Are you wondering how to write a retail business plan? A retail business plan is a document that describes the business, its services or products, how it will earn money, financing, operations model, leadership and staffing, and other details that are essential to the operation and success of the company. Entrepreneurs will usually create one as part of the startup process, while existing businesses often write them when changing strategy or direction. Most business plans will cover the company's first three to five years.

What Is a Retail Business Plan?

Largely conducted by small businesses, the retail industry is a popular segment for entrepreneurs. Success in the retail industry will require a comprehensive understanding of the industry. More importantly, entrepreneurs should have specialized knowledge in the niche market they're intending to do business in. It's important to proactively make and implement a strategy for achieving the goals of the business. The retail industry is known for being extremely fierce and competitive, but there is still plenty of opportunity to be successful in it.

A business plan can be as a detailed as a complex multipage plan created using the latest modern software or it can be as simple as some notes written on a page. The overall purpose of the business plan will dictate how detailed it should be. However, if you're planning on financing a loan, the lender will most likely appreciate and request a detailed business plan.

There are a wide variety of trade organizations and small-business agencies that can help provide invaluable information about the key components of the retail industry. The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and the National Retail Federation (NRF) supply resources such as:

  • Sales forecasts
  • Market research
  • Supplier guides
  • Training and recruitment tools
  • Tax and regulatory laws

It's important to network with established businesses in your area of expertise so you can avoid making the same mistakes as they did. Simply finding out what did and didn't work for them can save you a lot of frustration, time, and money down the road.

Business Plan: Executive Summary

The first and most critical section of the business plan is the executive summary. It should highlight the most significant points and provide a short synopsis of the overall business plan. This section should be extremely well written and thought-out because it must capture and retain the reader's attention. Many readers will skip the rest of the document if the executive summary is poorly prepared. Use the executive summary to make your first presentation of a compelling value proposition, such as:

Business Plan: Business Analysis

Describing the nature and overall business environment is completed in the business analysis section. The business structure, location, legal name, and services or goods offered should be included. In terms of the current environment, make sure to include the ideal customer and other retail businesses that would be considered competition. It's important to stay factual, so limit the amount of creative writing in this section.

Use common and easy-to-read terminology that the reader will be able to understand. Never assume readers will have the same level of technical skill or knowledge when reading the business plan.

Business Plan: Marketing Strategy

The marketing strategy section will explain how you'll reach your target customer and market. Also, it will illustrate the branding strategy and the company's desired image. This section should also provide an overview of:

  • Pricing strategies
  • Current marketing partnerships
  • Potential or future marketing partnerships
  • Documented research supporting the plan

Business Plan: Products and Services

If you're currently in the middle of creating a business, this section will seem the most important to you. The services and goods the business will provide will be listed here. It should also describe how the services and goods are provided, crucial information about the vendors, and any plans for growth of the product lines.

How to Write a Retail Business Plan

Entrepreneurs should know the purpose of a business plan and understand the significance of it. If you're just looking to gather a few thoughts and document them, then a one-page plan will most likely be enough. Regardless, make sure to include:

  • What you want your business to look like
  • The services and/or products that will be sold
  • The overall marketing strategy

If you need help with how to write a retail business plan, you can post your job on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Stripe, and Twilio.