Robert Brown – Staff Accountant/bookkeeper who will provide all store accounting, tax payments, and monthly financial reporting.
  • Bill Johnson – Marketing Director who will provide all marketing and sales activities for Artisan Home & Decor including maintaining the website, social media, print advertising, and promotions.
  • Julia Smith – Lead Sales Associate & Designer who will manage all sales associates and provide design services for customers.

Milestones:

Artisan Home & Decor will have the following milestones complete in the next six months.

9/1/2022 – Finalize contract to lease the retail space.

9/15/2022 – Finalize personnel and staff employment contracts for the management team.

10/1/2022 – Finalize contracts for suppliers.

10/15/2022 – Begin networking at industry events and implement the marketing plan.

10/22/2022 – Begin moving into the Artisan Home & Decor shop.

11/1/2022 – Artisan Home & Decor opens for business.

Artisan Home & Decor will be owned and operated by Joyce Hernandez, a retailer who has worked as a store manager of a local home decor store for nearly a decade. Joyce has recently graduated from California University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. Now that she has gained real-world experience managing a store and the education on how to run a retail business, she is inspired to start her own company, Artisan Home & Decor.

Melissa is a graduate of the University of California with a Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design. She has been working at a local retail home decor company for over a decade as an assistant manager. Melissa has an eye for design and keen organizational skills that will allow her to effectively manage Artisan Home & Decor’s one-of-a-kind inventory. Her communication skills will enable her to establish and maintain working relationships with suppliers.

Financial Plan

Key revenue & costs.

The revenue drivers for Artisan Home & Decor are the retail fees they will charge to the customers in exchange for their products. The shop will charge a healthy margin to make sure artisans are paid well for their products while ensuring a solid profit for the business.

The cost drivers will be the overhead costs required in order to staff a retail store. The expenses will be the payroll cost, rent, utilities, store supplies, and marketing materials.

Funding Requirements and Use of Funds

  • Store shelving, displays, equipment, supplies, and materials: $40,000

Key Assumptions

The following outlines the key assumptions required in order to achieve the revenue and cost numbers in the financials and in order to pay off the startup business loan.

  • Average number of items sold per month: 300
  • Average sales per month: $90,000
  • Retail space lease per year: $100,000

Financial Projections

Income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement, retail business plan template faqs, what is a retail business plan.

A retail business plan is a plan to start and/or grow your retail business. Among other things, it outlines your business concept, identifies your target market, presents your marketing plan and details your financial projections.

You can  easily complete your retail business plan using our Retail Business Plan Template here .

What are the Main Types of Retail Businesses?

There are a number of different kinds of retail businesses, some examples include: Specialty Store, Off-Priced/Used Goods Store, Department Store, Convenience Store, Drug Store/Pharmacy, Discount Store, Hypermarket, and E-commerce.

How Do You Get Funding for Your Retail Business Plan?

Retail businesses are often funded through small business loans. Personal savings, credit card financing and angel investors are also popular forms of funding.

A solid retail business plan with comprehensive financial statements will help show investors your are well-prepared to start your own business.  A retail business plan template will help you quickly and easily get started.

What are the Steps To Start a Retail Business?

Starting a retail business can be an exciting endeavor. Having a clear roadmap of the steps to start a business will help you stay focused on your goals and get started faster.

1. Develop A Retail Business Plan - The first step in starting a business is to create a detailed retail store business plan that outlines all aspects of the venture. This should include supporting market research, your potential market size and target customers, the services or products you will offer, marketing strategy, your competitive advantages and detailed financial projections.

2. Choose Your Legal Structure - It's important to select an appropriate legal entity for your retail business. This could be a limited liability company (LLC), corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks so it’s important to do research and choose wisely so that your retail business is in compliance with local laws.

3. Register Your Retail Business - Once you have chosen a legal structure, the next step is to register your retail business with the government or state where you’re operating from. This includes obtaining licenses and permits as required by federal, state, and local laws. 

4. Identify Financing Options - It’s likely that you’ll need some capital to start your retail business, so take some time to identify what financing options are available such as bank loans, investor funding, grants, or crowdfunding platforms. 

5. Choose a Location - Whether you plan on operating out of a physical location or not, you should always have an idea of where you’ll be based should it become necessary in the future as well as what kind of space would be suitable for your operations. 

6. Hire Employees - There are several ways to find qualified employees including job boards like LinkedIn or Indeed as well as hiring agencies if needed – depending on what type of employees you need it might also be more effective to reach out directly through networking events. 

7. Acquire Necessary Retail Equipment & Supplies - In order to start your retail business, you'll need to purchase all of the necessary equipment and supplies to run a successful operation. 

8. Market & Promote Your Business - Once you have all the necessary pieces in place, it’s time to start promoting and marketing your retail business. This includes creating a website, utilizing social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, and having an effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. You should also consider traditional marketing techniques such as radio or print advertising.

Where Can I Get a Retail Business Plan PDF?

You can download our free retail business plan template PDF here . This is a sample retail business plan template you can use in PDF format.

Other Helpful Business Plan Templates

Ecommerce Business Plan Template Clothing Store Business Plan Template Beauty Supply Store Business Plan Template T-Shirt Business Plan Template

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Retail Business Plan Template

Written by Dave Lavinsky

Growthink.com Retail Business Plan Template

Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 10,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans to start and grow their retail businesses. On this page, we will first give you some background information with regards to the importance of business planning. We will then go through a retail business plan template step-by-step so you can create your plan today.

Download our Ultimate Retail Business Plan Template here >

What Is a Business Plan?

A business plan provides a snapshot of your retail business as it stands today, and lays out your growth plan for the next five years. It explains your business goals and your strategy for reaching them. It also includes market research to support your plans.

Why You Need a Retail Business Plan

retail clothing

Sources of Funding for Retail Businesses

With regards to funding, the main sources of funding for a retail business are bank loans and angel investors. With regards to bank loans, banks will want to review your business plan and gain confidence that you will be able to repay your loan and interest. To acquire this confidence, the loan officer will not only want to confirm that your financials are reasonable. But they will want to see a professional plan. Such a plan will give them the confidence that you can successfully and professionally operate a business.

The second most common form of funding for a retail business is angel investors. Angel investors are wealthy individuals who will write you a check. They will either take equity in return for their funding, or, like a bank, they will give you a loan. 

Venture capitalists will not fund a retail business. They might consider funding a chain, but never an individual location. This is because most venture capitalists are looking for millions of dollars in return when they make an investment, and an individual location could rarely achieve such results.

Finish Your Business Plan Today!

Retail business plan template example.

Your business plan should include 10 sections as follows:

Executive Summary

retail business plan merchandise

The goal of your Executive Summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the type of retail store you are operating and the status; for example, are you a startup, do you have a retail business that you would like to grow, or are you operating a chain of retail businesses.

Next, provide an overview of each of the subsequent sections of your plan. For example, give a brief overview of the retail industry. Discuss the type of retail store you are operating. Detail your direct competitors. Give an overview of your target customers. Provide a snapshot of your marketing plan. Identify the key members of your team. And offer an overview of your financial plan.

Company Analysis

In your company analysis, you will detail the type of retail business you are operating.

For example, you might operate one of the following types:

  • Speciality Store – a store with a tight focus (e.g., hip apparel for women)
  • Off-Priced/Used Goods Store – sells massively discounted or used products
  • Department Store – often located at a mall and offer tons of products (e.g., Macy’s)
  • Supermarket – focuses primarily on food items
  • Convenience Store – offers just the most popular items a supermarket offers in a much smaller location
  • Drug Store/Pharmacy – primarily offer medicines and medical products
  • Discount Store – offer large inventories at low prices (e.g., Walmart)
  • Hypermarket – offer many food and non-food items often in large quantities at a discount (e.g., Costco)
  • E-commerce – offers products for sale online (e.g., Amazon)

retail business salesperson

Include answers to question such as:

  • When and why did you start the business?
  • What milestones have you achieved to date? Milestones could include sales goals you’ve reached, new store openings, etc.
  • Your legal structure. Are you incorporated as an S-Corp? An LLC? A sole proprietorship? Explain your legal structure here.

Industry Analysis

In your industry analysis, you need to provide an overview of the retail business.

While this may seem unnecessary, it serves multiple purposes.

First, researching the retail industry educates you. It helps you understand the market in which you are operating. 

Secondly, market research can improve your strategy particularly if your research identifies market trends. For example, if there was a trend towards local retail businesses with online counterparts, it would be helpful to ensure your plan calls for a significant online presence.

The third reason for market research is to prove to readers that you are an expert in your industry. By conducting the research and presenting it in your plan, you achieve just that.

The following questions should be answered in the industry analysis section of your retail business plan:

  • How big is the retail business (in dollars)?
  • Is the market declining or increasing?
  • Who are the key competitors in your local market?
  • Who are the key suppliers in the market?
  • What trends are affecting the industry?
  • What is the industry’s growth forecast over the next 5 – 10 years?
  • What is the relevant market size? That is, how big is the potential market for your retail business. You can extrapolate such a figure by assessing the size of your niche’s market in the entire country and then applying that figure to your local population.

Customer Analysis

retail lighting

The following are examples of customer segments: college students, sports enthusiasts, soccer moms, techies, teens, baby boomers, etc.

As you can imagine, the customer segment(s) you choose will have a great impact on the type of retail business you operate. Clearly baby boomers would want a different atmosphere, pricing and product options, and would respond to different marketing promotions than teens.

Try to break out your target customers in terms of their demographic and psychographic profiles. With regards to demographics, include a discussion of the ages, genders, locations and income levels of the customers you seek to serve. Because most retail businesses primarily serve customers living in their same city or town, such demographic information is easy to find on government websites.

Psychographic profiles explain the wants and needs of your target customers. The more you can understand and define these needs, the better you will do in attracting and retaining your customers.

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Competitive Analysis

Your competitive analysis should identify the indirect and direct competitors your business faces and then focus on the latter.

Direct competitors are other retail businesses. They are most likely local businesses who sell similar items to you.

Indirect competitors are other options that customers have to purchase from you that aren’t direct competitors. You most likely will have online competitors; companies that sell the same or similar items to you, but which operate online.

retail business shop owner

  • What types of customers do they serve?
  • What products do they offer?
  • What is their pricing (premium, low, etc.)?
  • What are they good at?
  • What are their weaknesses?

With regards to the last two questions, think about your answers from the customers’ perspective. Look at review websites to gain this information.

The final part of your competitive analysis section is to document your areas of competitive advantage. For example:

  • Will you provide superior products or services?
  • Will you provide products that your competitors don’t?
  • Will you make it easier or faster for customers to acquire your products?
  • Will you provide better customer service?
  • Will you offer better pricing?

Think about ways you will outperform your competition and document them in this section of your plan.

Marketing Plan

retail business plan merchant

Product : in the product section you should reiterate the type of retail business that you documented in your Company Analysis. Then, detail the specific products you will be offering.

Price : Document the prices you will offer and how they compare to your competitors. Essentially in the product and price sub-sections of your marketing plan, you are presenting the items you offer and their prices.

Place : Place refers to the location of your retail business. Document your location and mention how the location will impact your success. For example, is your retail business located next to a heavily populated office building, or gym, etc. Discuss how your location might provide a steady stream of customers. Also, if you operate or plan to operate kiosks, detail the locations where the kiosks will be placed.

Promotions : the final part of your retail business marketing plan is the promotions section. Here you will document how you will drive customers to your location(s). The following are some promotional methods you might consider:

  • Making your storefront extra appealing to attract passing customers
  • Social media marketing
  • Search engine optimization
  • Advertising in local papers and magazines
  • Reaching out to local bloggers and websites 
  • Partnerships with local organizations
  • Local radio advertising
  • Banner ads at local venues

Operations Plan

While the earlier sections of your business plan explained your goals, your operations plan describes how you will meet them. Your operations plan should have two distinct sections as follows.

Everyday short-term processes include all of the tasks involved in running your retail business such as serving customers, procuring inventory, keeping the store clean, etc.

Long-term goals are the milestones you hope to achieve. These could include the dates when you expect to serve your 5,000th customer, or when you hope to reach $X in sales. It could also be when you expect to hire your Xth employee or launch a new location.

Management Team

store owner

Ideally you and/or your team members have direct experience in the retail business. If so, highlight this experience and expertise. But also highlight any experience that you think will help your business succeed.

If your team is lacking, consider assembling an advisory board. An advisory board would include 2 to 8 individuals who would act like mentors to your business. They would help answer questions and provide strategic guidance. If needed, look for advisory board members with experience in retail businesses and/or successfully running retail and small businesses.

Financial Plan

Your financial plan should include your 5-year financial statement broken out both monthly or quarterly for the first year and then annually. Your financial statements include your income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statements.

Income Statement : an income statement is more commonly called a Profit and Loss statement or P&L. It shows your revenues and then subtracts your costs to show whether you turned a profit or not.

In developing your income statement, you need to devise assumptions. For example, will you serve 100 customers per day or 200? And will sales grow by 2% or 10% per year? As you can imagine, your choice of assumptions will greatly impact the financial forecasts for your business. As much as possible, conduct research to try to root your assumptions in reality.

Balance Sheets : While balance sheets include much information, to simplify them to the key items you need to know about, balance sheets show your assets and liabilities. For instance, if you spend $100,000 on building out your retail business, that will not give you immediate profits. Rather it is an asset that will hopefully help you generate profits for years to come. Likewise, if a bank writes you a check for $100.000, you don’t need to pay it back immediately. Rather, that is a liability you will pay back over time.

Cash Flow Statement : Your cash flow statement will help determine how much money you need to start or grow your business, and make sure you never run out of money. What most entrepreneurs and business owners don’t realize is that you can turn a profit but run out of money and go bankrupt. For example, you may need to purchase inventories now that you can’t sell (and get paid for) for several months. During those months, you could run out of money.

In developing your Income Statement and Balance Sheets be sure to include several of the key costs needed in starting or growing a retail business:

  • Location build-out including design fees, construction, etc.
  • Cost of fixtures
  • Cost of initial inventory
  • Payroll or salaries paid to staff
  • Business insurance
  • Taxes and permits
  • Legal expenses

Attach your full financial projections in the appendix of your plan along with any supporting documents that make your plan more compelling. For example, you might include your store design blueprint or location lease.

Retail Business Plan Summary

Putting together a business plan for your retail business is a worthwhile endeavor. If you follow the template above, by the time you are done, you will truly be an expert on retail business planning and know everything you need about writing a retail store business plan. You will really understand the retail business, your competition and your customers. You will have developed a marketing plan and will really understand what it takes to launch and grow a successful retail store.

Download Our Retail Business Plan PDF

You can download our retail business plan PDF here . This is a business plan template you can use in PDF format.  

Retail Business Plan FAQs

What is the easiest way to complete my retail business plan.

Growthink's Ultimate Retail Business Plan Template allows you to quickly and easily complete your Retail Business Plan.

Where Can I Download a Retail Business Plan PDF?

You can download our retail business plan PDF template here . This is a business plan template you can use in PDF format.

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Since 1999, Growthink has developed business plans for thousands of companies who have gone on to achieve tremendous success.   Click here to see how a Growthink business planning consultant can create your business plan for you.

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How to Start a Retail Business: A Step-by-Step Guide

Sally Lauckner

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

If you’re thinking about starting a business in the retail industry, you’re in good company. Although local retailers don’t get the same level of attention as nationwide brands do, small retail businesses actually make up the vast majority of all U.S. retail businesses.

In fact, researchers found that small retailers (with 50 or fewer employees) made up 98.6% of all retail businesses in 2019. To break into this vibrant industry and open a store of your own, therefore, you first need to understand how to start a retail business.

