Preparing an Online Business Plan

If you’re starting a new business of any type, you need to write a business plan. If you’re adding online sales to an existing operation, dust off and update your current business plan as well. Opening an online store is like opening a new storefront in another city; it requires just as much planning. Even if you’re only launching or revamping a Web site, I suggest writing a shortened version of the business plan outlined in the following list.

Most business plans include some variation of the following sections:

  • Summary
  • Description of Business (type of business and goals)
  • Description of Product or Service
  • Competition (online and offline)
  • Marketing (target market, need, objectives, methods, promotion)
  • Sales Plan (pricing, distribution channels, order fulfillment)
  • Operations (facilities, staffing, inventory)
  • Management (key players and board)
  • Financial Data (financing, financial projections, legal issues)

The SBA (Small Business Administration) site includes free online business advice for start-ups, or search the Web for sample business plans at sites like .


Going into detail about the process of writing a business plan is beyond the scope of this blog. If you need assistance, business attorneys or accountants can help you get started and are familiar with local business organizations. For free help, check out the business program at the closest community college or university or locate a nearby small business support office at one of the following sites:


Web sites don’t solve business problems; they create new challenges. If your business is experiencing any problems, fix them first! Any difficulties with computer infrastructure, record-keeping, manufacturing, supply chains, customer service, order fulfillment, staffing, cost controls, training, or pricing are only magnified when you go online.

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