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My Business Plan For My E-commerce Website


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#1 RisaBB

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 06:55 PM

Hello all,

For a while, Iíve had a gnawing feeling that I should have a business plan. Iíve winged it with my first two e-commerce sites, but Iím working on my 3rd e-commerce site, which will be bigger, have more competition, and more potential than the other two sites, and Iím thinking that a well thought-out plan might be a good idea.

My biggest challenge, like most people, is time. Iím already spread very thin. Iím realizing that a big part of this business plan is hiring people to help me make the website fly.

I canít spend unlimited funds Ė Iím a small business owner, but Iím prepared to pay people to help me, so I need to know what my priorities are and where to spend the money.

My focus is all over the place so I thought Iíd formulate my business plan here and tap the brainpower and experience of all you folks.

I thought Iíd list the things that I know (well, what I think) need to get done in the first 3 months of the site.

Web design
Programming
Attend Philly Buyers Market and Javits International Gift Fair and select products to sell
Take photos of all products, select the best photos, and crop
Copywriter to write descriptions of products, articles for website, blog, PR
Keyword research
Adding the feeds
Set up and manage PPC campaign
Graphic artist for landing page graphics
Social Media
Link-building

My second e-commerce site took off pretty quickly and I hired a wonderful woman in March to help me out. She also helps me out with my web design business. Sheís learning PPC and analytics and can help do the feeds and product descriptions and maintaining the website.

Iím thinking of hiring a writer to get some articles on the site. Iím already looking for someone to help me out with my photos. I think photos of my products are super-important and it's very time consuming to photograph and crop the photos.

Is this a good plan? Am I missing something Ė like a cash-flow analysis? Shouldn't business plans be pages and pages? I donít really expect many sales in the first few months. I think all these things need to be done right away, except for link-building and social media.

I did keyword research for many of my terms and checked out the competition in Google and I think I have a fighting chance to rank well in time. This is a niche that I am very passionate about and have loved since I was a kid.

Any advice would be helpful.

Thanks.

Risa

#2 iamlost

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 07:16 PM

I am one of those with (for our business) a massive business plan for each site - the smallest with appendices is over 100 pages. :) But then iamlost.

I will rough out what I think you should have - in order to know which questions to ask - which is perhaps the most missed part. And I know others will jump in soon.

In the meantime: if you have a domain select a good host and get it up. Just one holding page is fine. Give it one link from your blog, enough to get crawled. Age is important to G.

If you are uncertain about an ecommerce host settle that immediately and get that page up.

#3 RisaBB

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 07:47 PM

100 pages? EEK! Thanks for the upcoming rough draft. So you think a business plan is mandatory, I guess.

#4 iamlost

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 07:54 PM

So you think a business plan is mandatory, I guess.

Yes.

However, in those pages are things like the page templates, the site architecture diagram, the keywords, their relationships, proposed page titles - not simply how many bucks income next November.

It should include your marketing plan and your proposed revenue streams, your ideas and your dreams.

And it should be updated regularly - at least annually. It becomes both a history to refer to, and a crystal ball peering into the future.

But then iamlost :)

#5 EGOL

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 09:06 PM

100 pages... dude, you got serious time on your hands... lol

Actually, it is probably a great idea.



I begin any project by deciding if I have the personal resources to create or obtain highly linkable content - better than what is out there in the same niche. If the answer to that is NO, then I realize right up front that competing will be difficult. No links, no rankings. You are going to get your donkey kicked.

#6 iamlost

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 09:45 PM

I recommend (re)reading this thread with especial emphasis on Post #2 by A.N.Onym, #13 by projectphp, and perhaps the saga #14 by me.

A business plan is really a check list, a memory device. Most folks only do it when they want to use it to 'sell' their idea for a loan which is a waste. Shouldn't you know what you would know if you where trying to sell it?

#7 yannis

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 09:54 PM

Attend Philly Buyers Market and Javits International Gift Fair and select products to sell


To me that is the most important part of the Business Plan. Defining the business and what it does. What makes it unique.

The second part is checking out the market. Is there a market for it? Would people buy it? Are you entering a highly competitive market?

The third part is money. Would it make money?

If you do not need to raise finance a good business plan should fit on an A4 page! If you do the more the merrier! iamLost's business plan would easily raise $10000 per page! :)

Personally a Business Plan makes me focus on what I want to do and tends to make me clear out many things in my mind.

Yannis



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