To help you through the process, we’ll guide you through all the steps required to start a retail business, as well as offer additional resources to assist you on your startup journey.

simple business plan for retail sales

How to start a retail business in 10 steps

These steps will have you running your retail business in no time. Let’s get started.

Step 1: Find your niche.

The first decision you'll need to make in order to learn how to start a retail business is figuring out your company's niche. You may already have an idea of the type of company you want to form, or you may still be grappling to figure out where to focus your retail company. To determine your niche market, we recommend:

Explore your interests and passions: Determine what you love doing or what you'll enjoy selling.

Brainstorm potential conflicts: No industry is perfect, but figuring out what obstacles or issues you could encounter in your niche will help you plan ahead and determine if an industry is a good fit for your business.

Consider profitability: At the end of the day, you want to make money from your retail business, so you'll need to find a niche that has the potential for profitability. Generally, if your niche has absolutely no competitors, it's usually a sign there's no demand, and therefore, your focus will not be profitable. Use our guide to learn more about the most profitable business ideas.

Research competitors: Once you've found a niche market using the above three steps, it's time to research your competition. Figure out how they're marketing and selling and determine what you can learn from them and how you can improve upon what they have to offer.

Retail business examples

Deciding on your niche can take a long time. It requires significant research and the passion to work within a particular market. To help you get started in identifying your niche market, here are a few retail business examples worth exploring:

Coffee shops

Apparel shops (eyewear, sports apparel, undergarments, outerwear)

Restaurants and bars (determine a theme, whether that's the cuisine, small plates, a canteen, etc.)

Game centers (board games, video games, etc.)

Monthly box subscriptions

Pet supply shop

How much do you need?

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We’ll start with a brief questionnaire to better understand the unique needs of your business.

Once we uncover your personalized matches, our team will consult you on the process moving forward.

Step 2: Write a business plan.

We don’t doubt that you have an amazing idea for a retail store, but an idea alone isn’t enough to turn a dream into a reality. By writing a business plan, you’re providing yourself (and, potentially, future lenders and other stakeholders) a physical roadmap detailing every step you’ll take to open and run your retail business.

Therefore, when you're crafting your business plan for opening a retail store, you can start by answering essential questions about your business model:

What kinds of products are you selling?

Will you open a brick-and-mortar location, an e-commerce website , or will you take an omnichannel selling approach?

Who is your target market, and how will you market to them?

How will you set your store apart from your competition?

You’ll also need to dig into details related to your processes, answering questions such as:

Who are your vendors? How will you store your inventory?

How much staff will you need?

What will your hiring process look like?

What will your startup costs be?

How much money will you need to launch?

How long will it take for you to break even?

How long will it take for you to make a profit?

Keep in mind, however, that your preliminary business plan is exactly that—preliminary. You can always return to your retail store business plan to make changes, updates, and additions as you gain experience with starting and running your business.

Create a business budget

Along the same lines, you should also create a business budget, to the best of your ability, well before you’ve opened your doors. At this stage, you should be paying especially close attention to your startup costs.

Unfortunately, if you're wondering how to start a retail business with no money, you're going to find it's extremely difficult. Although there a variety of ways to cut costs—selling online instead of opting for a physical location, for example—there will always be a handful of costs associated with starting and launching your retail store.

This being said, in addition to standard startup costs like equipment, business insurance, and payroll, if you’re opening a brick-and-mortar retail store, you’ll have to cover some specific costs, like a down payment, potential renovations, and monthly rent and utilities for your store. You’ll also be responsible for purchasing your merchandise, shipping and delivery costs, and storing excess inventory.

And don’t forget about the other tools and software you’ll need to run your business, including a POS system, retail accounting software, and a security system to monitor shoplifting and theft.

Step 3: Register your business.

With your business plan and budget in hand, you can now move onto the next step involved in learning how to start a retail business—making it official.

Come up with a business name

If you haven’t already, you’ll first need to come up with a business name. Choose a name that reflects your business’s purpose and brand identity, allows you room to grow, and, perhaps most importantly, is actually available for use.

Once you’ve landed on your dream business name, run your moniker through a Google search to make sure another entrepreneur isn’t already doing business under that name. Then, check for trademark filings in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and conduct a Secretary of State business search to make sure there isn’t another business in your area with your potential name.

Once you’ve established that your name is free and clear, you'll want to buy your domain name and create social media accounts with your name. That way, you can build a business website and launch your marketing strategy ASAP.

Determine your legal structure and register your business

Next, in order to register your business, you’ll first need to decide on your business’s legal structure. Your business structure determines how you’re taxed, the degree of legal protection you’re afforded, your business’s ownership structure, and your ability to receive business funding (in addition to allowing you to register your business in the first place).

There are lots of business entities to choose from—all of which we overview in detail in our guide to types of business entities. Additionally, we’d highly recommend consulting a business attorney or accountant to guide you through this crucial step.

Once you’ve landed on a business entity type, you can go ahead and register your business through your state’s Secretary of State website. After that, head over to the IRS' website to apply for an EIN (employer identification number) online. Your EIN is a bit like your business’s social security number, and it’ll help the government identify you for tax purposes. You might also need an EIN to apply for a business loan down the line.

Step 4: Obtain licenses, permits, and business insurance.

Some states require a general business license, while others require licenses and permits at an industry level. You may also need to acquire local permits and licenses, so consult your county or city clerk’s website for their particular requirements, too. The SBA is an excellent resource for licensing and permitting information at both the federal and local levels.

For those learning how to start a retail business, you’ll likely need to obtain multiple retail licenses related to your field, including a resale certificate, seller’s permit, and a certificate of occupancy. We also recommend partnering with a trusted business attorney during this step.

Additionally, you won't want to forget about business insurance. As a retailer, you should consider general liability insurance, a business owner’s policy, and business crime insurance; and as an employer, you’re likely required by law to carry workers comp insurance, health insurance, and unemployment insurance for your staff.

Take a look at our guide to small business insurance for more information on the types of coverage you need.

Step 5: Find a physical location and build an online store.

If your retail business will include a physical store, finding the right location is arguably the most important aspect of this process. Your location can make or break the success of your business: If you’re located in a heavily trafficked area, then your marketing efforts are practically built-in. If it’s in a tough-to-find location, or if parking is limited, then your bottom line might suffer.

The right location for your business depends largely upon who your target market is and where they hang out. If you’re opening an upscale boutique, for example, you probably want to choose a neighborhood that skews less toward students and cash-strapped millennials, and more toward people with some discretionary income to burn.

Of course, you’ll also have to keep in mind how much space you need for display areas, a back-office and break room for your staff, dressing rooms, and an inventory storage area. Your location will also depend largely upon how much room you have in your budget for renovations, store design, remodels, updates, a down payment, and your monthly rent and utility bills. That may mean opting for your second or third choice location to protect your budget.

Build an e-commerce store

Even if you always dreamed of a brick-and-mortar store with in-person transactions, we also recommend opening an online store to give your retail business as much exposure as possible.

Luckily, building and managing an online store is incredibly easy with an e-commerce platform. Here are a few recommendations to get you started:

Shopify: This platform provides an infinitely customizable, standalone store that you build and manage entirely on your own.

Squarespace or Wix: These business website platforms are simple to use and offer e-commerce functionalities.

Etsy, Amazon, or eBay: These popular marketplaces will provide you with plenty of built-in traffic and handy seller tools. On the downside, you won’t have as much control over your branding, customer relationships, or fulfillment process as you would with your own e-commerce store.

The combination of e-commerce and in-person retail is sometimes referred to as "bricks and clicks." You can use our guide to learn more about the bricks and clicks business model.

» MORE: How to start an online boutique

Step 6: Establish relationships with vendors and suppliers.

This is the next step to learning how to start a retail business—and beyond your store’s location, arguably one of the most crucial aspects of your potential success—is finding trustworthy vendors and suppliers. Your vendors might become your most valuable partners and a great vendor can present you with new merchandise, determine which products will sell best, and cut costs for you.

There are a few considerations to keep in mind as you’re searching for vendors.

Budget: Your vendors need to work within the supplier budget you’ve established.

Quality: The quality of their merchandise is crucial.

Reputation: You want to work with a supplier who is guaranteed to deliver your agreed-upon items on time and in good condition—every time you place an order.

Customer service: Remember that you’ll be working closely with your vendors, so their service team must be reliable, personable, and easy to contact in case you run into any issues.

We recommend establishing relationships with several vendors. Even if your vendor of choice is stable, reliable, and cost-efficient, you need to have a contingency plan in place—without merchandise to sell, you won’t have a business to run.

Step 7: Hire staff.

If you’ve never hired an employee before, take a look at our guide on how to hire great employees who’ll stick with you for the long run. When hiring for a retail position, make sure to interview as much for their attitude as you are for their experience. While you can train your employees to use your POS system and manage your inventory, you can’t teach them to be kinder, friendlier, or more trustworthy than they innately are.

In advance of hiring your first team member, make sure you understand your state-regulated employer requirements. Your state might require that you buy certain types of insurance for your staff. Additionally, you’ll probably need to complete some other steps, like creating a state withholding account for payroll, reporting new hires, and verifying your potential new hire’s employment eligibility as well.

Step 8: Find the right POS system.

Your POS system just might become your retail business’s best friend. It’ll certainly become your employees’ best friend—assuming you choose an intuitive, easy-to-use model, of which there are tons on the market right now.

A point of sale system combines hardware and software that enables your business to accept and process all kinds of payments. Most POS software is loaded with valuable back-end capabilities, like inventory management, employee management, CRM tools, sales reports, and vendor tracking.

If you’re opening a brick-and-mortar location, you’ll need a POS system that can accept cash, checks, contactless payments, and both chip and swipe cards. In addition, you’ll need a barcode scanner, receipt printer, and cash drawer.

For more flexibility, you might want to look into a POS system that allows on-the-go payments, too. For example, Square (and most other POS systems) has mobile card readers that plug into your phone or tablet so you can accept payments from virtually anywhere, whether that’s at a pop-up shop, craft fair, or trunk show.

Similarly, Clover also has a fully equipped, handheld POS device so you or your staff can ring up your customers from anywhere in your store.

Ultimately, you have options—a lot of them. To help you navigate the selection process, consult our guide on the best retail POS systems.

Step 9: Organize your finances.

As we mentioned earlier, it's nearly impossible to figure out how to start a retail business with no money—so, whether you have a large amount of startup capital or are operating on a tight budget, it's extremely important to organize your finances.

First, you'll want to open a business checking account . If you’re happy with your current bank, you may want to open a business bank account there. It’s logistically easier for you to maintain all your finances with the same institution. In addition, many banks offer discounts and other incentives when consumer clients open business accounts. If you want to compare your options, we recommend looking into our best business bank accounts guide.

Next, you'll want to get a business credit card . Most credit card companies allow business customers to apply for a business credit card online—which makes this step even easier than opening a business bank account.

If your business is too new to have any financial data, you can provide your personal financial information on your application. If you’re approved, you’ll receive your card in the mail in about a week or two. Use it for your business’s smaller, daily expenses, and be mindful of only using it for business-related purchases to maintain personal and business financial separation.

Get funding

Most entrepreneurs need a little (or a lot of) financial help to get their businesses off the ground. That may be especially true of retailers and brick-and-mortar business owners, who have a few extra startup costs to contend with.

Although it can be difficult to get a business loan as a startup, there are a variety of alternative options you can consider, especially as you start to run your retail store and become more established.

Finally, don’t forget to sign up for a good business accounting software solution, which will streamline, automate, and organize your business’s finances.

Step 10: Market your retail business.

At this point, you've learned the most important pieces of how to start a retail business, and now, you're ready to open your doors and get to work.

Of course, to get the word out about your business, you need to develop a small business marketing strategy, which provides you with an opportunity to get a little creative. The best marketing strategies, especially for brick-and-mortar stores, use a combination of SEO, social media, email marketing, paid online marketing strategies (if their budget allows for it), and analog marketing efforts.

At the very start of your venture, your time is best spent building a business website and creating social media accounts. Squarespace and Wix provide users with tons of customizable, professionally designed templates and built-in SEO tools. For social media, focus on creating diverse, high-quality content, posting regularly, and responding promptly to your followers’ comments and DMs—both the positive and the negative.

As a brick-and-mortar store owner, in-person marketing tactics are also important. We recommend:

Getting active in your local retailer community, networking with your fellow business owners, and participating in craft fairs and other events showcasing local businesses.

Partnering up with a local business whose target market is similar to yours and putting on an event together, or hosting pop-up shops or trunk shows in each other’s locations.

Using good sales incentives—like BOGO deals, giveaways, and free trial periods—to draw even more customers into your store.

To boost your marketing strategy, it's important to take some time to develop your brand identity. Establish your messaging, market positioning, and how your unique business can provide your customers with what they’re looking for—then create the materials to reflect those core values.

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Start Your Dream Business

The bottom line

As you navigate the business formation steps, be careful not to lose sight of why you’re opening your retail business in the first place. If you remember the passion that inspired you to launch your business, you might even enjoy the finer points involved in the process—who knew finding a POS system could be so fun?

This article originally appeared on JustBusiness, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.

On a similar note...

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Retail Dogma

RETAILDOGMA

Retail Education & Training Solutions

Retail Business Plan

A retail business plan is a document that gives you and your potential investors a roadmap on how your new retail business intends to get started and deliver its business goals over its initial few years (usually 5 years).

It is usually broken down into sections about the company, the industry it operates in, the competition it will face and a plan that covers marketing, financials and operations over the first few years in business.

Also check out this one-page Business Model Canvas for a retail business .

Retail Business Plan Template

You can download this free retail business plan template from the link below. You will be able to edit the word file and export it into PDF format afterwards.

In the coming sections, we will explain the different components that go into the retail business plan, which you can then apply to your own plan when completing the template.

Retail Business Plan Template

Check out more free downloads .

Executive Summary

We recommend writing the executive summary at the end of the process, after you have filled out all the other sections in the retail business plan template.

In the executive summary you will cover the following points briefly:

  • Types of products sold at the store
  • Customers served by the store
  • Company mission & vision
  • Market share to be captured

You will also mention the total amount you will need to start this business, backed by the financial plan you prepared as part of this business plan.

The total amount that you want to borrow or have invested in your business will be the sum of pre-opening costs (initial inventory, equipment, rent,..) and the maximum negative cash flow as per your cash flow plan.

If you are writing this retail business plan for a financial institution to get a loan, mention how you expect to repay the loan, and you should have already included the loan installments in your financial plan.

If you are writing this plan for investors, mention how much equity they will receive in return for this investment and the expected return on investment, and expected cash distributions (dividends) based on your financial plan.

For example

An investment of 100,000$ in the business will result in the investor receiving 20% equity. We plan to distribute 50% of the profits every year, and based on our financial projections this will be a xx,xxx$ in the first year, xx,xxx$ in the second year, and xx,xxx$ in the third year,..etc.

Company Overview

Here you will write about your business and give a brief overview about the type of store you will be starting.

You can cover the following points:

  • Store category (e.g. beauty store, toy store)
  • Store location and brief description of the area
  • Product categories carried
  • Company legal structure

Industry Overview

Write an overview about the industry (retail/ecommerce) as a whole and the most recent trends specific to this industry.

Cover areas such as:

  • Total retail sales
  • Contribution of your retail category to the total sales (size of the market)
  • Online vs. Brick & Mortar trends
  • Recent industry trends and shifts in terms of products you are selling

You can find the most recent insights about retail in our Retail Statistics page.

Read Also: What is Retail ?

Target Market

Write about your target customers that you know will be interested in your products. Mention demographic and psychographic details in this section. This will help afterwards in drafting your marketing plan.

You can cover the following details:

  • Age bracket
  • Income level
  • Educational level
  • The specific needs that your products will fill for them

simple business plan for retail sales

FOUNDATIONS OF MARKETING

  • Learn the fundamentals of marketing
  • See how they apply to buying, merchandising & pricing
  • Real-life case studies and examples

Competition

List the current competition in the market that are serving your target customers. Mention your top 3 competitors in your area.

You can also include indirect competition, such as online stores or marketplace sellers, if you think this might affect your business.

Cover information about:

  • No. of stores
  • Size of stores
  • Product categories they sell
  • Pricing level
  • Sales per day estimates
  • Strengths & Weaknesses

You can also create a summary table like the one below

Competitive Advantage

What will make customers leave the competition and come to you? Use the weaknesses areas that you mentioned about the competition in the previous section, and mention how you will improve on them.

This could be by:

  • Superior quality
  • Better prices
  • Convenience
  • More variety
  • Better shopping experience

Marketing Plan

Describe your marketing strategy for your store and which channels you are going to use.

Cover the following areas:

  • Brand Positioning
  • Branding Strategy (Persona, tone, language,..)
  • Product Strategy (Key products and product features that will attract your customers)
  • Pricing Strategy
  • Promotional Strategy
  • Marketing Channels

Operations Plan

Write how you will operate your store and include details about your manpower plan.

This will include the management that you will hire for the store, visual merchandisers, sales staff and cashiers.

Cover the following:

  • Management structure (store manager, supervisor,..)
  • Staff plan (3 sales associates, 2 cashiers, etc.)
  • Brief role descriptions
  • Compensation structure

Read Also: Retail Scheduling

simple business plan for retail sales

RETAIL OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT

  • Managing Store Operations
  • Areas of Responsibility
  • Assessing & Managing Performance

Financial plan

List estimates for the capital you will need to start and financial projections for the following years.

Capital Needed

Start with how much capital you will need to start the business

This will include:

  • Initial rent
  • Initial product order (Inventory)
  • Initial staff salary
  • Store fixtures
  • Store equipment

Read Also: How Much Capital You Will Need For a New Retail Store?

Financial Projections

Include a 5-year financial projection for the business based on your forecasted sales and costs.

P&L Management Excel

  • Monthly income statement (P&L) for the first year
  • Yearly income statement for the following 4 years
  • Monthly cash flow projection for the first year

Learn how to create a sales budget for a new store, and 3 years financial projections in our Retail Budgeting Course

simple business plan for retail sales

RETAIL BUDGETING & PLANNING

  • The step by step retail budgeting process
  • Set monthly targets adjusted to seasonality
  • Templates download & practice exercise

Break Even Point

Include a snapshot of the 5-year P&L plan here and mention the SPD (sales per day) you need to breakeven, based on your P&L numbers.

We have created a sample table with retail data in the business plan template, and you can fill it with your own numbers.

Key Assumptions

Mention the assumptions you used for creating your financial projections.

For example , you assumed that sales per day for the first year will be 1000$ and then will grow by 20% in the second year, 15% in the third year and 10% in the fourth year, etc.

Retail Business Plan Tips

Sales projections.

We recommend being very realistic about your initial sales per day projections, as your entire financial plan will be directly affected by it.

When you then forecast your growth for the coming years, you should also be realistic about how much you will grow year-on-year.

From our experience, retail stores typically see higher growth after the first year and then this starts to level off from the third year onwards.

Having said that, there might be other growth drivers that can affect your business and accelerate your growth in the following years. This could be for example that your new store is in an area that is still under development and will be fully developed by the third year.

What we want to say is, do your due diligence thoroughly and based on that set realistic expectations.

Inventory Projections

The biggest asset you will hold and the biggest part of the investment/loan you will need to start your retail business will go for inventory.

So it is important to calculate your inventory needs correctly.

This will be based on your sales forecasts and the inventory turnover rate you expect or the forward stock cover you intend to maintain.

For example, if your inventory turnover target is 2, this means you maintain a 6 months cover. If your inventory turnover is 3, you maintain 4 months stock cover,..and so on.

We recommend checking out the benchmarks we have listed for different retail categories for inventory turnover and reading our complete Open to Buy guide to get started with calculating exactly how much inventory you will need.

Good luck in your new venture!

THE PROFESSIONAL RETAIL ACADEMY (PRA) ™

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  • In-depth retail management courses
  • Learn the best practices of the industry
  • Download ready-to-use professional templates
  • Get certificates of completion for each course
  • One membership = Access to all courses

More Resources

Thank you for reading this article on Retail Business Plan. We recommend the below free resources as well:

  • Retail Management
  • Starting a Retail Business
  • Buying a Retail Business

Join the academy and get all access to all our resources, which will help you manage your retail business more efficiently.

CONNECT THE DOTS

Learn how to manage a retail business end-to-end.

We’ve put together a curriculum, specifically designed for retail owners or retail professionals who want to advance into senior management roles.

Learn how to connect the dots of the business and take the basic knowledge to the next level of application . 

What is Sales Planning? How to Create a Sales Plan

Jay Fuchs

Published: December 06, 2023

Sales planning is a fundamental component of sound selling. After all, you can‘t structure an effective sales effort if you don’t have, well, structure . Everyone — from the top to the bottom of a sales org — benefits from having solid, actionable, thoughtfully organized sales plans in place.

how to create a sales plan; Sales team creating a sales plan for the upcoming quarter

This kind of planning offers clarity and direction for your sales team — covering everything from the prospects you‘re trying to reach to the goals you’re trying to hit to the insight you're trying to deliver on.

But putting together one of these plans isn‘t always straightforward, so to help you out, I’ve compiled this detailed guide to sales planning — including expert-backed insight and examples — that will ensure your next sales plan is fundamentally sound and effective.

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In this post, we'll cover:

What is a sales plan?

Sales planning process.

  • What goes in a sales plan template?

How to Write a Sales Plan

Tips for creating an effective sales plan, sales plan examples, strategic sales plan examples.

A sales plan lays out your objectives, high-level tactics, target audience, and potential obstacles. It's like a traditional business plan but focuses specifically on your sales strategy. A business plan lays out your goals — a sales plan describes exactly how you'll make those happen.

Sales plans often include information about the business's target customers, revenue goals, team structure, and the strategies and resources necessary for achieving its targets.

simple business plan for retail sales

Free Sales Plan Template

Outline your company's sales strategy in one simple, coherent sales plan.

  • Target Market
  • Prospecting Strategy

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

What are the goals of an effective sales plan?

simple business plan for retail sales

And if (or more likely when ) those goals change over time, you need to regularly communicate those shifts and the strategic adjustments that come with them to your team.

Your sales strategy keeps your sales process productive — it offers the actionable steps your reps can take to deliver on your vision and realize the goals you set. So naturally, you need to communicate it effectively. A sales plan offers a solid resource for that.

For instance, your sales org might notice that your SDRs are posting lackluster cold call conversion rates. In turn, you might want to have them focus primarily on email outreach, or you could experiment with new sales messaging on calls.

Regardless of how you want to approach the situation, a thoughtfully structured sales plan will give both you and your reps a high-level perspective that would inform more cohesive, effective efforts across the team.

An effective sales org is a machine — one where each part has a specific function that serves a specific purpose that needs to be executed in a specific fashion. That's why everyone who comprises that org needs to have a clear understanding of how they specifically play into the company's broader sales strategy.

Outlining roles and responsibilities while sales planning lends itself to more efficient task delegation, improved collaboration, overlap reduction, and increased accountability. All of which amount to more streamlined, smooth, successful sales efforts.

Sales planning can set the framework for gauging how well your team is delivering on your sales strategy. It can inform the benchmarks and milestones reps can use to see how their performance stacks up against your goals and expectations.

It also gives sales leadership a holistic view of how well a sales org is functioning as a whole — giving them the necessary perspective to understand whether they have the right people and tools in place to be as successful as possible.

Sales planning isn‘t (and shouldn’t) be limited to the actual sales plan document it produces. If that document is going to have any substance or practical value, it needs to be the byproduct of a thorough, well-informed, high-level strategy.

When sales planning, you have some key steps you need to cover — including:

  • Gather sales data and search for trends.
  • Define your objectives.
  • Determine metrics for success.
  • Assess the current situation.
  • Start sales forecasting.
  • Identify gaps.
  • Ideate new initiatives.
  • Involve stakeholders.
  • Outline action items.

When putting this list together, I consulted  Zach Drollinger — Senior Director of Sales at edtech provider Coursedog — to ensure the examples detailed below are sound and accurate.

Step 1: Gather sales data and search for trends.

To plan for the present and future, your company needs to look to the past. What did sales look like during the previous year? What about the last five years? Using this information can help you identify trends in your industry. While it's not foolproof, it helps establish a foundation for your sales planning process.

For the sake of example, let‘s say that I’m a new sales director for an edtech company that sells curriculum planning software to higher education institutions. My vertical is community colleges, and my territory is the East Coast.

Once I assume this new role, I‘m going to want to gather as much context as possible about my vertical and how my company has approached it historically. I would pull information about how we’ve sold to this vertical.

How much new business have we closed within it in the past five years? How does that compare to how we perform with other kinds of institutions? Are we seeing significant churn from these customers?

I would also want to get context about the general needs, interests, and pain points of the kinds of institutions I‘m selling to. I’d look for insight into figures like degree velocity, staff retention, and enrollment.

Ultimately, I would get a comprehensive perspective on my sales process — a thorough understanding of where I stand and what my prospects are dealing with. That will ensure that I can deliver on the next step as effectively as possible.

Step 2: Define your objectives.

How do you know your business is doing well if you have no goals? As you can tell from its placement on this list, defining your goals and objectives is one of the first steps you should take in your sales planning process. Once you have them defined, you can move forward with executing them.

To extend the example from the previous step, I would leverage the context I gathered through the research I conducted about both my and my prospect's circumstances. I would start setting both broader goals and more granular operational objectives .

For instance, I might want to set a goal of increasing sales revenue from my vertical. From there, I would start putting together the kind of specific objectives that will facilitate that process — like connecting with administrators from at least 30 community colleges, booking demos with at least 10 schools, and successfully closing at least five institutions.

Obviously, those steps represent a streamlined (and unrealistically straightforward) sales process, but you get the idea — I would set a concrete goal, supplemented by SMART objectives , that will serve as a solid reference point for my org's efforts as the sales process progresses.

Step 3: Determine metrics for success.

Every business is different. One thing we can all agree on is that you need metrics for success. These metrics are key performance indicators (KPIs). What are you going to use to determine if your business is successful? KPIs differ based on your medium, but standard metrics are gross profit margins, return on investment (ROI), daily web traffic users, conversion rate, and more.

I kind of covered this step in the previous example, but it still warrants a bit more elaboration. The “M” in SMART goals (“measurable”) is there for a reason. You can‘t tell if your efforts were successful if you don’t know what “successful” actually means.

The edtech sales example I‘ve been running with revolves mostly around me assuming ownership of an existing vertical and getting more out of it. So it’s fair to assume that sales growth rate — the increase or decrease of sales revenue in a given period, typically expressed as a percentage — would be an effective way to gauge success.

I might want to structure my goals and objectives around a sales growth rate of 20% Y/Y within my vertical. I would make sure my org was familiar with that figure and offer some context about what it would take to reach it — namely, how many institutions we would need to close and retain.

Step 4: Assess the current situation.

How is your business fairing right now? This information is relevant to determining how your current situation holds up to the goals and objectives you set during step two. What are your roadblocks? What are your strengths? Create a list of the obstacles hindering your success. Identify the assets you can use as an advantage. These factors will guide you as you build your sales plan.

Continuing the edtech example, I would use the historical context I gathered and the objectives I set to frame how I look at my current circumstances. I might start by considering my goal of increasing revenue by 20% Y/Y. In that case, I would look at the company's retention figures — ideally, that would give me a sense of whether that needs to be a major area of focus.

I would also try to pin down trends in the colleges that we've already closed — are there any pain points we consistently sell on? I might take a closer look at how we demo to see if we might be glossing over key elements of our value proposition. Maybe, I would use conversation intelligence to get a better sense of how reps are handling their calls.

Ultimately, I would try to identify why we're performing the way we are, the inefficiencies that might be resulting from our current strategy, and how we can best set ourselves up to sell as effectively as possible.

Step 5: Start sales forecasting.

Sales forecasting is an in-depth report that predicts what a salesperson, team, or company will sell weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually. While it is finicky, it can help your company make better decisions when hiring, budgeting, prospecting, and setting goals.

After the COVID-19 pandemic, economics has become less predictable. Claire Fenton , the owner of StrActGro — a professional training and coaching company — states, “Many economic forecasters won't predict beyond three months at a time.” This makes sales forecasting difficult. However, there are tools at your disposal to create accurate sales forecasts .

In our edtech example, I would approach this step by trying to estimate how my sales org is going to fare with the specific vertical we‘re pursuing in the time window we’ve allotted.

The method I decide to go with will depend on factors like how many concrete opportunities we have lined up — in addition to elements like the kind of historical data we have handy, how the reps working these deals tend to perform, and the degree of insight we have about our potential customers.

Let's say I consider those factors and decide to run something called a multivariable analysis. In that case, I could start by taking stock of the opportunities my reps have lined up. Then, I could look at the reps working those deals, their typical win rates, and the time they have to close — among other factors.

For instance, I might calculate that a rep working with a particularly large institution has a 50% chance of closing within the window we‘ve allotted. Using that insight, we could attribute 50% of the potential deal size to our forecast — we’d repeat that process with all of the opportunities in question and ideally get a solid sense of the revenue we can expect to generate in this window.

Step 6: Identify gaps.

When identifying gaps in your business, consider what your company needs now and what you might need in the future. First, identify the skills you feel your employees need to reach your goal. Second, evaluate the skills of your current employees. Once you have this information, you can train employees or hire new ones to fill the gaps.

Continuing the edtech example, let‘s say my forecast turned up results that weren’t in keeping with what we need to reach our goals. If that were the case, I would take a holistic look at our process, operations, and resources to pin down inefficiencies or areas for improvement.

In my search, I find that our sales content and marketing collateral are dated — with case studies that don‘t cover our product’s newest and most relevant features. I also might see that our reps don‘t seem to have too much trouble booking demos, but the demos themselves aren’t converting due to a lack of training and inconsistent messaging.

And finally, I find that a lack of alignment with marketing has prospects focusing on unrealistic outcomes our sales team can‘t deliver on. Once I’ve identified those gaps, I would start to hone in on ways to remedy those issues and improve those elements.

Step 7: Ideate new initiatives.

Many industry trends are cyclical. They phase in and out of “style.” As you build your sales plan, ideate new initiatives based on opportunities you may have passed on in previous years.

If your business exclusively focused on word-of-mouth and social media marketing in the past, consider adding webinars or special promotions to your plan.

In the edtech example we've been running with, I would likely ideate initiatives based on the gaps I identified in the previous step. I would start a push to ensure that our sales content and marketing collateral are up-to-date and impressive.

I would also consider new training programs to ensure that our coaching infrastructure is prioritizing how to conduct effective demos. Finally, I would start to work on a plan with marketing to ensure our messaging is aligned with theirs — so we can make sure prospects' expectations are realistic and effective.

One way or another, I would take the gaps I found and find concrete, actionable ways to fill them. I would make sure that these initiatives aren't abstract. Just saying, " We're going to be better at demos," isn‘t a plan — it’s a sentiment, and sentiments don't translate to hard sales.

Step 8: Involve stakeholders.

Stakeholders are individuals, groups, or organizations with a vested interest in your company. They are typically investors, employees, or customers and often have deciding power in your business. Towards the end of your sales planning process, involve stakeholders from departments that affect your outcomes, such as marketing and product. It leads to an efficient and actionable sales planning process.

This step is sort of an extension of the previous two — once I‘ve identified the key issues and roadblocks obstructing my edtech startup’s sales org, I would start identifying the right people to fulfill the necessary initiatives I've put together.

In this example, I would tap some stakeholders in charge of our sales content and marketing collateral to produce newer, more relevant case studies and whitepapers we can pass along to the institutions we're working with.

I would also go to middle management and either offer more direction for coaching on demos or bring in a third-party training service to offer more focused, professional insight on the issue.

Finally, I would connect with marketing leadership to align on the benefits and outcomes we generally stress when pitching the schools we sell to. That way, we can ensure that the institutions we're connecting with have realistic expectations of our product or service that we can speak to more clearly and effectively.

Step 9: Outline action items.

Once you have implemented this strategy to create your sales planning process, the final step is outlining your action items. Using your company's capacity and quota numbers, build a list of steps that take you through the sales process. Examples of action items are writing a sales call script, identifying industry competitors, or strategizing new incentives or perks.

In our edtech example, some key action items might be:

  • Revamp our prospecting strategy via more involved coaching and re-tooled sales messaging.
  • Revamp administrator and college dean buyer personas.
  • Conduct new trainings on demoing our software.
  • See our new prospecting strategy from ideation to execution.
  • Align with our sales enablement stakeholders for new, more relevant case studies and whitepapers.

Obviously, that list isn‘t exhaustive — but those are still the kinds of steps we would need to clarify and take to structure a more effective high-level strategy to produce different (ideally much better) results than we’ve been seeing.

One thing to keep in mind is that sales planning shouldn't end with creating the document.

You‘ll want to reiterate this process every year to maintain your organization's sales excellence.

Now that you‘re committed to the sales planning process, let's dive into the written execution component of sales planning.

Featured Resource: Sales Plan Template

HubSpot's Sales Plan Template: 10 Section Prompts for Outlining Your Sales Plan

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Outline your company's sales strategy in one simple, coherent plan.

Powerful and easy-to-use sales software that drives productivity, enables customer connection, and supports growing sales orgs

Starting a Business | Templates

4 Free Retail & Online Store Business Plans

Published December 13, 2019

Published Dec 13, 2019

Blake Stockton

WRITTEN BY: Blake Stockton

This article is part of a larger series on Starting a Business .

A retail business plan can help entrepreneurs analyze their business concept and explain why it will be successful. Many banks and investors like to see companies’ strategic plans before agreeing to provide funding. All business plans for retail and online stores should showcase their products and services, financial projections, and marketing strategies.

Before starting your retail or online store, it’s important to register it as a legal entity with the state in which it’s doing business. A legal business entity would protect the business owner’s personal finances if a lawsuit were to ever occur against the business. Rocket Lawyer is an online legal service that assists small business owners with the paperwork needed for legal entity registration. Register your business with Rocket Lawyer for $99 plus state fees.

Visit Rocket Lawyer

Retail Business Plan Templates

We’ve included four retail business plan templates below and separated them into different types, including one for retail product-based storefronts, retail service-based storefronts, retail companies with a storefront and an online store, and retailers that run their business completely online. To understand each section of the business plan template better, we recommend you read our step-by-step business plan guide . All of the templates below include the necessary sections to obtaining funding from a bank or investor.

We’ve included template copies that are in both Microsoft Word and Google Docs. To save the Word document, click on your desired template’s link below. Once it downloads, click “File” within the document, then “Save As” to save the template to your computer.

To save the Google Doc, click your desired template’s link below. Copy all of the words in the document, open a new Google Doc on your account, and paste in the template. The new template will automatically save to your Google Doc account.

Product-based Retail Storefront

Product Based Retail Storefront

Word / Google Doc

Retailers with Storefront And Online Business

Retailers with Storefront and Online Business

Service-based Retail Storefront

Service-Based Retail Storefront

Online Only Retail Store

Online Only Retail Store

How Retail Business Plan Templates Work

These retail and online business plan templates walk you through how to create a plan for your business. They all come with questions in each section and subsection to spark creative thinking and provide direction.

It’s important to note that some businesses will have information that fits into all of the template categories. For example, a bakery can sell products in person and online in addition to providing a service with educational classes to aspiring chefs. If your business happens to have diverse revenue sources like this, choose the template that applies to how the majority of your revenue is earned. For example, if the online store will only earn 1% of overall sales, you should choose the storefront-based business plan template.

Product-based Retail Storefront Template

This template is for a retail business with a storefront that primarily sells products rather than services to customers. Typically, these types of businesses have a local marketing focus. Additionally, inventory and sales staff are important topics to discuss in the business plan. Examples that fall into this business category include clothing boutiques, food businesses, and jewelry companies―essentially, any store that buys and resells items in small quantities, not in bulk like wholesalers.

Download the product retail storefront business plan in Google Doc or Microsoft Word format. PDF isn’t available, because the Table of Contents’ page titles and numbers won’t update after you add new information to the template.

Service-based Retail Storefront Business Plan Template

The service-based retail storefront template is right for anyone who primarily provides a service to its customers. This type of business has a local marketing focus. Additionally, hiring and managing quality staff are discussed in this business plan. Examples of service-based retail storefronts include massage therapist companies, nail salons, product repair, shops, and rental-based businesses.

Download the service-based retail storefront business plan in Google Doc or Microsoft Word . PDF isn’t available because the Table of Contents’ page titles and numbers won’t update when you add new information to the template.

Business Plan for Brick-and-Mortar Retailers With Online Stores

This template is for any retail business that has a storefront and is selling a product online as well. The business plan discusses ecommerce and online marketing strategy in depth. Examples of brick-and-mortar retailers with online stores include memorabilia or comic book stores in addition to shops that sell clothing, outdoor goods, and spices.

Download the retail storefront and online business plan template in Google Doc or Microsoft Word . A PDF version isn’t available, because the page titles and numbers within the Table of Contents won’t update when you add new information to the template.

Online Retailer Business Template

The online store business plan template is for retailers that primarily sell products online. The template emphasizes ecommerce, online marketing, and shipping. It’s best for niche businesses that cannot fund a storefront, such as stores that sell artisan soaps or custom items. Dropshipping businesses will also find the template useful.

Download the online retail business plan in Google Doc or Microsoft Word . A PDF version isn’t available because the Table of Content page titles and numbers won’t update when you add new information to the template.

What All Retail Business Plans Should Include

If you’ve looked at the above templates, you may have noticed that several sections are similar on all four business plans. That’s because no matter your type of business, when writing your business plan , bankers are looking for certain sections, including the Executive Summary, Company Summary, Market & Industry Analysis, Marketing Strategy, Financial Projections, and Appendix.

Executive Summary

This section is an overview of the business plan and is typically one to two pages in length. We recommend completing the executive summary last so that you know which sections are most important to emphasize and expand upon.

It’s important to make the executive summary as persuasive and compelling as possible. Interested investors often request the executive summary first to determine if they should spend time reading the rest of the plan.

Company Summary

The company summary highlights the company’s successes if already in business or why it will be a success if you have a new business. In this section, include information about what you need to purchase to start your business and how much it will cost. Additionally, briefly discuss the company’s ownership structure and its competitive advantage, which is the one big feature that gives your business an edge over competitors.

Market & Industry Analysis

In the market and industry analysis section, make your case as to why your business will be a success. Market analysis is a deep dive into research that you can use to show that there are sufficient customers who need your business. You should research the need in your local area, especially if you’re not operating online, to help prove your business can be successful. Use software like ReferenceUSA to research for free at thousands of local libraries across the United States.

For industry analysis, you need to show evidence that the industry in which you’re starting a business is growing, not shrinking. You can use a paid service like IBIS World to pull industry data. IBIS World’s industry experts update industry forecasts and data around every four months.

The marketing section is where you outline the marketing strategy for your business. The information in this section will vary depending on the type of business you own. For example, some businesses may want to showcase the quality of their interior buildout while others expand into their online marketing strategy. You may even want to discuss the high-quality materials you’ll be creating to promote the business.

Regardless of the marketing strategies you mention, we recommend including as many visual examples as possible. You may want to include one or two visual marketing materials in this section. If you have more materials to showcase or large graphics―a menu or interior rendering―place them in the Appendix ( discussed below ).

Financial Projections

The financial projections are the most important part of any business plan. Unfortunately, they are also the most difficult for business owners to create. In the financial projection section, you should predict how much revenue and expenses will flow through the business during its first three years in operation.

Calculating financial projections can be time-consuming, especially if you have a physical location because you have to research specific costs such as construction, inventory, and utilities. Software can also be a big expense. For instance, payroll tools like Gusto , accounting software like Intuit QuickBooks , cloud-based point-of-sale (POS) systems like Vend , and so on.

Additionally, it can be difficult to predict how much each product or service line will sell month-by-month over the first three years in business. Use software like Biz Miner to obtain yearly startup financials for your industry.

To organize your financial projections, you can use a free Excel workbook from the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE). In the workbook, you’ll find tabs for financial statements that need to be completed, such as the Income Statement, Balance Sheet, and Profit and Loss Statement.

The appendix is optional but recommended for a business plan. This is where you will put supporting documentation for your business. Include items like marketing materials, licenses, permits, leases, purchase agreements, and illustrations.

When to Use a Template Alternative

An alternative to the more traditional retail business plan templates above is a more modern business plan called the Business Model Canvas (BMC) . The BMC is a visual business plan that can be used in a team-building exercise and completed by upper management. Additionally, you should note that if you’re pressed for time, you can complete the BMC in under an hour. The downside of the BMC is that most banks and investors won’t accept it as a business plan.

Many business owners find that creating a business plan is a daunting task. Staring at a blank screen can be intimidating. If you need an alternative to using the templates above, consider using a business plan software to walk you step-by-step through the planning process. LivePlan is an affordable and easy-to-use business plan software that provides more than 500 business plan examples from which to learn. Get started with LivePlan for only $11.66 per month.

Visit LivePlan

Bottom Line

Every retail business owner needs to go through the exercise of creating a business plan. The process helps the owner understand the strengths and potential weaknesses of their business. Use our business plan templates along with the SCORE financial projections workbook to obtain necessary funding for your retail business. You may find yourself struggling with portions of the financial projections. If so, contact an accountant for assistance or use a business plan software.

If you’re on a tight budget and need legal advice about your business, you can contact an online legal service. Rocket Lawyer provides affordable expert legal advice to business owners. Get started with a 30-minute consultation from a Rocket Lawyer attorney for $59.99.

About the Author

Blake Stockton

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Blake Stockton

Blake Stockton is a staff writer at Fit Small Business focusing on how to start brick-and-mortar and online businesses. He is a frequent guest lecturer at several undergraduate business and MBA classes at University of North Florida . Prior to joining Fit Small Business, Blake consulted with over 700 small biz owners and assisted with starting and growing their businesses.

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Simple Business Plan Templates

By Joe Weller | April 2, 2020

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In this article, we’ve compiled a variety of simple business plan templates, all of which are free to download in PDF, Word, and Excel formats.

On this page, you’ll find a one-page business plan template , a simple business plan for startups , a small-business plan template , a business plan outline , and more. We also include a business plan sample and the main components of a business plan to help get you started.

Simple Business Plan Template

Simple Business Plan Template

Download Simple Business Plan Template

This simple business plan template lays out each element of a traditional business plan to assist you as you build your own, and it provides space to add financing information for startups seeking funding. You can use and customize this simple business plan template to fit the needs for organizations of any size.

One-Page Business Plan Template

simple business plan for retail sales

Download One-Page Business Plan Template

Excel | Word | PDF  | Smartsheet

Use this one-page business plan to document your key ideas in an organized manner. The template can help you create a high-level view of your business plan, and it provides easy scannability for stakeholders. You can use this one-page plan as a reference to build a more detailed blueprint for your business. 

For additional single page plans, take a look at " One-Page Business Plan Templates with a Quick How-To Guide ."

Simple Fill-in-the-Blank Business Plan Template

Simple Fill In The Blank Business Plan Template

Download Simple Fill-in-the-Blank Business Plan Template

Use this fill-in-the-blank business plan template to guide you as you build your business plan. Each section comes pre-filled with sample content, with space to add customized verbiage relevant to your product or service.

For additional free, downloadable resources, visit " Free Fill-In-the-Blank Business Plan Templates ."

Simple Business Plan for Startup

Start-Up Business Plan Template

‌ Download Startup Business Plan Template — Word

This business plan template is designed with a startup business in mind and contains the essential elements needed to convey key product or service details to investors and stakeholders. Keep all your information organized with this template, which provides space to include an executive summary, a company overview, competitive analysis, a marketing strategy, financial data, and more. For additional resources, visit " Free Startup Business Plan Templates and Examples ."

Simple Small-Business Plan Template

Small Business Plan Template

Download Simple Small-Business Plan Template

This template walks you through each component of a small-business plan, including the company background, the introduction of the management team, market analysis, product or service offerings, a financial plan, and more. This template also comes with a built-in table of contents to keep your plan in order, and it can be customized to fit your requirements.

Lean Business Plan Template

Lean Business Plan Template

Download Lean Business Plan Template

This lean business plan template is a stripped-down version of a traditional business plan that provides only the most essential aspects. Briefly outline your company and industry overview, along with the problem you are solving, as well as your unique value proposition, target market, and key performance metrics. There is also room to list out a timeline of key activities.

Simple Business Plan Outline Template

Simple Business Plan Outline Template

Download Simple Business Plan Outline Template

Word  | PDF

Use this simple business plan outline as a basis to create your own business plan. This template contains 11 sections, including a title page and a table of contents, which details what each section should cover in a traditional business plan. Simplify or expand this outline to create the foundation for a business plan that fits your business needs.

Simple Business Planning Template with Timeline

Simple Business Planning Template with Timeline

Download Simple Business Planning Template with Timeline

Excel | Smartsheet

This template doubles as a project plan and timeline to track progress as you develop your business plan. This business planning template enables you to break down your work into phases and provides room to add key tasks and dates for each activity. Easily fill in the cells according to the start and end dates to create a visual timeline, as well as to ensure your plan stays on track.

Simple Business Plan Rubric Template

simple business plan for retail sales

Download Simple Business Plan Rubric

Excel | Word | PDF | Smartsheet

Once you complete your business plan, use this business plan rubric template to assess and score each component of your plan. This rubric helps you identify elements of your plan that meet or exceed requirements and pinpoint areas where you need to improve or further elaborate. This template is an invaluable tool to ensure your business plan clearly defines your goals, objectives, and plan of action in order to gain buy-in from potential investors, stakeholders, and partners.

Basic Business Plan Sample

Basic Business Plan Sample

Download Basic Business Plan Sample

This business plan sample serves as an example of a basic business plan that contains all the traditional components. The sample provides a model of what a business plan might look like for a fictional food truck business. Reference this sample as you develop your own business plan.

For additional resources to help support your business planning efforts, check out “ Free Strategic Planning Templates .”

Main Components of a Business Plan

The elements you include in your business plan will depend on your product or service offerings, as well as the size and needs of your business. 

Below are the components of a standard business plan and details you should include in each section:

  • Company name and contact information
  • Website address
  • The name of the company or individual viewing the presentation
  • Table of Contents
  • Company background and purpose
  • Mission and vision statement
  • Management team introduction
  • Core product and service offerings
  • Target customers and segments
  • Marketing plan
  • Competitive analysis
  • Unique value proposition
  • Financial plan (and requirements, if applicable)
  • Business and industry overview
  • Historical timeline of your business
  • Offerings and the problem they solve
  • Current alternatives
  • Competitive advantage
  • Market size
  • Target market segment(s)
  • Projected volume and value of sales compared to competitors
  • Differentiation from competitors
  • Pricing strategy
  • Marketing channels
  • Promotional plan
  • Distribution methods
  • Legal structure of your business
  • Names of founders, owners, advisors, etc.
  • Management team’s roles, relevant experience, and compensation plan
  • Staffing requirements and training plans
  • Physical location(s) of your business
  • Additional physical requirements (e.g., warehouse, specialized equipment, facilities, etc.)
  • Production workflow
  • Raw materials and sourcing methods
  • Projected income statement
  • Projected cash flow statement
  • Projected balance sheet
  • Break-even analysis
  • Charts and graphs
  • Market research and competitive analysis
  • Information about your industry
  • Information about your offerings
  • Samples of marketing materials
  • Other supporting materials

Tips for Creating a Business Plan

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at the thought of putting together a business plan. Below, you’ll find top tips to help simplify the process as you develop your own plan. 

  • Use a business plan template (you can choose from the variety above), or refer to the previous section to create a standard outline for your plan.
  • Modify your outline to reflect the requirements of your specific business. If you use a standard business plan outline, remove sections that aren’t relevant to you or aren’t necessary to run your business.
  • Gather all the information you currently have about your business first, and then use that information to fill out each section in your plan outline.
  • Use your resources and conduct additional research to fill in the remaining gaps. (Note: It isn’t necessary to fill out your plan in order, but the executive summary needs to be completed last, as it summarizes the key points in your plan.)
  • Ensure your plan clearly communicates the relationship between your marketing, sales, and financial objectives.
  • Provide details in your plan that illustrate your strategic plan of action, looking forward three to five years.
  • Revisit your plan regularly as strategies and objectives evolve.
  • What product or service are we offering?
  • Who is the product or service for?
  • What problem does our product or service offering solve?
  • How will we get the product or service to our target customers?
  • Why is our product or service better than the alternatives?
  • How can we outperform our competitors?
  • What is our unique value proposition?
  • When will things get done, and who is responsible for doing them?
  • If you need to obtain funding, how will you use the funding?
  • When are payments due, and when do payments come in?
  • What is the ultimate purpose of your business?
  • When do you expect to be profitable?

To identify which type of business plan you should write, and for more helpful tips, take a look at our guide to writing a simple business plan .

Benefits of Using a Business Plan Template

Creating a business plan can be very time-consuming, especially if you aren’t sure where to begin. Finding the right template for your business needs can be beneficial for a variety of reasons. 

Using a business plan template — instead of creating your plan from scratch — can benefit you in the following ways:

  • Enables you to immediately write down your thoughts and ideas in an organized manner
  • Provides structure to help outline your plan
  • Saves time and valuable resources
  • Helps ensure you don’t miss essential details

Limitations of a Business Plan Template

A business plan template can be convenient, but it has its drawbacks — especially if you use a template that doesn’t fit the specific needs of your business.

Below are some limitations of using a business plan template:

  • Each business is unique and needs a business plan that reflects that. A template may not fit your needs.
  • A template may restrict collaboration with other team members on different aspects of the plan’s development (sales, marketing, and accounting teams).
  • Multiple files containing different versions of the plan may be stored in more than one place.
  • You still have to manually create charts and graphs to add to the plan to support your strategy.
  • Updates to the plan, spreadsheets, and supporting documents have to be made in multiple places (all documents may not update in real time as changes are made).

Improve Your Business Plan with Real-Time Work Management in Smartsheet

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When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time.  Try Smartsheet for free, today.

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10 Free Sales Plan Templates for an Effective Sales Strategy

ClickUp Contributor

February 15, 2024

Every sales team wants to win more leads and close more deals. But how do you make that happen? With a solid sales plan, of course! 

A sales plan gives your team a way to focus on your goals while taking only the necessary steps to get there. It has everything you need to win, which means it’s often a comprehensive guide—and that takes time.

And we’re guessing you’re already pressed for time. ⏲️

Fortunately, creating a plan doesn’t have to be complicated—with the right template, you can simplify the process.

That’s why we’re sharing this list of the best sales plan templates. Not only are these sales strategy templates absolutely free but they’ll also save you time so you can start closing those deals faster. ⚡

What Is a Sales Plan and Why Create One?

1. clickup sales plan template, 2. clickup sales and marketing plan template, 3. clickup sales strategy guide template, 4. clickup sales pipeline template, 5. clickup sales kpi template, 6. clickup b2b sales strategy template, 7. clickup sales calls template, 8. word sales plan template by business news daily, 9. word sales plan template by templatelab, 10. excel sales plan template by spreadsheet.com.

A sales plan is your roadmap for how to make sales effectively. Think of it in the same way that a business plan guides the strategy for your company or a marketing plan sets out how you’ll find, reach, and serve your ideal customers. 

clickup goals feature

A good sales plan sets out your sales goals , objectives, and sales activities. It considers your target audience, brand, products, services, and needs—and covers which sales tactics and strategies you’ll use to close deals, as well as which metrics you’ll use to measure success. 

Your sales plan is a practical plan that outlines who’s responsible for what, the resources you’ll need, and the overall goals you’re working toward. Without one, your sales team will feel lost and struggle to connect with your customer base.

With a strategic sales plan, though, the sales manager and the entire team will know exactly what you’re trying to achieve and the steps needed to get there. 📚

How to choose the best sales plan template

There are so many different sales plan templates out there. Some are designed for specific niche audiences, while others are more generic and easier to customize. How do you know which is the right template for you?

When you’re thinking about using a sales plan template, consider the following: 

  • Ease of use: Is the template easy to use? Will everyone in the team structure and sales planning process be able to understand it fully?
  • Customization: Can I personalize the template to match my sales goals?

targets in clickup goals

  • Collaboration: Can my sales team work on this template together?
  • Integrations: When I create a sales plan, can I integrate this template with other aspects of my sales pipeline or workflow, like task management?
  • Artificial intelligence: Can I use a built-in AI writing tool or copywriting tool to help me complete the template? Are there automation features that speed up the process?
  • Platform: Which sales app is this template for? Do I have it already, or should I invest in it? What’s the pricing like?

Asking yourself these questions will help you figure out what your needs are, so you can then choose a template to match. 

10 Sales Plan Templates to Help You Close Your Next Deal

Now that you have a better idea of what you’re looking for, let’s explore what’s out there. Take a look at our hand-picked selection of the best sales plan templates available today for Microsoft Word and sales enablement tools like ClickUp.

Create and organize tasks by team, deliverable type, priority, due dates, and approval state with the ClickUp Sales Plan Template

Smart sales teams use a sales plan to map out their route to success. The best sales teams use the Sales Plan Template by ClickUp to simplify the process and ensure they don’t leave anything out.

This template is designed with all the structure you need to create a comprehensive sales plan that can drive results. Use this template to set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) business goals; plan strategies and tactics; and organize all your sales ideas in one place.

The list-style template is split into sections that cover the executive summary all the way through to specific tactics and strategies. Beneath this, you can arrange tasks and subtasks, and see the progress at a glance. View task titles, deadlines, who’s responsible, approval status, and a visual progress bar.

Use this template if you want to consolidate all your sales tasks and initiatives in one area. Add your sales tasks and tactics, then tag team members so you can see what’s happening and hold everyone accountable. ✅

Use the Sales and Marketing Template by ClickUp to set goals and collaborate on campaigns

While sales and marketing teams often work independently, sometimes it’s useful to collaborate on shared goals. With the Sales and Marketing Plan Template by ClickUp , you can organize and run your sales and marketing operations from one location.

Our collaborative template makes it easy to set sales and marketing goals and objectives, visualize your tasks, work together on sales and marketing campaigns, and track your results in real-time. View the status of your sales and marketing projects, adjust your plans, and monitor your key performance indicators (KPIs)—all from one view.

This sales and marketing plan template allows you to split your tasks into sections. The examples in the template include revenue goals, competitive analysis, and action items, but you can customize these to match your needs exactly.

View tasks beneath these categories to see at a glance whether there are any roadblocks when a task is due, and who is responsible for it.

Add this template to your collection if you want to work more collaboratively with your marketing team—especially on preparing assets for sales calls or outreach programs. 📞

The ClickUp Sales Strategy Guide Template can help you determine the right way to promote your product by answering predefined questions

Before you can plan your sales tactics, you first need to decide what your overall goals are. The Sales Strategy Guide Template by ClickUp is your go-to resource for determining your approach.

This sales process template explains the benefits of having a well-defined approach and gives you a central place to create, review, and store your own. Everyone on your team can then access your sales strategy guide to help them understand what to do when prospecting and closing deals.

Our sales goals and strategy guide template is presented in a document format. Some sections and headings allow you to split your guide into different areas, making it easier to read and understand.

Use the prompts to fill out your own strategy guide details like your target market, sales strategies, and how you’ll monitor progress.

Use this sales strategy guide template to create a resource for your team. Make it the only destination for everything your sales reps need to know to execute an effective sales plan. 📝

Track your leads and deals, applying a consistent deal qualification framework and deal process to increase sales.

Sales strategies are a must-have for any great sales team, but beyond that, you need a way to record and monitor specific tasks or initiatives. That’s where the Sales Pipeline Template by ClickUp comes in handy whether you need a visual into sales forecasting or your specific sales goals.

This sales pipeline template gives you one place to store all your daily sales-related tasks. With this template, it’s easy to work toward your sales goals, track leads, map out each step of the sales process, and organize all your tasks in one place.

You can view a task’s title, assignee, status, due date, complexity level, start date, and department—or customize the experience with your own custom fields. 

Sales KPIs are essential to measuring the success of your sales strategy.

With ClickUp’s Sales KPI Template , you and your team can create and manage goals surrounding your sales initiatives. See instantly what’s in progress and when it’s due, alongside the task’s impact level.

This allows you to identify high-priority tasks to focus on and to react quickly if it looks like there’s a roadblock.

This sales KPI template includes:

  • Custom Statuses: Create tasks with custom statuses such as Open and Complete to keep track of the progress of each KPI
  • Custom Fields: Utilize 15 different custom attributes such as Upsell Attempts, Value of Quotes, Product Cost, No of Quotes by Unit, Repeat Sales Revenue, to save vital KPI information and easily visualize performance data
  • Custom Views: Open 4 different views in different ClickUp configurations, such as the Weekly Report, Monthly Report, Revenue Board per Month, and Getting Started Guide so that all the information is easy to access and organized
  • Project Management: Improve KPI tracking with tagging, dependency warnings, emails, and more

This template gives you a simple way to see which tasks are complete or in progress, so you can monitor the progress of your project and crush your sales KPIs. 📈

The ClickUp B2B Sales Strategy Template guides you through the process of creating an effective plan and list of objectives for your sales team

While there’s not a huge difference in the way we market to business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) customers these days, it’s still useful to have specific templates for niche needs. If you’re driving sales in the B2B space, you need the B2B Sales Strategy Template by ClickUp .

Like our first sales plan template, this one gives you space to communicate your sales objectives and revenue targets, but it also introduces other areas—like market research, stakeholder analysis, customer relationships, buyer persona, and customer pain points. 

This document-style template is highly customizable so you can make it match your brand style and sales approach. Fill in each section and use the supplied prompts to complete your B2B sales strategy document even faster. 

Add this template to your collection if you’re working in B2B sales and want to approach your process in a more organized way. Use the template to build a strong sales strategy, then share it with the rest of your sales team so they know how to execute against your sales and company goals. 🎯

Sales Calls Template offers you a sales calls pipeline that helps you convert prospecting leads to your clients.

ClickUp’s Sales Calls Template is designed to streamline the sales process, from tracking contacts and calls to managing sales opportunities.

The template includes custom statuses for creating unique workflows, ensuring that every call and client interaction is accounted for. It also provides an easy-to-use Sales CRM to manage and track leads, visualize sales opportunities in the sales funnel, and keep all contacts organized.

With additional features like the Sales Phone Calls SOP Template, sales professionals can empower their teams to make every call count and close more deals. ClickUp’s Sales Calls Template is a versatile solution for sales teams, aiding in everything from daily calls to long-term sales forecasting.

An example of Word Sales Plan Template by Business News Daily

We’re big advocates of using ClickUp as the go-to place to store everything about your sales workflow, but if you’re limited to using Microsoft Word or Google Docs, then this template is a great option.

This sales business plan template has sections for your executive summary, mission statement, target customers, sales targets, benchmarks, and more. Each section has useful prompts to guide you on completing your new sales plan.

Use this template if you’re tied to using Microsoft Word and want a comprehensive guide on how to create your own sales plan or sales strategy. 📄

An example of Word Sales Plan Templates by TemplateLab

If you want a free sales plan template or want to choose from a variety of options, this collection of Word templates by TemplateLab is a good place to do that.

There’s a wide range of options available including sales process plans, lead generation plans, sales action plans, and sales report templates . Each template works with Microsoft Word, and you can customize the look and feel to match your brand or your sales goals.

Use this resource if you prefer to see a range of templates on one page, or if you’re not sure exactly what you’re looking for until you see it. You can easily set your sales goals and the action steps needed to achieve them. 📃

Successful sales strategies need to be integrated with other teams—like your marketing department—to ensure your sales objectives are clear and possibly align with the overall marketing strategy too. Choose your specific sales goals, set revenue targets, and describe everything in detail with these Word sales planning and sales process templates.

simple business plan for retail sales

The Excel Sales Plan Template by Spreadsheet.com is a comprehensive and user-friendly tool designed to assist businesses in developing effective sales strategies and managing their sales activities.

T his template is crafted with the aim of providing a structured framework for sales planning, enabling organizations to set clear objectives, track performance, and optimize their sales processes.

Reach Sales Goals With Free Sales Plan Templates

A strategic sales plan makes it easier to achieve your goals. Give your team the guidance and support they need with the help of a well-crafted free sales plan template.

If you’re considering making even more improvements in how you work, try ClickUp for free . We don’t just have incredible sales process templates: Our range of features and AI tools for sales make it easy for you to optimize and run your entire sales funnel and CRM system from one place. ✨

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Retail Store Business Plan

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Retail store is a competitive business as competition is intense in this segment. Moreover, many big giants are investing more in e-commerce and digital marketing, making this business even tougher day by day.

Having a physical retail store that offers a shopping experience along with products is a dream for many. It is not only because of the size of a business but the potential and opportunities such a business offers.

And if you are an individual who likes to interact with people, constantly improve your way of doing business, and form communities that work towards something, then you might have thought of having your retail store business.

Now, a retail store has great potential for success, but it is also a very competitive business. You’ll need a retail store business plan to help you stand apart from your competition and have a thriving business.

Industry Overview

Research suggests total retail sales in the United States were projected to amount to 6.03 trillion U.S. dollars in 2022, up from around 5.4 trillion U.S. dollars in 2018, according to the National Retail Federation .

Retail businesses come in many forms such as grocery stores, restaurants, and bookstores. There are around 4 million retail businesses in the United States alone.

The domestic retail market in the United States is very competitive, with many companies recording strong retail sales. Walmart, a retail chain giving low prices and a wide selection of products, is the front-runner in the United States. Amazon, The Kroger Co., Costco, and Target are a selection of other notable U.S. retailers.

Now, to have any genuine hope of getting noticed in such a jammed industry, you need a solid business plan to get success.

Say goodbye to boring templates

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Plans starting from $7/month

simple business plan for retail sales

Things to Consider Before Writing Your Retail Store Business Plan

Build a brand image.

A brand image goes a long way for any business, especially for a retail store. It is crucial to pay attention to what people think about your store, what emotions they associate your brand with, and how they perceive your products in general. Above all, what qualities make you different from your competitors?

Pick the right location

A retail store’s location can make or break the deal. Hence, it is very important to pick a location that is both convenient and accessible for your customers. As people are always running short of time, they prefer a store that is on the way and takes less time to get to. It can also act as your USP over the bigger retail stores.

Plan a good store design

A good store design that follows the major principles of consumer psychology is essential for a retail store. The strategic placement of products influences a customer’s buying decisions. Hence, you need to pay attention to it and design your store in a way that maximizes your sales.

Build communities that promote your brand

Building communities that stand by and promote the idea of your brand can be extremely beneficial for your retail store. Hence, ensure that you work towards building one. These communities can be driven by anything from a common belief to a certain cause that your brand stands for.

How Business Plan Can Help?

Regardless if you’ve been operating for a long time already, by writing up a business plan for your retail store, you can get an overview of what you want to achieve with your business, and guidelines for how you’ll achieve your goals.

A retail business plan is a solid foundation for the success of your business, whether you seek funding or not. It helps you see clearly what your business looks like and how it’s positioned in your target market.

If you need to get funding, your retail business plan will work as proof that you and your business are good for investment. Studies suggest you can double your chances of securing a loan with a business plan and grow your business.

How to Write a Retail Store Business Plan?

Writing a retail store business plan requires a good amount of research, a thoroughly competitive and customer analysis, and a little bit of extra help.

You can get help for writing your plan either through a premade template on the internet or through an online business plan software which will help you write a customizable plan anywhere and at any time.

Before you start writing your business plan for your new Retail store business, spend as much time as you can reading through some examples of retail & e-commerce-related business plans .

We have created this sample business plan for you to get a good idea about how a perfect retail store business plan should look like and what details you will need to include in your stunning business plan.

Retail Store Business Plan Outline

This is the standard business plan outline which will cover all important sections that you should include in your business plan.

  • Company Profile Summary
  • Market Research Summary
  • Marketing Summary
  • Finance Summary
  • Business Overview
  • Company History
  • Legal Structure Vision & Mission
  • Industry Profile & Market Size
  • Local Market
  • Target Market
  • Competitor Analysis
  • Keys to Success
  • Customer Survey Summary
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Products and Services
  • Pricing Strategy
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Primary Marketing Activities
  • Positioning Statement
  • The Sales Process
  • Strategic Alliances
  • Location(s)
  • Legal Issues
  • Insurance Issues
  • Human Resources (Or Team)
  • Process/Production
  • Risk Assessment
  • Startup Funding & Capital
  • Start-Up Costs
  • Sales Forecast
  • Projected Profit & Loss

What to include in a Retail Store Business Plan?

A retail store business plan consists of several different aspects. The major ones are as follows:

1. Executive Summary

The executive summary gives an overview of what your business stands for the reader. It should be written in such a way that even an outsider could get an idea of what your business is all about.

This section mainly comprises your business summary, your vision and mission statement, and your financial summary.

2. Company Profile

The company summary or company profile section of your business plan would consist of everything about your company, ranging from its location to information about your team.

While the executive summary section consists of information about the functional aspects of your business, a company summary consists of information about the structural aspects of your business.

While writing a company summary, it is a good practice to take suggestions from your team, as this section represents you as a team of individuals more than representing you as a brick-and-mortar company.

3. Market Research

Conducting market research helps you understand what you are getting yourself into. It helps you understand your target market, your competitors, and the working of the industry in general.

You can conduct thorough market research by using tools like PESTEL analysis or SWOT analysis . These tools help you conduct research specific to your business and prevent you from wasting your time on vague data.

4. Marketing Plan

As a retail store, it is your primary job to let your customers know about your existence. And to retain them once they start coming to your store.

A good marketing plan would help you do just that.

Based on the information you have gathered about your target audience through market research you can design your marketing campaign and promotional offers that’ll appeal to your customer base.

5. Operations

As a retail store, a proper operations plan can prevent your business from turning into a chaotic mess. An operations plan consists of your business’s logistic and functional information. It helps an outsider see what a typical day at your business looks like.

It also consists of your long-term and short-term goals. As well as the milestones you’ll have to reach for achieving them.

As a retail store business, your operations plan would consist of your supply renewal cycles, your backup distributors, a plan for the working of your store, your daily sales targets, and your long-term expansion goals, etc.

6. Financial Plan

A financial plan ensures that your business sails smoothly through tough times and also generates maximum profits.

It would consist of your funding requirements, cash flow projections, and profit forecasts.

As a retail store, your financial plan would consist of the funding requirements for setting up your store, buying supplies, and hiring people. It would also consist of your projected profits and break-even analysis.

Download a sample retail store business plan

Need help writing your business plan from scratch? Here you go;  download our free retail store business plan pdf  to start.

It’s a modern business plan template specifically designed for your retail store business. Use the example business plan as a guide for writing your own.

The Quickest Way to turn a Business Idea into a Business Plan

Fill-in-the-blanks and automatic financials make it easy.

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Retail Store Business Plan Summary

In conclusion, a retail store business plan helps you organize and manage your store better. It takes care of everything that goes behind the scenes of running a retail store, so you can greet your customers with a smile.

From angry customers to poorly stocked supplies, a business plan can save you from all of it.

After getting started with Upmetrics , you can copy this retail store business plan template into your business plan and modify the required information and download your retail store business plan pdf or doc file.

It’s the fastest and easiest way to start writing your business plan.

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About the Author

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Upmetrics Team

Upmetrics is the #1 business planning software that helps entrepreneurs and business owners create investment-ready business plans using AI. We regularly share business planning insights on our blog. Check out the Upmetrics blog for such interesting reads. Read more

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Strategic Retail Planning Process: The Right Way To Do It

Download our free Retail Strategy Template Download this template

Get ready to chart a new course in the retail industry! The waters are rough, with economic uncertainty, consumer expectations shifting, and game-changing megatrends like e-commerce, sustainability, and digitalization shaking up established business models.

The traditional approach to strategic planning is no longer enough to steer you to success. But don’t get discouraged just yet! 

In this article, we'll explore why the usual approach is falling short and reveal a proven, highly effective 6-step retail strategic planning process. We’ll show you a real-world example of a strategic plan from one of the largest global retailers. 

We'll also arm you with a comprehensive retail strategic plan template to help you create and execute a winning strategy that will gain your organization a competitive advantage and unlock growth potential. 

Here’s what we’re going to cover:

Why the Traditional Approach to Strategic Planning in Retail Falls Short

  • 6 Steps of Highly Effective Strategic Retail Planning  
  • Retail Strategic Plan Example + Template 
  • The Key to Retail Success in 2023: An Execution-Ready Strategic Plan

Free Template Download our free Retail Strategy Template Download this template

Today's retail market demands a different approach to strategic planning, as long-term planning cycles and spreadsheets are no longer effective. This traditional approach is disconnected from day-to-day operations and business leaders focus too much on planning and perfecting their strategies instead of executing them. As a result, their strategies are bound to fail before they even hit the ground.

Here’s why:

  • Dynamic market conditions and global supply chain disruptions: The retail industry is constantly changing, making it hard to stick to a long-term plan.
  • Digitalization and technology disruptions: Digital transformation requires quick action and rapid adaptation across all levels of the organization, but the traditional approach can’t break through organizational siloes and keep up with the pace of change. 
  • Increased consumer expectations: With customers' expectations constantly shifting, relying on the slow and rigid approach to strategic planning can result in a market share loss. 

These factors highlight the need for a more flexible, adaptable approach to the strategic retail planning process and retail operating model. By adopting an execution-first mindset, data-driven, and flexible approach to retail strategy, retailers can accelerate their digital transformation , stay ahead of the competition and deliver profitable growth. 

📚 Recommended read: Strategy study: How Costco's Unique Business Model Resulted In Global Success

6 Steps of Highly Effective Strategic Retail Planning   

In the steps below, you’ll discover how to develop a retail strategy on a corporate level, connect the dots between strategy and day-to-day execution, and integrate fast adaptability into your retail operations. 

Let's unpack how you can get it right:

1. Start with a situational analysis

The first step of effective strategic retail planning is conducting a thorough situational analysis. This strategic analysis involves evaluating both internal and external factors that may impact your retail business.

One useful tool in this process is a SWOT analysis , which evaluates the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of your retail business. 

The internal analysis should look closely at your company's strengths and weaknesses, while the external analysis should examine the opportunities and threats in the competitive landscape , economic conditions, industry trends, and broader market forces.

You can also take advantage of other analysis tools for a more in-depth analysis of the external environment, such as PESTLE analysis or Porter’s 5 Forces . 

💡Here's a pro tip: Even if you’re planning at a corporate level, you shouldn’t neglect your key stakeholders in this step. These people will be responsible for bringing your retail business strategy to life, so it's important to get their input. Here are some examples: 

  • Your retail marketing team will tell you more about your competitors, market segmentation, and target market demographics. Plus, they should give you insight into which growth and marketing strategies are best for different target markets. 
  • Your merchandise management team can give you insights into merchandise planning and pricing strategies that work best to maximize turnovers. 

On top of that, when they're a part of the process, they'll feel more invested in making your strategy a success.

📚 Recommended read: How To Effectively Co-create Strategy At Your Organization (Recap of the workshop led by Ilana Rosen, Director of Strategy at Old Navy)

2. Get insights from your consumers

Consumer-centric strategies are one of the key factors in securing a successful retail business. Did you know that companies can reduce operational costs by 10 to 25 percent as a result of improved customer experience and digital transformation? That's why it's important to get insights from your consumers.

Your goal needs to be to have a complete, 360 view of your consumer. You can start by looking at demographics. What’s your target audience? What are their backgrounds, habits, and motivations? What does their typical customer journey look like? 

By informing your retail strategy with consumer insights, you’ll be able to ground your strategy in data and set your business up for success. Let’s look at Nike , for example. They realized that a large portion of their customers were young athletes who wanted more from their gear to enhance their performance. This insight led to the creation of Nike's innovative "Dri-Fit" line, which has become a staple for athletes around the world.

By conducting a comprehensive consumer behavior analysis, you will gain a better understanding of consumer behavior and their needs. With these insights, you can then identify areas for improvement, innovation, and strategic opportunities for growth. 

📚 Recommended read: How Nike Runs The Sportswear Game

3. Develop an overarching retail strategy, set objectives, and build a roadmap

In the second step of effective strategic retail planning, you'll want to outline general business intent, formulate your overarching retail strategy and build a strategic roadmap. This includes defining your strategic priorities and key retail objectives, and determining the measures of success. 

To help you with this process, you may find it helpful to use a strategic plan template, such as this one → Retail Strategy Template by Cascade . 

To create a robust strategy and roadmap, there are several key elements that you should include:

🔎Focus areas: Outline the specific areas of the business that your strategy will focus on. For example, a focus area for a retail business might be boosting digital growth, improving customer experience in-store, expanding into new markets, elevating customer omnichannel experience, or enhancing inventory management. 

📌Key Retail Objectives: Define specific, measurable, time-bound, and achievable objectives for each strategic focus area. For example, increasing customer satisfaction by 10% in the next 12 months, or launching a new e-commerce platform within the next six months.

📈Measures of Success: This defines how the success of your strategies will be evaluated. For example, a KPI (Key Performance Indicator) for a retail business might be customer satisfaction scores, the number of active loyalty customers, market share, or online sales growth. 

📤Action Plan: Break the overall strategic plan down into smaller, short-term, and specific actions or projects you need to take to achieve your long-term objectives and prioritize the most critical initiatives. This might include launching a new mobile app, investing in a new CRM system, hiring additional staff, improving on-shelf availability, or training employees on customer service.

📅Timelines: Establish deadlines for key milestones and deliverables to ensure you stay on track and meet your objectives.

😎Owners: Identify who will be responsible for executing each aspect of the strategy. This could include anyone from your senior management or division managers. 

💰 Budget: Allocate financial resources that will be required to implement strategies and keep track of the budget spent. 

By including these key elements in your retail planning strategy and roadmap, you'll have a clear understanding of where you want to take your business and how you'll get there. The roadmap will serve as a guiding principle as you move forward with the rest of your strategic planning process and strategy execution.  

👉 Here’s how Cascade can help you in this step: 

With Cascade’s strategic planning feature , you'll have a clear, visual representation of your strategic plan and roadmap, making it easy to see how each aspect of your strategy fits together and how you're progressing toward your goals.

timeline feature roadmap plan in cascade

Say goodbye to confusing and complex spreadsheets - with Cascade, you'll have all the information you need in one place. And, the best part? It's not just a pretty picture - Cascade helps you track progress and measure success, ensuring that you're always on the right track to achieving your retail objectives.

4. Align retail operations with the overarching business strategy

Step three is all about getting your people on board! Sharing the company strategy with your teams is crucial. Not only does it give them a clear understanding of what the big picture looks like, but it also helps ensure their daily efforts are connected to corporate goals.

However, one of the key problems in the goal-setting process , especially in larger, complex, and multinational organizations, is that it can become "opaque — with clarity diminishing" as goals are passed down through the hierarchy, according to the report Reimagining Performance Management from AICPA & CIMA and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

With Cascade, it's easy to cascade corporate goals and make sure everyone's focused on the right strategic initiatives to keep the business moving forward and delivering on the corporate strategy. 

👉 Here’s how Cascade can help you: 

With Cascade, you can easily link strategic objectives to individual business unit plans or departmental plans, so you and your teams can see the direct connection between their initiatives and their impact on corporate goals.

strategic alignment in cascade

Plus, it makes communication and cross-collaboration between teams a breeze, so everyone is always in sync. Say goodbye to misaligned efforts and hello to a seamless, aligned strategy execution with Cascade.

5. Time to execute your retail strategic plan!

The fifth step is all about putting your plan into action! It's time to stop just talking the talk, and start walking the walk. You've developed a fantastic retail strategy, now it's time to share it with the world (or at least, your organization). Make sure everyone understands your overarching retail business strategy and how it fits into the bigger picture. Here are some tips to help you communicate it effectively:

  • Make it accessible: Don't hide your strategy in a dusty PowerPoint presentation; make sure it's available in one easily accessible place for everyone in the organization. This will help you to keep strategy relevant and alive throughout the execution phase. 
  • Lead by example: As a leader, you should set the tone and lead by example. Encourage everyone to take ownership of the strategy and be proactive in its execution.
  • Use different communication channels: Different people prefer different communication styles, so make sure to use a variety of channels. Ankur Gupta, Principal of the Strategic Planning Office at FedEx, suggests regular town halls and announcements from the senior leadership. Try intranet sites, regular meetings, and daily standups. Or personally visit the company’s retail stores. This will help you to build trust with store managers and frontline workers and get buy-in into what needs to be done to successfully execute your strategy.  

By following these tips, you'll be well on your way to executing your retail strategy and achieving your goals!

Cascade creates a centralized place for your strategy and is easily accessible to everyone who needs to be involved in strategy execution. Plus, you can manage your organization's strategy in a secure hub, allowing only those with permission to access sensitive information.

6. Monitor and adapt as you go

In this final step of the strategic retail planning process, it's crucial to have an effective performance management system in place to monitor progress, analyze performance, and make data-driven decisions. The goal is to make sure the retail business stays on track to achieve its objectives and to make quick adjustments along the way. 

Here’s what you should do in this step to ensure successful strategy execution: 

  • Move beyond manual reporting: Many retailers rely on manual methods of compiling reports, which can be time-consuming and result in missed opportunities. To access sales performance, cost, and profitability information in real-time, it's essential to embrace automation and end-to-end visibility in the strategic retail planning process and its execution.
  • Establish an effective performance management system: Regular quarterly reviews, scheduled progress reports, a rewarding system, and one-on-one syncs with key team leaders can help ensure the retail business stays on track to achieve its objectives. Cascade provides a single source of truth that reveals in real-time if goals have drifted, making it easier to make any necessary adjustments.
  • Connected data sources: Connect multiple disconnected business tools in one place with Cascade’s integrations , reducing context switching and maximizing efficiency.
  • Live dashboards: Get real-time visibility into your business's performance with Cascade's live dashboards . Stay ahead of the game by monitoring critical metrics regularly and making data-driven decisions with ease.

dashboard in cascade

  • Progress reports: Get regular updates on how your retail strategy is performing with Cascade's progress reports. Track progress, identify areas for improvement, and stay on track to achieve your objectives.

Tired of spending hours and hours putting together reports for the management board? Tedious! Let's face it, manual reporting can be a real drag.

But with Cascade, you can focus on what really matters - analyzing business performance and making data-driven decisions. So, you can impress the management board with spot-on, accurate strategy reports that show how their business is doing. 

Retail Strategic Plan Example + Template

Ready to start crafting your own execution-ready plan? To make your strategic planning process easier, we’ve created a real-world inspired strategic plan based on Costco’s, the world’s third-largest retailer, annual report. 

Here’s what Costco’s strategic plan would look like following the strategic planning model we outlined in step 2 above: 

Focus area: Efficiency 

Objective: Reduce our costs without sacrificing quality

Actions: Expanding the in-country sourcing options / Acquire and develop cloud-based software to manage logistics of big and bulky items / Decrease the Cost Of Goods Sold (COGS) by 18%

Measures: Net sales, COGS, delivery time  

Here’s a preview of Costco’s strategic plan template:

costco strategy plan template

When you sign up, you'll get instant access to a template pre-filled with Costco's examples. Now, keep in mind that this template is meant to be an inspiration. We encourage you to customize the template, fill in the elements, and align it with your retail strategy.

👉 Click here to get instant access to the strategic plan template pre-filled with Costco’s examples.

The Key to Retail Success in 2023: An Execution-Ready Strategic Plan 🚀

In the fast-paced retail world, having a solid strategic plan is crucial, but it's just the first step. The real game-changer is executing that plan flawlessly. That's where Cascade comes in to revolutionize the traditional approach to strategic retail management and strategic planning. With Cascade, you can turn your vision into a tangible and actionable plan that's ready to be executed.

So what are you waiting for? Get ready to soar to new heights and connect the dots between planning and execution with Cascade.

Start today with a free forever plan or book a guided 1:1 tour with one of our Cascade in-house strategy execution experts.

Retail Strategic Planning FAQs

What is the retail mix .

The retail mix is a combination of elements that retailers use to create a unique shopping experience and meet the needs of their customers. It includes seven elements, also known as the 7 Ps of retail marketing: product, price, promotion, place, people, process, and physical evidence. By examining each of the 7 Ps and considering how they align with the overarching business strategy, retailers can create a cohesive plan for growth and successful retail positioning.

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How to Write a Small Retail Business Plan

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Retail is a high volume industry conducted largely by small businesses. Total retail sales in the U.S. in 2010 were nearly $4 trillion but more than 95 percent of retailers are one store operations, according to the National Retail Federation. Succeeding with a small retail business requires a thorough understanding of the market niche you intend to serve. Creating a business plan helps a small business owner become more customer focused in all aspects of his business.

Market Need

The starting point for a retail business plan is identifying market needs that the retailer can fill through the products and services he provides. For the business to succeed, the need must be urgent enough that target customers will be willing to visit the store and make a purchase. The target market must also be large enough to support the store and generate sufficient sales that the retail business will be profitable.

Products and Distribution

Describe what product lines will be your major revenue sources and why these were chosen. Explain your unique selling proposition -- what you intend to offer that is new, different and better than what the retailers you compete with are offering. Clarify what makes the concept of your store stand out. For example, a pet store could offer exotic tropical fish that are hard to find. Discuss your distribution channels -- how you will get your products in front of customers. Choices include store retailing, mail order business, Internet retailing and vending machines.

Target Markets

Describe your target customers so vividly that the reader of your plan can see them as individuals. Avoid demographic generalizations such as you intend to market to 21 to 35 year olds. Be specific about what motivates your targeted groups to purchase from you. They could be seeking convenience, product variety, low prices and information from knowledgeable sales personnel.

Competitive Analysis

You have already identified that a market need exists that is not being met by current competitors. This is the gap you intend to fill with your retail business. Now discuss each major competitor in detail -- their strengths and weaknesses, the target customers they cater to and the marketing strategies they use.

Marketing Strategies

Describe the actions you will take to acquire new retail customers -- your marketing strategies. Discuss why each strategy will have a positive effect on revenue generation. Use your unique selling proposition as the basis for the marketing message you will deliver to target customers. Describe the merchandising strategy for your store; for example, how you will arrange the merchandise to showcase high profit margin items and provide easy access to impulse purchases.

Personnel Plan

Forecast your staffing requirements by day of week and time of day. Project any seasonal variations as well. Describe how you intend to train your employees so they will consistently deliver superior customer service -- a key success factor for any retail business.

Financial Forecast

Prepare a month-by-month forecast of revenues and expenses. Build a revenue model that reflects the sales process with measurable variables you can track over time. For example, a retail bakery could forecast how many customers will visit during the morning hours versus the afternoon hours, which products they purchase -- doughnuts and rolls in the morning and cakes and cookies in the afternoon -- and the average dollar purchase. Make sure you include all categories of expenses, no matter how small, in your forecast. Smaller items such as postage or cleaning supplies can add up to a significant dollar amount over the course of the year.

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Brian Hill is the author of four popular business and finance books: "The Making of a Bestseller," "Inside Secrets to Venture Capital," "Attracting Capital from Angels" and his latest book, published in 2013, "The Pocket Small Business Owner's Guide to Business Plans."

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550+ Free Sample Business Plans

Need help writing your business plan? Explore over 550 industry-specific business plan examples for inspiration. Go even further with LivePlan , which harnesses AI-assisted writing features and SBA-approved plan examples to get you funded.

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Example business plan format

Before you start exploring our library of business plan examples, it's worth taking the time to understand the traditional business plan format . You'll find that the plans in this library and most investor-approved business plans will include the following sections:

Executive summary

The executive summary is an overview of your business and your plans. It comes first in your plan and is ideally only one to two pages. You should also plan to write this section last after you've written your full business plan.

Your executive summary should include a summary of the problem you are solving, a description of your product or service, an overview of your target market, a brief description of your team, a summary of your financials, and your funding requirements (if you are raising money).

Products & services

The products & services chapter of your business plan is where the real meat of your plan lives. It includes information about the problem that you're solving, your solution, and any traction that proves that it truly meets the need you identified.

This is your chance to explain why you're in business and that people care about what you offer. It needs to go beyond a simple product or service description and get to the heart of why your business works and benefits your customers.

Market analysis

Conducting a market analysis ensures that you fully understand the market that you're entering and who you'll be selling to. This section is where you will showcase all of the information about your potential customers. You'll cover your target market as well as information about the growth of your market and your industry. Focus on outlining why the market you're entering is viable and creating a realistic persona for your ideal customer base.

Competition

Part of defining your opportunity is determining what your competitive advantage may be. To do this effectively you need to get to know your competitors just as well as your target customers. Every business will have competition, if you don't then you're either in a very young industry or there's a good reason no one is pursuing this specific venture.

To succeed, you want to be sure you know who your competitors are, how they operate, necessary financial benchmarks, and how you're business will be positioned. Start by identifying who your competitors are or will be during your market research. Then leverage competitive analysis tools like the competitive matrix and positioning map to solidify where your business stands in relation to the competition.

Marketing & sales

The marketing and sales plan section of your business plan details how you plan to reach your target market segments. You'll address how you plan on selling to those target markets, what your pricing plan is, and what types of activities and partnerships you need to make your business a success.

The operations section covers the day-to-day workflows for your business to deliver your product or service. What's included here fully depends on the type of business. Typically you can expect to add details on your business location, sourcing and fulfillment, use of technology, and any partnerships or agreements that are in place.

Milestones & metrics

The milestones section is where you lay out strategic milestones to reach your business goals.

A good milestone clearly lays out the parameters of the task at hand and sets expectations for its execution. You'll want to include a description of the task, a proposed due date, who is responsible, and eventually a budget that's attached. You don't need extensive project planning in this section, just key milestones that you want to hit and when you plan to hit them.

You should also discuss key metrics, which are the numbers you will track to determine your success. Some common data points worth tracking include conversion rates, customer acquisition costs, profit, etc.

Company & team

Use this section to describe your current team and who you need to hire. If you intend to pursue funding, you'll need to highlight the relevant experience of your team members. Basically, this is where you prove that this is the right team to successfully start and grow the business. You will also need to provide a quick overview of your legal structure and history if you're already up and running.

Financial projections

Your financial plan should include a sales and revenue forecast, profit and loss statement, cash flow statement, and a balance sheet. You may not have established financials of any kind at this stage. Not to worry, rather than getting all of the details ironed out, focus on making projections and strategic forecasts for your business. You can always update your financial statements as you begin operations and start bringing in actual accounting data.

Now, if you intend to pitch to investors or submit a loan application, you'll also need a "use of funds" report in this section. This outlines how you intend to leverage any funding for your business and how much you're looking to acquire. Like the rest of your financials, this can always be updated later on.

The appendix isn't a required element of your business plan. However, it is a useful place to add any charts, tables, definitions, legal notes, or other critical information that supports your plan. These are often lengthier or out-of-place information that simply didn't work naturally into the structure of your plan. You'll notice that in these business plan examples, the appendix mainly includes extended financial statements.

Types of business plans explained

While all business plans cover similar categories, the style and function fully depend on how you intend to use your plan. To get the most out of your plan, it's best to find a format that suits your needs. Here are a few common business plan types worth considering.

Traditional business plan

The tried-and-true traditional business plan is a formal document meant to be used for external purposes. Typically this is the type of plan you'll need when applying for funding or pitching to investors. It can also be used when training or hiring employees, working with vendors, or in any other situation where the full details of your business must be understood by another individual.

Business model canvas

The business model canvas is a one-page template designed to demystify the business planning process. It removes the need for a traditional, copy-heavy business plan, in favor of a single-page outline that can help you and outside parties better explore your business idea.

The structure ditches a linear format in favor of a cell-based template. It encourages you to build connections between every element of your business. It's faster to write out and update, and much easier for you, your team, and anyone else to visualize your business operations.

One-page business plan

The true middle ground between the business model canvas and a traditional business plan is the one-page business plan . This format is a simplified version of the traditional plan that focuses on the core aspects of your business.

By starting with a one-page plan , you give yourself a minimal document to build from. You'll typically stick with bullet points and single sentences making it much easier to elaborate or expand sections into a longer-form business plan.

Growth planning

Growth planning is more than a specific type of business plan. It's a methodology. It takes the simplicity and styling of the one-page business plan and turns it into a process for you to continuously plan, forecast, review, and refine based on your performance.

It holds all of the benefits of the single-page plan, including the potential to complete it in as little as 27 minutes . However, it's even easier to convert into a more detailed plan thanks to how heavily it's tied to your financials. The overall goal of growth planning isn't to just produce documents that you use once and shelve. Instead, the growth planning process helps you build a healthier company that thrives in times of growth and remain stable through times of crisis.

It's faster, keeps your plan concise, and ensures that your plan is always up-to-date.

Download a free sample business plan template

Ready to start writing your own plan but aren't sure where to start? Download our free business plan template that's been updated for 2024.

This simple, modern, investor-approved business plan template is designed to make planning easy. It's a proven format that has helped over 1 million businesses write business plans for bank loans, funding pitches, business expansion, and even business sales. It includes additional instructions for how to write each section and is formatted to be SBA-lender approved. All you need to do is fill in the blanks.

How to use an example business plan to help you write your own

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How do you know what elements need to be included in your business plan, especially if you've never written one before? Looking at examples can help you visualize what a full, traditional plan looks like, so you know what you're aiming for before you get started. Here's how to get the most out of a sample business plan.

Choose a business plan example from a similar type of company

You don't need to find an example business plan that's an exact fit for your business. Your business location, target market, and even your particular product or service may not match up exactly with the plans in our gallery. But, you don't need an exact match for it to be helpful. Instead, look for a plan that's related to the type of business you're starting.

For example, if you want to start a vegetarian restaurant, a plan for a steakhouse can be a great match. While the specifics of your actual startup will differ, the elements you'd want to include in your restaurant's business plan are likely to be very similar.

Use a business plan example as a guide

Every startup and small business is unique, so you'll want to avoid copying an example business plan word for word. It just won't be as helpful, since each business is unique. You want your plan to be a useful tool for starting a business —and getting funding if you need it.

One of the key benefits of writing a business plan is simply going through the process. When you sit down to write, you'll naturally think through important pieces, like your startup costs, your target market , and any market analysis or research you'll need to do to be successful.

You'll also look at where you stand among your competition (and everyone has competition), and lay out your goals and the milestones you'll need to meet. Looking at an example business plan's financials section can be helpful because you can see what should be included, but take them with a grain of salt. Don't assume that financial projections for a sample company will fit your own small business.

If you're looking for more resources to help you get started, our business planning guide is a good place to start. You can also download our free business plan template , or get started right away with LivePlan .

Think of business planning as a process, instead of a document

Think about business planning as something you do often , rather than a document you create once and never look at again. If you take the time to write a plan that really fits your own company, it will be a better, more useful tool to grow your business. It should also make it easier to share your vision and strategy so everyone on your team is on the same page.

Adjust your plan regularly to use it as a business management tool

Keep in mind that businesses that use their plan as a management tool to help run their business grow 30 percent faster than those businesses that don't. For that to be true for your company, you'll think of a part of your business planning process as tracking your actual results against your financial forecast on a regular basis.

If things are going well, your plan will help you think about how you can re-invest in your business. If you find that you're not meeting goals, you might need to adjust your budgets or your sales forecast. Either way, tracking your progress compared to your plan can help you adjust quickly when you identify challenges and opportunities—it's one of the most powerful things you can do to grow your business.

Prepare to pitch your business

If you're planning to pitch your business to investors or seek out any funding, you'll need a pitch deck to accompany your business plan. A pitch deck is designed to inform people about your business. You want your pitch deck to be short and easy to follow, so it's best to keep your presentation under 20 slides.

Your pitch deck and pitch presentation are likely some of the first things that an investor will see to learn more about your company. So, you need to be informative and pique their interest. Luckily, just like you can leverage an example business plan template to write your plan, we also have a gallery of over 50 pitch decks for you to reference.

With this gallery, you have the option to view specific industry pitches or get inspired by real-world pitch deck examples. Or for a modern pitch solution that helps you create a business plan and pitch deck side-by-side, you may want to check out LivePlan . It will help you build everything needed for outside investment and to better manage your business.

Get LivePlan in your classroom

Are you an educator looking for real-world business plan examples for your students? With LivePlan, you give your students access to industry-best business plans and help them set goals and track metrics with spreadsheet-free financial forecasts. All of this within a single tool that includes additional instructional resources that work seamlessly alongside your current classroom setup.

With LivePlan, it's not just a classroom project. It's your students planning for their futures. Click here to learn more about business planning for students .

Ready to get started?

Now that you know how to use an example business plan to help you write a plan for your business, it's time to find the right one.

Use the search bar below to get started and find the right match for your business idea.

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simple business plan for retail sales

Macy's to close 150 stores in new turnaround effort, forecasts weak 2024 sales

A customer exits the Macy's flagship department store in midtown Manhattan in New York

  • Takes $950 mln charge in Q4 from store closures
  • To monetize $600 mln-$750 mln of assets through 2026
  • Shares rise 6% as quarterly profit beats estimates

Reporting by Katherine Masters in New York and Savyata Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. , opens new tab

Klaus-Dieter Maubach, CEO of German utility Uniper, addresses the media in Duesseldorf

Norway's $1.6 trillion sovereign wealth fund has excluded three companies from its portfolio due to concerns that mining activity may destroy the natural habitat of critically endangered orangutans, the fund said in a statement.

LSEG Workspace

Bayer investors weigh need for cash call amid stifling debt

Bayer may have to ask shareholders for fresh capital to shore up its finances even after the debt-laden German drugmaker slashed dividends last week in its latest effort to get wiggle room, analysts said.

Emirates airline President Tim Clark talks to reporters at the Dubai Airshow, in Dubai

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Tax Time Guide 2024: What to know before completing a tax return

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IR-2024-45, Feb. 21, 2024

WASHINGTON — During the busiest time of the tax filing season, the Internal Revenue Service kicked off its 2024 Tax Time Guide series to help remind taxpayers of key items they’ll need to file a 2023 tax return.

As part of its four-part, weekly Tax Time Guide series, the IRS continues to provide new and updated resources to help taxpayers file an accurate tax return. Taxpayers can count on IRS.gov for updated resources and tools along with a special free help page available around the clock. Taxpayers are also encouraged to read Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax (For Individuals) for additional guidance.

Essentials to filing an accurate tax return

The deadline this tax season for filing Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return , or 1040-SR, U.S. Tax Return for Seniors , is April 15, 2024. However, those who live in Maine or Massachusetts will have until April 17, 2024, to file due to official holidays observed in those states.

Taxpayers are advised to wait until they receive all their proper tax documents before filing their tax returns. Filing without all the necessary documents could lead to mistakes and potential delays.

It’s important for taxpayers to carefully review their documents for any inaccuracies or missing information. If any issues are found, taxpayers should contact the payer immediately to request a correction or confirm that the payer has their current mailing or email address on file.

Creating an IRS Online Account can provide taxpayers with secure access to information about their federal tax account, including payment history, tax records and other important information.

Having organized tax records can make the process of preparing a complete and accurate tax return easier and may also help taxpayers identify any overlooked deductions or credits .

Taxpayers who have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number or ITIN may need to renew it if it has expired and is required for a U.S. federal tax return. If an expiring or expired ITIN is not renewed, the IRS can still accept the tax return, but it may result in processing delays or delays in credits owed.

Changes to credits and deductions for tax year 2023

Standard deduction amount increased. For 2023, the standard deduction amount has been increased for all filers. The amounts are:

  • Single or married filing separately — $13,850.
  • Head of household — $20,800.
  • Married filing jointly or qualifying surviving spouse — $27,700.

Additional child tax credit amount increased. The maximum additional child tax credit amount has increased to $1,600 for each qualifying child.

Child tax credit enhancements. Many changes to the Child tax credit (CTC) that had been implemented by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 have expired.

However, the IRS continues to closely monitor legislation being considered by Congress affecting the Child Tax Credit. The IRS reminds taxpayers eligible for the Child Tax Credit that they should not wait to file their 2023 tax return this filing season. If Congress changes the CTC guidelines, the IRS will automatically make adjustments for those who have already filed so no additional action will be needed by those eligible taxpayers.

Under current law, for tax year 2023, the following currently apply:

  • The enhanced credit allowed for qualifying children under age 6 and children under age 18 has expired. For 2023, the initial amount of the CTC is $2,000 for each qualifying child. The credit amount begins to phase out where AGI income exceeds $200,000 ($400,000 in the case of a joint return). The amount of the CTC that can be claimed as a refundable credit is limited as it was in 2020 except that the maximum ACTC amount for each qualifying child increased to $1,500.
  • The increased age allowance for a qualifying child has expired. A child must be under age 17 at the end of 2023 to be a qualifying child.

Changes to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The enhancements for taxpayers without a qualifying child implemented by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 will not apply for tax year 2023. To claim the EITC without a qualifying child in 2023, taxpayers must be at least age 25 but under age 65 at the end of 2023. If a taxpayer is married filing a joint return, one spouse must be at least age 25 but under age 65 at the end of 2023.

Taxpayers may find more information on Child tax credits in the Instructions for Schedule 8812 (Form 1040) .

New Clean Vehicle Credit. The credit for new qualified plug-in electric drive motor vehicles has changed. This credit is now known as the Clean Vehicle Credit. The maximum amount of the credit and some of the requirements to claim the credit have changed. The credit is reported on Form 8936, Qualified Plug-In Electric Drive Motor Vehicle Credit , and on Form 1040, Schedule 3.

More information on these and other credit and deduction changes for tax year 2023 may be found in the Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax (For Individuals) , taxpayer guide.

1099-K reporting requirements have not changed for tax year 2023

Following feedback from taxpayers, tax professionals and payment processors, and to reduce taxpayer confusion, the IRS recently released Notice 2023-74 announcing a delay of the new $600 reporting threshold for tax year 2023 on Form 1099-K, Payment Card and Third-Party Network Transactions . The previous reporting thresholds will remain in place for 2023.

The IRS has published a fact sheet with further information to assist taxpayers concerning changes to 1099-K reporting requirements for tax year 2023.

Form 1099-K reporting requirements

Taxpayers who take direct payment by credit, debit or gift cards for selling goods or providing services by customers or clients should get a Form 1099-K from their payment processor or payment settlement entity no matter how many payments they got or how much they were for.

If they used a payment app or online marketplace and received over $20,000 from over 200 transactions,

the payment app or online marketplace is required to send a Form 1099-K. However, they can send a Form 1099-K with lower amounts. Whether or not the taxpayer receives a Form 1099-K, they must still report any income on their tax return.

What’s taxable? It’s the profit from these activities that’s taxable income. The Form 1099-K shows the gross or total amount of payments received. Taxpayers can use it and other records to figure out the actual taxes they owe on any profits. Remember that all income, no matter the amount, is taxable unless the tax law says it isn’t – even if taxpayers don’t get a Form 1099-K.

What’s not taxable? Taxpayers shouldn’t receive a Form 1099-K for personal payments, including money received as a gift and for repayment of shared expenses. That money isn’t taxable. To prevent getting an inaccurate Form 1099-K, note those payments as “personal,” if possible.

Good recordkeeping is key. Be sure to keep good records because it helps when it’s time to file a tax return. It’s a good idea to keep business and personal transactions separate to make it easier to figure out what a taxpayer owes.

For details on what to do if a taxpayer gets a Form 1099-K in error or the information on their form is incorrect, visit IRS.gov/1099k  or find frequently asked questions at Form 1099-K FAQs .

Direct File pilot program provides a new option this year for some

The IRS launched the Direct File pilot program during the 2024 tax season. The pilot will give eligible taxpayers an option to prepare and electronically file their 2023 tax returns, for free, directly with the IRS.

The Direct File pilot program will be offered to eligible taxpayers in 12 pilot states who have relatively simple tax returns reporting only certain types of income and claiming limited credits and deductions. The 12 states currently participating in the Direct File pilot program are Arizona, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington state and Wyoming. Taxpayers can check their eligibility at directfile.irs.gov .

The Direct File pilot is currently in the internal testing phase and will be more widely available in mid-March. Taxpayers can get the latest news about the pilot at Direct File pilot news and sign up to be notified when Direct File is open to new users.

Finally, for comprehensive information on all these and other changes for tax year 2023, taxpayers and tax professionals are encouraged to read the Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax (For Individuals) , taxpayer guide, as well as visit other topics of taxpayer interest on IRS.gov.

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Beyond Meat plans to hike prices and sharply cut costs as part of a huge turnaround plan to fight slumping sales of plant-based meat

  • Beyond Meat says it plans to increase prices to boost its profit margin.
  • It also plans $70 million of cost cuts and will discontinue some products, like its plant-based jerky.
  • US sales fell by a third in 2023. The company attributed it to "misinformation," sales discounts, and low demand.

Insider Today

Beyond Meat has unveiled details of a massive turnaround plan, including raising the prices of its plant-based meat and cutting overall costs as it struggles with slumping sales.

The maker of plant-based patties and sausages told investors on Tuesday that it would have to increase prices to bolster its margins.

CEO Ethan Brown said on a company earnings call that Beyond Meat had conducted "extensive pricing analysis" and would raise prices early in the second quarter.

That comes alongside a significant cost-cutting program, Brown said, which will see Beyond make a "minimum of $70 million in cuts" in 2024.

"Though varied across channels and product lines, we expect the overall impact of these pricing changes to meaningfully impact margin across the balance of the year," he said.

"This change in strategy does not reflect an abandonment of our long-sought price parity goal," Brown said, referring to the company's goal of making plant-based meat the same price as animal meat.

Brown said that as well as restoring the company's margins, the pricing action aimed to create more of a tiered pricing system, with higher prices for more premium products like its upcoming Beyond IV , its new range of plant-based beef and burgers made with avocado oil which it will roll out at US retailers in the spring.

Some products, including those in grocery stores, would barely change in price, Brown said.

CFO Lubi Kutua told investors that Beyond Meat was "pretty confident" that overall, the changes in price would offset or more than offset the expected loss of volume caused by higher prices.

Misinformation about plant-based meat is 'scaring customers away'

Beyond Meat posted net revenues for 2023 were $343.4 million, a decrease of 18% compared to 2022. US sales fell by almost a third, whereas international sales rose about 20%, mainly because of a significant jump in distribution to restaurants. It attributed declining US sales to weak demand for plant-based products, as well as Beyond Meat offering more discounts.

In 2023, sales of Beyond Meat's products to the food-service industry — which includes restaurant chains like McDonald's and Pizza Hut — made up less than a quarter of its US business, compared to more than half of its European business. Its US business accounted for around 60% of its total revenues, compared to 72.5% in 2022.

The company posted a gross loss for the year of $82.7 million, compared to a loss of $23.7 million in 2022.

Brown said that Beyond Meat had struggled as the meat industry tried to "poison" the plant-based industry with misinformation and claims about the products not being healthy, which had been "scaring customers away."

"The broad pricing programs we put in place over the last 18 months simply didn't accomplish the goal of crossing from early adopters into the mainstream," Brown said. "In retrospect, the noise and swirl surrounding the category reached decibels that were perhaps sufficient to ground out pricing and other messages."

The rounders of Bosh!, a UK-based plant-based brand that makes recipe books and sells packaged products, told Business Insider in January that they expected retailers to start stocking more "green" meatballs and bean burgers in place of fake-meat products amid rising concerns about ultra-processed foods. They also expect more interest in naturally vegan products like tofu and tempeh.

As part of its overhaul, Beyond Meat is "tightening" its portfolio, Brown said. This includes discontinuing its plant-based jerky just two years after it was introduced to focus on more profitable products instead, he said.

Beyond Meat plans to cut at least $70 million from its operating budget for 2024, Brown said. This includes consolidating its production network to just one contract packager in the US. In November, the company cut its non-production workforce by about 65 people , or 19%.

Beyond Meat's share price surged on the announcement of the quarterly results and turnaround plan , jumping by around 55% in pre-market trading Wednesday.

simple business plan for retail sales

Watch: Fake meat may be the sustainable solution to the food industry

simple business plan for retail sales

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    Retail Business Plan Template. Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 10,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans to start and grow their retail businesses. On this page, we will first give you some background information with regards to the importance of business planning. We will then go through a retail business plan ...

  4. The Best Free Business Plan Template For Individual Sales Reps

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    Provide a company description. Your company description is one of the most important aspects of your retail business plan. This section should reflect how you want people to envision your business. It should include the logo, concept, ownership and business structure, design, and layout. Think of a retail shop that you enjoy.

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    Retail Business Plan Tips Sales Projections. We recommend being very realistic about your initial sales per day projections, as your entire financial plan will be directly affected by it. When you then forecast your growth for the coming years, you should also be realistic about how much you will grow year-on-year.

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    Step 5: Start sales forecasting. Sales forecasting is an in-depth report that predicts what a salesperson, team, or company will sell weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually. While it is finicky, it can help your company make better decisions when hiring, budgeting, prospecting, and setting goals.

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    Download as Word Doc. Download as Google Doc. 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.

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    Give a high-level description of your retail business. You can mention your company's structure, legal name, location and the products or services you'll sell. Describe whether you will be selling in-store, online or across various channels. Keep this section simple. Use easy-to-understand language.

  11. Step-by-step guide to creating a small business plan

    Step 1: Company description. The key to a good plan is starting with what you already know and building around that theme. For starters, you don't need to write elaborate depictions and envision every single detail. A short description, a.k.a "the elevator pitch", will do the trick.

  12. How to Write a Business Plan For a Retail Store: Complete Guide

    An example of a Use of funds slide for a retail store ( source) 2. Business Overview. The business overview is essentially the company description. The second section of your business plan, it should cover the following for a retail store: The products you will sell in your store. The price range of the products.

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    4 Free Retail & Online Store Business Plans. This article is part of a larger series on Starting a Business. A retail business plan can help entrepreneurs analyze their business concept and explain why it will be successful. Many banks and investors like to see companies' strategic plans before agreeing to provide funding.

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    Write the Executive Summary. This section is the same as in the traditional business plan — simply offer an overview of what's in the business plan, the prospect or core offering, and the short- and long-term goals of the company. Add a Company Overview. Document the larger company mission and vision.

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    How to create a retail business plan. If you are planning on starting a retail business, you may need to write a business plan in order to get investors or loans and a better understanding of the daily operations and goals of your company. To create a retail business plan, you can follow these steps: 1. Have a clear goal.

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    Create My Document. A retail business plan form is an easy to edit business plan to help you get your retail business plotted out. Regardless of whether you plan to get a business loan or seek out investors, a retail business plan can help you come up with a plan to follow. It explains not just where your business will be located, but will also ...

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  20. Sales Plan

    Breaking down these numbers allows you to accurately forecast what it will take to achieve your new revenue goal. This part of your sales plan might include setting goals like the following: 200 total cold emails sent per day. 200 total cold calls made per day. 25 demos conducted per day. 5 new sales appointments made a day.

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    Research suggests total retail sales in the United States were projected to amount to 6.03 trillion U.S. dollars in 2022, up from around 5.4 trillion U.S. dollars in 2018, according to the National Retail Federation. Retail businesses come in many forms such as grocery stores, restaurants, and bookstores.

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    The business model canvas is a one-page template designed to demystify the business planning process. It removes the need for a traditional, copy-heavy business plan, in favor of a single-page outline that can help you and outside parties better explore your business idea. The structure ditches a linear format in favor of a cell-based template.

  26. Macy's to close 150 stores in new turnaround effort, forecasts weak

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  27. Tax Time Guide 2024: What to know before completing a tax return

    IR-2024-45, Feb. 21, 2024 — During the busiest time of the tax filing season, the Internal Revenue Service kicked off its 2024 Tax Time Guide series to help remind taxpayers of key items they'll need to file a 2023 tax return.

  28. Beyond Meat Plans Price Hikes to Turn Brand Around As Sales Keep Slumping

    Retail Beyond Meat plans to hike prices and sharply cut costs as part of a huge turnaround plan to fight slumping sales of plant-based meat . Grace Dean. 2024-02-28T11:47:58Z ... Its US business ...